Ted Heath: The Big Ones

Jazz oddity Ted Heath and his Music take on the top hits with a flair all their own.

Ted Heath is nothing short of a musical genuis, and why he isn't more widely recognized for his talents is one of the long-standing mysteries of vinyl. Take a listen to these incredibly cool tracks and you'll see what I mean. Heath starts off slow, emphasizing the popular melody of the song, which serves merely as a starting point for what comes next. In Get Back, he quicky departs into a Jazz wonderland, picking up the Beatle theme only here and there. In Satisfaction, he turns a minor pause in the song into a series of unbelievable drum breaks that will have you peeling your eardrums off the ceiling.

The great thing about Ted Heath is that all his songs on all his albums are like this -- one treasure after another. In a world where one great track is typically packaged around nine worthless ones, that makes Ted Heath and his Music an incredible vinyl treat.

Ted Heath: The Big Ones
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Get Back (MP3) The classic Jazz treatment of popular tunes. A real tour-de-force.
Satisfaction (MP3) I love the incredible drum breaks in this over-the-top rendition of the Stones' greatest hit.

Your Comments:

john giles ( says:
I used to have a cassette of Bobby Pratt and Bert Ezzard playing a duet. Anyone remember it. First heard Bert at Leas Cliff HALL AT fOLKESTONE Kent (02-26-2006)

john giles ( says:
I used to attend the paris cinema london to hear Ted Heath Band Was able to talk to the boys while the news was being broadcast. Also attended Hammersmith Palais when Ted stood in for Lou Praeger one night a week. Also many Sundays at the Palladium. Teds first name was George then Ted. My heroes (02-26-2006)

Mark Speck ( says:
WOW...that's gotta be the most out-there version of "Satisfaction" I've ever heard! Kudos for making that available. (10-30-2005)

Beverly Manning Owens ( says:
RE: BOB MANNING, 40&50's crooner,Best known for.."The Nearness of you" Hi all, I am the only child, a daughter of BOB MANNING and am looking for any comments about my dads records,or encounters,stories,interviews etc., also looking for original recordings to pass on to my 3 sons. Any info is greatly appreciated. God Bless you all and our great country,.
email to (10-04-2005)

Robin Brace ( says:
I am a huge Heath fan. I remember when in British big band jazz Dankworth and Heath were right at the top and there was really no one else. I liked the original Dankworth band by the way, not the later re-formed one. Sadly they appeared to have recorded almost nothing, unlike Ted's band. I am looking for 'Out of Nowhere' by Heath containing that fabulous trumpet solo but have drawn a bank! (07-31-2005)

Tony Cottle ( says:
addendum to previous above. I have just acquired TH track 'Jazzboat' which featured in a British 'B' movie of the same name. What ever happened to the film? It contained a rubbish storyline BUT to see the band in action and hear Ted speaking with other band members makes it quite a collectable item. I'm currently on the look out for the TH rendering of "The Archers theme", along with 'curly headed baby cha cha', "Skye boat song', Bill Russos English suite (not Stonehenge) and Keith Christie did a magnificent 'Rocking Chair' but I think Don Lusher played and recorded it. Also where is the vynl West Side Story LP? Tonight & I feel pretty appear on other issues but the FULL TH West Side Story is proving impossible to track down. Help - PLEASE.
I see The Big Ones was issued 1969 - Roland Shaw arrangements, but this is regretfully devoid of 'sleeve-notes'. Who were the personnel?
Subsequent LPs (again no personnel listed or sleeve-notes) were:
Big Band Themes Remembered vols 1 & 2 (1973/1974 - PFS4303/PFS4304).
Those Were The Days (1971 - PFS4229) Johnny Keating arrangements.
Beatles, Bach & Bacharach (1971 - PFS4210) ditto arrangements.
Smooth'n Swinging (1981 - TAB33) some sleeve-notes.
To my ear the distinctive sound of Ronnie Verrell, Johnny Hawkesworth, Eddie Blair, Henry McKenzie, Bob Efford, Keith Christie & Ronnie Chamberlain is not present on some of these LPs; does anyone have any views?

In reply to contributors questions on this site, my limited knowledge responds -
to Terence Pushman:
Some of the regular TH singers were, Paul Carpenter, Jack Parnell, Dickie Valentine, Lita Roza, Denis Lotis (& his brother), Bobbie Britton and Kathy Lloyd..... was her 'unsuspecting heart & days that the rains came down ever recorded?

to Rick Frank:
Swing is King personnel - don't know. Suspect Ron and Johnny replaced by Harold Fisher/Lennie Bush. Interesting all this isn't it?

to Terry Marshall: Fully agree.

to Guy Kemp: please see my other notes. 'How high the moon' - "not yet Verrell; no,no,no - it wasn't Ted. It was Johnny Hawkesworth, a sort of a 'put down' joke to make us laugh. Johnny wanted to convey being lead of the duet - hence he also says to Ron (following a lengthy extended bass solo, Ron interjects with a few beats) no,no,no, - do you want ALL the solo. Upon deciding upon the number of bars to play Ron says "you start" to which Johnny should have said in the polite English tradition of the 50s, "no you go first" INSTEAD he 'selfishly says "yes I'll start". When Ron later turns the tables ending a duet with polly doodle dandy, Johnny says sarcastically "very good, very good - what a brain this man's got" At the end of all the antics, Johnny says "oooh, I see a spare trombone in the distance" This was Teds which he picked up to join in the conclusion of the number. This was all good fun and well received.
Thanks for allowing this long screed onto your site.


Tony Cottle ( says:
The last couple of years have seen most TH recordings converted to CD thanks to work by Derek Boulton & Mike Dutton. That includes 'The Big Ones'. Vocalion & Nelson have issued a huge library of recordings both famous & rare. There are even several takes/arrangements of same numbers. Some questions on this page relate to 'jokes' (showmanship) which Ronnie Verrell & Johnny Hawkesworth contrived to entertain Johnny says 'how about a number of duets? how many bars do you suggest - 2bars, 3bars, or 5bars. Ronnie replies - 4bars. Johnny says, umm, yes what a good idea I never thought of that. Into the routine and Ron makes it funnier by exaggerating every stick movement and contorts his body with it. Great stuff and you hear the audience laughing on the recording. Pity it wasn't filmed! Then for more humour what about Duncan Campbell...Peanut vendor yes, but what about, Trouble with Harry, Calypso Italiano, Tequila etc. Then the whole band bashing their own toms to accompany Ron on 'Jungle Drums'. Johnny doing his usual stretch to get that final high bass note. Stan running from piano to vibes and back, and the brass section all with tiny "belly dancer type' cymbals on their fingers for such numbers as Shish Kebab. What about the humour in some of the 'arrangements' sheep written into s.Shepherd Blues; take the high road into Strollin with the blues; the 'send up' of Look for Silver Lining, etc etc. Do you remember the BBC Tuesday night LIVE swing sessions at Aeolian Hall, Bond Street, London. Close to 2hours of music, ability to meet and mix with Ted and the band, and it was all free. How things change, but how good that many of those top class musicians are still with us and continue to work. Thanks to Don Lusher who went on arranging concerts & recordings for many years. Its all gone now, BUT we have the vynls & CDs - good old Ted and the band. How fresh, skilled and exciting the music still is; what a tonic to hear, both at home and in the car. I fully recommend a daily helping to lift spirits and put a smile on the face.
I welcome sharing, comments, news, experiences. (07-12-2005)

Brian Farley ( says:
I've just been reading your column after playing a round of golf with Bert Ezzard.
Having been friends with him for the last five years .
He happened to remark that someone had said he had found references to him on the internet and seeing that i was into computers could i take a look for him. Bert is 82 years of age now but he can still play a decent game.
If anyone wants anymore info from him just E-Mail me and i'll see what i can do for you. (06-20-2005)

Michael Iannantuoni ( says:

I want to know if at all possible who was the arranger or arrangers on the song A Whiter Shade of Pale. This track is on the "The Big Ones" album by Ted Heath.

Thank You:

Michael (05-23-2005)

Dr. Tom Husak ( says:
Ted Heath's - "The Big Ones" is one of my all-time favorite albums. To those out there interested in playing some of these fine arrangements, I have full big band transcriptions of "Satisfaction", "Get Back" and "Honky Tonk Women" and can make them available upon request. Of course, you'll pay handsomely for my transcription efforts. Nice to know that Ted Heath has so many wonderful fans. Swing on! (04-28-2005)

bill reddy ( says:
i still have this album on vinyl, bought it when it was released first, haven't heard it for ages,waiting for a cd version to come from amazon.i love Ted Heath's music,seen the band twice in the Barbican in London [under the direction of Dom Lusher]fab sound,interesting to note that the price on the old vinyl album is
39/11,old sterling. (04-06-2005)

Greatwes (Great West says:
In case anyone is interested, this album has been digitally remastered on CD and can be purchased on There are 2 albums on the CD, this one and one called, "Satin Saxes & Bouncing Brass" ;) (03-26-2005)

bob ezzard ( says:
I love Ted Heath's music. I am partial to Bert Ezzard. (03-10-2005)

Bob Manning ( says:
Incredible album. Loved the two selections. I have one Heath album featuring his side men. Wonder if this one is still available - it should be. (02-14-2005)

Bob Manning ( says:
I love the music. My father was a personal friend of Ted Heath's working with him in the thirties. My father's name was Bob Manning. (02-14-2005)

Whitebeard ( says:
SATISFACTION Man.. Neat, Keen, and Groovey!! Worth a night of Surfin' for a listen! Thanx for a GREAT Site!! (01-17-2005)

Phil ( says:
I'm Bobby Pratt's grandson of whom Tina spoke of and was surfing the net when I found this site with the band my grandfather was in. I've heard a few of his cd's and hope to hear more, especially with the Ted Heath band. Hi Nan!! (12-27-2004)

Terry Marshall ( says:
Campbell,Ezzard,Pratt,Blair. the best trumpet section ever (11-14-2004)

KERRY & EDWARDS IN '04! says:
KERRY & EDWARDS IN '04! (10-28-2004)

Joli ( says:
I almost forgot... "Looking good, looking good." My favorite boyfriend of choice my mom dated back in the 70's would always say this as a friendly greeting when he came through the door. If he saw the artwork on this album cover he would have addressed the art on this album with the same friendly greeting. (10-13-2004)

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