Paul Barrett - Early Years

Early Years

Barrett was born in Blackwood, Monmouthshire in 1940 but moved to Penarth near Cardiff, at a young age, where he has lived ever since. His father was a brass moulder and his mother was a housewife and author. His parents named him Paul after Paul Robeson the black American Marxist Communist and Francis after Sir Francis Drake. However Barrett always disliked his middle name and formally changed it in 1961 to Franklyn because he preferred the name and admired Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

He was educated at Cogan School, King's College, Cardiff and Victoria Road School, Penarth. On leaving secondary school Barrett had several mundane jobs including photographer's assistant, market barrow-boy, door-to-door salesman, council labourer, brewery worker, warehouseman, plastics-moulder, potato-packer, railway-signalman, shop assistant, grassmower, hospital porter and hotel receptionist.

During the 1950s he developed a passion for American rock and roll music. In his spare time he started acting as agent and manager for Penarth's first rock group, the Backbeats. He began promoting teenage dances at the local venue, the Paget Rooms, that would continue until the early 1980s. Barrett was active in promoting events during the annual Penarth Holiday Fortnight each July.

A supporter of American Rock and Roll DJ Alan Freed, Barrett also organised film nights at the Paget Rooms. He also opened a specialist rock and roll record shop on Glebe Street.

To cash in on the 1960s psychedelic movement in British music the Backbeats briefly shifted to performing as the 'flower power'-style "Earl Fuggle and the Electric Poets". Barrett himself took the persona of Earl Fuggle on lead vocals. The idea developed into a performance group named "The 98% Mom and Apple Pie West Coast Rock and Roll Band".

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