Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pete Waterman's Coventry Days (bands / DJ / Soul Hole)

Pete Clemons contacted me recently, to supply material and press cuttings on Pete Waterman's Coventry days, to the ITV researchers who were gathering material for the forthcoming Piers Morgan  Life Stories featuring Pete Waterman. I  copied Pete Clemons in on my e mails to the show and his wizard pen has converted that material into an article for the Coventry Telegraph. The material related to Pete's early R & B bands, early songwriting, DJing in Coventry and the Midlands and his Soul Hole shop and more. In addition to the article itself, I've added in some of the source material below for your enjoyment. 
Trev Teasdel

At the time of writing, the show is currently being recorded, Pete having been interviewed and some of the artists have been filmed too. It should go out some time soon during the summer.

This a view of the whole article but a readable version  is below.

Readable version (split in two so that the text is readable)

Pop man Pete's early years; Your memories.

Pete Clemons 

COVENTRY born Pete Waterman, founder of PWL who created the1980s hit making phenomenon Stock Aitken and Waterman as well as being nationally known as being an early Pop Idol judge is soon to be featured on 'Piers Morgan's Life Stories'.

Ex-Coventry resident Trev Teasdel who set up the highly recommended Coventry Music Blog website, knew Pete Waterman through work and would help out now and again at his dances. Trev has kept a fascinating set of notes and memorabilia about those days.

I have attempted here to condense those notes and capture a snapshot of Pete Waterman's early career in the music business in one manageable article.

Pete began as an R & B singer with two mid to late 60s bands. His first band, as far as Trev can recall, were called The Pilgrims. The Pilgrims may have been operating circa 1965/66 but apart from that very little information exists about them.

His next band was Tomorrow's Kind. The line-up was Pete Waterman on guitar and vocals, Keith Jackson on bass, Duncan Hall on drums, Richard Hollis on lead guitar, Paul Hatt on vocals. They played R & B and Motown covers and were operating circa 1967/68 at venues such as The General Wolfe, The Navigation and The Plough on the London Road. They were also with Friars promotions that sent them all over the place.

The transition from band member to DJ could have been one evening when a band failed to turn up and he went and fetched a bunch of soul records to fill for the band.

But there is no doubt that as far back as 1969 Pete Waterman performed at venues such as The Baginton Oak and The Mercers Arms. He would sometimes work under the alias of Dandelion and would also double up with another DJ known as Chantilly Tilly.

At this time Pete was working at the GEC (General Electric Company) where he was also a shop steward. It was in June 1970 when Trev, also working for the GEC, first met Pete. Trev, a poet, was putting a lyric together called 'A Lotta Rain is Fallin'.

Pete caught sight of it and was particularly taken with a line from the song 'There's a lotta rivers flowin' but the seas's learned how to fly'. To Trev's surprise he took it away, put his own acoustic guitar behind it and recorded it onto a state of the art mono cassette player.

It is not known if this was his first attempt at recording as it is suspected he had contributed original material to his earlier bands. Nothing ever became of that song and the cassette has long since disappeared.

As well as still working at The Mercers Arms, 1970 also saw Pete get a residency at The Walsgrave pub's Progressive music nights which he ran for Friars Promotions.

These nights would have a mix of local progressive bands and singer songwriters.

The Mercers Arms housed national progressive bands via Birmingham based Jim Simpson who discovered Black Sabbath about then. Some of the bands included Skid Row, Medicine Head (with unannounced the former Yardbird, Keith Relf) and many more that at that time were playing the university circuit and appearing on John Peel.

Trev would help Pete collect payment on the door along with fulfilling a number of other functions at The Walsgrave. Trev also has strong memories of seeing Pete play staccato flute and of seeing him jam with legendary local singer songwriter Rod Felton at the Earlsdon Cottage. Rod, who worked the national folk circuit, also had a strong R & B voice and had, according to Pete, become a bit of star on the folk scene.

Later that same evening Pete introduced Trev to an R & B band called Gypsy Lee. After doing a cover of Led Zeppelin's 'Lemon Song', Pete took to the stage to do the vocals on 'Rock me Baby' (an R & B standard) cutting a raucous vocal with some breathy, staccato flute in the intervals between vocal.

It was highly effective and Trev often wondered why he didn't do that more often but realised that he was more interested in developing his career as DJ and promoter at that stage.

Pete, in his autobiography, is quite dismissive of his own talent but Trev witnessed a small window in Pete's performing art and was always impressed with the energy and strength of his performance at The Walsgrave. This is a side of Pete Waterman that the greater world does not know about him.

Of course, all this may paint a different image of Pete, but throughout, his first love was Motown, blues and R & B. This was his key thread and motivation in music which would eventually lead to the creation of Stock Aitken and Waterman.

Where many others will remember Pete Waterman from was when he was DJ at the Locarno Ballroom. To get a residency here was effectively the big one and would inevitably bring your name to a wider audience within the Coventry area. It began mid way through 1970 and continued through till 1973.

By mid 1973 Pete had left the GEC and, with a friend called Tilly (Chantilly Tilly?), set up an independent record shop called the Soul Hole. He was still continuing to DJ for as many as seven nights a week. Initially the Soul Hole was located in the cellar of a hippy boutique store called 'I AM' in Hales Street, Coventry. The cellar of the building had a very low ceiling and was not the ideal location. The 'I AM' shop would be alive with soul music pumping up from the cellar and full of young Northern Soul fans. The shop would also advertise its products in the Coventry Telegraph and Trev's grass roots music magazine 'Hobo'. The Soul Hole also supplied a top 14 chart reflecting the then current sales of the imported soul records that Pete was selling at that time.

Mr George's Nite Spot was Pete's next destination and the formation of Coventry Soul Club where he ran regular discos. By the end of 1973 the Soul Club had moved to the Tree Tops Club on the Foleshill Road where he would attract guest artists. During this period Pete won a DJ of the month competition organised by Philadelphia records.

1974 saw the Soul Hole relocate to the top floor of Virgin records which, at that time was located in the City Arcade. This is how Pete announced the move in Hobo magazine "As you know by now our small shop (The Soul Hole) has now moved to the top of Virgin Records in the City Arcade. Our new shop will, we hope, bring more people into the faith. We had a good time at the shop in the 'I AM' boutique but the stock was getting too big for our small shop. The move will not, we hope, change the service that we are so proud of. The new shop will give us more room to serve and talk. Also you can stand up!" By now though, Pete's reputation was growing nationally and his activities were spreading. He had taken a job as an A&R man, and worked in the Philadelphia scene, reviewing the latest releases by the likes of Trammps, Billy Paul and The O'Jays. Significantly, during March 1974, he introduced the Three Degrees to the UK and slightly later had moved into production, with Susan Cadogan's hit 'Hurts So Good' being an early exa mple.

Pete Waterman would inevitably move on from, but never forget, Coventry. Hopefully, this brief potted history gives an insight into Pete's Coventry days but the rest, as they say, is history.

Pete Waterman's R & B Bands in the mid to late 1960's

The Pilgrims
This band was operating c 1965 / 66 but i have no further information about them.

Tomorrow's Kind c 1967 / 68
The line up was Pete Waterman - guitar and vocals, Keith Jackson - bass, Duncan Hall - drums, Richard Hollis - lead guitar, Paul Hatt - vocals.

They played R & B standards and Motown and possible some original numbers.

The played local gigs like the Navigation Inn / The General Wolf / The Plough and Friars Promotions used to send them all over the Midlands.

Tomorrow's Kind playing at the Navigation Inn.

Photos of  Tomorrow's Kind supplied kindly by Vocalist Paul Hatt

Here is an excerpt on 'Tomorrow's Kind'  from Pete Waterman's bio  I Wish I Was Me 

" By 1965 the whole Beatlemania phenomenon had gone barmy........for a while at least I was in a band called Tomorrow's Kind who actually looked like they might have gone on to be famous. They didn't, of course, but we did pick up a bit of a following and we started gigging three or four nights a week while I was still holding down the day job at the GEC. That continued for a couple of years but I eventually  realised that I didn't have any genuine talent. I could fake it like buggery, but I was never going to be top of the charts. 
One night in 1966 we were playing a gig and one of the other bands didn't turn up, so I dashed home, got my records and played them before the band came on. Now no one really did this at that time and the Landlord of the pub where we were playing said he really liked it. He offered me 10 bob to come back again and play records the following week. This wasn't some kind of complicated system, it was a record player with a microphone next to it going through the PA, but for 10 bob. I wasn't about to complain. So by a quirk of fate, I went from being the lead singer in a not very good band to being the only DJ in Coventry. ....I began to play records more than I played instruments, and because I got to know the right people, I started to get people asking me to play records."
Pete's book available on Amazon - here 

Pete's DJing is legendary and there are various Coventry Telegraph articles on this blog by Pete Clemons which looks at some of the venues that Pete Waterman DJ'd at - The Locarno (Tiffany's) / Tree Tops / The Walsgrave / The Mercer's Arms - check them out in the index.

Trev Teasdel's memories - Part 1
I met Pete in 1970 at the GEC Stoke Works, Telecommunications dept. Copswood, Coventry. Pete, was the TGWU shop steward. I was 19 and putting on local bands at the Coventry Arts Umbrella Club and writing lyrics during tea breaks and sometimes during Pete's Union meetings!

In June 1970, I began writing a lyric called A Lotta Rain is Fallin' (while the boss was out!) and a workmate asked me what i was doing. Pete got wind of it and came over to see what i was doing. He ended up taking it away with him (half finished though it was, promising to put music to  it. The lyric was inspired partly by Dylan's but also Epitaph by King Crimson. I think I wanted to be a kind of Pete Sinfield (who wrote lyrics for King Crimson or Pete Brown who wrote lyrics for Cream at that stage. The next week Pete brought in a mono cassette player and played the song to me with his voice and acoustic guitar. His voice was a mix between the smooth tones of Paul McCartney and the R & B edge of Bob Dylan and he loved one of the lines "There's a lotta rivers flowin' but the sea's learned how to fly" for its imagery and repeated it in his version.  I've no idea if this was his first attempt at songwriting or if he'd written for the bands he played in but it was damn good and I completed the lyric and gave it to him. Pete promised to perform it at the Walsgrave but it never materialised. The lyric is below - not quite a Kylie Minogue song - it was 1970 and Pete wasn't world famous at that stage. 

A LOTTA RAIN IS FALLIN’ (Lyric by Trev Teasdel June 1970)

A lotta rain is fallin’, but the earth has moved aside
There’s a lotta bullets flying but the victim’s found somewhere to hide
There’s a lotta rivers flowin’ but the seas learned how to fly.
There’s a lotta clouds a wondering which rockets knicked the sky
‘cos the roads are moving fast but the cars are standing still
and so much is happening yet nothing’s ever done
Oh we want to see the light but we’re dazzled by the sun.

And some people’s only sunshine
Is their Cornflakes in the morning time
And the age of instant sunshine
In packets of bright display
I know will be dawning, in some future day.

There’s a lotta tears a fallin’, and more are being cried
There’s a lotta people trampled on as man takes another stride
There’s a lotta smoke a rising but the sky’s learned how to swim
There’s a lotta faces smiling but their hearts are feeling grim
Cos a lotta tension’s forming and the bags about to burst
There’s gotta be an answer cos the world is getting worse.
A lotta help is needed to get that truck back on the road
Cos too many people are pullin’ too heavier a load.


I don't have a copy of Pete Waterman's more upbeat version  but this Sound click link is to an acoustic version with my own chords / music and playing and with a minor chord feel. I originally envisaged melotron in it and we did do a version with modern keyboards but this is just an acoustic version with lead guitar by Steve Gillgallon of Middlesbrough) and recorded on cassette in 1981. You can hear it here - 

The Walsgrave
Pete got me to write for several local bands like Coconut Mat and some times threw ideas at me for lyrics -Umbrella club. They were mostly local or regional bands at that venue like Wandering John, Asgard (a Pink Floyd type outfit that John Peel was interested in), Pantomime (from Birmingham), April, Skid Row (not local) and many more.
one using the imagery of Chess is one I remember. He also asked me to come down the Walsgrave - a pub, where on a Tuesday night , he ran a progressive music venue and disco. For nearly a year i turned up early after work and helped Pete set up and did the door. It meant I got in free and was an opportunity to meet new bands, some of which I booked for the

While setting up he'd play many of the chart hits of the time - Yellow River, In the Summertime, Question (Moody Blues), Groovin' with Mr Bloe, Spirit in the Sky, All Right Now, Psychedelic Shack, American Woman, are a few I remember, along with oldies like Itchycoo Park and soul hits. 

Sometimes we'd go walkabout, often to collect gear - leads, mics, instruments etc before the doors opened at 8pm. On one occasion we walked up to his house in Walsgrave and another to his parents house in Burlington rd, catching the bus into town (he was highly popular even back then with all the disco fans from the Locarno waving to him as we walked through town), and then up to Earlsdon Cottage folk club to collect his flute from Rod Felton. Rod was sat out on the grass at the back with a crown and his guitar and Pete joined in on flute, playing quite melodically. The next time Pete used his flute was, as described in the article, doing the vocals on Rock me Baby with the R & B band Gypsy Lee, adding staccato, Jethro Tull style flute in the breaks. 
Pete Waterman's parents house at Burlington Rd, Stoke.


The Locarno Ballroom - Pete Waterman's biggest residency as DJ

In 1973 Pete Waterman left the GEC and launched The Soul Hole - selling imported Northern Soul
records. At first the shop was located in cellar of a hippy boutique in Hales Street, called I Am and later, in 1974 above Virgin Records in the City Arcade. Pete gave us a Top 14 of the records selling in his shop for the 2nd Edition of  Hobo and an advert and wrote an article for us about his meet up with the Three degrees. About this time he visited the Philly Studios in US. The following are press cuttings and material from 1973 / 4 / 5.

Ad from Coventry Evening Telegraph 1973

Pete's ad for Hobo

(An article written by Pete Waterman for HOBO - Coventry Music and Arts Magazine (1974)

"As you know by now our small shop (The Soul Hole) has now moved to the top of Virgin Records in the City Arcade. Our new shop will, we hope, bring more people into the faith. We had a good time at the shop in the I AM boutique but the stock was getting too big for our small shop. The move will not, we hope, change the service that we are so proud of. The new shop will give us more room to serve and talk. Also you can stand up! (The Soul Hole was originally in the cellar of the I AM boutique with a low ceiling!!)

Anyway, down to business. As most of you know by now, I spent the 5th and 6th of March with the Three Degrees. Sheila, Fay and Valerie. On Monday the 5th I went to the Mayfair Hotel in London to see the girls do their own thing. The girls got on and did When Will I See You Again. The first thing that took our breath away was their see through dresses, but they are far from just good looking foxes. At dinner I sat with Peter Winfield (for all those who don't read sleeve notes) Peter is the cat who played keyboards for BLOODSTONE on both Natural High and their new album. For all the foxes and cats not into our faith, Pete also plays for COLIN BLUNSTONE, and writes for a National rock paper.

Pete is a soul freak like myself and we both agreed their harmonies were the tightest we'd heard for some
time. The voices were fantastic, Sheila takes the lead most of the time. The next in line was Dirty Old Man, this was fantastic, with the girls showing they can handle the audience with fun and firmness. Then they did "A Woman Needs Love" proving they can sing ballads as well as up tempo Nos. Their footwork was as good as any I've seen before, and if any in the audience weren't sold on that, the next was they're single Year of Decision. It had everybody on their feet shouting for more. But it was all over, Pete and the Colin Blunstone band went off to record the Old Grey Whistle Test, and I went to the girls bedroom to have a natter to them about their early years for all the people who knock our music- God knows why!
 (above - Pete Waterman's original article submission for Hobo Mag)
Just as a boost to our egos, David Bowie was there to pay homage to the three ladies of soul. It seems that Rock stars are getting back to their roots with Bowie telling me that he is soon to be recording with top black acts in the states and John Lennon saying Ann Pebbles I Can Feel the Rain is the best record for two years.
(Below Three Degrees - When Will i See You Again)
New Sounds to Look Out For
The Ojays new single is a track off their latest LP (as are all the new Philly singles) and is called For the Love of Money. The Intruders - I’ll Always love My Mama (2 Pts)

Trammps new single is a track off the 1970 British Motown company, picking the slower track. USA Marvin Gaye scores with his controversial single You Sure Like to Ball taken from the Let’s Get it On album. A new single soaring up the American charts from the M.F.S.B. band on Philly International is called Tsop, taken from the TV series Soul Train. The end five bars feature the 3 Degrees.

LP of the month - too many really to pick one but look out for Blue Magic and import Out Here on my Own  Lamont / Dozier. Superb LP’s. Next Billy Paul single The Whole Town’s Talkin’ .
Also check out - Rock me Baby - George Mc Crea / Help Yourself - Undisputed Truth / Dancing Machine - Jackson 5 / I Lied - Bunny Sigler / yMighty Mighty - Earth, Wind and Fire / Be Thankful For What You’ve Got - William Devaaughn / Chameleon - Herbie Hancock / Sagittarius - Eddie Kendicks / If You’re Ready - Staple Singers / Got To Get You Back - Sons of Robin Stone / Pepper Box - The Peppers

See ya soon. Keep the faith right on -
Pete Waterman (1974)

Also reported in Hobo at the time -

DAVE SIMMONS DJ of Radio Ones Saturday soul programme, dedicated last weeks program exclusively to the Philadelphia Sound, thanks to the efforts of our own Pete Waterman, who has just returned from the very place with a hoard of interviews and information about the music. Pete was interviewed throughout the program by Dave and his interviews were also aired. Next issue, providing Pete gets it together, we'll have an article on the Philly sound from the expert!

One of Pete's discos reported in the Coventry Evening Telegraph 1974

Pete Waterman's visit to the Philly sound in 1974 - source Coventry Evening Telegraph.

Soul Hole - from Coventry Evening Telegraph 1973

More recently - Pete Waterman and John Bradbury (of the Specials) at Pete Chamber's launch of one of the Two Tone Plaques at Virgin records - Coventry c 2009

Pete with his Gold Discs

Another plaque at Mr George's Nightclub where Pete DJ'd and began managing the Specials.

The Big One - Kylie Minogue with I Should be so Lucky

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Nektar - Roye Albrighton

Prolific person of the pen - Pete Clemons is on the case of Nektar - Roye Albrighton's band, for the Coventry Telegraph....

Pete points out that although recently published in the Cov Telegraph, this article was written sometime ago and the the album he mentions "A Spoonful of Time", mentioned towards the end of the article, was actually called "Time machine" - so bear that in mind.

Roye's still after his Nektar points!

Pete Clemons 

ROYE Albrighton was born in the Bell Green area of Coventry on February 6, 1949. He is a son of Arthur (Senior) and Anne Albrighton. He will always be best remembered for his continuing involvement in the world renowned band Nektar where he plays lead guitar and is also lead vocalist.

Roye, actually born Roy, started learning to play guitar at around the age of 10 when brother Modie, who had been a television repair engineer, used to fix elderly people's TVs for free. One day he was given an old Spanish guitar by one of his clients. Roye came across the guitar that, apparently, only had one string. This minor issue did not deter him, the guitar was repaired, strings were replaced and the rest as they say is history.

His early influences included bands like The Ventures, The Spotniks and The Shadows. Later, as he was learning his craft, he would be inspired by bands like The Beatles and the various Jimi Hendrix bands like The Experience and The Band of Gypsies. Incredibly, in fact, Roye once actually jammed with Hendrix during a spell of living in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Roye began his musical career in local band The Peeps who went on to release several singles for the Philips label. After this he became a member of Rainbows. Actually The Peeps and The Rainbows were essentially the same band. But it was at this point when Roye started to write his own material and began to work it into Rainbows' music.

Rainbows were known for their flowing silky robes, eye liner and Vidal Sassoon styled hair. This was fairly outrageous stuff for the time. The band also relocated to London for a while where they signed up with Ashley Kozaks management.

They recorded and cut two singles on the CBS label. The first was called 'Rainbows' and the second was called 'New Day Dawning', a quite wonderful song that would eventually feature on a Nektar album called 'Sounds Like This'. During 1968 Rainbows were doing some gigs in Germany. These included dates at the Top Ten Club in Hamburg. And it was during some leisure time that Roye paid a visit to the famous Star Club next to the Reeperbahn.

While there he heard a drummer rehearsing. His curiosity got the better of him and Roye went into the club and met up with Ron Howden who, at that time, was drummer of house band Prophecy. The following day Roye took his guitar along and the two jammed together. The chemistry between Ron and Roye was almost instant.

Roye rejoined Rainbows but, sometime during 1969, the band went their separate ways. Incidentally, after the split, the nucleus of Rainbows went on to form a band called Still Life who, themselves, released their own highly regarded album. From Rainbows Roye then moved to Sweden and took up residency for a while. While there he met up with a promoter who had worked with him when Rainbows toured the country. This led to him being put in touch with a band called The Outsiders who he played with for a short time until it was time for him to return to the UK.

It was now late 1969, and a year or so after those jamming sessions with Prophecy, and Roye received a telegram out of the blue from Mo Moore who was Prophecy's bass player. The telegram asked if he would be interested in going back to Germany and taking up the lead guitar position within Prophecy as their guitarist was leaving. At the time Roye had been rehearsing for a part in the backing band for the London debut of Hair. However, in November of 1969, Roye teamed up with Prophecy and, shortly afterwards, together they formed the band Nektar.

In the 40 plus years since their formation Nektar have often been regarded as one of the most influential bands of the 1970s within their genre. They were pioneers of futuristic live shows and performed some of the earliest gigs that included lights and pictures. Their 1970s albums are some of the most adored records of the progressive rock genre. Following the release of Nektar's fourth album 'Remember the Future' during 1973 (their second album release in the U.S.), the band were launched into orbit as they became hugely popular, not just in Europe, but also in America.

Today, after a dozen or so studio albums, several live records and a potentially fatal liver condition almost 10 years ago, Roye's current version of Nektar are back and will soon be releasing their next album titled 'A Spoonful of Time'. This will be an album of cover songs that have been given Roye's twist. He will also be accompanied on the album by the likes of Rick Wakeman, John Wetton, Ginger Baker and many more who will be adding their own individual and unique touches to it.

I for one look forward to hearing it as well as being able to see them gig again in 2013.

And Roye Albrighton's Nektar website is here -

More to be found on youtube!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Mighty Avengers

Pete Clemons takes a look on one of the top Coventry bands of the mid 1960's - The Mighty Avengers - in his latest Coventry Telegraph article -

The Mighty sound of Coventry; Your memories.

Pete Clemons 

THE Mighty Avengers were a beat group, formed in 1962 and were one of the most hard working and well respected bands of their time.

Actually it was not until September/October 1963 that they added the word 'Mighty' to the band name. Apparently this was so that they would not be confused with Birmingham singer Gerry Levene's backing band. Prior to that they had, simply, been known as The Avengers.

The Avengers were formed by lead guitarist and vocalist Tony Campbell along with fellow aero apprentice and drummer Dave Beech. School friends Mike Linnell and Kevin Mahon both joined on bass and rhythm guitar respectively and the line up was complete.

Mid-1962 saw The Avengers secure a residency at The Walsgrave Hotel, as it was known back then, for a weekly 'rock and twist' night. The residency continued at the same venue right through to the days of Club Caroline and beyond.

They also played regularly at other Coventry venues like The Pilot, The Craftsman and The Heath and this meant that The Mighty Avengers were seen as a Coventry group but in fact all the band members were Rugby-based.

So popular, The Mighty Avengers were described in the local press as the most successful Coventry group on the national scene as well as ambassadors for the Coventry sound.

An early break came for the band was when they supported Buddy Brittain and the Regents and The Beatles at the Co-op hall in Nuneaton on October 5, 1962. Note that The Beatles were not the headliners that night.

Danny Betesh and Associates, who were a part of the all powerful Kennedy Street Artistes of Manchester, soon picked up on the band. In the early 60s Danny Betesh had built the agency up by signing Manchester acts Herman's Hermits, Freddy and the Dreamers, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders and this association led to The Mighty Avengers furthering their reputation and getting gigs in the North West at venues like the New Elizabethan in Manchester and the Cavern in Liverpool where they went down so well that they were offered return dates.

This partnership also led to them recording several singles for Decca records. The first of these, credited to Alan Klein, was titled 'Hide Your Love' and released in April 1964. The B-side, another song written by Decca songwriters was titled 'Hey Senorita'. The band did try to write their own compositions, but, as they told local press at the time 'most of them landed in the waste bin'.

By the time of the next release the band had joined forces with Decca's recording manager Andrew Loog-Oldham. Loog-Oldham had very strong links with Decca label mates The Rolling Stones as well as having interests in various other bands and artists.

The Mick Jagger/Keith Richard song 'So Much in Love' had been recorded by the Stones in November 1963 but never released by them. So it was arranged by Loog-Oldham that The Mighty Avengers record it. They released it in August 1964 and the 45rpm spent two weeks in the charts reaching number 46.

The B-side of this single was titled 'Sometime They Say'. Incidentally, both songs were recorded under the music directorship of future Led Zeppelin bass player John Paul Jones, On July 1, 1964 The Rolling Stones recorded some backing tracks at Greenford Studio's, London.

These were intended for some of Andrew Loog-Oldham's other artists like The Poets, Marianne Faithful, Vashti and Twice as Much.

Among the demos were songs titled 'Blue Turns to Grey' and '(Walking Thru The) Sleepy City' and both of these songs ended up with The Mighty Avengers.

'Blue Turns To Grey' along with B-side 'I'm Lost Without You' was released in February 1965 but sadly it failed to chart.

The Rolling Stones did eventually release it on their 1965 US album release 'December's Children (and everyone's)'. The song, however, would eventually hit the UK charts when Cliff Richard released a version of it in March 1966. It peaked at number 15.

The band released '(Walking Thru The) Sleepy City' which, along with its B-side 'Sir Edward and Lady Jane', turned out to be The Mighty Avengers final single, in July 1965.

Yet again, and despite many session musicians being involved, the record failed to chart for them. Not long after 'Sleepy City' The Mighty Avengers split up.

For those interested though The Rolling Stones version of 'Sleepy City' can be heard on the band 'Metamorphoses' compilation album released in 1975 and contains a lot of unreleased material that the great Jagger/Richard partnership wrote with the intention of the songs going to others.

But soon after the split, in April 1966, Tony Campbell along with several of his former band members would put together the popular group Jigsaw. Now Jigsaw did indeed see chart success, and not just in the UK either, but worldw ide.

Recordings by The Mighty Avengers are still available in the 21st century. Although the original 45 rpms are difficult to find the songs can still be heard via the internet. Alternatively, hard copies can be heard on the Decca Records compilation CD 'The Beat Scene' and the excellent Jagger/Richard 'Songbook' CD which contains 24 cover versions of Mick and Keith songs including 'Sleepy City'.

A year or so after John Peel passed away a box containing 143 singles was discovered among his belongings. This was a small private collection that was set aside from his main archive of 100,000 vinyl records and CDs. Apparently this set of 45s represented some of his very favourite songs. Within this box was a copy of The Mighty Avengers 'So Much in Love'.


Mighty Avengers c 1962

Also see Tony Campbell's article on Manchester Beat site with more material - Here
A Rugby based quartet
Sources - Rex Brough / Pete Chambers (Backbeat) / Dean Nelson
Biffo Beech - Drums, Vocals

Tony Campbell - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Mike Linnell - Bass, Lead Vocals
Kevin Mahon (aka Beppy)- Guitar, Harmonica


Hide Your Pride/Hey Senorita (Decca F 11891) 1964
So Much In Love/Sometime They Say (Decca F 11962) 1964
Blue Turns To Grey/I'm Lost Without You (Decca F 12085) 1965
(Walkin' Thru The) Sleep City/Sir Edward And Lady Jane (Decca F 12198) 1965

The Mighty Avengers came from Rugby and with Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham, who got the band signed to England's Decca Records in 1964, he produced and recorded Jagger/Richard songs. They released four singles in two years and made a specialty of covering songs by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards,"So Much In Love" was a minor hit. Tony Campbell, the one in specs was later the one in specs in Jigsaw, along with Kevin. 

Dean Nelson says "One is intrigued by the B-side of their final single, "Sir Edward and Lady Jane," which manages to squeeze references to the founder and head of Decca and a notable Jagger/Richards song into its name.

In 1966, lead guitarist Tony Campbell hooked up with ex-Pinkerton's Assorted Colours bassist Barrie Bernard and keyboardist Clive Scott and drummer Des Dyer, who'd written songs for Engelbert Humperdinck, to form Jigsaw, which had a long, successful history in England"

Pete Chambers - Backbeat - Coventry Telegraph c April 2006

The Mighty Avengers - By Pete Chambers

Formed in 1962, The Mighty Avengers had four claims to fame. Claim to fame number one, saw them link up with loose Cannon manager Andrew Loog Oldham (after their initial release Hide Your Pride failed to do the business) - who just so happened to be managing the Rolling Stones at the time. So the Mighty Avengers got to use the songs that the Glimmer Twins (Mick n Keef) deemed less that worthy for Rolling Stone use.

Claim to fame number Two, one of those songs So Much In Love, was a record that became a record (if you see what I mean). Although only charting at a humble 46, it never the less made history by being the first ‘local’ band to dent the UK singles chart. (Frank Ifield had already clocked up 13 hits in the hit parade by this time, but he was of course classed as a solo artist as apposed to a group).

The Mighty Avengers went on to release the singles Blue Turns To Grey (later a hit for Cliff Richard and written by the Stones) and the sublime tour de force (Walkin’ Thru The) Sleepy City. Sadly Tony Campbell (lead guitar, vocals) Dave ‘Biffo’ Beech (drums and vocals), Mike Linnell (bass and lead vocal) and Kevin ‘Bep’ Mahon (guitar and harmonica) failed to dent the charts again as The Mighty Avengers, but……

Claim to fame number three, the band would later re-emerge as Jigsaw and take the music world by storm with the ever popular sky High.

Claim to Fame number four, When the late great John Peel died, he left a box of 142 - 7” vinyl singles, believed to be his favourites, among them was the single So Much In love. When you look at the company it was keeping, (I refer to the likes of Elmore James, MC5, the Beatles and of course The Undertones), it’s easy to see what an impressive legacy the band left behind them.

I recently managed to track down the legendary
and very elusive Andrew Loog Oldham, and asked him if he remembered the Mighty Avengers?, he replied, "Of course, often and fondly". I asked him if he felt they could have been bigger than they actually were? He replied in his usual Delphian way, "We had good songs, and as I recall, had a nice time getting them done, and you can still hear it, it doesn't get much better than that".

" The most successful Coventry group on the national scene are, without doubt, The Mighty Avengers. They were a disappointing 6th in our poll. Once again the emergence of a group onto the national scene has meant that many of their less fanatical fans had drifted away. " Via Tim James site From Coventry Express, Friday May 28th 1965 Citybeat by Paul Connew.

Mighty Avengers - Jagger Richards song

Another Jagger Richards cover from 1965 which gave Cliff and the Shadows a hit c 1966