In his early teens, having heard Big Bill Broonzy on blues records, Dennis Derby first picked up a musical instrument in the fifties when he began playing lead guitar. He sang in rock’n’roll and close harmony groups until the end of the sixties, when he started writing original songs with a couple of friends.
Life was gig after gig, usually a long way from home. The many happy, unbelievable memories of crazy times remain. Always being on the road, traveling the motorways with the windows down just to stay awake, late after the gigs, sometimes on the coast.
Unfortunately, for much of the seventies, Dennis lived alone in a one-room bedsit, his marriage in ruins. Times were bad and on the working man’s club circuit, the audience had not come to see the act, as bingo was always top of the bill! He paid his dues, gradually became averse to doing the road, and has earned every single one of all those tee-shirts the hard way.
Later, he had very successful businesses but, after major health issues in the late 1990s caused brain damage and some disablement, lost almost everything. He thanks the NHS for giving him the oxygen, which brought him back from the shakes in 1992. He also thanks his wonderful open-heart surgeon, Mr Peek for sorting out the internal workings of his damaged heart in 2008.
To get over it all, Dennis dusted off his guitar and went into the studio to put his thoughts down to music and his life began again as a licensed street busker, entertainer and performance poet.
Dennis has supported many famous acts, film and TV stars and locally, he has recently appeared at the famous `Quad’ in Derby performing his original songs and poetry.
Being a member of the Ukulele Society of Great Britain, he has also performed at `Digswell’ in October 2009 during the society’s bi-annual concert where one of his heroes, George Harrison of the Beatles had appeared.
Dennis still loves being a performer and appears occasionally on stage for charities, but enjoys the freedom of busking in London or anywhere. He did a show with David Francis a poet and singer songwriter from Brooklyn New York who was touring recently.
His other heroes include John Lennon, Bob Dylan along with Steve Earle and the legendary Joan Baez, because all of these have endeavoured to help others through their superb music.
Dennis expresses himself through his poetry and the songs he writes and he’s going to try and touch your emotions and maybe keep you smiling!
If you enjoy his music, he would love you to join his facebook site and tell your friends.
Dennis Derby supports Childrens Hospices “Together for Short Lives” and would be grateful if you could too.