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"As a result of this 'chance encounter,' many newspapers carried the story of how Frank had heard two plasterers singing as they worked, and Vans Black Gum Sole
"At this time they were advised to go and see Frank Ruebens, manager of Mbt Men's Narua Sandals
was so struck by their talent he had introduced them to Jack who was going to sign them up!"
The pair performed at amateur shows and parties across the North East, to great acclaim, before winning a competition to record two songs with Columbia Records in 1928.
Alf Pearson, who was born in High Barnes, but grew up in Ford Estate, joined forces with his brother Bob to form a double act in the 1920s much to the disappointment of their father. Elliott.
"So began their illustrious and successful career," said skiffle musician Chaz McDevitt, who wrote a short biography on the brothers to accompany a CD of their tunes which was released in 2001.
Alf was later to recall: "There were only about 400 TV sets in the country and the picture was about the size of a cigarette card."
"It was a privilege to get to know him when I was researching my first book on the Empire Theatre. Alf was one of the last links with the golden age of variety."
Sunderland singer takes his final curtain at 102
"The following day they arrived to find the room packed with photographers. Also present was Jack Hylton, the famous impresario and bandleader.
The youngster was tasked with singing the tune Oh Susannah in the week long production, for which he received 6 and 10 shillings an "astronomical sum" for those days.
Alf and Bob had become household names by the mid 1930s, drawing the crowds at theatres nationwide and guesting with big bands such as Jack Payne, Jack Hylton and Harry Bidgood.
Alf continued to hone his singing talents as a member of the St Gabriel's Church Blue Boys' Concert Party over the next few years until, in 1927, he teamed up with Bob to sing duets.
As the brothers became more and more popular, they opted to give up plastering and turn to showbiz full time. Tours with Will Hay, Gracie Fields and Stanley Holloway followed.
Even the the Second World War couldn't stop them performing. After joining the Entertainments National Service Association, they sang to troops across Europe and Africa.
At the same time, the pair also volunteered to work with Scottish engineer John Logie Baird on his idea for a new type of entertainment television.
their signature tune.
"But his decision to follow in his mother's footsteps, rather than his father's, obviously paid off. She was a singer who performed professionally as Emily Smiles, and was very well known locally."
Bert Feldman's Music Publishers, and sing for him. Frank asked them to return the next day," said Chaz.
The brothers are believed to have been the first couple to have their faces on the Mbt Sandals Clearance small screen, for which they were paid the princely sum of two guineas worth about 99 today.
The enormous publicity generated by the Jack Hylton tale prompted the BBC to book Bob and Alf for the hit radio show Saturday Music Hall, where they took to the airwaves in 1929.
Once hostilities came to an end, the brothers went back to their regular radio broadcasts, taking part in shows such as Ray's A Laugh, Variety Bandbox and Palace of Varieties.
Soon, the pair were broadcasting each Saturday from the Mayfair Hotel with Ambrose and his Orchestra while weekdays were spent recording songs such as Try A Little Tenderness.
The Pearson family had moved from Sunderland to Surrey just before Alf and Bob won the contest where the boys were helping out in their father's firm, plastering new houses.
Fame did not come instantly. Indeed, the brothers continued as plasters by day while singing at evening functions. Eventually, the Hippodrome Greenwich offered them their first break.
The pair would go on to win worldwide fame as Sunderland's Sunny Sons singing in thousands of concerts around the globe and making more than 400 records.
"The truth is that Bob and Alf would have been heard in virtually every home in the country on the wireless. Listening figures were phenomenal equal to today's TV ratings," said Chaz.
Alf, who was born in 1910, took his first steps towards stardom at 14 when he appeared in a stage prologue for the epic silent film The Covered Wagon at the old King's Theatre.
"Alf was a real gent, an entertainer of the old school.
Other hits for the brothers included Oh Donna Clara, Tears, Walking My Baby Back Home and We Bring You Melody From Out Of The Sky, My Brother And I Skechers High Tops Boys
"Bob and Alf were one of the few singing duos to span the decades from the 1920s until the 1980s Their gentle humour and immaculate harmonies made them enormously popular."
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