In 1959 Bennett put together the first version of the Rebel Rousers, his backing band. They were good enough to attract the attention of audio engineer and aspiring record producer Joe Meek, with whom they recorded several singles leased to Parlophone.
Bennett continued recording for Parlophone, including cover versions of “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” and “Got My Mojo Working”, but failed to make any impact. They were signed by Brian Epstein to a management contract in September 1964, and soon after, on their seventh release, “One Way Love” backed with “Slow Down”, they finally charted. But their next record, “I’ll Take You Home” b/w “Do You Love Him” only got to #42.
Finally, in early 1966, they were booked as an opening act on The Beatles’ last European tour. During those shows, Lennon/McCartney gave Bennett the first hearing of “Got to Get You into My Life”, a song that was going to be on their Revolver album later that year, but not to be released as a single. Bennett and company saw their opportunity and took it, with Paul McCartney producing the session. The result was a #6 hit, and that was a double triumph for Bennett, as his own original song “Baby Each Day” graced the B-side.
On bootleg recordings of The Beatles performing at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany, a performance of “Hully Gully” (recorded the same night as a Beatles set) is often mistakenly included as a Beatles performance.
Cliff Bennett went on to be part of Toe Fat, whilst Chas Hodges (keyboards) and Dave Peacock (guitar) became Chas & Dave(along with drummer Mick Burt). After Toe Fat disbanded, two of their members (Ken Hensley and Lee Kerslake) joined Uriah Heep, and Bennett was asked to join them, but declined. He was also considered for the lead vocalist position in Blood, Sweat & Tears when David Clayton-Thomas left in the early 1970s but once again turned the position down. He released a solo album, Rebellion, in 1971 but he was not to rekindle his success of the previous decade.
In the 1970s Bennett retired from the music industry to become a shipping magnate; however since the mid 1980s he has constantly toured with a reformed Rebel Rousers. More recently he has toured alongside Mike d’Abo, Chris Farlowe, Zoot Money, Maggie Bell, Screaming Lord Sutch, The Manfreds, Steve Ellis and New Amen Corner.
2009 sees Bennett embarking on a UK tour alongside Chris Farlowe, Herbie Goins and the Norman Beaker Band.