I purchased my first guitar at the age of 16. It had four strings, was made of plastic and was officially endorsed by Tommy Steele. To this I added an autochord device (ordered through a mail-order advertisement) and, in no time at all, I could play three chords. This was all that was needed by the rock and rollers of the day although the ability to play a fourth chord enhanced one's reputation considerably.
At 16, too, I overcame my shyness sufficiently to join a pop group as lead singer. Overcoming my shyness did nothing to overcome my lack of a repertoire. For my first two gigs I sang just two songs: "House OF The Rising Sun" and "Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa". Fortunately, the former was frequently requested as an encore at the end of an evening's performance.
In the early '60's I entered a contest to find a first-release single for Jonathon King - and my song won! However, Jonathon decided at the final, crucial moment, to go with "Everyone's Gone To The Moon". Did he make the right decision?
We were offered professional contracts and a tour but we could not all commit to this and some of us went our separate ways. We recruited a new bass guitarist and then a lead guitarist but with the heart of our comeradeship missing we disbanded after seven successful years.
I went solo with a couple of dance bands but I was not enthusiastic and turned to songwriting and occasional appearances in cabaret clubs.
I had no success as a commercial songwriter until, one day, a publisher left a message for me on Side B of a demo tape I had submitted to him. "This is the worst submission of material I have ever heard. The songs are dreadful". I bought recording equipment and built a mini-studio. I had personalised cassette labels printed. I re-submitted the songs. The publisher telephoned to question whether they were, in fact, the same songs and even I was the same singer! He published them all.
I established myself as one of the more prolific songwriters in the U.K. through Industry magazine articles and advertising. Lyricists began sending me their work and asking for melodies to be added and demos produced. I began charging a fee - with a money-back guarantee of satisfaction - unique amongst songwriters. In several hundred songs I was only asked to return the fee once - from my very last song, in fact. And it wasn't a bad song either!
Ed Welch, best known for his songs and background themes to popular television programmes, featured a song of mine on "The Demo Business" (how to write and record a song) and I had a song in Greece's Hit Parade, a Christmas release by The Children of Liverpool and a number of interviews amongst other minor 'successes'. And there was once Hughie Greene and "Opportunity Knocks". And there's a tale!
Overwhelmed with song work, and somewhat weary of it, I stopped - and turned to short-story writing where I met with national and international publishing success.
CAMBRIDGE NEWS January 3rd 2002
"A flamboyant Cambridge band from the 1960's is set for a second shot at fame - if the lead singer can track down his musical mates.
Terry Braverman was lead singer with "The Spanish Gentleman" more than 40 years ago when his rock and roll outfit supported bands such as the legendary Kinks.
Terry has been spurred on to try and make a comeback after a former fan, who now lives in Australia, spotted one of his websites and got in touch".
Since then, Terry has managed to trace not only the band's drummer, Graham Denton, but the other three members of the original group and 'practice' sessions have taken place. Four of the five either did - or still do - maintain strong musical business links.
Phil Smith played rhythm guitar, George Bentley played bass and Barry Goddard played lead guitar.
And so "The Spanish Gentlemen" was born. We wore Spanish clothing that included sombreros, high-heeled boots and cummerbands. We were unique for our time and, as we became better known, were fully booked and supporting band to "The Kinks" and to "Herman's Hermits" amongst others and took over the bookings of "The Four Pennies" following their hit single "Juliet". I started writing songs for the band and these were well-received.
40 years later