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Take It From Here - The Keynotes

The Keynotes

This is a tenuous link to TIFH, but may prove interesting to someone. And it all comes from two names on a fading cigarette packet.

As I am a mere 53 years old, TIFH is on the very fringe of my memory. But let me get back to the start:

Talking to Mum earlier, she has often mentioned having an autograph of Victor Silvester. She unearthed it this morning with a couple of other bits and pieces. On the inside of an old “Gold Flake” packet are two names, one clear in pencil, the other in pen took some deciphering.

The pencil autograph says “Sincerely, Terry Devon”. So I had a search online and came up with her obituary in The Stage from only 3 years ago. I found that she had sung the TIFH theme song as a member of the Keynotes, though she left before the show finished. She had sung with bands before TIFH, but after TIFH she sang with her husband, Tito Burns, the accordionist, and his band. His turns out to be the other name on the cigarette packet. They were among several noted acts that visited this corner of rural Lincolnshire in the 50s and 60s.

I see that Tito went into artiste representation (including Cliff Richard) and Terry assisted him after retiring to start a family.

The obituary reveals she was nearly 91 when she died, having started singing at 16. That is some career. And all revealed from a name on a 2 x 2 inch piece of cardboard. By the way, this is currently living in a case in a cupboard. If you know of anyone who can give it a more deserving home, please let me know. It deserves to be better preserved.

Max Gibson - August 2016

Continued May 2021:

This must be the longest time between messages on the same subject that you have had!

Back in August 2016, I sent the message about Terry Devon and Tito Burns that you put on the website (many belated thanks).

I said at the time that I would send a picture of the autographs. Now, nearly 5 years down the line, here it is. I’ve included a picture of the back. Not sure if this packet belonged to a member of my family.

The envelope with the autographs in has been on the shelf alongside my favourite chair for over 3 years and came to light again when one of the other autographs in the envelope was mentioned to my sister (coincidentally the Victor Silvester one).

There are many mitigating circumstances for the delay. My Mum, who I mentioned in the first message, died 4 months or so after I sent the message, so I’m glad I found out what I did at the time. Add on having to move out of her bungalow, move again, trying to find work, joining the local council, then the last year or so on top.


(Click pictures to enlarge)

Max Gibson - May 2021


I well remember the Keynotes as well as a few other rather similar groups from the 1950s, who were mainly to be heard performing as part of some of the Comedy programmes on [mainly] the Light programme. A significant feature of many of the songs was a clever key change, occasionally more than one, which added so much to the appeal of the [live!] music.

One memory--possibly fallible?--I think the Keynotes were sometimes introduced as "Johnny Johns[t]on and the Keynotes". If that is correct, were Johnny Johns[t]on and Teddy brothers? It seems likely...

Finally, was it the same J Johns[t]on who had a "minor hit" around 1960 with "Looking High,High,High"? A fine song and very competently sung!

Happy days!

Mike Plant - September 2019



I am just watching the end of the first Tony Hancock box set and The Keynotes appear on ‘the 43 minutes’ the 1957 Christmas Special.

I thought that this might be of interest.


Alec Luhaste - April 2020

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