Geno Washington

Geno Washington

Pictured in 2007
Background information
Birth name William Francis Washington
Born December 1943 (age 7273)
Origin Evansville, Indiana, United States
Genres Soul, R&B, pop, blues
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1966–present
Labels Piccadilly, Marble Arch, Pye, DJM
Associated acts Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band
Website Geno Washington Website

Geno Washington (born William Francis Washington, December 1943, Evansville, Indiana) is an American R&B singer who released five albums with The Ram Jam Band between 1966 and 1969, and eight solo albums beginning in 1976.

Music career 1960s to 1980s

Early to late 1960s

Washington was stationed in England with the United States Air Force during the early 1960s. While stationed in East Anglia, Washington became known as a frequent stand-in at gigs around London. When guitarist Pete Gage saw him at a nightclub in 1965, he asked Washington to join his new group, that was to become Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band. Gage later formed Vinegar Joe with Elkie Brooks and Robert Palmer. The band's name came from the Ram Jam Inn, an old coaching inn on the A1 (Great North Road) at Stretton, near Oakham, Rutland.

They had two of the biggest selling UK albums of the 1960s, both of which were live albums. Their most commercially successful album, Hand Clappin, Foot Stompin, Funky-Butt ... Live!, was in the UK Albums Chart for 38 weeks in 1966 and 1967, peaking at number 5 on the chart. The other album was Hipster Flipsters Finger Poppin' Daddies, which reached number 8 on the UK album chart.[1] The group had a number of moderate UK Singles Chart hits during 1966–67 on the Pye label: "Water" (which reached no.39), "Hi Hi Hazel" (no.45), "Que Sera Sera" (no.43) and "Michael (The Lover)" (no.39). They managed to build up a strong following with the crowds and due to their touring and energetic performances. Like their Pye label mates and rivals Jimmy James and the Vagabonds, they became popular with the mod scene. The band broke up in the autumn of 1969 and the band members went their own ways while Geno Washington continued as a solo artist before returning to the United States. Keyboard player Geoffrey K. Pullum became an academic linguist, and is today a professor at the University of Edinburgh and a well-known linguistics blogger at the Language Log and Lingua Franca websites.[2]

The 1970s

Washington left the UK to return to the United States and disappeared from the music industry for a length of time. He studied hypnosis and meditation, made acquaintance with The Beach Boys and recorded some music with them that was never released. He later recorded three albums for the DJM label, Geno's Back (1976), Live (1976), and That's Why Hollywood Loves Me (1979).

The 1980s

He was encouraged to make a comeback in 1980 due to the rekindled interest in him resulting from the Dexys Midnight Runners hit single "Geno", but he initially declined, as he was completing his degree in hypnotism. But soon he was back in the UK touring extensively and playing many gigs, particularly in south-east London.

The 1990s to present

Washington has been active on stage, recording and releasing new music on various labels, with titles such as "Change Your Thoughts You Change Your Life", "Live Sideways", "Loose Lips", "Put Out the Cat", "The Return of the G", "Take This Job and Stuff It" and "What's in the Pot?".

As of 2007, Washington and his band could be regularly seen touring in the UK. In January 2009 he released a single "I'm Doing 99 Years" and the proceeds from the single's sales will go to the victims of crime and child abuse.[3] In July 2009 he headlined the Kelvedon Free Music Festival. In August 2010, Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band were one of the headline acts at Rhythm Festival,[4] and appeared at the Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury in October 2010. More recently, in October 2014, they performed in the Spiegeltent at the Canterbury Festival of Arts.[5]

Television and film career

Washington has appeared on television since the 1960s. In 1966 he appeared in Episode 11 of Ready Steady Go!. This episode also featured other stars such as Françoise Hardy, Cilla Black, Wayne Fontana and the Spencer Davis Group. In 1967, along with the Ram Jam Band, he appeared on The Record Star Show and doubtless others in the 1960s. Since then he has appeared on Top Ten (1980) in 2000 and the mini series S.O.U.L.—Sounds of Underground London in 2003.

Geno appears in the movie A Bit of Tom Jones, which had its London premiere in 2009. The film, which was made by Tred Films in Tredegar in South Wales, stars Jonny Owen and Roger Evans, with a cast including Matt Berry, John Henshaw and Denise Welch. The film won the BAFTA Cymru "Best Film" award in 2010.[6]

He has embraced acting, taking a role in Paparazzo, a 1995 film starring Nick Berry and Fay Masterson. In 2007 he appeared as himself in an episode of Midsomer Murders, entitled "The Axeman Cometh", that also featured Suzi Quatro and Mike Read.[7]

Writing and public speaking

He is the author of The Blood Brothers, a war exploitation story. Washington has also penned children's stories. He has appeared as a motivational speaker.


Washington is a member of the Guild of Hypnotists.[8] He has also included hypnotism as part of his act. In the past his show has consisted of some demonstrations of hypnotism in the first half and some "Get down soul music" in the second half.

Current and recent activities

He recently collaborated with comedian and musician Matt Berry for the track "Get Here in Time." Also in other activities involving Matt Berry,[9] Geno is featured on a 2012 song by Berry called "Theme From Snuff Box".[10]

Personal life

Geno met his wife Frenchie at the Bag O'Nails club in London, which is also the place where her sister met Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits, whom she married, making Geno Washington and Peter Noone brothers-in-law. This is also the same club where Paul McCartney met Linda Eastman.[11]

Solo discography

7" singles

12" singles


CD single

CD album


  1. Martin Roach (ed.), Virgin Book of British Hit Albums, 2009, p.292
  2. "Geoffrey K. Pullum: Curriculum Vitae". November 9, 2009. Retrieved 2012-04-29.
  3. Mercury Soul originals put glide into your stride
  4. Official Rhythm Festival website
  5. Canterbury Times
  6. British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Cymru
  7. imdb Geno Washington]
  8. The Brook Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band, The Master of Soul – Great performer
  9. Matt Berry (The IT Crowd/Mighty Boosh) + Peter Marshall & The Lomos
  10. Find Music, Theme From Snuff Box
  11. High Tide The hypnotist: Geno Washington interviewed
  12. 1 2 Leigh, Spencer (2000). "Geno! Geno! Geno! (Article)" (253) (September 2000 , No. 253 ed.). Ealing,London, England: Parker Mead Limited for Parker Publishing: 75.

External links

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