Ron Ellis was studying for a degree in Librarianship in Liverpool in the mid-sixties when he became involved in the burgeoning Merseybeat scene in the city, signing up local groups and opening his own agency. In 1963, he started importing records from America which he then sold to The Beatles, The Searchers & other Liverpool groups. Eventually he took to the stage himself as one of the country’s first mobile disc jockeys, travelling all over the North with his own roadshow. At the same time, he worked as a TV extra, appearing regularly on ‘Coronation Street’ and numerous other shows but, realising that disc jockeying might not last forever, he started buying old houses and converting them into flats to rent out.
In 1976, Ron was appointed Promotion Manager at Warner Bros Records taking records round the discos and dance halls between Birmingham and Dundee. He went on to form his own promotion company, arranging nationwide promotion tours for pop stars like Mary Stavin (Miss World), Viola Wills and Chaka Khan’s sister, Taka Boom.
Secretly a frustrated singer, Ron set about making records himself and he reached No. 7 in the New Wave charts in 1979 with his self-penned punk number entitled ‘Boys on the Dole’, released under the name of Nevillle Wanker & The Punters. He has also written several songs which have been recorded by, among others, sixties superstar, P.J. Proby; Tim Rose, of ‘Morning Dew’ fame and Barry Womersley, who won ‘Opportunity Knocks’ four times in the 1970’s with his group, Inner Sleeve.
In 1982, in a switch of professions, he became Area Sales Manager for the international business and law publishers, CCH Editions Ltd, a position he held for 13 years although for four years during that period he researched the life of John Lennon for Albert Goldman’s worldwide bestselling biography, ‘The Lives of John Lennon’, interviewing over 100 friends and family members of the former Beatle in England, Scotland and Hamburg.
Ron’s big ambition, however, was to write detective stories and, in 1980, Robert Hale published Murder First Glass featuring, DCI Glass, a copper of the old-school. There have been two more DCI Glass books since.
His next book was a comedy, Journal of a Coffin Dodger, the diary of an 84 year old man who wants to become a bachelor playboy. It was published in 1989 and serialised on local radio. The audio book was short listed for the Best British Comedy Book Award in 2004.
He has had two volumes of poems published, the latest entitled The Last of the Lake Poets, and, in 1992, won the national Sefton Poetry Competition with his Betjeman-inspired poem, Cotswold Nursing Home.
He has also written a pictorial social history of his home town entitled Southport Faces showing life in the Lancashire town in the 20th Century through the eyes of its most notable residents.
In 1992, The Sun newspaper hailed Ron as ‘The Man With The Most Jobs In Britain’.
In 1996, Ron embarked on a series of crime novels set around Merseyside featuring a radio DJ/Private Eye called Johnny Ace which were published by Headline and, later, by Allison and Busby.
Today, Ron is working as a freelance journalist and photographer, He is the Arts Editor and football reporter for the Southport Champion. He also has a property company in London’s Docklands and runs his own publishing company, Nirvana Books which, among other titles, has published Spencer Leigh’s definitive book on Merseybeat entitled Twist & Shout and crime novels by Kate Ellis and Eileen Dewhurst. He lectures on Popular Music 1930-80 at Liverpool Hope University and is a regular after dinner speaker. He intends to consider retiring when he is as old as The Coffin Dodger.
Ron still lives in Southport, with Ellen and their two dogs, Pippa and Bella.