The Renegades was formed in Birmingham, England in the early 1960s. In the beginning the group's primary influence was The Shadows, but they were soon to change their style into straightforward rock'n'roll and rhythm'n'blues. Around 1963, besides hardening their music, they also embraced themselves a harder look, when they started wearing cavalry uniforms of the time of American Civil War as their stage outfit.
In February 1964, The Renegades' version of Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody" appeared on a compilation titled "Brum Beat", which introduced Birmingham's rock groups. Excepting that and an acetate single for Morden-based Oak Records and a budget priced album for Fidelio/Summit Records (produced by Delta Record Company of London), The Renegades did most of their 1964-66 recordings for the Finnish Scandia Records and after that for the Italian Ariston and Columbia Records (which leased the material forward to English, American and Middle-European labels).
Kim Brown (born June 2, 1945), Denys Gibson (born February 17, 1945), Ian Mallet (born July 28, 1945) and Graham Johnson (born August 30, 1946) conquered Finland in October 1964, when they did a one-off gig at a model show in Helsinki, and then started a constant seven weeks' tour, playing at multifarious dance floors around the Finnish country side (the originally planned three-week stint was extended because of a massive success and demand). The first visit also included two tv-appearances ("Nuorten Tanssihetki" & "Uudet Tuulet" shows), and signing the record deal with Scandia Records. Since 1967, The Renegades had visited in Finland altogether seven times. Besides them, they also appeared in late 1965 in Germany, Holland, Switzerland and Italy, where they returned in 1966 to took part in song contest with "Un Giorno Tu Mi Cercherai" at San Remo music festival. The last time they were seen in Finland together was in 1971.
Although they were treated here as the '2nd Beatles', The Renegades wasn't actually a beat group in the literal sense of the word. Of course they sounded rougher than fifties or early sixties groups, but a notable part of their repertoire was still straight rock'n'roll, and they were obviously affected by black blues music as well. These influences were heard also in their own compositions, but ironically, their biggest Scandinavian hit "Cadillac", which was credited to be written by themselves, was actually a simplified remake of rock'n'roll classic "Brand New Cadillac", penned and recorded by Vince Taylor. In Sweden, The Renegades' version was covered by The Hep Stars, while in Finland, Eero ja Jussi & The Boys remade it as a humorous Finnish transalation "Mosse" (which is a synonym for the popular Russian automobile brand, although the lyrics are talking about a horse of the same name).
The group was definitely the most celebrated rock act in the country, but somehow they didn't have any no.1 hit on the Finnish Singles chart. However, "Cadillac" went to Top 20 in December 1964 - peaking to #2 at its best and spending altogether 5 months on the chart. The song got also a very good reception at the radio, where it climbed to the top position of national radio's popular "Kahdeksan Kärjesssä" (Top 8) poll show. Also "Seven Daffodils" and "Matelot" appeared on the Finnish Singles chart, but quite surprisingly none of their four albums charted.
In addition, The Renegades appeared in the Finnish musical motion picture "Topralli", which premiered on March 22, 1966 and was directed by Yrjö Tähtelä, and they also accompanied the Finnish pop artists Danny and Ann-Christine on a couple of their recordings. In summer of 1966, after recording their fourth and the last Finnish LP, the guitarist Denys Gibson left the group, and he was replaced by Joe Dunnett. In 1967, The Renegades relocated to Italy in 1967, where they had their second hit tube. Later on, also Dunnett left the group to form his own group Rubber Duck, while the rest of The Renegades (with the new guitarist Mick Wembley) stuck together for some years until the final split-up (Dunnett however, used the group's name in 1976 on a German single which was credited to Joe Dunnett & The New Renegades). The drummer Graham Johnson settled in Italy and probably lives there today while the other members returned to England. Kim Brown came back to Finland in the 1990's, and eventually decided to stay here permanently.
- Ian Mallet died on October 26, 2007 in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, England after a massive heart attack.
- Kim Brown, the vocalist of The Renegades, died in Helsinki on the 11th of October, 2011, after a long struggle with throat cancer