Tamworth Bands History : 1984
Well what a year! What a *!%$*” year!!!
The busiest, liveliest, most exciting year in the whole history of Tamworth bands. It even beat 1963 when The Beatles and The Stones played in the town – 1984 was the year – THE YEAR – when the Tamworth music scene finally came of age – got the key to the door – took it’s girlfriend behind the bike sheds and gave her a good …
Sorry – got a little carried away there – basically, this was a MONSTER year. Read on…
After the record-breaking Musicbox poll of 1983 when The Dream Factory had stormed through to beat Those Attractive Magnets – 1984 started excitedly with news that Sitting Pretty were to make a video – ‘a video’ yes, the first Tamworth band to appear on VHS and Betamax!!!
The first new band that would become household names locally to form in 1984 were One On One – Tim Latham ex-Omen joined up withDave Ingham – what a pairing – did you know they were called Roseham?
The year started with the great news that finally, Those Attractive Magnets had received national airplay with none other than John Peel himself playing their single on his radio show. The band didn’t hear it of course, too busy getting pi**ed in the Tavern after hours, but friends informed them that yes, at last the radio waves of England had experienced the pleasure that was Those Attractive Magnets.
Big name ands of ’84 were old favourites Classified Ads, The Restricted. New bands, Select Elect and Love On Board. Of course Sitting Petty and BHX – A5 appeared, formerly Lambent Lamella. And then…a favourite name on the local scene hit the Big Time!! Donald Skinner, one time Fretz schoolboy was to play guitar for none other than one-time pop star Julian Cope on his national tour – including a gig at the Birmingham Odeon. Well done Donny!! Other national success happened for Nomadic Dreams who came second in BBC’s Superstore Superstar.
The Dream Fctory gigged and gigged and gigged and released their debut demo and then gigged and gigged and gigged. They were joined on the bill for several gigs by a new Atherstone band The Crowd who by the end of the year had changed their name to none other than – Dance Stance.
One band started performing locally that really caught the attention of Mr. Musicbox himself Sam Holliday. Sam had progressed from a spotty schoolboy writing the odd Stranglers and Fretz review to now fully-fledged Musicbox Editor with Musicbox itself taking up two-thirds of a page in the Herald – incredible. With Breaking Point’s first gig at the Arts Centre Sam said he was “…left quite breathless after a show which exuded energy, style and power from start to finish.”
The Sumo Giants played the Assembly Rooms – no one turned up!!
Shock split of the year! Those Attractive Magnets split, with Rikk Quay leaving to join The Sway and the band becoming simply The Magnets. But a fresh start for a new band saw Love On Board with three names of the future in the local scene Nick Reed, Neil Jones and Glenn Lewis treating the town to their beautiful brand of pop.
The Arts Centre saw two new faces taking the reins – Gary Holt who briefly took over from Georgie Jackson was replaced in the summer by Nick Ewbank – both trying to stress to Tamworth’s public that the Arts Centre was for them.
1984 was the year, the year when the Tamworth Rock Festival as we know and remember it first happened – for real. We’d had the festival of 1979 when Dave Armour arranged for a handful of bands to play below the bandstand. And last year, 1983, we saw Hardware and Gary Holt of the Arts Centre arrange a festival. But, 1984 was the first year where Tamworth Borough Council for the first time sanctioned a two-day open-air rock and pop festival in Tamworth Castle Pleasure Grounds. The entire event was organised and funded by the bands themselves – surely a unique event of its kind.
July saw One On One release their debut cassette and the Dream Factory announce they had the chance of supporting the Style Council. In addition Sitting Pretty appeared on a double-page spread in No.1 magazine. Also in July the line-up for the Festival was announced:
Sunday August 26 1984
11.30 – Disco
12.00 – Western Block
12.45 – Vin Rouge
01.30 – Spirit of Water
02.15 – The Visitors
03.00 – The Elusive They
03.45 – Wolfsbane
04.30 – Talk Back
05.15 – Mystic Hero
06.00 – The Dream factory
07.00 – 08.00 – Miscellaneous acts, disco and jamming.
Monday August 27
11.30 – Disco
12.30 – The Magnets
01.15 – A5
02.00 – Child’s Play
02.45 – Breaking Point
03.30 – Classified Ads
04.15 – Capprice
05.00 – Love On Board
05.45 – Sitting Pretty
06.45 – 8.00 – Miscellaneous acts, disco and jamming.
But…an even bigger event occurred in July 1984. The first appearance of none other than…WOLFSBANE. The band claimed “…to hail from Transylvania, say they are totally different in sound, look and attitude to anything Tamworth has ever seen before – and they are looking forward to blitzing the town with a barrage of colour and noise.”
August – what a month. Early in the month Sam Holliday saw what he regarded as his best-ever gig. He said “Over the past four or five years, I have seen many memorable concerts – the first Fretz gig, Breaking Point at the Tavern, Reliants at The Guild Hall for example – but none have ever made my spine tingle more than the two acts who stepped out at the Arts Centre one Friday night recently.” This was Breaking Point and None But The Brave.
And then at the end of the month…the Holy Grail…the final coming of age of the entire Tamworth music scene encapsulated in two heady days of summer sunshine – the first ‘proper’ Tamworth Rock Festival – remember the dates Sunday August 26th and Monday August 27th 1984. An unrivalled success – read the review here.
Two bands lined up 45rpm singles on 1984. Sitting Pretty and The Dream Factory. Pretty actually released it and sales and reviews were positive.
Sad news of the year was, during a special Hallowe’en gig with Wolfsbane – the Classified Ads announced they were to split. After four long years the one time schoolboy band who had quickly grown up within the local scene were no more.
But as always happens as one band dies another comes to life and in the same month, Dickens, the latest band to include Mick Ruterford, appeared on the scene.
At the end of the year we saw the first appearance locally of one Ian Gibbons. In the year of Band Aid, Ian had got Bob Geldof to sign a guitar and was auctioning it to raise cash for the famine victims in Ethiopia.
And then finally, once again, in the Musicbox poll of the year – The Dream Factory triumphed.