“MEET JULIE”, said the headline on our reproduction page last week from 60 years ago as we delved into the Teenage Special magazine of March 1964. “Local girl makes good.”

The Northern Echo: Julie Rayne

Julie Rayne was about to release her new single, “an impressive beat ballad”, according to the Echo’s pop reviewer, called Straight to Your Arms on the Windsor label, which was to be followed by her first album. She was, said the Echo, “a vivacious little singer with the hand-span waist and the two-foot long hair”.

Julie was born Edith Johnson in Park Lane, Darlington, (when Memories last spoke to her in 2005, she said she would tell us anything except when she was born). She first performed on the tables in her grandmother’s York Café in Tubwell Row and on stage at the Majestic in Bondgate.

She went to the High School for Girls and her first job was as a librarian in Crown Street.

She won a talent competition at the Hippodrome and landed three months as a sidekick for the comedian, Bobby “The Little Waster” Thompson.

In 1958, she went to London where she worked as a waitress, fed fish in an aquarium and sang for Dr Crock and the Crackpots. This led to a television debut on the Val Parnell Spectacular and a debut single in 1961, Bim Bam Bom.

She toured with Adam Faith and Ricky Valance, and in 1963 became a regular performer on Stars and Garters, a variety series hosted by Ray Martine.

The Northern Echo: Echo memories - Julie Rayne, the 1960s star of Stars and Garters, wo began her career at Darlington's Majestic cinemaJulie Rayne, from The Northern Echo archive, in about 1963

She recorded a song with what was then the longest title in pop history - Green With Envy, Purple With Passion, White With Anger, Scarlet With Fever, What Were You Doing In His Arms Last Night Blues – and although none of her singles charted, she worked on stage with Tommy Cooper, Ken Dodd and Roy Castle, and sang with Freddie and the Dreamers, Lonnie Donegan, Frank Ifield, The Shadows, Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson.


Another of her friends was a young singer called Cliff Richard, who introduced her to Christianity. She gave up the stage in the late-1960s, briefly became a missionary and then did a degree at London University in drama and sociology.

Then she returned to the stage. In 1980, she was in panto as a fairy with Caroline Quentin as the wicked witch.

The Northern Echo: Julie RayneJulie Rayne in her later career

Her last TV appearance was Tonight at the London Palladium in 2000 and her final stage appearance was at York Theatre Royal in 2016.

Last we heard, she was living near York with her third husband, and as she said "I'll tell you everything but not my age", we’ll have to make a bold guess and say she’s probably no longer a spring chicken.

The Northern Echo: ON THIS DAY 60 YEARS AGOFOR our reproduction page, we looked in the archives of the Echo's lost evening sister paper, the Northern Despatch, and found, from March 30, 1964, an edition of Teenage Special which featured an interview with Bryan Chas

Our reproduction page from the Echo's lost evening sister paper, the Northern Despatch, of March 30, 1964. The Despatch had a weekly supplement called Teenage Special. This week 60 years ago it featured an interview with Bryan Chas Chandler as The Animals, from Newcastle, released their first single, Baby Let Me Take You Home. It reached No 21. Two months later came The House of the Rising Sun. Julie Rayne was also releasing a single, as reported top right