Surrounded by docks and sitting on the South-East of the Thames 1930's Bermondsey was a thriving place. And it was here that Thomas Hicks was born. It wasn't until much later that this Bermondsey boy would become known as Tommy Steele. Saturdays as a young boy were spent gazing at the colourful posters for the Palladium, or wandering up Tower Bridge Road to Joyce's Pie Shop for pie and mash. He brings to life with extraordinary vividness what it was like to live through the devastation of the Blitz - having to run to the shelter naked in the middle of the night wondering as each bomb crashed down, which street had taken a hit. His beloved father Darbo was a tipster who worked the crowds at the races by day, and by night was a doorman at The Nest, an infamous watering hole for entertainers and his mother Betty, was a part-time tin basher at Feavers box factory. The Hicks household was full of love and laughter but also struck by tragedy with the loss of three children. Aged fifteen, Tommy joined the merchant navy and it was here he began singing and performing for his fellow seamen and his natural ability as an entertainer soon made him a favourite. Whenever he was ashore in the States, Tommy would listen to the latest music and soon became hooked on the rock n'roll movement that was taking America by storm. From Tommy's humble beginnings, to life at sea and finally a life as a performer, "Bermondsey Boy" is a colourful, charming and deeply engaging memoir from a much-loved entertainer.
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Tommy Steele grew up in Bermondsey. After a short spell in the merchant navy he rose to fame in 1956 as Britain's first home-grown rock n'roll star. He went on to have a long career in stage and film musicals including Half A Sixpence, Hans Anderson, Singing in the Rain, Finian's Rainbow to name but a few, and most recently as the star of Scrooge at the London Palladium. He lives in South-East London.
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