1961: Rock at the Grosvenor Aylesbury … and the Town Hall

Eddie Friday, who held the lease on the Grosvenor Ballroom, continued to promote rock gigs there on Saturday evenings throughout 1961, usually featuring a headline group plus support. The Sunday club also carried on, with one group playing each week.

Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, who had been regulars in 1960, continued to appear – playing six times on Saturdays, plus two more appearances at the Sunday Club. However, the group with the most Saturday night appearances during 1961 was Terry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers, with 18 appearances, plus 2 more at the Sunday Club.

Making their debut in 1961 were the Barron Knights – with five appearances through the year. Their first appearance, on May 13th, was billed as Barron Anthony and the Barron Knights.

Bill Wyman has written in his book “Stone Alone” about how he was inspired to take up bass guitar after seeing the Barron Knights play in Aylesbury in 1961. He wrote:

“One of the biggest turning points in my life came at the beginning of August 1961 when Diane and I went to Aylesbury to visit my sister Anne and her husband David. We went to a dance in an old converted cinema. On stage were the Barron Knights, who later became popular by brilliantly mimicking other people’s hits. The sound of their bass guitar hit me straight in the balls … From that moment, I wanted to play the bass”.

This has clearly stuck in Bill’s memory. Peter Langford from the Barron Knights says that he was with Bill at his offices in London a couple of years ago, and Bill’s first words to him were “Pete, you changed my life!”.

The Sunday Club gave opportunities to Eddie Prince and the Creoles, Rocky Lane and the Victors, Johnny Carr and The Combo and Peter Nelson and the Travellers.

Many remember that Saturday night at the Grosvenor around this time could be a bit rough. In September, under a headline “Mr. Friday Gets Tough – Toe The Line Or – Out!”, the Bucks Advertsier reported:

Aylesbury is fast becoming a mecca for the good-time boys – trouble-making teenagers out for “kicks” on Saturday nights. They are rolling in by car from such places as Dunstable, Wycombe, Chesham and even London.

Because of this at least one local dance promoter – Mr. Eddie Friday, of the Grosvenor Ballroom in the Market Square – has adapted extremely tough measures. Patrons who do not toe the line – who do not obey the strict rules – are OUT. No explanations are permitted …

Twice since July a Grosvenor dance had had to be ended early. Since then, everyone entering the Ballroom on a Saturday night has been carefully vetted … Mr. Friday is sorry that events have caused him to get tough. But he feels it is the only way to cope with the situation – the only way to keep gang warfare out of Aylesbury.”

Later that year, Eddie Friday introduced a “no jeans or leather jackets” rule. The Bucks Herald carried the story on it’s front page on 10 November 1961 – alongside images of Billy Fury and fans at the Granada (click image to enlarge).

No jeans

The following is a list of rock shows at the Grosvenor Ballroom:

DateClubArtist 1Artist 2
1/1/1961Sunday ClubMike West and the Silhouettes
7/1/1961Dean Shannon GroupRocky Lane and the Victors
8/1/1961Sunday ClubMike West and the Silhouettes
14/1/1961Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersMike West and the Silhouettes
15/1/1961Sunday ClubJohnny Kidd and the Pirates
21/1/1961Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersDean Shannon and the Dean Aces
22/1/1961Sunday ClubJohnny Kidd and the Pirates
28/1/1961Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersDean Shannon and the Dean Aces
29/1/1961Sunday ClubMike West and the Silhouettes
4/2/1961Rocky Lane and the VictorsDean Shannon and the Dean Aces
5/2/1961Sunday ClubTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
11/2/1961Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersPeter Nelson and the Travellers
12/2/1961Sunday ClubDean Shannon and the Dean Aces
18/2/1961Terry Young and the Young StarsBrian Wood Five
19/2/1961Sunday ClubMike West and the Silhouettes
25/2/1961Mike West and the SilhouettesPeter Nelson and the Travellers
26/2/1961Sunday ClubTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
4/3/1961Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersRocky Lane and the Victors
5/3/1961Sunday ClubMike West and the Silhouettes
11/3/1961Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersPaul Raven and the Trebletones
12/3/1961Sunday ClubMike West and the Silhouettes
18/3/1961Mike West and the SilhouettesRocky Lane and the Victors
19/3/1961Sunday ClubPeter Nelson and the Travellers
25/3/1961Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersPeter Nelson and the Travellers
26/3/1961Sunday ClubMike West and the Silhouettes
1/4/1961Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersPeter Nelson and the Travellers
2/4/1961Sunday ClubMike West and the Silhouettes
3/4/1961Johnny Kidd and the PiratesEddie Prince and the Creoles plus "one other local group"
8/4/1961Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersPeter Nelson and the Travellers
9/4/1961Sunday ClubEddie Prince and the CreolesRicky Temple and the Whispering Four
15/4/1961Johnny Kidd and the PiratesJeff Sturgeon and the Statesmen
16/4/1961Sunday ClubRocky Lane and the Victors
22/4/1961Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersMike West and the Silhouettes
23/4/1961Sunday ClubPeter Nelson and the Travellers
29/4/1961Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersRocky Lane and the Victors
30/4/1961Sunday ClubPeter Nelson and the Travellers
6/5/1961Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersPeter Nelson and the Travellers
7/5/1961Sunday ClubRocky Lane and the Victors
13/5/1961Barron Anthony and the Barron KnightsRocky Lane and the Victors
14/5/1961Sunday ClubEddie Prince and the Creoles
20/5/1961Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersRicky Temple and the Lonely Ones
21/5/1961Sunday ClubPeter Nelson and the Travellers
22/5/1961Johnny West and the ApachesRocky Lane and the Victors, Eddie Prince and the Creoles
27/5/1961Johnny Kidd and the PiratesPeter Nelson and the Travellers
28/5/1961Sunday ClubJohnny Carr and the Combo
3/6/1961Johnny West and the ApachesPeter Nelson and the Travellers
4/6/1961Sunday ClubRocky Lane and the Victors
10/6/1961Verne Rogers and The Hi-FisGerry and the Giants
11/6/1961Sunday ClubEddie Prince and the Creoles
17/6/1961Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersRicky Temple and the Lonely Ones
18/6/1961Sunday ClubPeter Nelson and the Travellers
24/6/1961Johnny Kidd and the PiratesPeter Nelson and the Travellers
25/6/1961Sunday ClubJohnny Carr and the Combo
1/7/1961The Barron KnightsJohnny West and the Apaches
2/7/1961Sunday ClubRocky Lane and the Victors
8/7/1961Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersPeter Nelson and the Travellers
9/7/1961Sunday ClubEddie Prince and the Creoles
15/7/1961Clyde Burns and his BeachcombersEddie Prince and the Creoles
16/7/1961Sunday ClubJohnny Carr and the Combo
22/7/1961Johnny Kidd and the PiratesGanges Delta Seven
23/7/1961Sunday ClubRocky Lane and the Victors
29/7/1961The Barron KnightsPeter Nelson and the Travellers
30/7/1961Sunday ClubJohnny Carr and the Combo
5/8/1961Johnny West and the ApachesPaul Dean and the Dreamers
6/8/1961Sunday ClubEddie Prince and the Creoles
12/8/1961Johnny West and the ApachesEddie Prince and the Creoles
13/8/1961Sunday ClubRocky Lane and the Victors
19/8/1961Johnny Kidd and the PiratesPeter Nelson and the Travellers
20/8/1961Sunday ClubThe Bluetones
26/8/1961The Barron KnightsThe Crystals
27/8/1961Sunday ClubPeter Nelson and the Travellers
2/9/1961Johnny West and the ApachesPaul Dean and the Dreamers
3/9/1961Sunday ClubEddie Prince and the Creoles
9/9/1961Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersPaul Dean and the Dreamers
10/9/1961Sunday ClubRocky Lane and the Victors
16/9/1961The BluetonesPeter Nelson and the Travellers
17/9/1961Sunday ClubEddie Prince and the Creoles
23/9/1961Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersJimmy Sherwood and the Cadillacs
24/9/1961Sunday ClubJohnny Carr and the Combo
30/9/1961The Barron KnightsEddie Prince and the Creoles
1/10/1961Sunday ClubRocky Lane and the Victors
7/10/1961Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersPaul Dean and the Dreamers
8/10/1961Sunday ClubEddie Prince and the Creoles
14/10/1961Mark Haven and the ParamountsJimmy Fleetwood and the Cadillacs
15/10/1961Sunday ClubJohnny Carr and the Combo
21/10/1961Peter Nelson and the TravellersPaul Dean and the Dreamers
22/10/1961Sunday ClubRocky Lane and the Victors
28/10/1961Mike West and the SilhouettesThe Bluetones
29/10/1961Sunday ClubEddie Prince and the Creoles
4/11/1961Terry Young and the Young StarsPeter Nelson and the Travellers
5/11/1961Sunday ClubJohnny Carr and the Combo
11/11/1961Mike West and the SilhouettesPaul Dean and the Dreamers
12/11/1961Sunday ClubRocky Lane and the Victors
18/11/1961Terry Young and the Young StarsPaul Dean and the Dreamers
19/11/1961Sunday ClubChico Nelson and the Sabres
25/11/1961Jimmy Fleetwood and the CadillacsThe Bluetones
26/11/1961Sunday ClubEddie Prince and the Creoles
2/12/1961Mike West and the SilhouettesPaul Dean and the Dreamers
3/12/1961Sunday ClubJohnny Carr and the Combo
9/12/1961The TremalosClyde Burns and the Beachcombers
10/12/1961Sunday ClubRocky Lane and the Victors
16/12/1961The DauphinesPaul Dean and the Dreamers
17/12/1961Sunday ClubJess Hunter and the Premiers
23/12/1961Mike West and the SilhouettesJimmy Fleetwood and the Cadillacs
26/12/1961Terry Young and the Young StarsPaul Dean and the Dreamers
30/12/1961Paul Dean and the DreamersTony Kaye and the Dauphines
31/12/1961Sunday ClubEddie Prince and the Creoles

By the end of the year, there was an alternative. Promoter Alan Wallis started putiing on rock ‘n’ roll at the Town Hall. At around the same time Aylesbury Jazz Club had moved from the Grosvenor to the Town Hall.

Under a headline of “A Wind Of Change At The Town Hall”, the Bucks Advertiser reported:

How the winds of fortune change! Aylesbury Town Hall is now back in favour among dance promoters – will, in the rock ‘n’ roll and traditional jazz fields anyway. The past couple of years have been pretty bleak underneath the Town Hall arches. Now look what has happened.

Just a fortnight ago Aylesbury Jazz Club took the plunge and changed its venue. Result? A useful 350 jazz fiends crowded the place. And last week rock ‘n’ roll hit the Town Hall. This time 450 youngsters trooped in.

Such was the response to the “rock” night that local dance promoter Alan Wallis … will be holding there every week. And there will be no ban against the leather jerkin and jeans brigade. Who said rock ‘n’ roll is dying out?

The following is a list of rock shows at the Town Hall:

DatePromoter NameArtist 1Artist 2
13/1/1961Frank PromotionsAl Kline FiveLes Rogers and the Wild Ones
14/1/1961Frank PromotionsAl Kline FiveLes Rogers and the Wild Ones
20/1/1961Frank PromotionsBond Waynor and the Quintones
21/1/1961Frank PromotionsBond Waynor and the Quintones
20/11/1961Alan Wallis PromotionsNero and The GladiatorsFrankie Short's Apex Variety Group
29/11/1961Alan Wallis PromotionsMichael CoxThe Echoes, Frankie Short's Apex Variety Group
6/12/1961Alan Wallis PromotionsFrankie Short's Apex Variety Group
13/12/1961Alan Wallis PromotionsJoe Brown and his BruvversThe Barron Knights
18/12/1961Alan Wallis PromotionsThe Fabulous Flintstones
27/12/1961Alan Wallis PromotionsFrankie Short's Apex Variety Group

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