Tamworth Bands History : 1966
What happened in 1966? England won the World Cup of course! July 30th 1966, England defeated West Germany, 4-2, to win the Jules Rimet World Cup at Wembley (after extra time) Geoff Hurst scored 3 of Englands goals.
|January - March||April - June|
|The Beverley Sisters play Twycross.||The Four XXXXs - the Tamworth Beatles|
|July - September||October - December|
|The Conventions - on the way up?||Discotheque Opened at Mile Oak|
On the local, Tamworth music scene, Vince Baker, entrepreneurial promoter had now departed and any big-name acts appearing in Tamworth were few and far between. Stourbridge based promotion company, 3 Star Entertainments, did put on “THEM” at the Assembly Rooms for the St. Valentine Dance of ’66. THEM of course being best known for "Gloria" and launching singer Van Morrison's career. They also brought The 'N Betweens (later to become Slade) to the Assembly Rooms a week later on 21st February 1966. In the same month on 16/18/19th February, 1966 The Beverley Sisters performed at Assheton House Cabaret Club, Twycross. At the end of the year, on 8th December ’66, Brian Poole and The Tremeloes, played what was to become ‘the’ venue of 1967, the Foseco Sports and Social Club.
The most popular local band of ’66 appeared to be The Four XXXXs, they had been performing regularly in and around Tamworth since late ’64, and through ’65 and in the Tamworth Herald of 18th February ’66 advertised their latest recording - Now On Sale "Take It All" by The Four XXXXs available from J. Weavers, Bolebridge Street. They also had a Fan Club which they advertised in March of that year, you could apply to join to: Patricia, Sylvia and Mary, 60 Bitterscote Lane, Fazeley Road Estate. If you sent a 4d stamp you would receive the latest autographed group photograph. There was a large feature on the band in the Herald of 3rd June ’66 under the headline “Local Beat Group Win Audition Prize”.
Another new local band to have a Herald feature were The Conventions. In the Tamworth Herald of 16th September ’66 under the headline “Polesworth Pop Group On Way Up?” we read how at a Birmingham recording studio, the group had just made their first demonstration disc, entitled "I'm Leaving" to be sent to major record companies.
Other local bands performing on almost a weekly basis were: The Vipers, The Wanderers, The Inn-Sect, The Teen Beats (including Phil Bates of Quill (Kwil), Trickster and ELO Part 2 fame) and The Loving Kind. These bands could regularly be seen at local working mens clubs, other venues of the time were Club 21 at The Chequers and later in the year Beat 66 at Foseco Sports and Social Club.
A highly significant change in the local music scene to occur in ’66 was the appearance of the discotheque. We had seen in October of ’64 – Dave Jackson a DJ from Liverpool appear at the Assembly Rooms but the actual ‘phenomenon’ of the discotheque did not arrive in the town until 1966.
The first mention of a disco was in the Tamworth Herald of 24th June ‘66 – the Chequers Club Discotheque, Every Friday, bar and discs until midnight (members only). In July you could go to the Coleshill and Maxstoke Ex-Servicemen's Club - "Top Of the Pops" every Thursday 7.45pm to 10.45pm, Discotheque. The first concert to include a DJ was the final event promoted by 3 Star Entertainments on 7th October ’66 when For The Birds (a new group from Birmingham) performed at the Assembly Rooms. The event included “resident DJ "Mac the Mouth" and his Discotheque.
However, the disco really took off locally when on 18th November ‘66 we read in the Tamworth Herald “Discotheque Opened At Mile Oak” - A new Discotheque in the Mile Oak Hotel opened on Friday night complete with the "new stereo big-sound" and with the appearance of an exclusive nightclub – complete with chromatic lighting. Also, a little earlier, the Beat 66 club at the Foseco Sports and Social Club had big name acts performing with the addition of a “discotheque with our resident DJ - Jeff Owen” (Geoff Owen – Ed.) This venue including the disco, was to really take off in 1967.
The End of Dances at the Assembly Rooms?
As for the local band scene, in the latter part of the year things went from bad to worse, in the Tamworth Herald of 14th October we read “Traditional Dances Now More Favoured” - Beatnik-type dances at Tamworth’s Assembly Rooms are out and more traditional dances our coming in. Alderman Tom Kennedy said that an end to rowdyism and to the bad odour which had surrounded dances at the Assembly Rooms of the past few years would be welcomed on all sides.
We read that the once traditional dances over the Christmas period were to be put out to ballot, as charitable organisations should have the opportunity to use these nights as a guaranteed means of raising funds. However, the shocking news in the Herald of 16th December 1966 was – “No Dances At Assembly Rooms Over Christmas Period” - no applications to stage dances on Christmas Eve, Boxing Night or New Year's Eve had been received by the Borough Council. A council spokesman said: "Dances on these nights have had to be allocated by ballot for many years. A Christmas without dances cannot be recalled."