#960: Abergavenny by Shannon
Reginald Leonard Smith was born in Blackheath, London, UK, in 1939. At the age of 15 he left school and became a messenger boy in the city of London for a firm of brokers in Rood Lane, Eastcheap. Reginald formed a group with some of his local friends called Reg Smith and the Hound Dogs. This led to a series of local gigs in the South of England. At the age of 18 he took the pseudonym, Reg Patterson prior to performing at London’s Condor Club in 1957. While on stage he was noticed by impresario Larry Parnes. The recording acts that Parnes was manager for were all given stage names like Billy Fury, Duffy Power and Dickie Pride. He gave Reginal Leonard Smith a new name in 1957: Marty Wilde. The “Marty” came from the Oscar winning Best Picture of 1955, Marty, starring Earnest Borgnine and Betsy Blair. The “Wilde,” like Fury and Power, was a surname intended to convey that this was a singer who was edgy and charismatic. Between June 1958 and January 1961 Marty Wilde charted six songs into the Top Ten on the UK charts. Of these, five were covers of songs by American singers: “Endless Sleep” (Jody Reynolds), “Donna” (Ritchie Valens), “A Teenager In Love” (Dion & The Belmonts), “Sea Of Love” (Phil Philips) and “Rubber Ball” (Bobby Vee). The other was a song Wilde wrote himself called “Bad Boy“.