Song:Bad To Me
Album:The Very Best Of
The British Invasion group Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas had a few hits. They were cast in the long shadow of The Beatles. They were under the same management and several of their hits including Bad To Me were Beatles rejects. Kramer was born William Howard Ashton Aug. 19, 1943 in Bootle, Lancashire, England. While working at British Railways, Kramer led the group The Sandstormers. He got the name Kramer out of the phone book. A meeting was set up with Beatles manager Brian Epstein. John Lennon was also there and he suggested adding the J to Kramer's name. When Kramer's band The Coasters were reluctant to record, Epstein hired an existing band The Dakotas to back up Kramer. The Dakotas also had their own record deal without Kramer. The Dakotas were Mike Maxfield on lead guitar, Robin MacDonald on rhythm guitar, Ray Jones on bass and Tony Bookbinder on drums. Both acts were on EMI's Parlophone label produced by George Martin who of course also produced The Beatles. Supposedly Martin didn't want to work with Kramer at first because he didn't like his voice. Kramer scored a hit in England with the Beatles song Do You Want To Know A Secret. Then they released Bad To Me and it reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. This was a John Lennon song that The Beatles chose not to record. You can get Lennon's original demo on The Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963. So now Kramer and the Dakotas tour the US and appear on TV. Their other top ten hit was Little Children in 1964. The band was undone by personnel changes and disputes with Epstein. Kramer also had alcohol problems. They split up in 1967. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. A version of The Dakotas still tour the oldies circuit. None of the original members are part of the group. Kramer just published his autobiography and he last recorded in 2013. He was part of a 2015 British Invasion tour. Here's Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas performing Bad To Me on The Ed Sullivan Show 1963.