He was a singer born Thomas “Nippy” McAleese in Airdrie, Scotland and later nicknamed “Wee Dan”. He formed his first group, The Tonebeats, when he was just thirteen years old.
In the early 1960s he was invited to become a member of The Gaylords which became Dean Ford & The Gaylords. In the years 1964 and 1966 they released two singles that would not give them any success. Changing their name to Marmalade he would continue to provide the lead vocals and, seeing chart entries from 1968, they would finally see the top position of No. 1 in the UK when he performed on their cover of Lennon & McCartney’s “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”. Being a member of the first Scottish group to reach No. 1 in the UK, he would appear on the BBC music programme Top of the Pops in a kilt in celebration. He would also see success with Marmalade in the US when they appeared on the Billboard chart at No. 6 with “Reflections of my Life”. The band went through many changes, but Dean stayed with them until the mid-1970s.
He left the band to concentrate on his solo career and released his self-titled album in 1975. In 1976 he appeared with periodically with the band Blue that was co-founded by ex-Marmalade member Hugh Nicholson , in 1978 he appeared on the Alan Parson’s Project’s Pyramid, and in 1991 recorded a single with the Sensational Alex Harvey Band.
He relocated to the United States in 1979 while trying to conquer his alcoholism problem. He was sober again by 1986 and began to perform again in the small club circuit.
In 2003 he teamed up with The Sensational Alex Harvey Band on a tribute album for Frankie Miller, in 2012 he worked with Joe Tansin from Badfinger and he has also released his second solo album Feel My Heartbeat.
He died on 31st December 2018 when he was 72 years old.
Here he is performing “Hey My Love”…