Who is publicly regarded as Britain's first teen idol and rock and roll star?
Tommy Steele is an English entertainer, regarded as Britain's first teen idol and rock and roll star.
Steele's film credits include 'Half a Sixpence', 'The Happiest Millionaire' and 'Finian's Rainbow', and he has made many stage tours in the UK. He is also a songwriter, author, and sculptor.
In 2012, Steele was among the cultural icons selected by pop-artist Sir Peter Blake to appear in "Vintage Blake", montage to celebrate Blake's 80th birthday. Steele was born in Bermondsey, London, England in 1936.
Steele worked in various jobs, including a brief period as a merchant seaman. He was not eligible for national service because he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy.
When a ship Steele was serving on docked in Norfolk, Virginia, U.S., he heard Buddy Holly and fell in love with rock and roll, turning his back on the British skiffle craze. He was discovered by freelance photographer John Kennedy, who believed Steele could be Britain's answer to Elvis Presley.
Steele and other British singers would pick known hit records from the United States, record their cover versions of these songs, and release them in the UK before the American versions could enter the charts.
The increase in home-grown musical talent during the 1950s and 1960s allowed Steele to progress to a career in stage and film musicals, leaving behind his pop-idol identity. In 1957, he was voted the seventh-most-popular actor at the British box office.