1966 rock in Aylesbury

The Ready Steady Go Club, which had started in Aylesbury at the end of 1965, presented more gigs at the Borough Assembly Hall before closing in the spring of 1966. On 4 January Them appeared:

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

However, the club had trouble with artists failing to turn up or equipment not arriving, and small crowds.

On 25th January, the Mark Leeman Five were due to appear – but only three of them appeared. The Bucks Advertiser reported:

Last week a much reduced Mark Leeman Five – without a vocalist and organist – gave us a makeshift show of, mainly, instrumentals. Although, admittedly, it may not be the club’s fault, this is the second time recently that things have gone wrong with group bookings.

Worse was to come when Inez and Charlie Foxx were due to play on 8th February. They arrived – but their backing group did not. John Finn reported in the Bucks Advertiser:

The famous American brother and sister singing team did arrive but a backing group did not. For two hours they sat in their dressing room twiddling their thumbs waiting for the group that was supposed to have left London at six o’clock …

Eventually Inez and Charlie agreed to appear and sang over one of their records. Teenagers rushed to the front of the hall and with just one number the Foxx’s rhythm and music swept over the small crowd. Resounding cheers followed their one and only number after which anger flared up again.

RSG Inez and Charlie Foxx

A few weeks later, on 22nd February, Tony Rivers and the Castaways were due to play – but the same thing happened. The Bucks Advertiser commented:

Another chapter in the trouble-plagued history of Aylesbury’s RSG was written on Tuesday night.

Three times now, in almost as many weeks, things have turned sour with artistes. On Tuesday the twist, treated by teenagers as a poor joke that is quickly wearing thin, was with Tony Rivers and the Castaways. They turned up, but their equipment didn’t. Again, no show.

Things got no better when another club, the Top Of The Pops Club, opened. The intention was to present top DJs, with some live bands. Pete Murray appeared with The Mindbenders.

Mindbenders

There were soon allegations of payments not being made – under a front page heading of Top Of Pops Club Flops, the Bucks Herald reported on March 18th that:

Agents for two of the country’s top disc jockeys alleged this week that they had been unable to get payment from the Top of the Pops Dance Club, based in the Borough Assembly Hall, Aylesbury. They maintain that Alan Freeman and Peter Murray – famous faces on television and well-known on radio – have received no money for their personal appearances.

And club members who intended going to the club tonight to see The Small Faces, last week No. 1 in the hit parade, will be disappointed. Their agent has told The Bucks Herald that the group, contrary to an announcement made from the Assembly Hall stage last week, have never been booked to appear at Aylesbury.

Top of Pops Club front page

Meanwhile, Eddie Friday continued with his Saturday evenings, distancing himself from the problems with other promoters. Among artists appearing for Eddie on Saturdays were Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, The Honeycombs, Patti LaBelle and her Bluebelles, Brian Poole and the Tremeloes and The Ink Spots.

Eddie Friday with Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles - 7 May 1966 Image: Bucks Herald / Aylesbury Remembered
Eddie Friday with Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles – 7 May 1966
Image: Bucks Herald / Aylesbury Remembered

The Ink Spots was a strange booking. Tony White in his review in the Bucks Advertiser wrote:

It must have been very difficult – and nerve-wracking – for the Ink-Spots to face a crowd of beat-crazy teenagers at Saturday night’s Eddie Friday promotion at the Borough Assembly Hall, Aylesbury.

At least that was the impression I got from the wings as I watched this veteran group of American showbusiness at work. They looked nervous in front of the youngsters, most of whom had probably never heard of them. That the Ink-Spots’ music was so many years pre-beat was very obvious…

This is the first visit to Britain by the Ink-Spots since 1952. Billy Bowen told me after the show that American bases around the country are included in their itinery. I’m sure they will be far more appreciated there than in the current British ballroom scene.

On 18th October, the El Bribon Organisation put on Lee Dorsey, who had a hit with “Working In A Coal Mine”.

Note: There is some confusion as the local papers also carried ads for Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band on the same evening!

Lee Dorsey review

Towards the end of the year there were more problems with artists advertised but not appearing. On 22nd November, the El Bribon Organisation advertised Tom Jones – billed as “The Greatest Rave Night in Aylesbury”. However Tom Jones did not appear. Dave James later reported:

Last November, posters all over the town proclaimed a show and a dance would star Tom Jones. Tickets were even available from local shops. Tom Jones did not appear, which was not surprising – he was not booked to appear and did not even know his name was on the posters.

Crowds of youngsters turned up on the appointed day, to read a notice saying there would be no show and no dance.

Tom Jones ad

1966 also saw the first Hobble on the Cobbles in the Market Square – see here for more.

List of gigs at the Borough Assembly Hall in 1966:

DateClubPromoter NameArtist 1Artist 2
1/1/1966Eddie FridayChris AndrewsBarry Lee and the Planets, The Ironsides
4/1/1966Ready Steady Go ClubThem
8/1/1966Eddie FridayThe BystandersThe En Devers Ltd, The In-Sect
18/1/1966Ready Steady Go ClubThe Applejacks
22/1/1966Eddie FridayJohnny Carr and the CadillacsThe Gent-L-Men
25/1/1966Ready Steady Go ClubThe Mark Leeman Five
29/1/1966Eddie FridayPeter Jay and the JaywalkersThe New Creations, The Future Set
1/2/1966Ready Steady Go ClubThe Paramounts
5/2/1966Eddie FridayThe CaesarsThe Associates
8/2/1966Ready Steady Go ClubInez and Charlie Foxx (no backing group - only one song)
11/2/1966Eddie FridayThe AnzaksThe Ravons, The 5th Dynasty
12/2/1966Eddie FridayStevie, Johnny and the Various OthersThe Tridents, The Unchained
15/2/1966Ready Steady Go ClubThe Yeng Tongs (did not play)
19/2/1966Eddie FridayThe Tennessee TeensThe Sneakers
22/2/1966Ready Steady Go ClubTony Rivers and The Castaways (equipment did not arrive - no show)
26/2/1966Eddie FridayThe Washington D.C.s featuring Johnny CannonThe Sonics
1/3/1966Ready Steady Go ClubThe Downliners Sect
5/3/1966Eddie FridayChris Lamb and the Universal Show BandGroup Survival
8/3/1966Ready Steady Go ClubThe Birds
11/3/1966Top Of The Pops ClubThe MindbendersPeter Murray (DJ)
12/3/1966Eddie FridayThe Zuider ZeeThe Night Beats
19/3/1966Eddie FridayMust-B-BluesMistral-Tuac
2/4/1966Eddie FridayBilly J. Kramer and the DakotasThe Shindigs, The Quantum
5/4/1966The Fortunes
9/4/1966Eddie FridayFernandos HideawaysThe Ironsides
12/4/1966Tony Knight's Chessmen
16/4/1966Eddie FridayTerry Judge and the BarristersPinky and the Phellows
23/4/1966Eddie FridayLynn Cordette and the CountdownsThe Future Set
30/4/1966Eddie FridayThe HoneycombsThe Vibratones, Blue Velvets
7/5/1966Eddie FridayPatty La Belle and her BellesThe Bystanders, The Dark Ages
14/5/1966Eddie FridayPeter Fenton and the CrowdThe Associates, The Denim Blues
21/5/1966Eddie FridayThe SurvivorsThe Tridents
28/5/1966Eddie FridayBrian Poole and the TremeloesThe Ravons, The Methods
3/6/1966Bucks Ass of Youth Clubs / Eddie FridayThe RavonsThe 5th Dynasty
4/6/1966Eddie FridayThe Ink SpotsBluesology, The Ironsides
11/6/1966Eddie FridayThe Endevers LtdSounds from Spectre
18/6/1966Eddie FridayThe FenmenThe Triads
25/6/1966Eddie FridayChris Lamb and the UniversalsThe Little Angels
9/7/1966Eddie FridayThe OrlonsGates of Eden
16/7/1966Eddie FridayTerry Judge and the BarristersThe Denim Blues
23/7/1966Eddie FridayPinky and the PhellowsThe Tridents, Anna Arki of Ready Steady Go!
30/7/1966Eddie FridayWainwrights GentlemenThe Reasons
6/8/1966Eddie FridayThe MansfieldsThe Ironsides
13/8/1966Eddie FridayPatterson's PeopleThe Nightbeats
20/8/1966Eddie FridayBean & Loopys LotThe Vibratones
27/8/1966Eddie FridayThe Original DyaksThe Associates
3/9/1966Eddie FridayMudThe Dark Ages
10/9/1966Eddie FridayThe Essex FiveSounds from Spectre
17/9/1966Eddie FridayThe Future SetJo Jo Gunne
24/9/1966Eddie FridayThe UglysThe Nitebeats
1/10/1966Eddie FridayPinky and the PhellowsThe Tridents
8/10/1966Eddie FridayThe Lovin' KindThe Methods
15/10/1966Eddie FridayJohnny Carr and the CadillacsThe Denim Blues, The Kontax
18/10/1966El Bribon OrganisationLee DorseyThe Neat Change, John Dimble (Radio London)
18/10/1966Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band (advertised)
22/10/1966Eddie FridayPattersons PeopleThe Vivas
29/10/1966Eddie FridayTerry Judge and the BarristersThe Moonbeats
1/11/1966The ActionThe Neat Change, John Dimble (Radio London)
5/11/1966Eddie FridayThe MeantimersThe Ironsides
12/11/1966Eddie FridayFinders KeepersThe Southern Valley Four
19/11/1966Eddie FridayThe Missing LinksThe Fenton Weils
22/11/1966El Bribon OrganisationTom Jones (did not appear - show cancelled)The Question, The Neat Change
26/11/1966Eddie FridayThe SneakersThe Associates
2/12/1966Barbados Independence Big DanceThe Hot Line Special of AylesburyD.C. Ward and the Fies FiestasThe Havana Boys
3/12/1966Eddie FridayThe AnzaksThe Vibratones
10/12/1966Eddie FridayThe Future SetJo Jo Gunne, The Choosey Beggars
24/12/1966Eddie FridayPinky and the PhellowsSounds from Spectre, The Substitutes

1965 rock in Aylesbury

The Borough Assembly Hall was the main venue in town in 1965. Eddie Friday continued to promote on Saturday nights, but during the year there were some new promoters bringing different artists to Aylesbury – including a short-lived folk club.

One of the highlights of the year was the appearance of The Who on 10th September. A review by Tony White in the Bucks Advertiser covered The Who who played on a Friday evening and Screaming Lord Sutch who appeared the following evening – click on image below to enlarge:

Aylesbury saw the two extremes in pop entertainment last weekend – Friday being the noisiest thing it’s ever been my misfortune to encounter in the shape of The Who and Saturday being far more enjoyable, even though mostly old hat, in the form of Screaming Lord Sutch.

Friday’s performance by the young men being lauded as the bringers of “pop art” to pop was the first, and I sincerely hope the last, time that any form of music, even in its most primitive guise, has made me physically sick. The noise – I think that would be a better title – was so abominably loud that after 20 minutes I had to leave for a stiff whisky with aspirins to settle a throbbing head and an upset stomach.

The Who full page Bucks Advertiser

S & M Promotions presented 16 year old Lulu on 20th August. In 1964 as a 15 year old, Lulu and the Luvvers had a hit with “Shout”. Tony White writing in the Bucks Advertiser was impressed:

This vivacious 16-year-old, who hails from Glasgow, brought the lads to the front of the stage to cheer her wildly – a change from the hordes of screaming girls. And her brief (about 35 minutes) appearance on stage sent them back asking for more …

Overall, it was a first-rate performance from a young girl I think is destined to be in show business for a long time.

Lulu review

The Ready Steady Go Club was another newcomer to the Borough Assembly Hall, with Zoot Money and his Big Roll Band, The Hollies and The Nashville Teens playing.

This was the third visit to Aylesbury by The Hollies, having previously played at the Granada in November 1964 and at the Borough Assembly Hall in April 1965. 1965 had bought two hits – “I’m Alive” (number one in June/July 1965) and “Look Through Any Window” (October 1965).

Hollies report Nov 65

Zoot Money

In July a Folk Blues Club presented by Bruce Dunnet spang up for a few weeks, presenting Nadia Cattousse, Shirley Collins and Arlo Guthrie.

Tony White did not enjoy Arlo Guthrie’s performance – and questioned whether the Borough Assembly Hall was the right venue for folk:

To me, and I know to many others, the answer lies in the Borough Assembly Hall bogie – that is its barn-like structure designed to immediately kill off any initimate atmosphere that a promoter aims for.

I know Bruce wants to get some of our younger folk artists used to working on a large stage, but I think he must realise that a much better rapport could be attained between the performers and listeners if they were altogether on the same level.

Arlo Guthrie review

Eddie Friday’s promotions included Them and The Ivy League.

Them had had chart success with “Baby Please Don’t Go” (with B-side “Gloria”) and “Here Comes The Night”.

The Ivy League had “Tossing And Turning” in the charts, peaking at number 3.

Them ad

On 10th November, the Small Faces played. The band included Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan, who had replaced Jimmy Winston. In his review, John Finn wrote:

Those chirpy East Enders, the Small Faces, who rocketed to fame with their first record, “Whatcha Gonna Do About It”, recently paid their first visit to the Borough Assembly Hall last week.

Perhaps the most significant thing about them is their meteoric rise to fame. Inside six months they have risen from nothing to become potentially one of the biggest groups to hit the pop scene this year.

Small Faces review

List of gigs at Borough Assembly Hall in 1965 – not including Bluesville:

DateClubPromoter NameArtist 1Artist 2
2/1/1965Eddie FridayThe Half DozenThe Mantas
9/1/1965Eddie FridayThe Eric Delaney Band
16/1/1965Eddie Friday
23/1/1965Eddie FridayThe Knives and ForksThe Vibrations
24/1/1965Eddie FridayThe EchoesThe Whispering Four
30/1/1965Eddie FridayThe ClassmatesThe Cavaliers
6/2/1965Eddie FridayShane and the Shane GangThe Sonics
13/2/1965Eddie FridayTerry Judge and the BarristersThe Apollos
20/2/1965Eddie FridayTom Thumb and the Four FingersGeorgie, The Rave Ons
27/2/1965Eddie FridayThe Wackers with Terry AntonThe Mantas with Carol Hanson
6/3/1965Eddie FridayJohnny Carr and the CadillacsThe Narcotics
10/3/1965The PrimitivesThe Shames
13/3/1965Eddie FridayTony Knight and the LivewiresRodgers Codgers
20/3/1965Eddie FridayBern Elliott and His KlanThe Downsiders
10/4/1965Eddie FridayThe HolliesThe Cavaliers, The Homelanders
17/4/1965Eddie FridayShirley and JohnnyThe Berries, The Monktones
1/5/1965Eddie FridayBeat SixThe Yes 'n' No
8/5/1965Eddie FridayTerry Judge and the BarristersThe Cameos
15/5/1965Eddie FridayJohnny Carr and the CadillacsThe Mantas
22/5/1965Eddie FridayBryan and the BrunellesThe Triads
29/5/1965Eddie FridayWashington D.C.sThe Macambos, The Victors
5/6/1965Eddie FridayShelleyThe Reasons
12/6/1965Eddie FridayYenson's TrollsThe Silhouettes
19/6/1965Eddie FridayShirley and JohnnyThe Homelanders, The Konways
26/6/1965Eddie FridayThe Persuasions with Terry AntonThe Vibratones
3/7/1965Eddie FridayBeat Six featuring Jeannie St. ClaireThe Sneakers
10/7/1965Eddie FridayJohnny Kidd and the PiratesThe Sneakers
17/7/1965Eddie FridayThe TrampsGeoff Moule and the Diggers
20/7/1965Folk Blues ClubBruce DunnetNadia Cattousse
24/7/1965Eddie FridayGobbledegooksThe Dark Ages
27/7/1965Folk Blues ClubBruce DunnetShirley CollinsBarry Thomas, The Tinkers
31/7/1965Eddie FridayThe CameosThe Nightbeats
3/8/1965Folk Blues ClubBruce DunnetArlo Guthrie
7/8/1965Eddie FridayThemSound F-X
14/8/1965Eddie FridayThe Ivy LeagueTerry Judge and the Barristers
20/8/1965S & M PromotionsLulu and the Lovers
21/8/1965Eddie FridayThe Fairlanes featuring Lindi LooThe Mantas
28/8/1965Eddie FridayJimmy Royal and the HawksThe Reasons
4/9/1965Eddie FridayThe ShindigsThe Associates
10/9/1965The Who
11/9/1965Eddie FridayScreamin' Lord Sutch and the SavagesThe En Devers Ltd
18/9/1965Eddie FridayJohnny Cannon and the ShadesThe Tribe
25/9/1965Eddie FridayThe WayfarersThe Vivas
2/10/1965Eddie FridayRip Van Winkle and the MonstersLynn Cordette and the Countdowns
9/10/1965Eddie FridayThe CameosThe Skyliners
12/10/1965Ready Steady Go ClubKenny and Kash
16/10/1965Eddie FridayThe Blue RavensThe Sonics
19/10/1965Ready Steady Go ClubZoot Money and his Big Roll Band
23/10/1965Eddie FridayDean Lord and the GaylordsThe Nightbeats
29/10/1965Eddie FridayMistral TuacThe Quantum
6/11/1965Eddie FridayThe Barron KnightsJames King and the Farinas
9/11/1965John Mayall and his Bluesbreakers
10/11/1965The Small Faces
13/11/1965Eddie FridayThe SymbolsAlan Wade and the Hawkers
16/11/1965Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds
19/11/1965Bucks Ass of Youth Clubs / Eddie FridayThe CameosThe Ravons, The Justice League
20/11/1965Bucks Ass of Youth Clubs / Eddie FridayThe ShindigsThe Mantas
23/11/1965Ready Steady Go ClubThe Hollies
27/11/1965Eddie FridayWashington D.C.sThe Associates
4/12/1965Eddie FridayBilly Storm and the FalconsThe Vivas, The Unchained
11/12/1965Eddie FridayJohnny Anger and the Wild OnesThe Neutrons
14/12/1965Eddie FridayDutch College Swing Band
18/12/1965Eddie FridayThe CameosThe Vibrations
21/12/1965Ready Steady Go ClubThe Nashville Teens
24/12/1965Eddie FridayShirley and Johnny (hosts)Lynn Cordette and the Countdowns, The Dark Ages

1964 rock in Aylesbury

1964 brought changes on Tuesday evening with Aylesbury Bluesville presenting rhythm and blues in the shape of acts such as The Animals, The Yardbirds and Manfred Mann – see here for details.

Saturday evenings at the Borough Assembly Hall continued to be promoted by Eddie Friday. Highlights included two further appearances by Gene Vincent (February – see below – and July) and three more by the Barron Knights (July, October and December).

Gene Vincent BAH 1964

Gene Vincent Feb 64

Appearing for the first time during the year were the Swinging Blue Jeans (two appearances in February and November), Unit Four Plus Two (in May and September) and The Applejacks. With the winding up of the Aylesbury Jazz Club, Eddie Friday also too k the opportunity to present some jazz artists, such as the Terry Lightfoot Jazzmen and the Dutch College Swing Band.

The Swinging Blue Jeans appearance in February caused a stir. The Bucks Advertiser reported:

It was the biggest night at the B.A.H. for many seasons, of that there was little doubt. Promoter Eddie Friday shut the doors tight at 8 o’clock, just as the dancing started. Inside were as many people as he dare alow. The fans had waited for a long time – two girls started their vigil four hours earlier.

Swinging Blue Jeans review

Other promoters brought Alexis Korner and his Blues Incorporated and the Graham Bond Organisation. The Graham Bond Organisation included Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker who, with Graham Bond, had left Blues Incorported to form this new group, and Dick Heckstall-Smith. Despite their reported hostility to each other during their time with Graham Bond, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker were later to form Cream with Eric Clapton – Cream played in Aylesbury in February 1967. Before this Bruce left the Graham Bond Organisation, joining John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, which included Eric Clapton, and then Manfred Mann, playing on “Pretty Flamingo”.

One unsolved mystery is a possible appearance by Marianne Faithfull. In her book Faithfull: An Autobiography it shows that, as part of her schedule for November 1964, Marianne Faithfull appeared at the “Barrow Assembly Hall” in Aylesbury on 23rd November 1964 – but this was a Monday night when wrestling was taking place at the hall. No other details can be found about this – can you help?

List of gigs at Borough Assembly Hall:

DatePromoter NameArtist 1Artist 2
4/1/1964Eddie FridayJohnny Milton And The CondorsThe Apollos
11/1/1964Eddie FridayShane Spencer and The CasualsThe Trackers
18/1/1964Eddie FridayRoy Starr and the CherokeesThe Crusaders
25/1/1964Eddie FridayThe GhoulsNeil Landon and the Burnetts
1/2/1964Eddie FridayJohnny, Mike And The ShadesThe Rhythm 3, The Journeymen
7/2/1964The Chris Du Maurier AgencyShane Fenton and the FentonesThe Kossaks featuring Johnny Kaye
8/2/1964Eddie FridayGene Vincent & The ShoutsThe Apollos
15/2/1964Eddie FridayDave LaKaz and the G MenThe Bullets
22/2/1964Eddie FridayThe KubasJohnny Anger and the Wild Ones
28/2/1964Alexis Korner and his Blues IncorporatedThe Impulsions
29/2/1964Eddie FridayThe Swinging Blue JeansKen Gordon and the Dynamic Down-Siders
7/3/1964Eddie FridayRuss and the SabresThe Cavaliers, The Rave Ons
14/3/1964Eddie FridayThe Cherokees featuring Roy StarrThe Apollos
21/3/1964Eddie FridayMike Berry and the InnocentsJohnny Carr and the Cadillacs
28/3/1964Eddie FridayShane Spencer and The CasualsThe Phantoms
4/4/1964Eddie FridayThe FlintstonesThe Strangers
11/4/1964Eddie FridayJohnny, Mike And The ShadesThe Craymen
17/4/1964Graham Bond Organisation
18/4/1964Eddie FridayWee Willie Harris backed by The RocketsThe Redcaps, The Rave Ons
25/4/1964Eddie FridayPeter Andersen and The MidnightersJohnny Anger and the Wild Ones, The Preachers
2/5/1964Eddie FridayUnit Four Plus TwoThe Classmates, The Sound Trekkers
9/5/1964Eddie FridayJohnny Carr and the CadillacsCliff Adams and the Twilights
16/5/1964Eddie FridayGrant Tracey and the SunsetsThe Corvettes
18/5/1964Eddie FridayShane Spencer and The CasualsThe Whispering Four
23/5/1964Eddie FridayThe RedcapsThe Telstars, The Chessmen featuring Jeff Reed
30/5/1964Eddie FridaySteve Francis and the HigradesThe Rebels
6/6/1964Eddie FridayPat Wayne and the BeachcombersThe Storms
13/6/1964Eddie FridayKing Size Taylor and the DominosTony and the Stranglers
20/6/1964Eddie FridayThe Plus Four featuring Erky GrantRoy Powell and the Offbeaters
27/6/1964Eddie FridayShane Spencer and The CasualsKen Gordon and the Downsiders
4/7/1964Eddie FridayThe Barron Knights and Duke D'MondThe Silhouettes
11/7/1964Eddie FridayThe Wackers featuring Terry AntonJohnny Anger and the Wild Ones
18/7/1964Eddie FridayJohnny Carr and the CadillacsThe Chessmen featuring Jeff Reed, The Rave Ons
25/7/1964Eddie FridayGene Vincent & The ShoutsThe Apollos
1/8/1964Eddie FridayThe HustlersThe Cavaliers
3/8/1964Eddie FridayThe NiteshadesThe Whispering Four
8/8/1964Eddie FridayWashington D.C.The Leon Boys
15/8/1964Eddie FridayShane Spencer and The CasualsTony and the Stranglers
19/8/1964Eddie FridayTerry Lightfoot Jazzmen
22/8/1964Eddie FridayThe DeaconsJohnny Anger and the Wild Ones, The Journeymen
29/8/1964Eddie FridayThe ApplejacksGeorgie, The Rave Ons
5/9/1964Eddie FridayUnit Four Plus TwoJohnny Carr and the Cadillacs
11/9/1964Music Management PromotionsSnowballsThe Soundtrekkers, Scrooge and the Misers
12/9/1964Eddie FridayJimmy Nicol and the ShubdubsThe Reasons
18/9/1964Music Management PromotionsThe Other TwoThe Herd, Evergreens
19/9/1964Eddie FridayThe Mike Cotton SoundThe Storms
26/9/1964Eddie FridayKing Size Taylor and the DominosTerry Judge, The Barristers
3/10/1964Eddie FridayThe Migil FiveThe Cavaliers
10/10/1964Eddie FridayMal Ryder and the SpiritsShane and the Shane Gang
17/10/1964Eddie FridayThe Barron Knights and Duke D'MondThe Apollos
21/10/1964Eddie FridayThe Papa Bue Viking Jazz Band
24/10/1964Eddie FridayThe WranglersThe Dolphins
30/10/1964The Grange Youth ClubThe Mistral TuacsThe Berries
31/10/1964Eddie FridayJohnny, Mike And The ShadesThe Whispering Four with Pam Cordell
7/11/1964Eddie FridayDave Curtis and the TremorsTony and the Stranglers
14/11/1964Eddie FridayBuddy Britten and the RegentsThe Trolls
21/11/1964Eddie FridayThe Swinging Blue JeansGeorgie, The Rave Ons
28/11/1964Eddie FridayThe CloudsThe Koalas
2/12/1964Eddie FridayDutch College Swing Band
5/12/1964Aylesbury Young ConservativesThe Mistral TuacsThe Penny Blacks
12/12/1964Eddie FridayThe FenmenThe Storms
19/12/1964Eddie FridayThe DownsidersWashington DCs
24/12/1964Eddie FridayThe Barron Knights and Duke D'MondThe Reasons
26/12/1964Eddie FridayJohnny Anger and the Wild OnesThe Sneakers

1963 rock in Aylesbury – and the opening of the Borough Assembly Hall

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:

Eric Delaney review

Walton Hall

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.

DSC04771

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):

Potted history

Grand re-opening

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.

Joe Loss ad

BAH opening

Ian Samwell

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.

Samwell

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”.

sammy_cliff

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.

Ian Samwell obituary The Independent

DateVenuePromoter NameArtist 1Artist 2
5/1/1963Grosvenor BallroomEddie FridayEmile Ford and the CheckmatesMike Sagar and the Crestas
12/1/1963Grosvenor BallroomEddie FridayJohnny Carr backed by Mel Turner and the MohicansDave Seaton and the Leons
19/1/1963Grosvenor BallroomEddie FridayEden Kane backed by the Rhett Stoller GroupThe Lee Atkins Combo
26/1/1963Grosvenor BallroomEddie FridayJohnny, Mike and the ShadesBobby Patrick Big Six
2/2/1963Grosvenor BallroomEddie FridayPeter Nelson and the TravellersThe Tartans
9/2/1963Grosvenor BallroomEddie FridayThe John Barry SevenJohnny Anger and the Wild Ones
16/2/1963Grosvenor BallroomEddie FridayJohnny, Mike and the ShadesDru Harvey and the Jokers
23/2/1963Grosvenor BallroomEddie FridayDoug Sheldon backed by The SceptresBobby Rio and the Dominators
2/3/1963Grosvenor BallroomEddie FridayEric Delaney and His Band with Herbie GoinsThe Lee Atkins Combo
9/3/1963Grosvenor BallroomEddie FridayThe TartansPaul Dayton and the Deputies
16/3/1963Grosvenor BallroomEddie FridayRuss Sainty and the Nu-NotesMark Douglas and the Prowlers
23/3/1963Grosvenor BallroomEddie FridayThe Original CheckmatesRicky Marino and the Stormbreakers
30/3/1963Grosvenor BallroomEddie FridayThe Barry James Show featuring The Strangers with Gary and LeeMike Sagar and the Crestas
6/4/1963Grosvenor BallroomEddie FridayThe Black ArrowsPaul and the Hustlers
13/4/1963Grosvenor BallroomEddie FridayPeter West and the EmbersPaul and the Hustlers
20/4/1963Grosvenor BallroomEddie FridayThe Vernon GirlsMark Douglas and the Prowlers, The Noel Francis All-Steel West Indian Band
27/4/1963Grosvenor BallroomEddie FridayThe Fabulous FlintstonesRicky Marino and the Stormbreakers
11/5/1963Walton HallAlan WallisJohnny Milton and the CondorsThe Twistettes, Nick Troy and the Trojans
18/5/1963Walton HallAlan WallisGolli-Golli ShowJohnny Shadow and Danny Gavan, Paul and the Hustlers
25/5/1963Walton HallAlan WallisRay PilgrimTony Vince and the Minutemen, Colin and the Champions
1/6/1963Walton HallAlan WallisJet Harris's Original JetblacksTerry Judge and the Waders
8/6/1963Walton HallAlan WallisRicky Brown & The Hi-LitesMike Harper & The Cerveza
15/6/1963Walton HallAlan WallisRobb Storme and the WhispersThe Cavaliers
22/6/1963Walton HallAlan WallisThe Barry James Show with Gary and Lee and The StrangersTerry Judge and the Waders
29/6/1963Walton HallAlan WallisKevin Scott & His KinsmenThe Strangers
6/7/1963Walton HallAlan WallisJohnny, Mike and the ShadesMick Barber and the Travellers
13/7/1963Walton HallAlan WallisMike Everest and the Alpines Crazy Gang ShowThe Strangers
20/7/1963Walton HallAlan WallisSteve FrancisJohnny Anger and the Wild Ones, Apex Group with Colin York
27/7/1963Walton HallAlan WallisDave Dee and the BostonsThe Cervezas
3/8/1963Walton HallAlan WallisThe GamblersRoy Powell and the Off-Beaters
10/8/1963Walton HallAlan WallisJet Harris's Original JetblacksThe Cavaliers
17/8/1963Walton HallAlan WallisThe Federals
24/8/1963Walton HallAlan WallisLaurie Jay ComboGerry Temple, The Cervezas
31/8/1963Walton HallAlan WallisJohnny, Mike and the ShadesTerry Judge and the Barristers
7/9/1963Walton HallAlan WallisThe DowlandsThe Soundtracks, The Stranglers
14/9/1963Walton HallAlan WallisThe Ravin' SavagesThe Cavaliers
21/9/1963Walton HallAlan WallisThe Six CitizensDel Summers, Roy Powell and the Off-beaters
28/9/1963Walton HallAlan WallisBrian FisherThe Raiders
7/10/1963Borough Assembly HallGala OpeningJoe Loss and His Orchestra with Rose Brennan, Larry Gretton and Ross MacManusJohnny Thunder and the Thunderbirds
11/10/1963Borough Assembly HallStanley Wyatt PromotionsRay Piligrim and Minute MenThe Phantoms
12/10/1963Borough Assembly HallEddie FridayJohnny Carr and the CadillacsJohnny Anger and the Wild Ones
18/10/1963Borough Assembly HallStanley Wyatt PromotionsRay Pilgrim and Minute Men
19/10/1963Borough Assembly HallEddie FridayTroy Dante and the InfernosThe Delta Five
25/10/1963Borough Assembly HallStanley Wyatt PromotionsDanny Storm and StrollersThe Strangers
26/10/1963Borough Assembly HallEddie FridayJohnny, Mike and the ShadesRuss and the Sabres
1/11/1963Borough Assembly HallStanley Wyatt PromotionsThe CitizensThe Apollos
2/11/1963Borough Assembly HallEddie FridayThe Barron Knights with Duke D'MondJohnny Anger and the Wild Ones
8/11/1963Borough Assembly HallStanley Wyatt PromotionsRobb Storme and the Whispers
9/11/1963Borough Assembly HallEddie FridayUnit 7The Jimmy Ritchie Combo
16/11/1963Borough Assembly HallEddie FridayJohnny Carr and the CadillacsEddie King and the Chequers
23/11/1963Borough Assembly HallEddie FridayThe RedcapsJimmy Richards and the Javelins
30/11/1963Borough Assembly HallEddie FridayRockin' Henry and the HayseedsThe Pagans
7/12/1963Borough Assembly HallEddie FridayThe Eric Delaney BandDale Curtiss and the Blunotes
14/12/1963Borough Assembly HallEddie FridayJohnny, Mike and the ShadesJohnny Anger and the Wild Ones
21/12/1963Borough Assembly HallEddie FridayThe GamblersThe Coasters
28/12/1963Borough Assembly HallEddie FridayJohnny Carr and the CadillacsCliff Adams and the Twilights

1962 Rock in Aylesbury – and the Town Hall fire

1962 saw rock shows at three different venues. Eddie Friday continued with his Saturday evenings at the Grosvenor, Wallis & Wyatt (Alan Wallis and Stan Wyatt) at Aylesbury Town Hall until it burnt down in March, and at the Walton Hall.

At the Grosvenor, there was a wider range of artists presented.

In March Tony Orlando appeared as part of a tour with Jimmy Crawford and the Ravens.

Tony Orlando had hits in 1961 with Bless You and Halfway to Paradise. Orlando was later involved with Tony Orlando & Dawn, as well as being a producer.

Tony Orlando tour

Others appearing included Craig Douglas, Emile Ford (with both the New Checkmates and the Original Checkmates), Mike Sarne, Wee Willie Harris, Screaming Lord Sutch, Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates and the Barron Knights.

Emile Ford died on 11 April 2016 – see his obituary from The Guardian.

Russ Sainty and the Nu-Notes were more-or-less the resident group at the recently opened California Ballroom in Dunstable. The Nu-Notes at one stage become the Rhet Stoller Group (Rhett, or Barry, Stoller being the guitarist) and had a minor hit in 1961 with “Chariot”. On one occasion they were billed at the Grosvenor as Russ Sainty and the Rhet Stoller Group.

Russ Sainty ad

In May, Eddie Friday also tried a new midweek venture with DJ Eddie Moreno called “The Teen & Twenty Nite-Club” – a similar club was already successfully operating in Wembley with over 4,000 members, but in Aylesbury this was short-lived, closing after just a few weeks.

Teen and Twenty

Meanwhile at the Town Hall, acts appearing included Eden Kane, Joe Brown and his Bruvvers, Shane Fenton, as well as Screaming Lord Sutch and the Barron Knights.

DSC05729

The Johnny Dankworth Orchestra was greatly enjoyed by Tony White, the jazz columnist in the Bucks Advertiser. Johnny Dankworth had enjoyed chart success with “African Waltz” in 1961 and had won the big band section of the Melody Maker jazz poll with almost 80% of the votes. Click image to enlarge.

Dankworth review 2

Town Hall Fire

A disastrous fire at the Town Hall occured in March 1962. The Bucks Advertiser reported that it was the second fire within four days and thought to be the work of an arsonist. Painted solgans were found reading “If not this time there’ll be another” and “More to come”. Click image to enlarge.

Town Hall Fire Bucks ad front pagr

A small ad appeared the following week:

Town Hall fire notice

Following the fire, some shows were put on at Walton Hall – which had hosted the odd gig up until then, and would again provide a useful alternative whilst the Grosvenor was re-furbished to become the Borough Assembly Hall in 1963.

Appearing were Rolly Daniels, Ricky Valance, Paul Hanford and Joe Brown and his Bruvvers.

Joe Brown Walton ad

The ad below includes Gene Vincent among future bookings on 28th April. However, John Braley, a local authority on Gene Vincent, has been unable to find any evidence that this happened. The gig continues to be listed on various websites as part of Gene’s appearances in April and May 1962, part of his seventh UK tour on which he was backed by Sounds Incorporated, with the Aylesbury date sandwiched between Broadstairs on 27th and East Ham Granada on the 29th. If anyone has more details about this, please let us know!

Ricky Valance ad

Below are lists of gigs at the Grosvenor Ballroom, the Town Hall and Walton Hall. Scroll down to view.

Grosvenor Ballroom

DateClubArtist 1Artist 2
6/1/1962Terry Young and the Bluenotes
7/1/1962Sunday ClubRocky Lane and the Victors
27/1/1962Russ Sainty and the Rhet Stroller GroupRoyston Jones and the Raiders
3/2/1962Dru Harvey and the JokersMike Dee and the Jaywalkers
10/2/1962Dave SampsonJohnny Carr and the Cadillacs, Rikki Forde and the Cyclones
17/2/1962Craig DouglasJimmy Virgo and the Bluejacks
24/2/1962Peter ElliottJohnny La Starr and the Marzipan Twisters
3/3/1962Tony OrlandoJimmy Crawford and The Ravens, Verne Rogers and the Hi-Fis
10/3/1962The CheckmatesEddie and The Chequers
17/3/1962Cliff Bennett and the Rebel RousersJohnny Vallons & The Deejays
24/3/1962The AllisonsLeon Chad Quartet, Verne Rogers and the Hi-Fis
31/3/1962Emile Ford and the New CheckmatesJohnny Carr and the Cadillacs
7/4/1962Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersThe Le-Roys
8/4/1962Sunday ClubJohnny Vallons and the Deejays
14/4/1962Johnny Gentle and the JaybirdsJohnny Dark and the Silhouettes, Johnny Carr and the Cadillacs
15/4/1962Sunday ClubEddie Prince and the Creoles
21/4/1962Jimmy Crawford and the RavensLee Atkins and the M.I.5
22/4/1962Sunday ClubDru Harvey and the Jokers
23/4/1962Tony Allen and the Kansas City FourPaul Dean and the Dreamers
28/4/1962Emile Ford and the New Checkmates versus The Original Checkmates
29/4/1962Sunday ClubThe Dominators
5/5/1962Russ Sainty and the Nu-NotesEddie Prince and the Creoles
6/5/1962Sunday ClubClyde Burns and the Beachcombers
12/5/1962Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersThe Magnificent Six
13/5/1962Sunday ClubGrant Tracey and the Sunsets
19/5/1962Colin HicksCliff Adams and the Twilights, Teddy and the Cannons
20/5/1962Sunday ClubJohnny Carr and the Cadillacs
22/5/1962Teen and Twenty Nite-ClubEddie Moreno (DJ)Terry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers, Nick Raynor and the Falcons
26/5/1962Big Rock 'n' Twist ShowShirley Ann Field, Andrew Ray (judges)Robb Storme and the Whispers, The Magnificent Six
27/5/1962Sunday ClubThe Federals
2/6/1962Garry Mills and the DeccadesEddie Prince and the Creoles
3/6/1962Sunday ClubThe Spiderman
9/6/1962Grant Tracey and the SunsetsDru Harvey and the Jokers
11/6/1962Paul Dean and the DreamersRicky Wade and his Crossfires
16/6/1962Garry Edwards ComboShane Spencer and the Casuals
17/6/1962Sunday ClubMike Sagar and the Crestas
23/6/1962The Original CheckmatesThe Le-Roys
24/6/1962Sunday ClubPete Chester Combo
30/6/1962Mike Sagar and the CrestasJohnny Carr and the Cadillacs
7/7/1962Chico Arnez and his OrchestraThe Stormbreakers with Ricky Marino and Clive Turner
8/7/1962Sunday ClubTony Bolton and the Federals
14/7/1962The FlintstonesRicky Allen Combo
21/7/1962Paul RavenCliff Adams and the Twilights, Shane Spencer and the Casuals
28/7/1962Michael LondonJohny Carr and the Cadillacs, The Stormbreakers with Ricky Marino and Clive Turner
4/8/1962Dru Harvey and the JokersThe Swinging Skyways
11/8/1962Gerry TemplePeter Nelson and the Travellers, Carl Vincent and the Maniacs
18/8/1962Danny Davis and the MaraudersEddie Prince and the Creoles
25/8/1962Lance FortuneRocking Henry and the Phantoms, Roy Wayne and the Wanderers
1/9/1962Johnny Milton and the CondorsJohnny Carr and the Cadillacs
8/9/1962Jackie LyntonBob Xavier and the Jury, The Cervezas
15/9/1962Peppi and the New York TwistersJohnny and the Jaytones featuring the Lynton Twins
22/9/1962Mike SarneBillie Davis, Keith Turner and the Swallows
29/9/1962The Original CheckmatesClyde Burns and the Beachcombers
6/10/1962Mike Sagar and the CrestasShane Spencer and the Casuals
13/10/1962Wee Willie HarrisTony Crombie and the Rockets
20/10/1962The Original CheckmatesPeter Nelson and the Travellers
27/10/1962Emile Ford and the CheckmatesGarry Edwards Combo
3/11/1962Mel Turner and the MohicansEddie Prince and the Creoles
10/11/1962Johnny Kidd and the PiratesDave Martin and the Martells
17/11/1962Johnny Carr and the CadillacsPaul Dean and the Dreamers
24/11/1962Screaming Lord Sutch and the SavagesJohnny Starlite and the Gamblers
1/12/1962Ray PilgrimRikky Temple and the Lonely Ones, Peter Nelson and the Travellers
8/12/1962Mike Sagar and the CrestasVerne Rogers and the Hi-Fis
15/12/1962Craig DouglasRikki Allen Trio, Bern Elliott and the Fenmen
22/12/1962The Barron Knights and Duke D'MondJohnny Anger and the Wild Ones
24/12/1962Russ Sainty and the Nu-NotesBern Elliott and the Fenmen
29/12/1962Johnny Carr and the CadillacsThe Chris Farlowe Combo
31/12/1962Johnny Vallons and the DeejaysBilly Reid and the Bluecoats, The Sonics

Town Hall

DateArtist 1Artist 2
5/1/1962Danny DavisGary and Lee, The Paramounts
6/1/1962Eden KanePeter Jay & The Jaywalkers, The Barron Knights
10/1/1962Shane Fenton
13/1/1962Tommy Bruce and his BruisersBarry James, The Strangers
17/1/1962Vince EagerBarry Edward and the Semi-Tones
20/1/1962Rolly DanielsChris Wayne, Gerry Temple, The Barons
24/1/1962Seven Fabulous Flintstones
27/1/1962FleerekkersJohnny Dave Five
3/2/1962Joe Brown and his BruvversDuke D'Mond and the Barron Knights
7/2/1962Screaming Lord Sutch
10/2/1962Danny RiversNelson Keene, Ricky Wayne and the Offbeats, The Jesters with Maureen Cochran
17/2/1962Johnny Dankworth and his Orchestra with Bobby BreenFrankie Short's Apex Rock Group
21/2/1962The Barron Knights
24/2/1962The ViscountsDan Haggerty Trio, Mick Barber's Travellers
28/2/1962Senators
3/3/1962MudlarksThe Barron Knights with Duke D'Mond
7/3/1962The Apex Group
10/3/1962Michael CoxKeith Kelly, Peter Wynne, Bob Xavier and the Jury, Jimmie Richie Group

Walton Hall

DateArtist 1Artist 2
24/3/1962Rolly DanielsChris Wayne, The Condors, Gerry Temple
7/4/1962Ricky Valance and the CruisersThe Jesters
14/4/1962Paul HanfordThe Federals, Gary Lane and the Garrisons
23/4/1962Joe Brown and his BruvversApex Group

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

Rock Around The Clock film

In February 1957, the film Rock Around The Clock was shown at the Odeon, Aylesbury. The film had opened in the UK on 20 July 1956 at the London Pavilion, and in other towns there had been reports of problems with “teddy boys” destroying seats and dancing in the aisles – so some extraordinary measures were taken to prevent trouble in Aylesbury.

The Bucks Advertiser reported on February 8, 1957, that:

Police officers in plain clothes – some accompanied by their wives – occupied seats in strategic positions at the Odeon Cinema, Aylesbury, every night last week, while outside was a police dog and its handler … In addition to the police, there were also present three experienced management personnel of the Odeon circuit who have attended the various cinemas where the fulm has been shown.

In fact, there were no problems in Aylesbury – and the manager. Mr. W. D. Laing told the paper that “he was extremely happy that the scenes which have accompanied the film in other places did not take place in Aylesbury.”

News of the disturbances around the country may have been exaggerated by the newspapers – at least to some extent. There is a file in the National Archives which shows that the Home Office was approached by the Cinematograph Exhibitors’ Association (C.E.A.) about the prohibition by some local authorities of the showing of the film. Introducing the subject, the following comment appears (click on image to enlarge):

Intro

The file includes a list of towns where the film had been banned – including Oxford, and the whole of Berkshire, including Reading, Windsor and Maidenhead:

Banned

There are also examples of exaggerated reporting:

Reporting

Images: The National Archives

Rock Around The Clock was not a great film but was the first movie to showcase the new music of the fifties – rock ‘n’ roll in a low budget story targeted at teenage audiences. But it did have a big impact.

Pete Frame in his book “The Restless Generation” devotes 10 pages to the release of the film in the UK. He writes:

Rock Around the Clock, a cheap Hollywood exploitation movie rushed out to capitalise on the current American rock ‘n’ roll fad, really did stick a dagger into Britain’s staid way of life, opening up a festering wound – later descrined at a “generation gap” – which grew wider and deeper by the day … It is not an exaggeration to say the film changed lives. Of how many movies can that be said? Most people who saw it left the cinema uplifed and exhilarated. Some felt inspired. Hundreds of kids wanted to start bands. Thousands wanted rock ‘n’ roll to be the soundtrack of their lives.

1960: Rock ‘n’ Roll comes to the Grosvenor

February 1960 saw rock ‘n’ roll come to the Grosvenor Ballroom on Saturday nights. Until then, Saturday evenings had featured dance bands.

For the first three weeks Stanley Dale is shown as the promoter, but after this the adverts are under a heading of Eddie Friday presents – though it seems likely that Stanley Dale continued to be involved for some months. Stanley Dale managed Johnny Kidd and the Pirates through his company Associated London Scripts until January 1962 – the period in which Johnny Kidd and the Pirates made most of the Aylesbury appearances. Later, in October 1962, Stanley Dale made a bid to buy the Grosvenor Ballroom (see below).

Johnny Kidd ad 1960

Playing that first night were Johnny Kidd and the Pirates and Terry Anton and his Rhythm Rockers. This same combination played for each of the next three weeks, and both went on to be regulars in Aylesbury. The Bucks Advertiser reported that the attendance was 560 for the opening night, and by the third week a “sell out” was reported.

Johnny Kidd and the Pirates played 48 times in Aylesbury, including nine times at the Sunday Club that Eddie Friday started in May 1960. That month also saw Johnny Kidd and the Pirates in the studio recording “Shakin’ All Over” which took the band to No. 1 in the singles chart.

Johnny Kidd and the Pirates – Skakin’ All Over

Guitarist Alan Caddy and drummer Clem Cattini were later in the Tornados, after leaving the Pirates. Cattini went on to be a session drummer – and has played on 44 UK no. 1 singles. He also played on Lou Reed’s debut solo album  which was recorded in London in 1971/1972 with London session musicians, including Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe.

Clem Cattini – Guardian article 2010

Another group making regular appearances was Mike West and the Silhouettes. Mike West had previously played with Johnny Kidd and the PIrates, but had left to form his own group, which included guitarist Tony Doherty who had also been a Pirate.

Also appearing were Red-E-Lewis and the Redcaps who at some stage included Jimmy Page as guitarist. There is some confusion with the Red-E-Lewis band and Neil Christian and the Crusaders.

Clem Cattini (drummer with Johnny Kidd) wrote in “Trampled Under Foot: The Power and Excess of Led Zeppelin”:
I was touring with Johnny Kidd and the Pirates. We used to play this place in Aylesbury and Jimmy [Page] was in Neil Christian and the Crusaders, which was the support band. He was only fifteen and he was already a phenomenal player.

I have found no record of Neil Christian and the Crusaders playing in Aylesbury. As Clem joined the Pirates in 1960 (source: Johnny Kidd and the Pirates website – Timeline), it may be that he is referring to Red-E-Lewis and the Recaps.

On October 14th, the Bucks Advertiser carried a front page story under the title “Aylesbury Grosvenor Surprise – Rock ‘n’ Roll Man: £20,000 Bid For Ballroom”.

It was reported that Stan Dale had made an offer to buy the hall – and he had plans for it. He is quoted as saying “The building is out of date … The future of the site could involve the spending of £250,000 over a three- to five- year period, and could be made to fit in with the whole scheme of the town, including a supermarket, flats and an entertainment centre.”

Although the article reported that the deal was due to be clinched that week, it did not go ahead. Click on image to enlarge.

Bid for Grosvenor

The following is a list of 1960 gigs at the Grosvenor.  It is possible that there were some changes to the artists who actually appeared due to last minute cancellations, etc.; details have been checked as far as possible, but if you have any corrections or additions please let us know! Looking at the list, it is obvious that there was a regular rotation of a relatively small number of groups during the year.

DateClubArtist 1Artist 2
6/2/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
13/2/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
20/2/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
27/2/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesMike West and the Saxons
5/3/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
12/3/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
19/3/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
26/3/1960Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersMartin Jae and the Hi Five
2/4/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
9/4/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
16/4/1960Red-E-Lewis and the RedcapsTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
30/4/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
7/5/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
8/5/1960Sunday ClubMike West and the Silhouettes
14/5/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
15/5/1960Sunday ClubMike West and the Silhouettes
21/5/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
22/5/1960Sunday ClubTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
28/5/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesBobby Tempest and the Lyrics
29/5/1960Sunday ClubJohnny Kidd and the Pirates
4/6/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesBobby Tempest and the Lyrics
5/6/1960Sunday ClubTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
11/6/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesRed-E-Lewis and the Redcaps
12/6/1960Sunday ClubTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
18/6/1960Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersMike West and the Silhouettes
19/6/1960Sunday ClubJohnny Kidd and the Pirates
25/6/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesMike West and the Silhouettes
26/6/1960Sunday ClubRed-E-Lewis and the Redcaps
2/7/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
3/7/1960Sunday ClubMike West and the Silhouettes
9/7/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesMike West and the Silhouettes
10/7/1960Sunday ClubCreole ComboThe Blue Knights
16/7/1960Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersMike West and the Silhouettes
17/7/1960Sunday ClubJohnny Kidd and the Pirates
23/7/1960Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersMike West and the Silhouettes
24/7/1960Sunday ClubJohnny Kidd and the Pirates
30/7/1960Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersMike West and the Silhouettes
31/7/1960Sunday ClubMike West and the Silhouettes
6/8/1960Mike West and the SilhouettesThe Avalons
7/8/1960Sunday ClubMike West and the Silhouettes
13/8/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesMike West and the Silhouettes
14/8/1960Sunday ClubMike West and the Silhouettes
20/8/1960Mike West and the SilhouettesThe Avalons
21/8/1960Sunday ClubJohnny Kidd and the Pirates
27/8/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesMike West and the Silhouettes
28/8/1960Sunday ClubSmokey Dean and the Dean Aces
3/9/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesSmokey Dean and the Dean Aces
4/9/1960Sunday ClubMike West and the Silhouettes
10/9/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesMike West and the Silhouettes
11/9/1960Sunday ClubSmokey Dean and the Dean Aces
17/9/1960Smokey Dean and the Dean AcesMike West and the Silhouettes
18/9/1960Sunday ClubJohnny Kidd and the Pirates
24/9/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesMike West and the Silhouettes
25/9/1960Sunday ClubSmokey Dean and the Dean Aces
1/10/1960The QuaversMike West and the Silhouettes
2/10/1960Sunday ClubTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
8/10/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesMike West and the Silhouettes
9/10/1960Sunday ClubSmokey Dean and the Dean Aces
15/10/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesMike West and the Silhouettes
16/10/1960Sunday ClubTerry Anton and the Rhythm Rockers
22/10/1960Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersSmokey Dean and the Dean Aces
23/10/1960Sunday ClubMike West and the Silhouettes
29/10/1960Dean Shannon and the Dean AcesBilly Gray and the Graymen
30/10/1960Sunday ClubMike West and the Silhouettes
5/11/1960Dean Shannon and the Dean AcesThe Al Kline Five
6/11/1960Sunday ClubJohnny Kidd and the Pirates
12/11/1960Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersMike West and the Silhouettes
13/11/1960Sunday ClubDean Shannon and the Dean Aces
19/11/1960Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersDean Shannon and the Dean Aces
20/11/1960Sunday ClubMike West and the Silhouettes
26/11/1960The VictorsDean Shannon and the Dean Aces
27/11/1960Sunday ClubDean Shannon and the Dean Aces
3/12/1960Terry Anton and the Rhythm RockersThe Al Kline Five
4/12/1960Sunday ClubDean Shannon and the Dean Aces
10/12/1960Mike West and the SilhouettesRay Dexter and the Summits
11/12/1960Sunday ClubDean Shannon and the Dean Aces
17/12/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesDean Shannon and the Dean Aces
18/12/1960Sunday ClubMike West and the Silhouettes
24/12/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesMike West and the Silhouettes
26/12/1960Dean Shannon and the Dean AcesThe Brian Wood Five, Terry Young and the Thunderbirds, Brian Gold and the Blue Knights
31/12/1960Johnny Kidd and the PiratesPierce Rogers and the Overlanders, Mike West and the Silhouettes, Rocky Lane and the Victors