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Contemporaries of the Rolling Stones and Yardbirds, the Downliners Sect was formed by deerstalker-hatted rhythm guitaristDon Craine in the spring of 1963.
Their brash and exciting brand of R&B soon gained them a residency at London’s Studio 51 club where they recorded their first E.P. ‘At Nite in Great Newport Street’, now a rare collectors’ item.
A version of Jimmy Reed’s ‘Baby What’s Wrong’ became the unit’s first single for EMI and entered the charts in its first week of release.
This was followed by ‘Little Egypt’ which brought international interest and took the band into the Swedish top ten.
The group went on to record many classic R&B singles as well as three albums, ‘The Sect’, ‘The Country Sect’ and ‘The Rock Sects In’ which is notable for the inclusion of ‘Why Don’t You Smile Now’ which was part-composed by Lou Reed and John Cale prior to their founding of the Velvet Underground.
A ghoulish E.P. ‘The Sect Sing Sick Songs’ also gained them much notoriety and a blanket radio ban. After the release of the Graham Gouldman penned ‘Cost of Living’, a one-off Pye single ‘I Can’t Get Away From You’ the group disbanded.