News Centre

All the latest news from The Salvation Army

Pop-Star Minister Lifts Lid on Fame

4 September 2013 - 10:18am
| by Brent

Pop star says: “Fame, fortune, or anything more – it never crossed our mind. All our royalties went to supporting those who are vulnerable or in need

A member of a trailblazing Sixties chart pop group which gave all its royalties to help people in need, has published a book lifting the lid on fame and life on tour to celebrate the group’s 50th birthday.

Lieut-Colonel Sylvia Dalziel, now a retired Salvation Army officer (minister), was a member of the Joystrings Salvation Army pop group, which hit the pop charts in the Sixties, getting to Number 32 in the UK Chart and 16 in HMV’s chart.

What's your favourite Joystrings song? free polls 

The Christian musicians also played a controversial concert at the Playboy Club in London, were asked to join Cliff Richard on tour and made numerous TV and print-media appearances, leading them to be the most-recognised Salvation Army members.

Sylvia will be touring with her book, The Joystrings: The Story Of The Salvation Army Pop Group, visiting Skegness, Coventry, Poole, Bristol and Peterborough, and concluding the tour on the Joystrings’ anniversary on 25 November 2013.

Video by courtesy of chatham43 on YouTube

Sylvia said: “For those of us who were training to be Salvation Army ministers, we were thrown overnight into the unknown. When we weren’t receiving requests for concerts, invitations to play at clubs and appear on television, we were studying to be ministers – we had just the same work to do as those who weren’t out until the early hours playing at clubs!

“As a group, we didn’t know how long our pop life would be and had no ambitions for fame, fortune, or anything more – it never entered our mind as all our royalties went straight back into supporting The Salvation Army’s ministry of helping those who are vulnerable or in need.

‘Visionary, groundbreaking and courageous,' Cliff Richard

“As Salvation Army student-ministers, our time in the spotlight was an intense time of ministry – putting us into contact with a variety of different people: some were lonely, some were hurting. While we made the chart, we were especially aware that our role – as The Salvation Army – was only ever to love those who felt unloved, offer compassion without judgment to those who were hurting and to point them towards Christian faith. We encapsulated this in every appearance. At the Playboy Club, the managers even provided the Joystrings with spots on the cabaret floor so we could talk to their customers.”

The group’s appearance at the Playboy Club caused widespread controversy, even among The Salvation Army’s own congregations. However, the group acknowledges it was the right decision for that time – sharing that the conversations they had in that setting were of infinite value.

The group is thought to have paved the way for other Christian musicians. Sir Cliff Richard, in a foreword to The Joystrings book, acknowledges: “It was back in the days when guitars in church, let alone music with a beat, were for many a definite no-no. But there, in the forefront of Christian evangelism, even with a track in the secular charts, were The Salvation Army’s Joystrings, proving that the Devil certainly didn’t have all the good music!

“Thank you to all those who dared to go where others were much too cautious, for making it easier for me and for countless other Christian musicians who have come since, to minister musically in the only way we know how.”

The group disbanded in 1968 and Sylvia and her husband, Peter, continued on in Salvation Army ministry – running corps (Salvation Army churches), working in the UK, South Africa and Australia. In October 2002, Peter was appointed second-in-command of the Netherlands and Czech Republic Territory, with Sylvia working in the territory’s women’s ministries. Now retired, they continue active personal ministry, conducting services and leading weekends across the United Kingdom, along with some overseas ministry.

The book is available from SP&S priced at £14.95 (+£4.95 P&P) or via mail order.

Joystings Book Tour

Tuesday 10 September
Butlins, Skegness Book launch and evening concert (interviews in the afternoon)

Friday 13 September
Poole, Dorset, ‘An Audience With …’

Sunday 15 September
Winton Harvest

Friday 4 October
Cradley Heath Book ‘An Audience With …’

Saturday 5 October
Coventry Book ‘An Audience With …’

Sunday 6 October
Coventry Home and Family Day

Saturday/Sunday 12/13 October
Bristol Staple Hill corps anniversary with book launch Sunday evening

Sunday 20 October
Peterborough Citadel morning meeting and pm 'An Audience with ...'

Friday 25 October
Worthing Citadel

Saturday 26 October
Hadleigh Temple 'An Audience with ...'

Sunday 3 November
Bristol Easton morning meeting and pm  'An Audience with ...'

Monday 25 November
Christmas Carol Concert at the Royal Albert Hall - book launch with Joystrings music and book-signing


Submitted by Gordon on

The Joystrings brought something new and exciting to Christianity, and were willing to take God's message in to those places where some Christians refuse to go even today.

The music is authentic sixties pop, but remains as fresh today as it always has. If only there were a Christian band today that captured the attention of the media and the charts in the way that The Joystrings did.

If it were not for The Joystrings ... and I didn't discover their music until the seventies ... I probably wouldn't be writing this today.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Let us know your thoughts about this news story. This is an open, family-friendly community to encourage everyone to get involved, so please keep your comments clean and follow our Guidelines so we can publish your comment.

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.