Tamworth Bands - History 1960-1990
'60 '61 '62 '63 '64 '65 '66 '67 '68 '69 '70 '71 '72 '73 '74 '75
'76 '77 '78 '79 '80 '81 '82 '83 '84 '85 '86 '87 '88 '89 '90  

Tamworth Bands History : 1979

 UK Number Ones - 1979
Week Ending Act Title
06/01/79 Village People Y.M.C.A.
27/01/79 Ian Dury & The Blockheads Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
03/02/79 Blondie Heart Of Glass
03/03/79 Bee Gees Tragedy
17/03/79 Gloria Gaynor I Will Survive
14/04/79 Art Garfunkel Bright Eyes
26/05/79 Blondie Sunday Girl
16/06/79 Anita Ward Ring My Bell
30/06/79 Tubeway Army (Gary Numan) Are 'Friends' Electric
28/07/79 Boomtown Rats I Don't Like Mondays
25/08/79 Cliff Richard We Don't Talk Anymore
22/09/79 Gary Numan Cars
29/09/79 Police Message In A Bottle
20/10/79 Buggles Video killed The Radio Star
27/10/79 Lena Martell One Day At A Time
17/11/79 Dr Hook When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman
08/12/79 Police Walking On The Moon
No 1
Pink Floyd Another Brick In The Wall

 In the News - 1979
The Shah is deposed in Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini takes over
General Election was victory for the Conservatives and Britain’s first woman Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher (and husband Dennis)
Siege of US Embassy in Teheran, 52 hostages are held
Afghanistan invaded by Soviet troops
Lord Mountbatten killed in the Republic of Ireland by the IRA by a bomb in his boat
Airey Neave killed by IRA bomb in his car in the House of Commons car park
Idi Amin was ousted from Uganda
Anthony Blunt, keeper of the Queens pictures, named as soviet spy
Sebastian Coe breaks the 800m, one mile and 1,500m world records

January - March April - June
Arts Centre Bar... Tamworth's first Rock Festival...
July - September October - December
Punks leave trail of blood... The DHSS...

On the national music scene, punk had now had its day and was well and truly replaced by new wave. Punk was however still clinging on in leafy Tamworth. In May, the one and only gig took place by version two of Tamworth’s original punk band, The Reliants. Once again, a Reliants gig was to be remembered for mayhem rather than music; the local Police being called to St. John’s Guildhall only to find chairs, toilets and broken guitars littering the dance floor, as the last few bars of “This is Rock ‘n’ Roll” rang out at the end of the night. Punks also appeared in the Herald in July under the headline: “Punk Gang Left ‘Trail of Blood’, where we read how “...a gang of “punks” left a trail of blood after smashing council office windows in Tamworth.”

Local Bands
Busiest local bands in ’79 were Ice, Brewster, the Ramblin’ Band and Paradox. The Ramblin’ Band Tamworth’s newest country and western group found themselves a regular nightspot at the Tavern-in-the-Town. In mid-June Ice released their first album called “The Saga of the Ice King” telling the story of a time when the earth was ruled by the Nordic Kings. They also revealed plans later in the year for a tour of the low-countries. Brewster had a big following in Lichfield and Burntwood but also found a regular spot at the Chequers at Hopwas. We also read how ex-Paradox member Charles Harrison was now seeing success in the US with top band POCO and Paradox themselves won the “Vitavox Live Sound” trophy.

Open-air Rock ConcertBut…the biggest local band news of the year was on Easter Monday 1979. On this day, as part of the Spring Arts Festival, Tamworth saw it’s first Open-air Rock Concert. More than 300 people turned out to see Ice who performed a selection of tracks from their debut album release, the country-and-western “Ramblin’ Band”, “Brewster”, “Flash Harry” and “Asylum” all of whom were warmly received. This event was a part of the star-studded festival where stars of screen, stage and concert hall appeared throughout Tamworth. Names included David Kossoff, George Melly, Donald Houston and Cy Grant.

Other new local bands appearing in 1979 included Amber Lights, Chico and Rits - who released a single of disco numbers and also the band tipped as top local band of the ‘80s – The DHSS - described in the Herald as “UNUSUAL” …the only way to describe one of Tamworth’s newest bands – the Department of Happiness and Self-Satisfaction”. This band featured ex-Reliants members Edward ian Armchair, Vince Watts and Sam Norchi and ex-local DJ Rikk Quay. They became the first local band to sell a demo-cassette, namely ‘Packaged Pleasure’.

The second local musical highlight of the year appeared later in the year in the Tamworth Herald of December 21st 1979. Under the headline: “Schoolboy band set for stardom” we read how “Local schoolboy band the Fretz played their first official concert at Tamworth’s St. John’s Youth Club to an enthusiastic audience.” This review in Musicbox was written by none other than the youthful Sam Holliday – his first review for the Herald. The Fretz themselves of course included among their ranks one Mark Mortimer on bass guitar – later to appear in many Tamworth bands.

Local News
In the news locally was the new bar at Tamworth Arts Centre and, on the subject of alcohol, the refusal of planning permission for an extension at Hamlets Wine Bar. Also opened in 1979 was St. John’s Youth Club, now housed in the old St. John’s School in Ludgate. The Guildhall was no longer used after The Reliants ‘massacre’ earlier in the year. The club was very popular with local youngsters but not with the neighbours. Local councillors told youth club leaders to ‘tighten discipline’ which caused a furore and strong debate in the Herald. However, we read in June how “a Tamworth youth club, defending itself against allegations of rowdyism and bad management has won a vote of confidence from town planners.” The Club was now free to open seven nights a week and was to be a regular venue for several local bands.

The DHSSBig Names
Big name acts were thin on the ground in and around Tamworth in ’79 – Marmalade, Mike Sheridan and the Nightriders and The Searchers played as did George Melly and ‘Diddy’ David Hamilton. The Assembly Rooms no longer saw top names tread it’s boards – there were however several double-header discos with Nij Redfern and Paul Neil and also a “triple disco” at the Assembly Rooms on Saturday February 10 organised by Grahame Wood – also known as Kippa. Another Graham Wood could be seen spinning discs locally – none other than Buttercup.

At the end of the year in Musicbox in the Tamworth Herald of 28th December 1979, the then Editor, Annette Witheridge wrote her summary of the previous decade under the headline “Slade, Stewart and the Stranglers – the faces of the “strange” Seventies.” In her highlights of 1979 for December she said “DECEMBER – Wings and the Police play at sell-out Birmingham concerts. Tamworth new wave band the Department of Happiness and Self Satisfaction topped as the local band of the ‘80s.”

The DHSS in fact split up on December 28th 1979!!

Copyright & Disclaimer © TamworthBands.com 2017 | Contact Us |
All photographs unless otherwise stated - courtesy of the Tamworth Herald.
Punk Poet - Edward ian Armchair
Return to the Tamworth Bands Home Page