Granada Aylesbury 1964 stage shows

1964 was the last year of the stage shows at the Granada. There were only three – but included probably the most famous of them all, when the Rolling Stones came to town on 21st January.

Rolling Stones Granada ad 1964

The show was famous because the Stones performed as a four piece that night – Brian Jones got lost in the fog, and didn’t arrive. There are different versions of whether he was stuck in Reading – or was much closer.

The Bucks Advertiser reported that Brian Jones was stuck in Reading – but the following account appears in Bill Wyman’s book “Stone Alone”, suggesting he was seen “on the outskirts of Aylesbury”:

On 21 January we had a gig in Aylesbury and we planned to meet first in town. Brian left in his car and drove to Cheltenham to see his parents, after we had done a picture session and interview …

Keith Altham recalled his first experience of a Stones one-night stand:

“Our speed dropped to 15 m.p.h. and we crept along, following the cat’s eyes … Our one-hour trip by now had taken three hours and we were on the outskirts of Aylesbury when Mick shouted as Brian’s car loomed out of the fog and began to pass us. Brian was obviously lost and heading in the opposite direction. We all yelled out of the windows, but were unheard and he disappeared into the fog. Brian never reappeared from that foggy sighting but we arrived at Aylesbury and played two concerts without him.

The Bucks Advertiser included a photo on its front page and several reports inside the paper – click image to enlarge:

Rolling Stones BA front page

Rolling Stones report

Also appearing were The Ronettes, who were also held up by the fog and went on stage for the first show without changing.

The Ronettes – Be My Baby

Ronettes

Also on the bill were Heinz and the Saints and Marty Wilde and the Wildcats.

The two other shows were in November 1964. On 3rd November, the Hollies were top of the bill.

Hollies ad

Also appearing were the Dixie Cups, who had a hit with Chapel Of Love, Heinz (now with The Wild Boys), Jess Conrad and the Tornados.

Hollies report

The final show of the year – and the last at the Granada Aylesbury – on 19th November starred Manfred Mann, with the Soul Sisters, the Spencer Davis Group and Bern Elliott and his Klan.

Manfred Mann ad

The Bucks Advertiser noted that this was Manfred Mann’s third visit to Aylesbury – the other two had been in April and July at the Borough Assembly Hall. Manfred Mann is quoted as saying: “We like coming to Aylesbury. We feel we know the people now, and anyway we like the Ducks.”

Manfred Mann report

In his column in the Bucks Advertiser, Tony White reported that falling attendances at package tours across the country were causing concern with the promoters who were losing money. For the Granada Aylesbury, the Manfred Mann show was the end of the road.

Future of Granada shows

Granada Aylesbury 1963 stage shows

There were just five stage shows held at the Granada during 1963.

The first on 23rd January was Jimmy Saville introduces Juke Box Doubles – something like Thank Your Lucky Stars, with the acts impersonating other, better-known artists. There was, for example, Brad Newman as Elvis, Steve Francis as Billy Fury and Dru Harvey as Gene Vincent. Johnny and the Hurricanes were top of the bill and appeared as themselves!

The show did not go down well with Tony White, writing in the Bucks Advertiser: Under a heading of Rock Bottom! he wrote:

What a dull, dismal affair last week’s Granada stage show was. The small audience was treated to a string of second-rate acts sketchily strung together by British disc jockey Jimmy Saville.

Topping the bill were the American group Johnny and the Hurricanes, who gagged and struggled through their dates hits such as “Red River Rock”, “Reveille Rock”, “Beatnik Fly” … Surely this group has left it too late t visit these shores? Something a little more subtle is wanted by today’s teenagers, as was indicated by the half-hearted applause.”

The tour also struggled in other towns.- and the last seven dates of the tour were cancelled by promoter Don Arden, although Johnny and the Hurricanes continued to appear.

Rock Bottom

The next show on 20th February featured Brian Hyland, Little Eva and the Brook Brothers. Another lukewarm review in the Bucks Advetiser – but Tony White saw some potential in Little Eva:

Little Eva, the 17-years-old Locomotion girl, lacked a little in stage craft. But her approach to phrasing hinted at some hidden talent yet to show itself. I think as she gets older we are going to hear even better records from her.

Little Eva review

Helen Shapiro returned to the Granada on 20th March. The support acts included Jet Harris and Tony Meehan and Danny Williams, with comedian Dave Allen as compere.

The Bucks Advertiser noted that “unknown to hundreds of fans” Bobby Rydell was backstage; he made the trip to Aylesbury to meet up with Jet Harris and Tony Meehan:

Bobby flew into the country on Saturday for some recording sessions, was told by a friend that Jet and Tony were appearing at Aylesbury on Wednesday, and without hesitation travelled up with his manager Frank Day to see them.

It was the first time they had met since 1961, when Jet and Tony were touring the States with Cliff Richjard and The Shadows. Bobby was appearing on the same bill then and became firm friends with the two British stars.

As for the show itself, this time Tony White in the Bucks Advertiser was more positive:

With Helen Shapiro, Danny Williams and Jet Harris and Tony Meehan on the same bill, Wednesday night’s show at the Granada Theatre, Aylesbury, couldn;t fail. And it didn’t.

Helen Shapiro review

There were no more shows until 25th September, when John Leyton and Mike Sarne topped the bill.

John Leyton ad

The final show of the year was on 24th October, with Joe Brown and his Bruvvers, the Big Three and the return of Johnny Kidd and the Pirates.

Granada Aylesbury 1962 stage shows

1962 saw six more stage shows at the Granada in Aylesbury – and by now these were predominantly music shows, having lost most of the variety acts.

The first was on 6th February with Adam Faith supported by the John Barry Seven. Others on the bill included Desmond Lane (The Penny Whistle Man), a novelty act who had toured with Bill Haley and his Comets in 1957 and had managed to be on many other package tours since then.

Adam Faith ad

On 15th March, Billy Fury returned with John Leyton, Marty Wilde, Joe Brown and the Bruvvers and Shane Fenton and the Fentones also on the bill.

John Leyton was an actor as well as a singer, best known for his single “Johnny Remember Me” which topped the charts in 1961 – although the BBC banned it due to its references to death.

Shane Fenton (Bernard Jewry) was later to become Alvin Stardust – but the story of how Bernard Jewry became Shane Fenton is a strange one. The group were originally fronted by Johnny Theakstone as Shane Fenton. The group had sent audition tapes to the BBC’s Saturday Club show – but whilst waiting for a reply, Theakstone died, age 17. The group could have disbanded – but Theakstone’s mother persuaded them to carry on, bringing in Bernard Jewry, the group’s roadie, to take over as Shane Fenton. The new band sailed through their audition and got a recording contract with EMI.

Billy Fury ad

Billy Fury returned to Aylesbury in November 1973. At that time, he had emerged from a period of sem-retirement to star as Stormy Tempest in the film That’ll Be The Day. The Bucks Herald on November 29, 1973, reported:

Blonde, blue-eyed, baby-faced and looking none the worse for his 32 years Roland Wycherley, alias Billy Fury, took Aylesbury rocking back to the early sixties when he gave a performance at the Borough Assembly Hall last week.

Watching this one-time superstar in his tighter-than-skin leather trousers and fitted shirt, amid an audience which included some genuine “Teds”, it wasn’t difficult to imagine oneself back several years to when he played in Aylesbury at the former Granada cinema.

The audience was small in comparison to the number that fill the hall for Friars concerts, but it was a great deal more positive in its response.

billy-fury-pic

Billy Fury – Aylesbury, 1973        Pic: Bucks Herald

On 1st May, the “Rock ‘n’ Twist U.S.A.” tour came to town, with Johnny Burnette, U.S. Bonds and Gene McDaniels leading the line-up.

Johnny Burnette – You’re Sixteen

U.S. Bonds was later better known as Gary U.S. Bonds. His website gives the story behind the mame as follows:

As America’s baby boomers moved into their mid teens, Gary began his professional career. For his first hit, “New Orleans,” attention was brought to the record by having promotional copies sent to radio stations in sleeves inscribed “Buy U.S. Bonds” – hence at age 19, Gary Anderson became Gary U.S. Bonds. The follow-up was the now legendary ‘party’ record, “Quarter to Three,” a number one hit [in the US] with a spirit and energy that would eventually inspire and influence a generation.

Johnny Burnette ad

US Bonds tour

On 5th June was the Bruce Channel Show. Also on the bill were Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers, Frank Ifield, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates and also Dick Charlesworth and the City Gents, more commonly seen at the Aylesbury Jazz Club.

Bruce Channel ad

On 26th October Jet Harris and Sam Cooke topped the bill – Little Richard was the headliner, but not in Aylesbury.

Jet Harris ad

John Braley wrote about the tour:

In October 1962, Don Arden put out a tour with Little Richard, Sam Cooke and Jet Harris. Gene Vincent’s UK work permit had run out so Arden had him introducing the acts and singing Be Bop A Lula, from either the orchestra pit or the front stalls! It arrived in Aylesbury, 26th October, alas no Little Richard as he was contracted to appear somewhere else – but Sam Cooke in Aylesbury, who would believe it!!!

The Bucks Advertiser enjoyed Sam Cooke – but described the rest as “a pretty drab show”:

Sam Cooke Granada review Bucks Advertiser

On 13th November, the final stage show of the year featured Bobby Vee and Buddy Holly’s backing band, The Crickets. Also on the bill were Russ Sainty and the Nu-Notes, which included 16-year old Aylesbury musician Nigel Menday on drums. Tony White gave Nigel a mention is his review below: “Sixteen year-old Nigel, recognised by many of his friends in the audience, was on-stage for most of the show and coped ably with his ordeal.”

Bobby Vee died in October 2016 – Guardian obituary.

 

Bobby Vee ad

Bobby Vee review

Granada Aylesbury 1961 stage shows

1961 saw seven more stage shows at the Granada Aylesbury. Ticket prices throughout the year were 3/6, 5/6 and 7/6.

The first was on 19th January when Max Bygraves headed a bill that also included Cherry Wainer, Laurie Gold and the Pieces of Eight, Peter Dulay and The Raindrops.

Max Bygraves Granada

Gene Vincent was back on February 14th with the 1961 All Stars show. Also on the bill were Mark Wynter (later to have hits in 1962 with “Venus in Blue Jeans” and “Go Away Little Girl”) and Jess Conrad (described in the programme as “The Face on 1961”).

Gene Vincent Granada

Gene Vincent 1961

Programme: thanks to John Cutler for sending a copy of the programme

Although Gene Vincent was top of the bill, it was Screaming Lord Sutch who made the front page of the Bucks Advertiser. Under an article “Lord “S” is SO different”, Stanley Gold wrote:

About 2,000 teenagers from Aylesbury and district screamed on Tuesday night. For ten deafening minutes it sounded as though the ceiling had caved in. Place was the Granada Theatre, Aylesbury. Eyes were riveted on the stage. And causing the commotion was the weirdest of weirdies – “Screaming Lord Sutch”. He was the biggest scream ever seen in Aylesbury. There he was, his hair straggling past his shoulders, prancing up and down like something from another world. Kicking his legs to and fro. Swivelling his hips – and SCREAMING.”

Screaming Lord Sutch

On 25th April, Bert Weedon appeared with Matt Monro and The Mudlarks.The book “Matt Monro: The Singer’s Singer” by Michele Monro notes that Matt Monro was recording with George Martin during the afternoon, recording two titles “Can This Be Love” and “Why Not Now” for his next single “before jumping in his new Bentley and belting up the motorway to Granada Aylesbury for the two shows that night”

Also on the bill was Paul Hanford from Hemel Hempstead, who recorded a version of “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.”

Bert Weedon Granada

Tommmy Steele was the star on 8th June. Tommy Steele is regarded as Britain’s first teen idol and rock ‘n’ roll star. He had a number 1 with “Singing The Blues”, and also became an actor.

The Bucks Herald review commented:

Tommy Steele, who at 24 might almost be called a show-business veteran, proved that he has what it takes to get ahead in the world when he starred in the stage show at the Granada, Aylesbury, last Thursday. For sheer entertainment value it was the tops for the audience.

It was not only Mr. Steele who gained the applause, however, for this was an excellent variety show. The Viscounts’ rhythmic singing and suprisingly proficient comedy impersonations must have attracted many new fans. Singing star Tony Brent was a popular addition to the bill and Syd and Paul Kaye, Shirley Sands, Reg Thompson and Les Brazilianos completed an all-action programme.

Tommy Steele

The next show on 10th October was headlined by comedians Jimmy Jewel and Ben Warris, who were cousins and had been working together as a double act since 1934. Music was provided by Craig Douglas and Ruby Murray.

Note that the advert for the show also includes details of All-Star Wrestling at the Granada the following Tuesday. Wrestling had been introduced to the Granada in July 1960 – other Granada theatres on the circuit had been presenting wrestling for some time.

Jimmy Jewel Ben Warriss

On 2nd November Billy Fury was the star of a show that also included Eden Kane and Joe Brown.

The tour programme includes a brief summary of how the Billy Fury story had started – a story that has become pop music legend:

How did it all begin? One rainy afternoon Billy called at a Birkenhead theatre where Larry Parnes was presenting a show. Clutched in his hand was a battered old guitar. He gave an audition and within half an hour he was on stage singing two of his own songs to 2,000 enraptured teenagers. A few weeks later Billy’s first Decca recording, “Maybe Tomorrow”, was in the Hit Parade and he had become a regular member of the Oh Boy! TV show.

Larry Parnes felt that Ronald Wycherley – his real name – needed a stage name more in keeping with his other acts, which included Marty Wilde, Johnny Gentle and Dickie Pride. After some argument, Ronald Wycherley became Billy Fury.

The Allisons represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1961 with the song “Are You Sure?” – it came second and got to number 2 in the UK charts.

Billy Fury Granada

Below: Billy Fury is seen greeting fans from the window (click on image to enlarge).

Billy Fury at window

Helen Shapiro headlined the final show of the year on 15th December. Also appearing were the Brook Brothers, Danny Williams, the Red Price Band and the Dale Sisters.

Helen Shapiro Granada

It was a foggy evening and the Bucks Advertiser reported that Helen Shapiro left London at 5 p.m. but didn’t arrive in Aylesbury until 9:30 due to thick fog.

Danny Williams had a number one single with “Moon River” in 1961.

 The Granada Aylesbury stage shows in 1961 were:

DateArtist 1Artist 2
19/1/1961Max BygravesCherry Wainer, Laurie Gold and the Pieces of Eight, Peter Dulay, The Raindrops
14/2/1961Gene VincentJess Conrad, Johnny Duncan and the Blue Grass Boys, Screaming Lord Sutch, Mike and Bernie Winters, Mark Wynter, Michael Cox, The Four Jays, The Fabulous Flee-rekkers
25/4/1961Bert WeedonMatt Monro, The Mudlarks, Jim Dale, Terry Scott, Paul Hanford, Glamorous Poppetts, Chris Wayne and the Echoes
8/6/1961Tommy SteeleThe Viscounts, Tony Brent, Syd & Paul Kaye, Shirley Sands, Reg Thompson, Les Brazilianos
10/10/1961Jimmy Jewel and Ben WarrissCraig Douglas, Ruby Murray, Johnny Wiltshire and the Treble Tones, Al Redding
2/11/1961Billy FuryEden Kane, Joe Brown, The Allisons, The Viscounts, Tommy Bruce
15/12/1961Helen ShapiroBrook Brothers, Danny Williams, Red Price Band, The Dale Sisters

Granada Aylesbury 1960 stage shows

The first of the 1960 Granada stage shows starred Gene Vincent with Wee Willie Harris and Al Saxon. Also on the bill were The Rockets, The Bachelors (not the Irish group that later achieved chart success), Keith Kelly, Max Seymour and Lance Fortune. The compere was Don Arden. This was Gene Vincent’s first visit to England.

Vincent 1960

The review by Stanley Gold in the Bucks Advertiser was not too kind. Under a heading of “Dead Beat Rock ‘n’ Roller” he wrote:

Gene Vincent, the American rock ‘n’ roll singer, whom I met in London last month, was in Aylesbury at a stage show on Tuesday. And teenagers did not hesitate to tell me they did not think a lot of him. I, too, was disappointed. He was not half as lively as when he appeared in the City. But had you seen him in his dressing room you wouldn’t have been surprised. He looked dead tired. In fact, he did not look capable of even talking when I saw him. Bed would have suited him better than a stage, but he has been working non-stop since he arrived in this country … I left him reading a magazine – and felt gratified I’m not in show biz. To me it seems the hardest way of earning a living! But I still say that when he is on form he’s good.

Gene Vincent ad

John Braley wrote:

The advert for The Granada Show, Tuesday 12th Jan 1960, refers to Gene’s first UK tour. Eddie Cochran joined the tour on 24th Jan at Ipswich, it stopped for a ten day break on Saturday 16th April after a week run at Bristol Hippodrome. The crash which took Cochran’s life happened in Chippenham on the way from Bristol to London that night.

Gene Vincent would be back at the Granada in February 1961, and also played at the Borough Assembly Hall in 1964.

On February 25th, Adam Faith headed a bill that also included the John Barry Seven, The Liddell Triplets, Julie Rayne, Little Tony and compere Mike Martin.

Adam Faith Show

It seems that Adam Faith received a much better reception that Gene Vincent had. The Bucks Advertiser front page reported under a heading “One Girl Rushed On Stage With A Kiss For Adam …” that “the reception given to top of the bill star, Adam Faith, was by far the best any singer has received in Aylesbury”. Click on image to enlarge.

Adam Faith front page

Adam Faith “What Do You Want” Live 1960

March 29th saw Ronnie Hilton, the King Brothers, the Tanner Sisters and Rita Shearer appear.

Ronnie Hilton obituary – The Guardian

Ronnie Hilton Granada

On April 27th, Lonnie Donegan was back in town – he had previously appeared two years earlier in 1958 with his skiffle group. He now had a hit with “My Old Man’s A Dustman” – not well received by skiffle fans, but it reached number one in the UK within a week of being released (the first time this had happened). Also on the bill were Jon Pertwee, Miki and Griff, Joan Small and The Red Peppers.

Lonnie Donegan Granada

Donegan

Programme: thanks to John Cutler for sending a copy of the programme

On June 2nd Emile Ford and the Checkmates were top of the bill, with Paul Beattie and the Beats, Frank Ifield, The Lana Sisters, Jimmy Lloyd, Alan Randell and compere Tony Marsh.

Emile Ford and the Checkmates had a number 1 with “What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For” in late 1959 and were voted Best New Act in 1960 by the readers of New Musical Express.

Emil Ford died in April 2016:

Emile Ford obituary – The Guardian

Emile Ford Granada

The next show, on October 4th, must have set a record for the number of artists appearing in one show. Under the title “Idols on Parade”, there were no less than fifteen artists on the bill. These included Billy Fury, Joe Brown, Tommy Bruce, Vince Eager and Georgie Fame.

Idols on Parade Granada

The last show of the year on November 8th had Bob Monkhouse as top of the bill, with Ricky Valance, Jill Day, Terry Dene, Paddy Roberts and Dr. Crock and the Crackpots.

Bob Monkhouse ad

Paul Waddingham, who has supplied a lot of information about the shows at the Granada, was a 14 year old at the time, and thrilled to meet Bob Monkhouse. Paul kindly supplied the following newscutting (click to enlarge).

BOB MONKHOUSE & PAUL 1959

Granada Aylesbury 1959 stage shows

Following the 1958 shows, a further seven shows were staged in 1959. Again these offered a range of headliners.

The first show was in February and bought Cliff Richard and the Drifters to Aylesbury.

Image: Bucks Herald / Aylesbury Remembered
Image: Bucks Herald / Aylesbury Remembered

The Bucks Advertiser reported that 2,800 people were there – which seems alot, given the normal seating capacity of the Granada was 1,234. See report below; click on image to enlarge.

Bucks Herald  / Aylesbury Remembered
Image: Bucks Herald / Aylesbury Remembered

Also on the bill was Wee Willie Harris – described in the same review as “the blonde rock ‘n’ roller, was an active performer”. The compere was Jimmy Tarbuck – “a comedian of some originiality”.

Cliff Richard ad

Cliff story

Cliff Richard was popular in Aylesbury. Some years later, in 1963, his film “Summer Holiday” broke the records for any film at the Granada, with long queues in the High Street. Photo: courtesy of Brian Gauntlett.

Cliff queue 2

Cliff Richard & The Drifters – Move It

Wee Willie Harris – Rockin’ at the 2 i’s

Marty Wilde and his Wild Cats appeared on 1st April.From mid-1958 to the end of 1959, Marty Wilde was one of the leading British rock ‘n’ roll singers, along with Tommy Steele and Cliff Richard. Hits included “Endless Sleep”, “Donna”, “A Teenager In Love”, “Sea Of Love” and “Bad Boy”.

Cherry Wainer was a keyboard player, best known as a member of Lord Rockingham’s XI – a scratch and who had a number one with “Hoots Mon”.  Cuddly Dudley (Dudley Heslop) was Britain’s first black rock & roller, later lead singer of Red-E-Lewis and the Redcaps. Dickie Pride (Richard Kneller) was one of Larry Parnes’ acts (alongside Marty Wilde and other artists such as Tommy Steele, Billy Fury and Vince Eager). All had come to fame on the Oh Boy! TV show.

Marty Wilde ad

Dickie Pride – Slippin’ and Slidin’ on Oh Boy!

Next was Hughie Green and his act based on the TV quiz game Double Your Money. The main musical interest was Alma Cogan, billed as the guest star. The Bucks Advertiser review reported “the highlight of the show was without doubt the appearance of guest star Alma Cogan who captivated the audience – a quieter one this time, there was no shouting or screaming – with her catchy voice and personality.”

Hughie Green ad

Michael Holliday, described as a crooner and “the British Bing Crosby” appeared in May. He had two British No. 1s with Story of My Life and “Starry Eyed”. He died in 1963. The Bucks Advertiser reported that he performed with a stiff neck “caused by driving with his car windows open”.

Michael Holiday ad

September saw Petula Clark heading a bill that was based around the Cool For Cats TV show, which also included Tony Brent, Don Lang and Humphrey Lyttleton and his Band.

Pet Clark ad

In October, Craig Douglas appeared. His version of Ony Sixteen reached No. 1 and out-sold the Sam Cooke original. Guitarist Bert Weedon, who had just released Guitar Boogie Shuffle, and The Mudlarks (from Luton) also played.

Craig Douglas ad

Craig Douglas was back at the Granada Social Club in 1986:

Craig Douglas Granada 1986

The final show of the year was back to variety, with Bernard Bresslaw as the headline act. The music interest was provided by Mike Preston, Cuddly Dudley and Toni Dalli, with Mike Winters as the compere.

Bernard Besslaw ad

 

Granada Aylesbury 1958 stage shows

1958 saw the start of regular stage shows at the Granada Aylesbury. These often resembled variety shows, and might include a compere and comedians as well as musical acts.

The packages generally toured a number of Granada cinemas (or theatres as they were correctly known) as “Granada One Night Stands”. The removal of entertainment tax from live shows led to an increase in these shows, and in 1958 Aylesbury, along with a number of other towns, was added to the Granada circuit. There were two performances at each venue – at Aylesbury these were at 6:30 and 8:40 during 1958.

Lonnie Donegan 1958

In 1958 there were six shows in Aylesbury. The first was on 11th February 1958, when Tony Brent topped the bill. Although not a well-known name today, Tony Brent had seven Top 20 chart hits between 1952 and 1959.

The Bucks Advertiser review of this show began with the following words:

Live theatre and variety (the professional kind) died in Aylesbury some years ago, after many sufferings bravely borne. The corpse has been turned in its grave by occasional visits of “name” bands and stage personalyies, but the first real sign of a resurrection came this week when the Granada, Aylesbury, presented its All Star Stage Show.

Tony Brent Granada 1958 ad

Next was Winifred Atwell, a popular Trinidadian pianist who was the first black person to have a number one hit in the UK Singles Chart with “The Poor People of Paris” (1956). Also on the bill was the Cab Kaye Quintet.

Winifred Atwell – The Poor People of Paris

Winifred Atwell Granada 1958 ad

Lonnie Donegan and his Skiffle Group appeared on 17th April. Lonnie had had success with two Number 1 singles in 1957 – “Cumberland Gap” and “Gamblin’ Man” – and had three more top 10 hits in 1958 – “The Grand Coulee Dam”, “Sally Don’t You Grieve” and “Tom Dooley”. He was the king of skiffle, and his obituary printed in The Guardian read:

Lonnie Donegan was the first British pop superstar, and the founding father of British pop music, the musician who provided the original inspiration for John Lennon, Paul McCartney and a host of others … Donegan was a musical phenomenon. As the leader of the skiffle craze in the late 1950s, he inspired the formation of literally thousands of do-it-yourself bands across the country, and was directly responsible for the 1960s pop explosion.

 

Lonnie Donegan Granada 1958 ad

The next show saw more skiffle from the Chas McDevitt Skiffle group; Matt Monro was also on the bill. The Bucks Herald reviewer was impressed by the Chas McDevitt Group and “their attractive vocalist, Shirley Douglas”; McDevitt and Douglas were married in April 1959. The same Bucks Herald review also commented on “ex-London bus driver Matt Munro, who confessed to have lived at Leighton Buzzard, showed he knew the quickest route to the girl’s hearts by singing popular ballads in an easy style”. Monro had enjoyed some success, but at this time his career was languishing before he met George Martin and signing for Parlophone.

Chas McDevitt website

Marion Ryan Granada 1958 ad

June saw Guy Mitchell as the headline act. The Bucks Advertiser review reported that “after the last show police had to be called to hold back the screaming fans outside” – see below; click on the image to enlarge.

Also on the bill were the Lana Sisters, which included Mary O’Brien – who later went on to fame as Dusty Springfield. The name change came in 1960 when, together with her brother Dion O’Brien, they formed The Springields. Dion became Tom Springfield, and Mary became Dusty Springfield.

Guy Mitchell Granada 1958 ad

Guy Mitchell review Granada

Guy Mitchell – Singing The Blues

The final show of 1958 featured trumpter Eddie Calvert, famed for his No. 1 hit “Oh Mein Papa” and known as the man with the golden trumpet, singer Rosemary Squires and Russ Hamilton. Russ Hamilton had a UK hit in 1957 with “We Will Make Love”. In early August 1957 it was No. 2 behind Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up” – when his label Oriole Records placed an ad stating:

This week and next our factories are closed for the annual holidays. Our presses are at a standstill. Large supplies of this record built up prior to the close-down have been exhausted and for two weeks you may have difficulty in buying Oriole CB. 1359 – which is, of course, Russ Hamilton’s ‘We Will Make Love’. We know that this disc will be a Number One… and it will be up there very soon after supplies start rolling again.

But it was too late – Elvis hung on to the top slot, and Russ slipped down the chart to number 4 – with Lonnie Donegan’s “Gamblin’ Man / Puttin’ On The Style” climbing back to take the second spot (it had been number 1 in early July). But there was more success to come for Russ Hamilton in the U.S., where the B-side, “Rainbow”, reached No. 4 on the Billboard chart.

Eddie Calvert Granada 1958 ad

Russ Hamilton obituary – The Independent