January and February 1968 – Mud – pre-glam appearances in High Wycombe

My research for 1968 live gigs in High Wycombe unearthed a couple of early appearances by Mud – a group better known for the huge success they enjoyed between 1973 and 1976 (14 top 20 UK hit singles, including three number ones).

Mud – Bucks Free Press adverts for their High Wycombe gigs at Townfield House and Town Hall – January and February 1968

Mud had formed in Surrey in February 1966 and released their debut single ‘Flower Power’ in late 1967 and a follow-up ‘Up the Airy Mountain’ during the early months of 1968. They first played High Wycombe on Monday 29th January 1968 at The Townfield House in Totteridge Road (the road directly above High Wycombe railway station).  The venue (with a capacity of around 200) was home to the local Constituency Labour Party (C.L.P.) – it had been hosting gigs since 1967 – typically on evenings when other venues were not open.  The Mud gig was billed as ‘They play on Radio One’.  Admission was 4/6 (22 ½ p) for non-members and 3/6 (17 ½ p) for members.

It can only be assumed that the Townfield House gig was a success, as less than two weeks later they were back for an appearance at the much larger capacity Town Hall. The date of their second appearance was Saturday 10th February 1968, with the Bucks Free Press advert confirming ‘From London their name is MUD but their sound is sensational’. Admission was 5/- (25p).

The line-up of Mud at the time of their High Wycombe appearances included songwriters Les Gray (vocals and keyboards) and Rob Davis (guitarist), both 21 at the time.  The dates of their High Wycombe shows also appear to be at a similar time they signed their first professional recording contracts.  According to a band history, written by Dave Profitt (see link below), they played their first professional gig on 31st March 1968 at London’s Marquee Club – a few weeks after their High Wycombe dates.

For your listening pleasure
This is what Mud sounded like back in 1967 and 1968.

Flower Power – Mud 1967

Up the Airy Mountain – Mud 1968

References:

http://www.mudrock.org.uk/html/story.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mud_(band)

 

 

27 May 2018 – Frogfest – High Wycombe

High Wycombe annual FREE street festival is back again – FROGFEST takes place on Sunday 27th May 2018 in the High Street and surrounding venues.  The family-friendly event features a variety of musicians, food stalls and street entertainers.  2018 sees Frogfest celebrate its sixth birthday, and this year’s event promises to be the biggest ever!

FROGFEST LINEUP 2018 MAY 27th from 11.25am.

11.25 – 11.45 – Everyone can sing
11.45 – 12.15 -Main Stage – Hartbeats Vitae Drummers
12.15 -12.40 – Squirrel Stage – The Bailey Sisters
12.40 – 13.10 – Main Stage – The Brightside
13.10 – 13.35 – Squirrel Stage – The Apricot Hounds
13.35 – 14.10 – Main Stage – 3rd Lung
14.10 – 14.35 – Squirrel Stage – 91 Nights
14.35 – 15.10 – Main Stage -Tinlin
15.10 – 15.35 – Squirrel Stage – Maz Manzini Band
15.35 – 16.10 – Main Stage – Dury Service
16.10 – 16.35 – Squirrel Stage – Other Sons
16.35 – 17.15 – Main Stage – Sir Walter J Wallis
17.15 – 17.45 – Squirrel Stage – Steph Willis
17.45 – 18.25 – Main Stage – The Hot House Four
18.25 – 19.05 – Squirrel Stage – AmiR
19.05 – 19.45 – Main Stage – These Certain People
19.45 – 20.30 – Squirrel Stage – Georgia and the Vintage Youth
20.30 – 21.30 – Main Stage – The Defekters

Notice also that The Antelope will be hosting FREE live music from 1.30pm to 10.30pm, including headliners – The Sex Pistols Experience.

 

Visit the websites below for more information.

 Links

 https://www.frogfest.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/HWfrogfest/

 https://twitter.com/hwfrogfest?lang=en

PLEASE SUPPORT LIVE MUSIC IN HIGH WYCOMBE

4 April 2018 – Talking punk on Emperor’s Bits for Wycombe Sound

Not put off by my guest appearance on 21st February 2018, Andy Aliffe invited me back on to his ‘Emperor’s Bits’ show on Wycombe Sound on 4th April 2018 – this time talking about the early days of the ‘punk’ scene in High Wycombe.

The Emperor’s Bits – Wycombe Sound radio show featuring Andy Aliffe (right) and Stevyn Colgan (left).

This was another hugely enjoyable hour were I was joined and helped out by friend and Wycombe Sound’s Punkarolla host, Andy Chalk.

We got a chance to remind listeners that the likes of The Sex Pistols, Damned, Clash, and Stranglers all played the legendary Nag’s Head back in 1976 – while the following year the same venue hosted The Jam, XTC and Elvis Costello.

Of course, we couldn’t leave without a mention for ex-High Wycombe Grammar school boy Ian Dury, who played High Wycombe during his early career with Kilburn and The Highroads, before returning with his Blockheads on the Bunch of Stiffs tour at The Town Hall in October 1977.

Highlight of the show for me was hearing former Bucks Free Press junior reporter Janice Raycroft talking about the iconic Sex Pistols at High Wycombe college in February 1976. Janice, now editor of Buckinghamshire Life magazine, recalled in vivid detail her interview with Johnny Rotten, seeing Sid Viscous wielding a knife and the mixed reaction of the audience.

The show also briefly touched on the 50th anniversary of the first ever ‘Blues Loft’ gig at The Nag’s Head and it’s hoped a further edition of The Emperor’s Bits will be dedicated to the history of this sadly lost venue.

The show is available on the listen again function until 2 May 2018.

http://listenagain.wycombesound.org.uk/index.php/shows/the-emperors-bits/

Emperor’s Bits line-up 4th April 2018 – Stevyn Colgan, Andy Aliffe (nice hair), Andy Chalk and Paul Lewis

14 April 1978 – Generation X – Town Hall

High Wycombe favourites Generation X returned to the Town Hall on Friday 14th April 1978 for a riotous  performance with Scottish band The Jolt as support.

Generation X – High Wycombe Town Hall – 14th April 1978 – poster

The Billy Idol fronted band had previously appeared in High Wycombe on four occasions – all at The Nag’s Head but were invited back by promoter Ron Watts for their first appearance at the much larger capacity Town Hall.

By the time of this appearance, Generation X were well established – releasing their self-titled debut album in March 1978 – reaching No.29 in the UK album charts. Their third single, ‘Ready, Steady, Go’ was released at the same time, with a Top of the Pops appearance following just a few weeks before their Town Hall show.

Their local reputation meant that the gig was played out before a full-house and an intense atmosphere. My friend Buzz recalls being at the gig as a teenager – having already seen them at The Nag’s Head the previous year.  He was keeping a diary at the time and wrote: “The whole gig was incredible, absolutely fantastic! [The gig] had everything.”.  He went on to say: “When Gen X came on everything was great. Suddenly the place was jam-packed and their set was superb. The group really enjoyed it.” The crowd reaction prompted Billy Idol to thank the audience for such a great reception.  Describing the crowd, Buzz added: “Masses of pogoing in the front, behind were the skinheads looking for trouble, throwing bog rolls at Gen X and even beer cans, but the excitement was such that no-one cared about them.”

For your listening and viewing pleasure

Ready, Steady, Go -Generation X – Top of the Pops -March 1978

January/February 1978 – High Wycombe music memories

January and February 1978 were relatively quiet months for live gigs in High Wycombe, compared to the wealth of shows in the closing months of 1977. However, I doubt it wasn’t for the want of trying on the part of local promoter Ron Watts.

Watts’ baby was The Nag’s Head and he put on Liverpool ‘power-pop’ hopefuls The Yachts on Thursday 19th January 1978.  The Yachts had appeared at the same venue on 16th October 1977 shortly after the release of their debut single on Stiff Records, ‘Suffice to Say’ and the popularity of that gig saw a repeat booking – albeit not a date to set the pulses racing for those keen to see something new in the same week that The Sex Pistols had played their final live date.

However, there was excitement for fans of the local music scene when the national music press, including NME and Sounds, reported that The Rich Kids, a band who included former Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock, were due to appear at The Town Hall on Saturday 28th January 1978.  The High Wycombe appearance looked to be a real coup for Watts as it would be part of national tour that had seen virtually all dates sell-out.  But there was bad news in store for Watts and punters, when, for reasons I’ve been unable to trace, the gig was cancelled and the local gig goers were left with another free Saturday evening to fill.

‘Pub Rock’ outfit Roogalator played at The Nag’s Head on Thursday 2nd February 1978.  They had been a regular live act under Ron Watts – dating back to a late 1975 gig at The Crown in Marlow.  They went on to appear at The Nag’s Head during 1976 and 1977 – drawing decent crowds from their loyal following despite not entirely fitting in with the direction that popular music was taking.

Their Nag’s Head date came a few weeks after they appeared at ‘Front Row Festival’, a three-week event at the Hope and Anchor, Islington, in late November and early December 1977. This resulted in the band’s inclusion, on a UK top thirty selling double album of recordings from the festival released in March 1978.  They disbanded shortly after the release of the album.

One of the most popular dates during January and February 1978 was a Patrik Fitzgerald gig at The Nag’s Head.  I’ve yet to be able to confirm the exact date but it was February 1978 and most likely on the regular Thursday slot.  Support came from Frumious Bandersnatch and one of the last appearances by local band, The Party.

The picture below is an extract from Issue 2 of High Wycombe fanzine The Buckshee Press. A great selection of pictures by Pete Bird and Henry.

Bandersnatch, The Party, Shucks and Patrik Fitzgerald – pictures by Pete Bird and Henry – as published in The Buckshee Press – April 1978

Several music historians have designated Fitzgerald as ‘folk punk’, presumably based on his link with rise of the punk movement during 1976 and 1977. He released three EP’s through London record label Small Wonder – the first and best known being ‘Safety-Pin Stuck in My Heart’.

He proved popular with the crowd and would return to The Nag’s Head and Town Hall later in the year.

For your listening and viewing pleasure

The Bingo Crowd – Patrik Fitzgerald – 1978 Revolver TV

5 April 1968 – Blues Loft opens at The Nag’s Head in High Wycombe

My research for wycombegigs.co.uk has confirmed that Friday 5th April 1968 marks a significant date in the live music history of High Wycombe – it was the opening night of the ‘Blues Loft’ in the upstairs room at The Nag’s Head on the London Road.  Organised by a then 25 year old Ron Watts, it proved to be the start of many years of live gigs at The Nag’s Head.

Nag’s Head – Blues Loft – Bucks Free Press advert for opening nights on 5th and 12th April 1968

The advert above, taken from the 29th March 1968 edition of the Bucks Free Press, shows that the acts on the opening night were ‘Champion’ Jack Dupree backed by Shakey Vick’s Blues Band.  The following week, Savoy Brown would continue the Blues theme that would run on an almost weekly basis for the remainder of the year.

Watts had chosen The Nag’s Head after he had arranged Blues gigs earlier in the year at Wycombe pubs, including Ye Exchange, The White Hart and The Angel. Watts explains his choice of The Nag’s Head in his 2006 autobiography – 100 Watts – A Life in Music.

“I went to have a look at the upstairs room, and it was perfect. The bar was at one end of the long, narrow room, which had windows along one side and when we started there were two open fireplaces that came in handy during the winter, when the place could be freezing cold until the customers started to arrive. There were proper dressing rooms, at first to the side of the stage and later, when we had to install a fire escape in the area they took up, we used a small room behind the stage, with direct access onstage. With a capacity of 200, the room was bigger than the ones I’d used before, but I never had any doubts that I could fill the place. And for almost 25 years, I did.”

In my efforts to track down more information on the 5th April 1968 gig, I discovered a webpage (on http://blues.gr/) that contained a picture of Jack Dupree, playing in front of a poster for the opening two nights of The Blues Loft at The Nag’s Head.  The poster is now recognisable as the style that Ron Watts introduced for his Nag’s Head promotions.  It is understood that Les Watts (no relation to Ron) designed the posters.  Behind the band, there is also a sign (partially covered) that says Big Ron’s Blues Loft.  The photograph appears to have been sent to as a memento by Jack Dupree. So much information in just one photograph!

‘Champion’ Jack Dupree at The Nag’s Head – 5th April 1968 – picture kindly supplied by Mel Wright – taken believed to be taken by Roy Holley

I was subsequently delighted to have made contact with the drummer in the photo – Mel Wright – who believes the picture was taken at the Nag’s Head on that opening night – 5th April 1968 and taken by Roy Holley.

Mel was drummer for Shakey Vick that night and later when on to form Dynaflow Blues, who performed at The Nag’s Head on at least five occasions before splitting up towards the end of 1968.

Recalling the night of the first gig at The Nag’s Head on 5th April 1968, Ron Watts said:

“So many people turned up that the bar staff got caught on the hop, working flat out from opening time until last orders. I realised all the other stuff I’d been involved with had been a dress rehearsal. The Nag’s was where I became a real promoter.”

Watts was well known for having his helpers during his promoting days. Nag’s Head landlord at the time, Ron Saunders, was no doubt delighted with the extra trade coming through his door?  Although the Nag’s had a history dating back to the late 19th century, this appears to be first time it had been used a regular venue for live music.  The previous year (1967) it had been used as a disco and during the early months of 1968, the local ‘High Wycombe 18+ Club’ had used it for their new HQ which met at the venue of Tuesday evenings.  Watt’s efforts to promote gigs, saw him use local man, Nick Prigg.  According to Watts, Prigg was a ‘big beared guy’ who drove a wan around with his mate Ivan, covered in posters.  The van was then used to sell hot-dogs in the Town Centre when the pubs closed.  This was pre-kebab days!

Mel kindly sent another photo from the same gig (again taken by Roy Holley of Pinnions Road, High Wycombe).

Line-up in the picture is Ron Skinner (bass), Mel Wright (drums), Rod Price (guitar) and Jack Dupree (piano/vocals). Out of shot is Chris Elvin (Blues Harp).

Please get in touch if you have any memories or memorabilia from these early Blues gigs at The Nag’s Head. I plan to publish further articles throughout 2018 to mark the 50th anniversary.

To give a feel for the kind of music you would have heard that evening:
For your viewing and listening pleasure

Calcutta Blues – Jack Dupree – Beat Club, German TV, June 1969

Savoy Brown at Fillmore East 1969 – music dubbed to colour footage

References:

http://blues.gr/profiles/blogs/brit-author-and-musician-mel-wright-talks-about-british-blues

http://www.melwright.co.uk/

http://www.britishbluesarchive.org.uk/

http://shakeyvick.com/

 

January/February 1968 – Charts acts visit High Wycombe

The opening months of 1968 were a busy time for gigs in High Wycombe. Major charts acts, including Traffic, The Herd, Love Affair and Amen Corner all appeared at the regular Tuesday night dances at The Town Hall.

Montage of Bucks Free Press gig adverts from January and February 1968

These were the dates I uncovered from the Bucks Free Press archives:

Tuesday 23rd January 1968 – Traffic– formed in April 1967, when 19-year-old singer, keyboardist, and guitarist Steve Winwood left The Spencer Davis Group.  Other members of the band were Jim Capaldi (drums), Chris Wood (flute) and Dave Mason (guitar).  Winwood and Wood would play with Jimi Hendrix later in 1968 and appear on the iconic album ‘Electric Ladyland’.  Traffic are best known for their 1967 release ‘Hole in My Shoe’.

Tuesday 30th January 1968 – The Herd – included an 18-year-old Peter Frampton on guitar. Their March 1968 release, ‘I Don’t Want Our Loving to Die’ reached No.5 in the UK charts.  The band could be seen performing on ITV’s ‘Come Here Often’ show on the same evening they played High Wycombe.  Other members of Herd at the time of the High Wycombe gig were Andy Bown, Gary Taylor and Andrew Steele.  Frampton was later voted the ‘Face of 1968’ by teen magazine Rave.

Tuesday 6th February 1968 – Love Affair – The young band were at the peak of their success at the time of their Town Hall appearance with their “Everlasting Love” single reaching No.1 in the UK charts in January 1968.  Lead singer Steve Ellis was just 17 years old at the time of the High Wycombe gig.  However, drummer Maurice Bacon had celebrated his 16th birthday just a week before the Town Hall gig, with other band members, Michael Jackson (18) and Lynton Guest (17), making them one of the youngest bands on the circuit.  It appears that only The Beatles outsold them in singles sales in the UK during 1968.

The Town Hall gig was mentioned by the band in a ‘Teen and Around’ magazine interview published shortly afterwards. Steve Ellis said the band were worried that the Town Hall facilities couldn’t cope with their mass of electrical equipment: “There were not enough plugs and sockets for all our gear and we afraid of blowing the fuses.” Despite their fears, the gig went off without a hitch and fans of the band spent more than half-an-hour after the gig seeking autographs of the young pop stars.

Tuesday 13th February 1968 – Amen Corner – This appearance came as a last-minute fill-in for Georgie Fame who, according to the adverts for the gig in the Bucks Free Press, was ‘flying to America on Sunday 11th February and had refused to honour his contract with the Town Hall’.  Prices were reduced to 8/- (40p) as a way of an apology by the promoters.  Their ‘Bend Me, Shape Me’ single reached the UK Top 30 in early 1968.  The band included guitarist and vocalist Andy Fairweather Low (19 years old at the time of the Town Hall gig).  Other band members were Allan Jones (saxophone), Dennis Bryon (drums), Blue Weaver (organ), Clive Taylor (bass) and Neil Jones (guitar).

For your listening and viewing pleasure

Hole in My Shoe – Traffic – promo video 1968

I Don’t Want Our Living to Die – The Herd – German TV (?) 1968

Everlasting Love – Love Affair – official video 1968

Bend Me, Shape Me – Amen Corner – Top of the Pops 1968

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_(band)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Herd_(British_band)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Affair_(band)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amen_Corner_(band)

4/5/6 May 2018 – Animals Rock Festival – Dashwood Arms

Posh Birds Productions are proud to present a three-day music festival at The Dashwood Arms, Piddington, to raise much needed funds for the residents at Animal SOS Sri Lanka.  The event takes place on Friday 4th May 2018, Saturday 5th May 2018 and Sunday 6th May 2018.

Running order (all bands are providing their services for free)

 FRIDAY 4th May

7.30-8.30 2NONBlondes band

8.30-9.00 Steph Willis

9.00-10.00 Stealworks

10.30-12.00 NBS

SATURDAY 5th May

1.30-2.30 Beaver

2.30-3.00 Bob Anderson

3.00-4.00 Big Azza & The Jukesters

4.00-4.30 Bob Newell

4.30-5.30 Tiny Tina

5.30-6.00 Russell Leak

6.00-7.00 Public Service Announcement

7.00-7.30 Dave Dunbar

7.30-8.30 The Relics

9.00-10.00 World Gone Crazy

10.30-12.00 Hustler

SUNDAY 6th May

1.30-2.30 Jokers Parade

2.30-3.00 Sandy Lenny

3.00-4.00 Reeve

4.00-4.30 Thanx

4.30-5.30 The Sobernaughts

5.30-6.00 Mouth on a Stick

6.00-7.00 Papa Truck

7.00-7.30 RAFFLE DRAW (cash prize)

7.30-8.30 Silvervoid

8.30-9.00 Keane

9.00-10.00 Fawesome

10.30-12.00 The MFU

Weekend tickets just £10.

Daily ticket prices

Friday £4

Saturday £6

Sunday £6

Free entry for children

 More details from the following facebook pages 

https://www.facebook.com/poshbirdsproductions/

https://www.facebook.com/thedashwood/

 Please support your local live music venues

1968 – High Wycombe music memories

This page was initially written during the early months of 2018 as a brief introduction to my ongoing research of the history of live music in High Wycombe for the 50th anniversary of 1968.

1968 saw another boom in the popularity of live music throughout the UK and the High Wycombe venues were quick to take advantage of the growing market. The already popular High Wycombe Town Hall, was eventually joined by what would become an iconic live music venue in the Town – The Nag’s Head in London Road.

Well-known names to appear at The Town Hall included Traffic, The Herd, Love Affair, Amen Corner and a return for the ever popular Move.  Legendary Rock ’n’ Rollers Bill Haley and The Comets would also appear at the Town Hall during the twilight of their career.

Bill Hayley and The Comets – High Wycombe Town Hall – 30th April 1968

The Nag’s Head would kick into life in April 1968 when young promoter Ron Watts took his ‘Blues Loft’ events to the upstairs room – initially bringing in cult Blues artists ‘Champion’ Jack Dupree, Shakey Vick and Savoy Brown. Later in the year he would promote an early ‘out of London’ show for Jethro Tull.

During a year when High Wycombe town centre saw the building of their new Octagon shopping centre, other venues would also look to take advantage of the demand for hearing the latest music being played on BBC Radio 1 (launched in September 1967) – either through Discos or live gigs – this included The Townfield House in Totteridge Road who hosted a very early appearance for 1970’s glam rockets in the making, Mud.

I plan to feature articles relating to the most memorable and significant gigs of 1968. As mentioned, the research is ongoing and once again, I would be delighted to receive your High Wycombe music related memories and memorabilia from the year 1968. Please use the usual contact methods.

In the meantime, and as a brief insight into the musical landscape of 1968, take a scroll through the list from the link below and see how many tracks you are familiar with and then realise they are ALL from 1968 and a good half-dozen or so played High Wycombe during the same year!

http://www.uk-charts.top-source.info/top-100-1968.shtml

1978 – High Wycombe music memories

1978 would see another shift and mixture of trends in UK popular music and those changes appear to be reflected in the live music scene in High Wycombe.  Memories of the year to follow throughout 2018, in the meantime a bit of background on the music culture of 1978, based on my own memories.

From a popular music point of view, 1977 will always be remembered as the year that ‘punk’ made the breakthrough from an underground scene but by the early months of 1978, many of the higher profile acts from the ‘safety pin’ brigade had either burnt-out or, in the eyes of punk idealists, ‘sold-out’.

High Wycombe had been blessed with a host of the breakthrough ‘punk’ acts during 1976 and 1977 but while The Nag’s Head and Town Hall continued to be the main outlet for gigs during 1978, the venues struggled to keep pace with the ever-changing demands and complications of hosting live music.  Several gigs throughout 1978 suffered from various combinations of poor attendance, violence, last minute line-up changes, rumoured ‘special guests’ that didn’t show or in some cases a complete cancellation.  Just finding out about gigs was a challenge in itself.

However, there were still noteworthy gigs in store for the local punters, thanks mostly again to the promoting connections of Ron Watts. Gigs at The Town Hall would include Siouxsie and The Banshees (still without a record deal until much later in 1978), Generation X, Rezillos and 999 – all returning to High Wycombe after Nag’s Head appearances in 1977.  There were also debut appearances for The Lurkers, Motorhead and Penetration.  Down the road at the Nag’s Head, gigs were generally ‘punk’ free but would include a number of post-punk (or new-wave’) bands looking for a breakthrough – most notably, The Skids.  Meanwhile, local bands aiming for a piece of the action were generally restricted to support slots at the two major venues but there were occasional headline slots gigs at High Wycombe College and Townfield House.

High Wycombe would also host bands as a direct consequence of the fall-out from the split of two of the original iconic punk bands. With two High Wycombe appearances to their name during 1976, The Sex Pistols played their final live show on 14th January 1978 during a tour of the USA.  A few weeks later, The Damned, also with two or three Nag’s Head shows under their belt, disbanded (albeit temporary).  Spin-off bands would come to High Wycombe later in 1978.  This included former Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock, who would bring his Rich Kids (featuring Midge Ure) to The Town Hall.  Meanwhile, Damned drummer Rat Scabies would also grace a High Wycombe stage with his band, The White Cats – there would be mixed reaction to both those gigs!

Meanwhile, the other punk originals who had played locally during 1976 and 1977 (including The Clash, The Stranglers and The Jam), had outgrown the venues available in High Wycombe.  However, the local rumour mill, stirred up on more than on occasion by local promoter Ron Watts, always seemed to have the possibility of one or more of these names returning as a ‘special guest’ – sadly they never seemed to happen.

In contrast, all this was happening as record sales (still vinyl back then), particularly singles, were set to reach a new high. The popularity of buying discs prompted an expanding culture of record selling outlets in High Wycombe – the town’s shops and market stalls would become meeting places for local music fans desperate to buy the latest releases and also find out about where they could see their vinyl favourites at a live gig.

However, don’t get the impression that this era was all about the ‘punk’ or the ‘new-wave’ scene. A quick look at the UK singles charts from January 1978 reveals that ‘Mull of Kintyre’ by Wings had hogged the top spot for several weeks, while No.2 was ‘Floral Dance’ by The Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band.  The closest to ‘punk’ in the charts at the time was ‘Mary of the 4th Form’ by The Boomtown Rats.  Local heroes Otway and Barrett had also just managed to creep into the early January 1978 top 30 with their iconic ‘Really Free’ single.

1978 was also a year where the Disco scene boomed following the massive success of music-based films ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and ‘Grease’. The two films would account for 18 weeks of No.1 singles throughout 1978, while the respective albums would take the top spot for 30 weeks.  The films would also attracted more punters to the local Cinemas than most of the gigs in High Wycombe during 1978 – with queues a regular occurrence when they were shown at The Palace Cinema in Frogmore.

The rise of the Disco scene was mirrored by a wealth of new sounds that would make the weekly BBC show Top of the Pops a sometimes bizarre mix of disco, new wave and novelty. The line-ups could see The Adverts up against Althia and Donna, The Stranglers take on The Smurfs, Elvis Costello v Earth, Wind and Fire, The Rezillos v Rod Stewart, The Vibrators v Village People and The Jam v John Travolta to name just a few culture clashes.

To help capture these new sounds, the local music scene was boosted in 1978 by the opening of two new record shops. Second-Hand shop Scorpion Records had opened in late 1977 and became the outlet for ticket sales for gigs at both High Wycombe Town Hall and Aylesbury Friars.

Rising Sun Records would also open in early 1978 at the rear of ‘Wycombe Fayre’ – a small shopping arcade built constructed in 1977 on the site of the former Woolworths store on Church Street.  At the time of this article (2018), The Chiltern Shopping Centre is now on that site.  Meanwhile, Derek’s Records in Octagon Parade, became Venus Records and became another regular haunt of local music fans hoping to find details of the latest gigs.

I’ll be aiming to dig a little deeper into some of these gigs for the 40th anniversary during 2018 and would be extremely grateful again for any memories and memorabilia you may have tucked away.  Please get in touch via the useful contact methods.