1978 – music memories from High Wycombe

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.

23-25 March 2018 – Faces of Wycombe – Photo exhibition

The Mad Squirrel Tap and Bottle Shop in High Wycombe are hosting a photographic exhibition from Friday 23rd March 2018 until Sunday 25th March 2018, during their usual opening hours.  The event will display photos from local photographer Mark Page.  The photo will feature over 160 distinctive monochrome images under the banner of the ‘Faces of Wycombe’.

Faces of Wycombe – Photo Exhibition at The Mad Squirrel, High Wycombe – 23 to 25 March 2018

Mark, a resident of High Wycombe for more than 50 years, began taking the photos during the summer of 2017 at open sessions at The Belle Vue pub. Interest in the photos snowballed, resulting in four sessions and over 160 people and several pet dogs, taking part.

The opening night will feature live music from Maz Manzini Music (from around 7.30pm). This will be followed by a selection of music from local DJ’s.

Read more via the link below:


Please support your local live music venues.

24 March 2018 – Healthy Junkies + 3 more bands – FREE event at Phoenix Bar

The Phoenix Bar in Bridge Street High Wycombe are hosting a four band FREE event on Saturday 24th March 2018.  The first band is due on at 8.30pm.

24th March 2018 – FREE four band event at The Phoenix Bar – High Wycombe

Details of the bands – taken from The Phoenix website, read as follows:

Healthy Junkies

Parisian Lead singer Nina Courson met British guitarist Phil Honey-Jones in 2009 in the now defunct venue Punk in Soho. Both of them were in separate bands at the time, but it wasn’t long before ideas of their own and a new-found mutual volatility raised its wretched head and they started to write songs together. The shared influences of the likes of Iggy Pop, Nirvana, Blondie, Killing Joke,Sonic Youth, Bauhaus and Bowie played a big part and Inspiration for lyrics came from far and wide, blurring the lines between autobiography and fiction. They played their first gig together at an all day punk festival in Brighton in September 2010 where the promoter ran off with the money and Healthy Junkies only got to play for 15 mins before the festival shut down. Since then the band have played all over the U.K. including several appearances at the mighty Rebellion Punk Festival and their self-hosted monthly night at The Unicorn, Camden, London, called Punk’n’roll rendezvous – and have toured Europe regularly. Healthy Junkies were featured on a New York radio station and talk show in October and are laying the groundwork for an East coast US tour next year. On stage Nina interacts with the other band members and entices her audience in a way that has become the trademark of their live shows. Record releases include their debut album Sick Note in 2011, The Lost Refuge and Box of Chaos (STP Records) and the E.P. ‘Hair of the dog’.



PollyPikPocketz are a double-vocalist rock band from London. The two front girls Ally and Myura formed as a songwriting harmony duo in 2014. Frog joined to help produce their tracks and soon they were churning out songs like lyrical machines, developing songs that were metaphorical, humorous, full of fun and sung with angst. A year and a half later Pollypikpocketz evolved dramatically when Mat joined as the guitarist, bringing an improv-style that chose “awesome sounding ” over technical. Frog, previously a singer, found a new direction playing bass for PollyPikPocketz. The group today have a take-no-prisoners punk-rock feel. Their live sound has been described as “an intense, passionate performance that is in your face but with genuine emotion and laughter. Flowing harmonies and unique lyrics, that are tongue in cheek but always written from the heart. Incomparable to a single genre.”


Who Killed Nancy Johnson?

AReading-based high-energy original punk/post-punk band with a growing reputation as an incendiary live act, Who Killed Nancy Johnson? formed in 2015 and began gigging in 2016. Their 2017 EP Cops and Robbers was followed in 2018 by Flat Earth Theory, and an album is in the works for later in the year. They have played in Europe and have radio appearances and support slots for name bands under their belts.



A four-piece punk band from Surrey, Freakouts formed with the idea of inspiring carnage. Their raucous live shows make them ones to watch as they are beginning to break out of the hills and take the rest of the UK by storm. They’re loud, fast, and in your face.


 Please support live music in High Wycombe

Check out the Phoenix Bar website below for their latest gigs


Please post or send your reviews of the gig – see contact page for more details.  Thanks

10 March 2018 – Blunders, Yur Mum and more – Phoenix Bar

A FREE entry five band ‘punk’ spectacular took place at The Phoenix, High Wycombe on Saturday 10th March 2018.

The Blunders – Phoenix Bar flyer for 10th March 2018

To give you an idea of what to expect the following was posted before the gig – in no particular order and with descriptions as quoted from their respective websites/social media outputs – here’s a list of the bands:

The Blunders

“Hard hitting biting lyrics with a driving yet understated beat that lets you scream at the worlds faults while dancing ya arse off.”

They impressed at The Phoenix on their previous appearance in November 2017.


Yur Mum

“London based DIY grungers. Yur Mum bring their brand of high energy rock and roll”


Static Personality

“3-piece indie post-punk explosion hailing from High Wycombe. Our message is audacious, bold, subversive, witty and is an exciting new branch to the post-punk alternative indie”


Carter Daze

“Woking’s favourite rebel sons Carter Daze’s DIY approach mixes a punk ethos with rock ‘n’ roll storytelling to create a diverse sound that’s somewhere between ‘Blue Album’ Weezer and ‘Up The Bracket’ Libertines, with a socio-political twist. With a whole host of gigs coming up across Surrey and London this spring, their live show is always intense, chaotic and not to be missed!”


DC Spectres

“3 Piece Garage punk/trash…fusing 60’s garage and 70’s punk with side orders of surf and Klub Foot rhythms.”


 Please support the live music venues in High Wycombe

21 February 2018 – Emperor’s Bits – Wycombe Sound radio show

I was again honoured to be asked to guest on local radio station Wycombe Sound – this time by Andy Aliffe for his ‘Emperor’s Bits’ show broadcast on Wednesday 21st February 2018.

Andy, assisted by his friend Stevyn Colgan, launched the show earlier in 2018, with the website description claiming : ‘The Emperor’s Bits’ is an eclectic mix of music and chat and looks at the quirkier side of Wycombe history. It is not wrong!

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

I was extremely grateful to be called in to promote the wycombegigs.co.uk website and also give from some background to High Wycombe appearances by a few of the iconic artists featured to date – including The Rolling Stones, The Who, David Bowie and The Move.

It was also amazing to share the studio with fellow guest Barbara Arucci. Barbara attended The Rolling Stones gig at Wycombe Town Hall in December 1963 aged just 13 and was lucky enough, through a family connection, to be allowed backstage with members of the group.  A photo of this meeting appeared in the Bucks Free Press and an original survives as a prize possession of Barbara until this day.

Backstage photo of The Rolling Stones taken at High Wycombe Town Hall – December 1963

Back in 1999, Barbara and her friends were invited to attend a re-launch of Wycombe Museum in Priory Road, where a blown –up version of the photo was proudly displayed.

The three girls featured in the 1963 back-stage picture with The Rolling Stones are re-united at a re-launch of Wycombe Museum in 1999 – picture from swop.org.uk

It was fantastic to hear from somebody who was actually at these great moments in the history of the town and her recollections of other music venues. Barbara also brought along another picture of The Rolling Stones, with a complete set of autographs on the rear – including the sadly departed Brian Jones.

Barbara in February 2018 with her treasured signed Rolling Stones picture.

An enjoyable hour or so in the company of Andy and Stevyn. Both gentlemen can boast an fascinating history of working in all manner of walks of life – Andy spent 20 years with the BBC, Stevyn spent 30 years working for the Police in Cornwall but has more recently worked as researcher on the QI TV show and also written several books.  You can read more via the link at the foot of this page.

They warned me I might be invited back to track through memorable music moments from the 1970’s, 1980’s and beyond.  So keep an eye and ear out for that and tune in for an hour of random fun.

You can use the ‘listen again’ feature on the Wycombe Sound website to hear the show again for up to a month after the original broadcast date.

More information on the show via the link below:


Listen again:




9 February 2018 – Rage DC, Black Bullets, DSA, Slow Faction, Useless Easters – Phoenix Bar

Bracknell rockers Rage DC topped a five band event at The Phoenix bar in High Wycombe on Friday 9th February 2018. Entry was just £5 and was billed as ‘An evening of good old Punk Rock’n’Roll.’

Rage DC and plenty of support at The Phoenix on Friday 9th February 2018

Plenty of info on Rage DC via their Facebook group, including links to the supporting bands too.


Due on first at 7.30pm were The Useless Eaters – they are a punk covers band and are no strangers to High Wycombe having played several times at The Hobgoblin (since renamed back to The Three Tuns).

Read more about The Useless Eaters on their Facebook page.


Running Order

  • Rage DC 10:30:00 PM 11:15:00 PM
  • Black Bullets 9:45:00 PM 10:15:00 PM
  • Slow Faction 9:00:00 PM 9:30:00 PM
  • DSA 8:15:00 PM 8:45:00 PM
  • Useless Eaters 7:30:00 PM 8:00:00 PM

Please support live music in High Wycombe

Check out the Phoenix Bar website below for their latest gigs


The greatest band NEVER to have played High Wycombe

The passing of The Fall frontman Mark E Smith on Wednesday 24th January 2018 cannot be left without comment on this website.  If I don’t write something, I fear my mind will literally explode with all the thoughts and memories of the Fall over the past 40 years.

Mark E Smith – 1957 to 2018. Some Fall memories. Main photo taken at HMV records Oxford Street, 1988, Photo pass from The Garage 2002. Fall badges. Paul Lewis

The Fall have played a huge part in my discovery of music and sadly (for me and many other Fall fans in the area), despite a live career spanning more than 40 years, The Fall never made a live appearance in High Wycombe – hence I offer them up as the greatest band NEVER to have performed in a town where so many other iconic names in the music industry have graced the likes of The Nag’s Head and Town Hall stages.

Firstly, I would like to pass on my sincere condolences to Mark’s family and friends. Plus, my heart goes out to the many Fall fanatics who will see Mark’s loss as potentially leaving a significant void in their lives.

In the days following Mark’s passing I have read numerous tributes and it is perhaps ironic (but not surprising to Fall fans), that he and The Fall will now gain wider recognition for their 40 years of constant output.

It was as recent as 12th January 2018 that I was able to ‘joke’ on Wycombe Sound’s Punkarolla radio show that a two hour Fall special was in my mind. I’m grateful to Andy Chalk for allowing me to indulge in The Fall on his show and on that particular occasion, send my best wishes to Mark, before playing the title track off the ‘New Facts Emerge’ album, released in the summer of 2017

Most Fall articles will pretty much write themselves. The check list/The Fall bingo, will read something like:

  • One constant name
  • X number of band members in Y number of years
  • Z number of albums
  • One of John Peel’s favourite bands, always different, etc
  • Girlfriends/Wives in the band
  • Punch-ups and knob twiddling on stage

So, bearing that in mind, I don’t intend to write a tribute as such. There are trained journalists who will be able to collate the necessary words and pictures and I’ll give some links at the foot of this article to some that I read in the first few days since Mark’s passing.

I discovered The Fall in 1978, via John Peel of course, (oops, one off the Bingo list) but despite keeping an eye out for local gigs involving the Manchester band, it wasn’t until the early 1980’s that I managed a trip to The Hammersmith Palais to witness them in person for the first time. I went with my friend Martin.  It was the first gig I drove to having passed by driving test a few days before.  For Fall fanatics (and I know there are plenty), they will appreciate this was their ‘Hex Enduction Hour’ period.  However, I soon learnt that The Fall, unlike the majority of the other bands, didn’t ‘tour’ an album with a ‘standard’ set-list.  They would also throw in unreleased songs – with many still a work in progress.

The Fall – my poster from gig at Hammersmith Palais – 25th March 1982

Fascinated by their Palais appearance, a month later I drove to some weird nightclub venue in Oxford – getting there around 7pm to give me more chance of getting in without a ticket but then had to wait for more than a hour before the doors opened and then until about 11pm before the band came on stage.  The set at Oxford included at least three songs that were completely new to me. I particularly remember the mesmerising bass lines.  I wanted to hear these songs again.  I had to wait a few months before they were back in area for another gig (a marathon four or five bander Sunday night at The Lyceum) but needless to say the set-list had changed dramatically again and it was Monday morning before I got home.

The non-conformist set list, the random stage times and as I had now realised, an introduction at literally every gig by Mark E Smith during their opening number with his iconic slur – ‘Good Evening WE ARE THE FALL’, would become a trademark.

I was pretty much hooked from those first few gigs. All so different – The Palais gig seeing them able to sell out a major London venue and then a month later playing a dingy nightclub where you could, if you chose, stand as close to the stage as you dared.  It is a quality to be proud of and one that lasted throughout their career.

So, how many time have I seen The Fall? A question that I’ve been asked a few times over the years and several times since we lost MES.  I’ve actually lost count but from an old list I found this week, the figure was well in excess of 50 by the mid 1990’s.  Yet, even that figure would not get me into ‘Fall nutter’ category.  Fall fans embraced the internet right from the early days and the lovingly created and maintained website http://thefall.org/ is a remarkable archive and ongoing discussion place for all things The Fall and prior to this, the Fallnet mailing list proceeded all the Facebook and Twitter malarkey.  It’s still going strong now, close to 25 years after it was first set-up.

So, back to my point about The Fall being the greatest band NEVER to have played High Wycombe. The nearest venues to High Wycombe The Fall played at were in Slough (birthplace of famous Wycombe promoter Ron Watts).  The rather unassuming Slough Centre on the Farnham Road in the summer of 1986 was the first chance.  I recall being quite disappointed with the set and crowd reaction but went to The Town and County Club in Kentish Town the next night and they played seven encores!  The Fall returned to Slough for a festival in July 1992 and it wasn’t until 1996 that they finally made it to Aylesbury to play the Civic Centre – the same venue as used by Friars but a venue, for some reason, they had never previously played.

Slightly further field from High Wycombe, Reading was a regular location for Fall gigs – ranging from various appearances in front of 1,000’s at Reading Festival, to gigs in front of a few hundred-people crammed in at venues such as The Alleycat and The Fez Club. It was during a 1998 gig at one of those latter venues that I witnessed the shear tenacity of MES to carry on regardless.  Unfamiliar, at that stage, with what had gone on a few earlier in the USA, the gig was played out with a completely unfamiliar line-up and when the songs fell apart, a guitar was handed around the front row to help out.

I have to confess, the chaos of that night, temporally put my fascination of The Fall on hold. I attended a few gigs in London in the next couple of years but like watching a football team I came away thinking, I didn’t really enjoy it that much but I’ll just go to the next game and hope things got better.

It was after travelling to see Wycombe Wanderers play their final game of the 2001/2 season at Swindon that myself and a few friends decided that seeing The Fall could be a perfect antidote for seeing our team enter that ‘difficult period’. We arrived in London from Swindon by train and made our way to The Garage venue at Highbury Corner.  Approaching the doors sometime around 7.30pm, it was obvious the gig was in high demand.  Problem, we had no tickets and The Fall, by this stage were not the band to attract the usual low life London ticket touts – although I would have appreciated them at this stage.  I joked to the others that I had attended Fall gigs previously and the band had gone for drinks in a bar close to the venue.  They might have spare tickets.  We randomly selected a fairly awful pub/wine bar just across the road from the venue.  It was fairly quiet – most gig punters were now in the venue.  We ordered our drinks and then realised that Mark E Smith was sitting across the room with a non-band member.  I can’t say I was star-stuck to say something but perhaps more shy or afraid of a negative reaction.  A friend in our group, better known to us as ‘Oily Sailor’, was less shy.  Being considerably younger, he was less of a Fall fan and wasn’t bothered what response he would get from MES.  The next thing we know is that Oily is having a conversation with MES, explaining that the two ‘old gits’ at the bar are massive Fall fans but don’t have tickets.  Almost without hesitation, MES pulled out two photo passes for the gig and handed them over.  It made the two ‘old gits’ very happy and I felt it only fair that I took a few photos of a gig that completely restored my loving of the band.

It was the beginning of another period of amazing creativity for The Fall and one where MES would eventually settle on a fairly stable line-up (by Fall standards) for his band. Fall fans will argue forever about what their favourite album or track is but from that period the ‘Fall Heads Roll’ long player is generally regarded as a classic.  I never tire of seeing and hearing the version of ‘Blindness’ on Jools Holland in 2005 and wondering what on earth Mr Holland is thinking about the sound emanating from the keyboard.

The Fall may not have been everyone’s cup of tea and of course musical tastes are very much subjective. I once ‘treated’ my partner Jane (pregnant with our daughter) to a Fall performance at Cricklewood – for me, right at a high point of The Fall’s musical output.  I have to confess the sound that night was loud, the bass was thudding away so much it vibrated right through your stomach.  Jane had to leave some of the gig because she said she ‘felt sick’.  Her post-gig review was that it was, ‘just a noise’.  Pretty accurate and perhaps a complement?  I didn’t admit that I had seen other Fall gigs that had made me feel sick.

I recall MES describing Fall fans as ‘Salt of the Earth’ and it is Fall fans who will be best placed to attempt to explain the diverse range of output of the past 40 years. However, remember, if you are a non-Fall fan then don’t consider criticising The Fall – only Fall fans have that option.  We will defend the band to the very end – and returning the football analogy, just like you may do with the football team you support?

However, it always seems strange to me that The Fall sometimes were on the end of criticism from those that confessed to be lovers of ‘punk’ and other diverse musical genres. Perhaps it was the characteristic of Mark E Smith never to be drawn into the importance of style or image.  MES and The Fall were very much anti-fashion.  It is certainly a credit to MES that The Fall never became a lame tribute to themselves, playing ‘greatest hits’ set-lists or following the usual rock conventions.  He performed, created and evolved constantly in the 40 plus years since he formed The Fall.  The Fall influence has been and will be felt for years to come – for Fall fans we know that already, for others you have that to come.

Goodbye Mark. It was an absolute pleasure to have been a small part of witnessing The Fall journey.

Bill is Dead – The Fall – Snub TV

Blindness – The Fall – Jools Holland – 2005

Further reading on The Fall


My photos from the gig at The Garage 2002 – note email address on this page is no longer valid but you can contact me via this website.


Tributes and obituaries






20 January 1978 – XTC release debut album

Swindon based XTC released their debut album White Music on 20 January 1978. The Virgin record release came just over six months after they had made two appearances at The Nag’s Head.  Their debut at the London Road venue came on 16 May 1977, with promoter Ron Watts bringing them back again on 6 June 1977.

White Music included classic pop singles ‘Radios in Motion’, ‘Statue of Liberty’ and ‘This is Pop’, plus their take on Bob Dylan’s ‘All Along the Watchtower’. The album, recorded at The Manor Studio in Oxfordshire, was put to tape at the time of their Nag’s Head appearances and produced by John Leckie.

The XTC line-up for White Music was Andy Partridge (guitar and vocals), Colin Moulding (bass and vocals), Barry Andrews (keyboards and piano) and Terry Chambers (drums). That line-up would record follow-up album Go 2 in October 1978 before a change of personnel saw Barry Andrews depart – eventually opting not to replace him with another keyboard player and instead bring in second guitarist Dave Gregory.  XTC would go on to record the straight pop album Drums and Wires – recorded at Townhouse Studios in West London and produced by Steve Lilywhite after the band were apparently impressed with his work on Siouxsie and the Banshees debut The Scream.  The second single from the album, ‘Making Plans for Nigel’, would become a Top 20 UK hit just a few weeks after a May 1979 appearance at High Wycombe Town Hall.

For your listening and viewing pleasure

White Music – Full Album audio via YouTube

BBC Sight and Sound – March 1978

Live on French TV – Chorus 1978

February 1967

February 1967 saw the gig scene in High Wycombe continue with a string of dates at The Town Hall, plus what appears to be a new venture held at the Royal British Legion building close to the Town centre. These are brief details of gigs that I have traced and backed up by advertising evidence found in the Bucks Free Press.  If you have any further details of these gigs or can add more dates, please get in touch.

February 1967 – gig adverts from the Bucks Free Press

Tuesday 7th February 1967 – Geno Washington – Town Hall

Geno Washington and The Ram Jam Band took to the stage of High Wycombe Town on Tuesday 7th February 1967 for a gig billed in the Bucks Free Press advert by the strapline: “We’ve given you The Small Faces, Spencer Davis and now we present the greatest act in the country!” At the time of this performance Geno Washington was aged 23 years old, having starting performing with The Ram Jam band in 1965.  Washington was a former US airman based in East Anglia.
Admission was 7 shillings and 6 pence (37 ½ p) with DJ Don Jordan playing ‘Top Discs’.

This is Geno and his band performing on German TV in 1967

Saturday 11th February 1967 – Tom Jones – Town Hall

See separate post on this unconfirmed performance by the famous Welshman.

Monday 13th February 1967 – The Move – Town Hall

See separate post on this performance.

Thursday 16th February 1967 – Ginger Tom Set – The Stereo (Legion Rooms)

The Stereo was a club night held at The Royal British Legion building opposite Wycombe College. The Ginger Tom Set were described in the gig advert as ‘A Strange name but a really good group well worth seeing’.  Admission was 4 shillings and 6 pence (22 ½ p).  At the time of this post I’d found no further background on this band.

Saturday 18th February 1967 – Stacey’s Circle – Town Hall

Billed as a ‘POWERHOUSE OF SOUND’, 5 shillings (25p) would have gained you entry to this Saturday night gig featuring Stacey’s Circle supported by Coffee Set (from London’s Clubland).

Stacey’s Circle – photo as published in Ilford Recorder in 2010

My brief research suggests that Stacey’s Circle were a band from the Ilford area of London and consisted of George Stacey Taylor (vocals), John Campling (guitar), Dave Hawkins (bass) and Frank Edwards (drums). Guitarist John ‘Ducksy’ Reardon also states he was in an earlier version Stacey’s Circle through his autobiography ‘Birth to Reunion’ published in 2015.

Tuesday 21st February 1967 – The Who – Town Hall (CANCELLED)

This was intended to be the long awaited return of The Who to High Wycombe. 8 shillings (40p) was the asking price for entry to the regular Tuesday night slot – with DJ Rod Welling billed set to play ‘Top Discs’.  Sadly the gig was cancelled, with organisers placing an advert in the following week’s Bucks Free Press stating: ‘We apologise for the non-appearance on Tuesday of “THE WHO” for reasons beyond our control. The group will appear at our next dance on MARCH 28th.’

The Who would eventually perform at The Town 25th April 1967.

DJ Rod Welling replaced Don Jordan, who had left High Wycombe for Nottingham.  An article published in the Bucks Free Press during the Spring of 1967 explained the history behind Welling’s arrival on the DJ scene.  Welling claimed that his first public performance with pop music was when neighbours called in the police because of the ‘racket’ from his record player.  The then 20 year old hoped that the Tuesday evening DJ slot at the Town Hall would be the beginning of a ‘career on the pop world’.

Friday 24th February 1967 – Pink Sam and The Shakers – West Wycombe Village Hall

This gig was billed as ‘HANGOVERSVILLE ‘67’ in the small advert carried in the Bucks Free Press. A quick search on the internet at the time this article was published, reveals that well know High Wycombe musician Steve Darrington was a piano player with Pink Sam and The Shakers.
Admission was 5 shillings (25p).

Saturday 25th February 1967 – Growth – Town Hall

Midland based band Growth appeared at The Town Hall on Saturday 25th February 1967 with support from ;London, New Faces, Great Sound, Derek Savage Foundation.  Admission was 5 shillings (25p).  At the time of this post I’d not found any details of Growth but The Derek Savage Foundation released a single on CBS during 1967

Breakin’ Through – Derek Savage Foundation – 1967 single release


Stacey’s Circle – Where are they now?


Steve Darrington


Pink Sam and The Shakers


14 January 1978 – Sex Pistols’ last ever gig

Less than two years after their infamous High Wycombe debut, The Sex Pistols took to the stage for what would be their last ever live appearance for the foreseeable future.

Their appearance at San Francisco’s, Winterland Ballroom on 14th January 1978 came at the end of an ill-fated debut mini tour of the USA.  The Pistols line-up at the time was Jonny Rotten (vocals), Steve Jones (guitar), Paul Cook (drums) and Sid Viscous (bass).  By the end of the evening, Rotten’s contempt for the situation was summed up by his farewell quote: “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”

The original UK punks had debuted in late 1975 and it was their appearance at High Wycombe College of Further Education on 20th February 1976, witnessed by local promoter Ron Watts, that proved the catalyst for Pistols Manager, Malcolm McClaren, to ask Watts for live gigs at London’s 100 Club.  After a ground-breaking residency at The Oxford Street venue, Watts, would bring the Pistols back to High Wycombe for an appearance at The Nag’s Head on 2nd September 1976.

Debut single Anarchy in the UK was released in November 1976, Bill Grundy wound them up on live TV in December 1976 and the rest is history (as they say). They have since become the most written about ‘punk’ band of all-time and the measure that all subsequent controversial bands have been judged.

Following the split-up, Johnny Rotten reverted back to his original name of John Lydon and later in 1978 formed Public Image Limited (PIL). Steve Jones and Paul Cook would form The Professionals, while Sid Viscous played one live concert as part of the Viscous White Kids (August 1978), before a heroin overdose in February 1979 would take his life.  Original Pistols bassist Glen Matlock (replaced by Viscous in February 1977) had already formed The Rich Kids by the time of the Winterland gig and his new band would play High Wycombe on two occasions in 1978.

The set-list for the Winterland gig was:

  1. God Save the Queen
  2. I Wanna Be Me
  3. Seventeen
  4. New York
  5. E.M.I.
  6. Belsen Was a Gas
  7. Bodies
  8. Holidays in the Sun
  9. Liar
  10. No Feelings
  11. Problems
  12. Pretty Vacant
  13. Anarchy in the U.K.
  14. No Fun

Watch the entire performance from Winterland: