1963 saw the closure of the Grosvenor Ballroom for refurbishment, re-opening as the council-owned Borough Assembly Hall. During its closure, the Walton Hall stood in, with weekly rock concerts.
The Grosvenor Ballroom closed at the end of April 1963, initially for three months – but the date of the re-opening was put back a number of times, and eventually to October 7th.
For a list of gigs during 1963, please see below.
During the first months of the year, Eddie Friday continued to promote rock gigs at the Grosvenor on Saturday evenings. Among the artists appearing were Emilre Ford and the Checkmates, Eden Kane, The John Barry Seven, Eric Delaney and his Band and the Vernon Girls.
Tony White in the Bucks Advertiser was particularly impressed with Eric Delaney and his Band. Eric Delaney was a drummer and bandleader, and Herbie Goins was the vocalist. Click on image to enlarge:
The closure of the Grosvenor caused some concern – the Editor at the Bucks Advertiser received a letter on behalf of “A Group of Aylesbury Teenagers” – see below. It was announced that Alan Wallis and Stan Wyatt, who had promoted gigs at the Town Hall before the fire in March 1962, had booked the Walton Hall for 19 weeks, to start when the Grosvenor closed. The first night at the Walton Hall was on 11th May – and the run eventually extended to 21 weeks, ending on 28th September. Click on image to enlarge.
Borough Assembly Hall
In September it was announced that the new name for the Grosvenor would be the Borough Assembly Hall – not popular with many, including Tony White in the Bucks Advertiser:
The Borough Assembly Hall. Look at it. Read it. Let it roll around your tongues for a while. You will probably agree with me. It sounds horrible! Believe it or not, this is the name Aylesbury Borough Council – new owners of the Grosvenor – have decided to call that popular centre of entertainment in the corner of the Market Square …
For goodness sake, why not leave it as it was. The Grosvenor is well-known over a large area either through the jazz club or the Saturday night dances that used to be held there until it closed. “The Grosvenor” is short. “The Grosvenor” is an appropriate name for a building that is to be the venue for the type of entertainment to be offered there.
And I say this. I’ll bet my whole collection of long-playing records that “The Grosvenor” is how it will continue to be known, no matter what the new owners like to call it.
The Bucks Advertiser also published a useful potted history of the venue (click to enlarge):
The grand re-opening took place on 7th October, with a charity ball in aid of the Mayor’s Freedom From Hunger campaign, with Joe Loss and his Orchestra and Johnny Thunder and the Thunderbirds.
One of the singers with Joe Loss was Ross MacManus (who also played trumpet); Ross is the father of Elvis Costello (Declan MacManus). He also composed and sang the 1970s “I’m A Secret Lemonade Drinker” TV ad for R. White’s lemonade.
Also of note is that during the year Ian “Sammy” Samwell presented record nights in Aylesbury on Wednesdays – initially at the Grosvenor Ballroom and then, after its closure, at the Walton Hall – see report below.
Ian Samwell was a member of Cliff Richard and the Drifters and he wrote “Move It”. He was later a record producer for artists such as Sounds Incorporated, Georgie Fame,John Mayall and The Small Faces. Later he was in-house producer for Warner Brothers in London, bringing artists such as Linda Lewis and America to the label, producing the first America album and the hit “A Horse With No Name”.
Pete Frame writes about Ian Samwell in the Epilogue to his book The Restless Generation. Ian had moved to Sacramento, California.
Sometime in late 1991, suddenly and unexpectedly overcome by breathlessness, he had collapsed and woken in hospital, where he was diagnosed with idiopathic cardiomyopathy. If he didn’t have a heart transplant, he would die, doctors told him – which was a bit of a bummer because he had allowed his medical insurance to lapse only six weeks earlier and the procedure was going to cost in excess of a quarter of a million dollars …
“There was no way I was going to get that sort of bread together,” said Samwell, “so I accepted I was going to die … I phoned a few friends, including Robert Allen, my lawyer in London, to ask him to bring my will up to date, and then fell into a deep sleep.”
When he came to, a hovering nurse came over. “Who are you?” she asked. “Samwell, Ian Samwell”, he replied, nodding toward the case notes at the end of the bed. “Yes, I know that,” she said, but who are you? The phone hasn’t stopped ringing. All these people have been calling with offers of money – Pink Floyd, Cliff Richard, Led Zeppelin … who are you?”
As soon as he had put the phone down, Robert Allen had got on to Jeff Dexter, the DJ / producer / manager who was Ian’s principal sidekick throughout the sixties and seventies, and Dexter phoned everyone he knew … Sufficient funds were gathered for an operation to replace his heart … and it pumped efficiently for another 11 years.
Ian Samwell eventually died on 13 March 2003, aged 66. Nicest guy you could ever meet. And he wrote Move It.
|Date||Venue||Promoter Name||Artist 1||Artist 2|
|5/1/1963||Grosvenor Ballroom||Eddie Friday||Emile Ford and the Checkmates||Mike Sagar and the Crestas|
|12/1/1963||Grosvenor Ballroom||Eddie Friday||Johnny Carr backed by Mel Turner and the Mohicans||Dave Seaton and the Leons|
|19/1/1963||Grosvenor Ballroom||Eddie Friday||Eden Kane backed by the Rhett Stoller Group||The Lee Atkins Combo|
|26/1/1963||Grosvenor Ballroom||Eddie Friday||Johnny, Mike and the Shades||Bobby Patrick Big Six|
|2/2/1963||Grosvenor Ballroom||Eddie Friday||Peter Nelson and the Travellers||The Tartans|
|9/2/1963||Grosvenor Ballroom||Eddie Friday||The John Barry Seven||Johnny Anger and the Wild Ones|
|16/2/1963||Grosvenor Ballroom||Eddie Friday||Johnny, Mike and the Shades||Dru Harvey and the Jokers|
|23/2/1963||Grosvenor Ballroom||Eddie Friday||Doug Sheldon backed by The Sceptres||Bobby Rio and the Dominators|
|2/3/1963||Grosvenor Ballroom||Eddie Friday||Eric Delaney and His Band with Herbie Goins||The Lee Atkins Combo|
|9/3/1963||Grosvenor Ballroom||Eddie Friday||The Tartans||Paul Dayton and the Deputies|
|16/3/1963||Grosvenor Ballroom||Eddie Friday||Russ Sainty and the Nu-Notes||Mark Douglas and the Prowlers|
|23/3/1963||Grosvenor Ballroom||Eddie Friday||The Original Checkmates||Ricky Marino and the Stormbreakers|
|30/3/1963||Grosvenor Ballroom||Eddie Friday||The Barry James Show featuring The Strangers with Gary and Lee||Mike Sagar and the Crestas|
|6/4/1963||Grosvenor Ballroom||Eddie Friday||The Black Arrows||Paul and the Hustlers|
|13/4/1963||Grosvenor Ballroom||Eddie Friday||Peter West and the Embers||Paul and the Hustlers|
|20/4/1963||Grosvenor Ballroom||Eddie Friday||The Vernon Girls||Mark Douglas and the Prowlers, The Noel Francis All-Steel West Indian Band|
|27/4/1963||Grosvenor Ballroom||Eddie Friday||The Fabulous Flintstones||Ricky Marino and the Stormbreakers|
|11/5/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||Johnny Milton and the Condors||The Twistettes, Nick Troy and the Trojans|
|18/5/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||Golli-Golli Show||Johnny Shadow and Danny Gavan, Paul and the Hustlers|
|25/5/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||Ray Pilgrim||Tony Vince and the Minutemen, Colin and the Champions|
|1/6/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||Jet Harris's Original Jetblacks||Terry Judge and the Waders|
|8/6/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||Ricky Brown & The Hi-Lites||Mike Harper & The Cerveza|
|15/6/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||Robb Storme and the Whispers||The Cavaliers|
|22/6/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||The Barry James Show with Gary and Lee and The Strangers||Terry Judge and the Waders|
|29/6/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||Kevin Scott & His Kinsmen||The Strangers|
|6/7/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||Johnny, Mike and the Shades||Mick Barber and the Travellers|
|13/7/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||Mike Everest and the Alpines Crazy Gang Show||The Strangers|
|20/7/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||Steve Francis||Johnny Anger and the Wild Ones, Apex Group with Colin York|
|27/7/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||Dave Dee and the Bostons||The Cervezas|
|3/8/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||The Gamblers||Roy Powell and the Off-Beaters|
|10/8/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||Jet Harris's Original Jetblacks||The Cavaliers|
|17/8/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||The Federals|
|24/8/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||Laurie Jay Combo||Gerry Temple, The Cervezas|
|31/8/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||Johnny, Mike and the Shades||Terry Judge and the Barristers|
|7/9/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||The Dowlands||The Soundtracks, The Stranglers|
|14/9/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||The Ravin' Savages||The Cavaliers|
|21/9/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||The Six Citizens||Del Summers, Roy Powell and the Off-beaters|
|28/9/1963||Walton Hall||Alan Wallis||Brian Fisher||The Raiders|
|7/10/1963||Borough Assembly Hall||Gala Opening||Joe Loss and His Orchestra with Rose Brennan, Larry Gretton and Ross MacManus||Johnny Thunder and the Thunderbirds|
|11/10/1963||Borough Assembly Hall||Stanley Wyatt Promotions||Ray Piligrim and Minute Men||The Phantoms|
|12/10/1963||Borough Assembly Hall||Eddie Friday||Johnny Carr and the Cadillacs||Johnny Anger and the Wild Ones|
|18/10/1963||Borough Assembly Hall||Stanley Wyatt Promotions||Ray Pilgrim and Minute Men|
|19/10/1963||Borough Assembly Hall||Eddie Friday||Troy Dante and the Infernos||The Delta Five|
|25/10/1963||Borough Assembly Hall||Stanley Wyatt Promotions||Danny Storm and Strollers||The Strangers|
|26/10/1963||Borough Assembly Hall||Eddie Friday||Johnny, Mike and the Shades||Russ and the Sabres|
|1/11/1963||Borough Assembly Hall||Stanley Wyatt Promotions||The Citizens||The Apollos|
|2/11/1963||Borough Assembly Hall||Eddie Friday||The Barron Knights with Duke D'Mond||Johnny Anger and the Wild Ones|
|8/11/1963||Borough Assembly Hall||Stanley Wyatt Promotions||Robb Storme and the Whispers|
|9/11/1963||Borough Assembly Hall||Eddie Friday||Unit 7||The Jimmy Ritchie Combo|
|16/11/1963||Borough Assembly Hall||Eddie Friday||Johnny Carr and the Cadillacs||Eddie King and the Chequers|
|23/11/1963||Borough Assembly Hall||Eddie Friday||The Redcaps||Jimmy Richards and the Javelins|
|30/11/1963||Borough Assembly Hall||Eddie Friday||Rockin' Henry and the Hayseeds||The Pagans|
|7/12/1963||Borough Assembly Hall||Eddie Friday||The Eric Delaney Band||Dale Curtiss and the Blunotes|
|14/12/1963||Borough Assembly Hall||Eddie Friday||Johnny, Mike and the Shades||Johnny Anger and the Wild Ones|
|21/12/1963||Borough Assembly Hall||Eddie Friday||The Gamblers||The Coasters|
|28/12/1963||Borough Assembly Hall||Eddie Friday||Johnny Carr and the Cadillacs||Cliff Adams and the Twilights|