Just Oliver

Just Oliver. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

The Early Years

Warrington boy, David Concannon, had his first success in 1971 when, aged 15, he entered a talent contest in Rhyl, North Wales.  He came first and part of his prize was a further week’s holiday the following summer. On that prize holiday, history repeated itself, he entered the same contest and won again.  He impressed showmen Aubrey Phillips and Tony Evans so much that they offered him the chance to join their Minstrel Show at Rhyl Gaiety, and after consulting his parents the apprentice wood-turner accepted.

Entering Showbusiness

Under the personal management of Tony Evans, David adopted the stage name of Just Oliver and just a few short months after his holiday contest win, he had completed his autumn appearances in Rhyl and was now taking Blackpool by storm.

Just Oliver not only possessed a surprisingly mature voice for his young years but also had an agreeable personality to go with his Vidal Sassoon hairdo and stunning dress sense. Some reviewers tipped him as the most promising teenage pop proposition since Cliff Richard.

His personal manager took full advantage of this huge potential and by Christmas 1972 he had signed him up for a part in a Manchester pantomime and had begun to look for suitable material for his recording debut.

Aladdin opened in December 1972, at the Houldsworth Hall, Deansgate, Manchester and featured somngs from Just Oliver in the role of the Slave of the Lamp.

Talent Show Success

Also in December 1972, Just Oliver was a contestant in the 14 week talent competition hosted by the Ivy Leaf Club in Blackpool. He was last performer to take the stage, at around midnight, and he not only revived the flagging audience, he stopped the chatter at the bar and created a raving, roaring, demand for more.  The paper ballot vote put Just Oliver streets ahead of anyone else.  He won the adult section first prize of £60 in a competition full of highly experienced performers.

In May 1973 Just Oliver shared the bill at The Napoleon, in the Fylde district of Lancashire with a young female group known as the Singing Nolans,  who went on to record eight Top 40 hits as The Nolans.

Just Oliver. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

By the summer of 1973 he was enjoying huge success in clubs around the country, playing shows in Bournemouth, Norwich, Bolton, Cardiff, Leigh, Manchester and Morecambe.

Still only 17 years of age by now he was displaying all the signs of “a star of tomorrow,” with his fine singing voice and good looks he just needed to break the teen-age pop market to become a sensation.

In September 1973, after 12 months experience of Clubland, Just Oliver, now a teenyboppers’ favourite, returned to his starting point, Blackpool. In just one year on the club circuit he’d converted his take-home pay of around £8.30 a week to that of three-figure fees as a singer and demand for his services was now constant. Since Easter 1973 he’d not had a week off and he was almost fully booked well into 1974.  All this before his New Faces television debut on October 1973. He failed to win his New Faces heat, beaten by folk trio Dri Jinja, but his secured bookings would still keep him busy for the foreseeable future and he already had the critics singing his praises too;

The most promising teenage pop proposition I have come across he has an appeal that launches itself right at the heart of an audience.” – James Hartley, The Stage

A star of tomorrow has ‘magic,’ a fine singing voice and good looks, he cannot fail to hit the top. Currently a sensation he will be an explosion!” – David Lever,  Southern Scene

An astonishing voice.” – Beryl Jones, Manchester Evening News

In Need Of Just One Hit

By February 1974, and following his TV appearance on New Faces, Just Oliver was signed up by Tony Hatch, Decca Records and Billy Marsh (King of Agents ) and it was thought he could easily be an international star by the end of the same year.  It seemed it just needed one hit single to transform the former wood-turner’s apprentice into a four-figure national star, but that hit never came.

In April 1974 Just Oliver was back on New Faces as one of the viewer’s favourite acts that returned to open the second series. He shared the bill with the top three acts Les Dennis, Pete Conway and the group Art Nouveau, who won the show .

In July 1975 the paths of two series one New Faces acts crossed as, Just Oliver and Yakity Yak both appeared on the same bill at the Cavendish in Blackburn. In September of the same year he was still being billed as “the boy with the Rolls Royce voice” as he featured on the line-up of a show at Webbington Hotel and Country Club in Loxton, near Weston-Super-Mare.

Dave Concannon in 1987. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

Second Chance

Just Oliver may have missed out on success first time around but in February 1987 Dave Concannon was seeking second-time success when he appeared on the roster of the North West’s leading management and booking agency, Ace Entertainments.  Performing a twelve minute showcase of his versatile vocals, Dave was back in the spotlight, and singing a terrific American Trilogy.

Between 1993 and 1995 Dave was back performing as Just Oliver again and could be found on the entertainment roster at a variety of Haven Leisure holiday parks, including Ty Mawr in Towyn, Coastfield in Ingoldmells and Golden Sands in Mablethorpe.

Just Oliver’s appearances on New Faces