IT was one of the longest band names in history.

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich were like the seven dwarves of the '60s pop scene -- everyone knew them, but nobody could remember exactly what order they went in.

Dave recalls: "It was the band name you could never remember -- you just knew it was long.

"DJs had fun playing around with it. They ran competitions to see if fans could say it backwards and all sorts."

Between December 1965 and May 1969, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich spent 141 weeks in the UK charts with their 16 hit singles, including the number one chart-topper Legend of Xanadu.

The band members had known each other since their schooldays, hence their unflattering nicknames for each other.

Dave said: "We were originally called Dave Dee and The Bostons, but our record company said that was old-fashioned.

"When our managers told us they'd decided on this new name, we fell about laughing."

The band always remained good friends, even when Dave left to do other things. During that time, he turned down the chance to star alongside Richard Gere, gave Boney M their first big break and became a highly successful boss at Atlantic Records.

He said: "I did some small film parts and auditioned for some plays and musicals, including a rock musical in Covent Garden. It turned out to be Grease and Richard Gere was playing the lead.

"At the same time I accepted a job as label manager at Atlantic Records, so I turned Grease down. I don't think Bill Kenwright, the producer, has ever forgiven me."

Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich continued gigging all over Europe while Dave signed up bands like AC/DC and Boney M.

Dave, now 60, reunited with Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich six years ago when, following a series of charity gigs, they were offered a nationwide tour.

He said: "This will be our third tour in six years. I really enjoy them -- there's no pressure on us. It's great for the audiences. We get a lot of young people coming along to our shows who say they're disillusioned with their own generation's music. T

"Then we get the older ones who have grown up with us -- the ones who aren't likely to go and see Westlife and Eminem.

"We probably work more now than we did in the '60s."

The band's current popularity serves as a contrast to the difficulties they had starting out. Dave said: "We started off on the circuit in the UK and Hamburg with the Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers, but they all made it a lot earlier than us. We got left at the starting gate.

"I always remember there was one studio boss who told us: 'Go home and chop up your instruments because you'll never make it'."

Sixteen hit records later, the band can safely say they've proved him wrong.

The band are touring as part of the Solid Silver Sixties Show, which also features The Searchers and Wayne Fontana.

They appear in King George's Hall, Blackburn tonight. Call 01254 582582 for details.