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.
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 Bucks Free Press interview for the ‘Teen and Around’ column 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