Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Albert Lee Documentary on New Year's Day

I just received this email from Gudrun Schwartz - who runs the Albert Lee forum on MSN.
Should be well worth a listen. I can't promise anything but I will have a go at recording it.

Thanks Gudrun - you are a star!

Hello Alan, I thought this might be of interest to some of you. Best wishes for a good, healthy and rocking NEW YEAR. Gudrun from Berlin. Just in from ELIO PACE, please feel free to forward or post wherever you think it’s helpful; Albert Lee Documentary on National Danish Radio P4 - NEW YEARS DAYþ I wanted to let you know that Danish national radio is transmitting a 1-hour documentary on Albert on New Year’s Day. It’s going out from 3 - 4 pm UK time (d.h. 2 - 3 pm CET). I thought you would like to know and that you would like to inform as many of the fans as possible via your websites and forums. These are the instructions I was given; Go to then click on the grey P4 button - and then when the available stations come up, click on P4 Syd or Esbjerg or Midt&Vest.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Calling all Toby Twirl fans ....

I received this email from Dave (Holly) Holland a couple of weeks ago. Dave was the lead singer with Toby Twirl during the late sixties - a group whose name still pops up often on the VSL site.

Hi its Dave Holland, Holly the lead singer from Toby Twirl.

I was recently in contact with John Reed the drummer and said I would like to keep in touch with all the great people and friends from the 60’s and 70’s .

I am currently the manager of the JOINERS ARMS pub in Blyth and have had many visits from lots of people from the great days of old. It would be great if lots of people from the era of The Cellar jazz club. Latino’s , Wetheralls, La Dolcie, The Gogo Downbeat, and many other clubs could meet up and share the great memories of that time.

I was chuffed that Brian Matthews played a couple of our records to celebrate my 60’th birthday the other week. How time flies. I still have some great photos and memories from the fantastic days when fun was fun and music was at its best. Holly

So, if you are in the Blyth area at anytime, why not give Dave a shout at the Joiner's Arms.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Sixties British Rock and Pop Chronology

I got this email a couple of weeks ago from Pete Townshend - who travelled all the way from Welsh Wales to our Club Night in November. Pete was originally a member of the Phantoms in the Sixties (from the Consett area)

Hi Alan.
Well it was a week ago when we were in Tudhoe and I have to say all three of us were knocked out with event. You can't beat LIVE MUSIC.
I was pleased that we had the opportunity to introduce ourselves to you, considering your gruelling timetable as musician, entertainer and compere.
I have to take my hat off to you, Alan Leightell and all the 'Regulars' that have made Vintage Sixties Live such a temendous success. I can only imagine the effort, time and sheer dedication you all must devote. And when you see such an enthusiastic crowd every month it must all feel worthwhile. I only wish I lived closer, I'd be there every month.
I get back 'Up North' a couple of times a year and you can imagine that I will now coincide my visits with the second Thursday in the month.
Have a great session on the the 11th December, please keep the video's coming on the website. I need them to get a 'fix' until the next visit.
Thought you might find this website of interest. Amazing that an American has put it together.
Have a great Christmas and all the Very Best to everyone for 2009.
Kind regards,Peter Townsend

We'd be happy to welcome you and the lads again anytime Pete.

The site he refers to is well worth a look.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Every Club Night brings its own surprises .......

.......... This time it was a visit from Ernie Algar, brother of Toy Dolls front man Olga, and former member of top local sixties group Del and the Infernos

Ernie also played bass with the Toy Dolls for a while - notably on their smash hit Nellie the Elephant - which currently has almost a million hits on You Tube alone.

Olga sends his best wishes and congratulations on our web site.

The Toy Dolls are still playing to packed houses especially in Europe and the Far East, where they are massive - but you would expect no less from a band whose set list varies from "Nellie" to "Sabre Dance".

Hopefully, we can look forward to a visit to one of our club nights when their busy schedule allows. In the meantime I will be delighted to add Olga to our Celebrity Friends.

Further details and info can be found at the Offical Toy Dolls web site at

You could also search for Toy Dolls on You Tube for action packed stage performances - but I must warn you - I was knackered just watching the clips.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

It's surprising what you find on You Tube ...

Look what Colin Woodland discovered the other day on a clip of the Fentones playing the Breeze and I.

If you look towards the bottom of the poster you will see the name Peter Lodge. This is none other than our own Pete Lodge, who is a regular performer at VSL - at least he was until Paula crept up behind him in her sussies last Christmas.

I''ll bet he dreamt many times back then - whilst appearing with Joe Brown, the Tornados, and Eden Kane - that one day he would get the chance to appear at Vintage Sixties Live, and on the same stage as Big Jim, Colin Woodland and Don Boot.
But the last pic is proof that dreams can come true.

You can come home now Pete - we have put her back in her cage.


Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Charity Gigs Update

The combined total the Charity Events held at Croxdale WMC on 7 June 2008 raised over £1200 for the Great North Air Ambulance.

The Charity Evening organised by the Pelton Fell Community Group in Aid of the Kelly McKitten Family Fund at Great Lumley WMC in September raised over £1300.

This is a copy of the letter of thanks received from the Pelton Fell Community Co-Ordinator Eileen Hayes.

Our next Charity Evening will be held in the Croxdale Community Centre on Saturday 22 November 2008. Proceeds will be divided between the Great North Air Ambulance and the Neurofibromatosis Association (details on the website at

Tickets - £3 each - will be available at the next VSL Club Night.

"Be there or B Square"

Friday, 31 October 2008

We've done it ..........

Here is the proof. We have passed the Quarter of a Million hits milestone on YouTube in just over a year.

A massive thank you to everyone who has helped and participated (and to those who are still trying to pluck up the courage .... go for it).

Let's go for a million!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Four Tops star Levi Stubbs dies ......

Levi Stubbs, lead singer of legendary Motown band The Four Tops, has died at his home in Detroit, US, aged 72. He was famous for his baritone voice.
The performer, who had suffered ill-health for several years, passed away in his sleep.
Abdul Fakir is the only surviving original member of the group, which has sold more than 50m records.
The Detroit band became one of Motown Records' biggest successes, scoring hits including Bernadette and Reach Out (I'll Be There). Founding members Lawrence Payton and Obie Benson died in 1997 and 2005 respectively.
Audley Smith, of the Motown Historical Museum, said that Levi Stubbs had a voice as unique as Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson or Stevie Wonder. "[He] fits right up there with all the icons of Motown," he said. Levi Stubbs was born in 1936 in Detroit and met Abdul "Duke" Fakir at High School. The Four Tops were one of Motown's biggest successes They met Payton and Benson while singing at a mutual friend's birthday . In 1953, they formed a group called The Four Aims and signed a deal with Chess Records.
Later they changed their names to the Four Tops to avoid being confused with the Ames Brothers. The group signed with Motown Records in 1963 and produced 20 Top-40 hits over the following 10 years, making music history with other acts in Berry Gordy's Motown stable.
They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
Stubbs is survived by his wife Clineice, five children and 11 grandchildren.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Photo Slideshow on the VSL Website

Several people have asked recently where the pics come from to make up the Club Night Slideshows.

There are a few of the older slideshows here

They are all compliments of our own VSL photographer and videographer Malcolm Rocks.

Malcolm, in addition to videoing the whole of the proceedings at club and charity nights, and at considerable expense in terms of time and money, takes up to 250 excellent still shots of the performances, which he then gives to me to include on the website.

Copies of the videos are only available to performers, but if anyone would like a high resolution photo of any of the performers, I am sure Malcolm would be happy to oblige - if asked nicely.

I can think of several uses for them
- put one in the bottom of the budgie's cage to save on grit
- or in the gezunder for that late night target practice.
- or put one in the pantry to keep the flies off the meat.

Anyway thanks Malcolm mate, your efforts and expertise are greatly appreciated.

If you want to contact Malcolm he can usually be found at the back of the room with the cameras. I would have posted a pic of him but, would you believe, I haven't got one.

If you want to get into one of Malc's pics you can sing a song at one of the club nights (or stand near Angie)

Monday, 6 October 2008

50 years ago last Sunday .........

.... was the first time that Cliff, Hank and Bruce played together.

It happened at the Victoria Hall Hanley on the Kalin Twins tour and the rest they say is history.

I nicked this info from one of the Shadows forum sites.

Another poster responded by saying that he had appeared at the same venue four years later supporting the Shadows.

The next poster remarked that he had been there too - with Tony. You guessed it - none other than Jet Harris (who has also signed the VSL guestbook don't you know?) - with his typical dry sense of humour.

What a legend.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Earl Palmer dies .....

Drummer Earl Palmer, who was described by rock 'n' roll pioneer Little Richard as "probably the greatest session drummer of all time" has died aged 84.
Palmer who played on Little Richard's hits including Tutti Frutti, died at his Los Angeles home after "a lengthy illness", his spokesman said. Other hits he drummed on include You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' by The Righteous Brothers.
In 2000, he was inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He appeared on the records of artists as diverse as The Monkees, Elvis Costello, Frank Sinatra and Neil Young. Other records he performed on include Ike and Tina Turner's River Deep, Mountain High and I Hear You Knockin' by Smiley Lewis.
Ed Vodika, pianist in the Earl Palmer Trio - formed 10 years ago - said the drummer had "shaped American music for the '50s, '60s and '70s". "He worked with so many people in his career, you never knew who would be in the audience," he added. Palmer married four times and he is survived by seven children.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Joe Meek Tapes to be Auctioned

Legendary music producer Joe Meek's private recording collection is to be auctioned off.
The thousands of tapes include unheard recordings of Tom Jones, Jimmy Page and David Bowie as singer and saxophone player with the Konrads.
The collection of over 5,000 recordings has been added to the It's More Than Rock And Roll sale to be held at London's Idea Generation Gallery on Thursday September 4. Their estimated value is £300,000.
Ted Owen, Managing Director of the Fame Bureau, said: "To describe Joe Meek as a rock and roll icon is an understatement - he was one of the most important figures in the industry for nearly two decades and these tapes provide a vicarious passage of the 1950s and 60s.
"Furthermore, custodian of the Joe Meek archive, Cliff Cooper has honoured the collection by keeping it intact all these years and cherished for British musical posterity."

Joe Meek became an icon of the recording industry with his experimental techniques in the 50s and 60s and was most famous for The Tornados' 1962 hit Telstar which won him an Ivor Novello Award.
Nick Moran is currently directing a film of Meek's life, called Telstar, starring himself and Kevin Spacey.

Sad news .......

... to report I'm afraid.

Two prominent musicians from our local groups of the Sixties passed away this week.

Les Coates was a former Lead Guitar with the Originells, and Dave Thornton was Lead Guitar with the Crusaders.

RIP lads you will be sorely missed by us all.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Kelly McKitten Charity Evening - September 27th 2008

Vintage Sixties Live are pleased to announce that they will be taking part in a special Charity Evening in Great Lumley WMC on Saturday 27th September 2008 at 7:00pm.

for details Tel: 0750 0125 290

Proceeds will go to the Kelly McKitten Family Fund.

Kelly, you will remember, was the young mother of two small children, who was so tragically found murdered at Pelton in February of this year.

The evening will be a celebration of her life with loads of fun, competitions and prizes for the best fancy dress.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Updated World map for 2008

Here is an updated map of the number of locations throughout the world who have visited our website in 2008.

Not bad for eight months eh?
Click the pic for a larger image.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Calling all friends of Barry McGurk ....

I had a note from our old mate Stan Laundon the other day to tell me that he is organising a re-union for the friends of Barry McGurk.

Barry played in several groups and was well known, especially around Middlesborough and Hartlepool, during the Sixties and beyond.

He has been living in South Africa but plans to visit the area later this month.

You can contact Stan via his website for further details


By the time you read this our video clips will have exceeded 200,000 viewings on YouTube - absolutely unbelievable.

Our Angie is still top of the pops with that fantastic version of the Dusty classic - I only want to be with you - which has had some lovely comments from all over the world.

Many thanks to everyone who has agreed to have contributions submitted and, of course, to Malcolm Rocks for not only recording the clips every month but also taking thousands of brilliant still pics like this one of old glamour puss herself.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Update on the Satellites

Remember the email from Peter Johnson who was trying to trace other memebers of his old group the Satellites?

Well we got a result.I received this from Geoff Lawson and have passed his info on to Peter.

Dear Alan
I played drums for The Satellites and remember the time we played with the Animals.
We were also playing resident at the Flamingo night club on Heaton Rd on Tuesday and Thursday.The other members of the band were Brian lead guitar Dave guitar and Dave vocals.
I was serving my time at Parsons on Shields Rd at the time and when the group turned pro I decided to finish my apprenticeship and got a job playing resident at the Westfield Club on the West Rd.I then went resident at Cleadon Club South Shields.
After this I joined the Burn William Quintet playing for the next twelve years at Killingworth Club.I now play with a local eighteen piece rehersal big band mostly retired like my self still keeping music live.If possible could you please give my Email address to Peter as I have lost contact with all of the band.I have tried to join the club but am still waiting for my details to be confirmmed by yourselves. Regards Geoff Lawson.

It's getting like bl**dy Groups Reunited in here. I am expecting a deluge of requests from the Child support Agency any day now.

Support VSL - You know it makes sense.

The Stormbreakers Greatest hits ......

12 minutes of absolute nostalgia from Durham City Sixties Group the Stormbreakers.

Here are a few recordings they made in 1968, featuring lead singer Wilf Carr who a had a long and distinguished clubland career, both as a member of various local groups and later as a vocal guitarist.

Listening to this you are reminded what a great group they were and what a fantastic voice Wilf had (and still has as far as I know). He is still living in the area and it would be great to see him at a future club night (or ten).

There is one long track featuring four songs on this recording:
Ten Guitars - Over the Sea to Skye - Green Onions (Instrumental)- You Belong to me

Just click to play

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Oldies rule the world....

When I first came across this on YouTube I could not believe my eyes.

This is what it says on their website.

What makes “The Amazing Echoes” so amazing? Well for starters...

Billed as the world’s first interactive classic rock n’ oldies experience, The Amazing Echoes is a fascinating collective of singers, performers, musicians and “characters” with one common goal: Entertain audiences while having fun on-stage themselves. Performing with equal parts comedy, music and audience participation, The Echoes offer an utterly unique, enjoyable and often hilarious experience for audiences of all ages.

The Amazing Echoes has a long history of performing and show business experience, spanning decades of musical styles and genres. Influences include the great originators of rock: Elvis, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison, Everly Brothers and dozens of “one hit wonder” artists, as well as early 60's sensations like The Coasters, Girl Groups, The Ventures, Peter Paul & Mary and the Beatles, right through the psychedelic era with The Doors, The Byrds, Donovan, Van Morrison, even into the 70s with Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffett, The Moody Blues, etc.

Nicknamed “The Human Jukebox” with his ability to perform hundreds of songs from memory, lead singer and lead guitarist Charlie Mayer brings over 35 years of performing to the stage. His renditions often involve new and unique arrangements to the familiar classics. Randy Rudd, Master of Ceremonies, vocalist and all around musician, keeps things moving and audiences guessing (even the band sometimes!) throughout performances. Gerry “Bulldog” Savoy, acclaimed sax-fiend of the legendary “Johnny Dee & The Rocket 88s” brings his “anything-goes” style of playing, comedy and performing into the mix. Rounding out our regular lineup is the one and only Don "Boom Boom" Hatcher on drums, along with the always enchanting and talented Morgan "Mad Dog" Leeth on bass. Then there are the surprise musicians! Sometimes WE don't even know who will show up and play.

Last but never least, the main stars of the show… our audience members! That’s right. Attending a performance of The Amazing Echoes virtually guarantees your participation. It’s impossible not to be caught up in the music and performance. The Echoes see to that — with a series of bits, skits and even live on-stage “total immersion” Karaoke, bringing the best of reality game show television to your venue. This act is nothing you or your audience have seen before…guaranteed!

THAT’S what makes “The Amazing Echoes” amazing! That’s also why you and your group are sure to enjoy dancing, singing and laughing along with the one-of-a-kind, lively, unpredictable and utterly amazing Echoes.

Great minds think alike - Spooky or what!!

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Anyone remember the Satellites?

Received this email from Sunny Portugal the other day.
Can anyone help?

Hi Alan
I played in the Satellites in the sixties and can remember the punishing schedules at the time. I remember one week when I had seven hours sleep. We played with the Animals as support at Bellingham town hall on the Friday when "House of the rising sun" was released. We went on the Geordie beat tour with four other bands, Paul Ryan and the Streaks, Kim and the kinetics, and the VIPs. My memory will not recall the last band. Apologies. The tour consisted of The Merseys, The Fortunes, The Naturals, Little Eva, Lulu and the Luvvers and Joe Cocker on his first tour. Can anyone remember us?
Cheers--- from Portugal
Peter Johnson

George Hart loses battle against cancer

I received this very sad news from Stan Laundon early today:

George Hart, who was the founder member and lead guitarist of the 60's Hartlepool band The Hartbeats, has lost his battle against cancer. He was diagnosed with the disease earlier this month and his condition deteriorated rapidly over the last few weeks. He passed away during the early hours of Tuesday, May 27th.

George, who was 64, started his musical career at the age of ten when he studied keyboards. He was 15 when he opted to play guitar
and, along with his brother John, founded The Hartbeats. In later years he also played with The Reaction Show Group, Two of Hearts,
and The Hart Family Band who won the television show "New Faces" in 1974. He also played with The Plainsmen. Our thoughts are with his wife and family.

Please don't forget for those who can make it:

A fund raising spectacular, with proceeds to the George Hart Fund, has been organised for Wednesday, May 28th at Owton Manor Social Club in Hartlepool.

The show stars Lorraine Crosby and Tony Johnson, with Johnny Newsome and Fun Girl 3.

Tickets are £2.00.

Sincere condolences to George's family and friends. He will be sadly missed.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Krack of Dorn ReUnion - for one night only

Reproduced from the Bowburn Interchange newspaper

150 Thousand and rising .....

VSL performers please take a bow.
Our video clips have now exceeded 150,000 hits on YouTube and the hit rate is increasing all the time.

Our website stats show that we have had almost 60000 visitors from all parts of the globe as can be seen from this map.

(Click to enlarge)

As we approach our second anniversary Alan Leightell and myself would like to give a massive thank you to all those who have taken part and made the venture such a great success.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Pastimers discussion forum

If, like me, you occasionally love to wallow in nostalgia this could be the site for you.

It has recently been started by a friend of mine, who is based in the North-East, and topics covered include everything from music to old photographs.

The introduction reads

Welcome to the world of 'Pastimers' and thank you for dropping by. Here, you can read about and share all manner of experiences stretching back from the 1950s to the 1980s. We hope you will find like minded people amongst us who indulge in nostalgia and memories from times past, our past time.

As with all discussion forums the more folk who take part the better it gets, so why not pay them a visit. You will be made very welcome.

Click here to go straight to the site

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Don't get Paula to look after your bairns ........

The Straydogs Band - Dave, Kev, Mark and Angie - have always been known at Vintage Sixties Live as the "Bairns" because they are so much younger than the rest of us.

This month our Angie is taking a well deserved break on a tropical beach somewhere and we promised to keep an eye on the Bairns whilst she was away - as you would.

We thought it would be a good idea for some of the old codgers to team up with the rest of the band for a couple of numbers and Paula was one of those chosen.

What would our mature, unassuming, "grandmother several times over" decide to sing?
Would she talk the lads into doing a Skeeter Davis number .... or Marianne Faithfull, Dionne Warwick .... any of those sweet songstresses of the Sixties?

Not bl**dy likely!! - Have a listen to this.

Vintage Sixties Live - you gotta be there to believe it.

By the way, I also noticed that the fact that Angie was away also coincided with the fact that we have approx 100 less still photos than usual taken by our Malcolm . Could there be a connection I wonder?

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Trying to contact ...... the Up North Combine

Received an email from Dave Snowdon the other day.

Dave is trying to contact fellow Up North Combine members for a possible reunion.

He writes:

We were based in Thorney Close, Sunderland & played around the Sunderland - Durham - Newcastle area from approx 1965 to 1968. We were originally called The Klik, but changed our name as there were a few other bands with variations on the same name. We played a lot of the WMClubs, but later progressed to Student Union gigs & Night Clubs and added a keyboard player & main vocalist.Ive not managed to trace any of the band members & would be very grateful if you could mention the band in your news & blogs, so that I can hopefully trace some of the former members - and maybe even have a reunion!

From left to right - Dave Snowdon (me) on lead guitar/vocals, Bill Johnson on bass & lead vocals, Mick Harrison on drums & Jimmy Scott on rhythm guitar
I now live in Gloucestershire and have recently made contact with Roger Smith, who has the site & played in The Jazzboard, who lives not too far away in Wiltshire. We were in our first 2 bands together - The Conrads & The 6 Leaves - and he came to my 60th birthday party recently. As a gift gave me back the Hofner Colorama II guitar that I had sold to him in 1965! It was originally owned by Bob Marshall of Chris Warren & the Strangers.

Any former members of the group can contact this site and I will supply them with Dave's contact info.

I would also be happy to receive free gifts of surplus Hofner Coloramas (preferably with the leatherette finish)

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

We were in the paper ....

For anyone who missed the full page spread in the Northern Echo last week you can read it by clicking here.

There are no pictures on the computer version - but I am not bothered 'cos none of them showed me anyway.
But I'm not bitter ......

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Albert is back .......

Got a call from Big Jim yesterday to let me know that the tickets for the upcoming Hogan's Heroes Concert are now on sale.
Albert Lee playing live is something that every music lover, and in particular every would be guitar player, should witness at least once in their life.
Look around the audience during his riffs and you can spot the guitar players - who can normally be found sporting an expression which can only be described as a mixture of awe, frustration and outright dejection. This guy is simply the best at what he does and the opportunity to see him up close in a venue such as this should not be missed.
PS If you still fancy yourself as a guitarist after the show one of our members has an Albert Lee signature guitar for sale.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

On the road again .....

Alan Leightell, joint organiser of VSL (that is not a reference to the supply of drugs) completed a massive World Tour this weekend involving travel of up to five miles a day and taking in such far flung locations as Bowburn, Hett Village, Tudhoe and Spennymoor.

Following Thursday’s VSL Club night, he was especially invited into (conned into?) taking part in the Krack of Dorn Showgroup Reunion at Bowburn Community Centre the following evening. It is forty years this year since the group were formed and they agreed to get together again for one performance, in aid of charity, alongside top North-East comedienne Brenda Collins and the Key Largo Duo. The concert was a sell-out and must have undoubtedly been one of the highlights of Alan’s long and illustrious show business career ( especially as he never played in the group in the first place).

Saturday was back to Spennymoor and a case of “another street another dollar” (well it would have been if he charged a fee, but it is probably the fact that Alan does not charge for these appearances that has firmly established him as one of the top entertainers in his price range.

It was even suggested that he should have a knighthood but he said “I don’t need one - I have had a vasectomy.”

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Breaking News ......

This could be your last chance of Superstardom .....

We are expecting a visit on Thursday March 12th 2008, from Mike Amos, the famous Northern Echo columnist and son of Jack Amos the aptly named Jack o'Clubs in the Sixties.

Mike will be coming along with a photographer to do a piece on Vintage Sixties Live so if you want to impress him get your Lurex jackets out and strut your stuff.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Sad News - Hurricane blows out ...

Norman Smith aka Hurricane Smith (born February 22, 1923 - died March 3, 2008) was a musician and record producer. He was the engineer on all of the recordings by the Beatles up until 1965 when EMI promoted him from engineer to producer. The last Beatles album he recorded was Rubber Soul, [1] and Smith engineered the sound for approximately 180 Beatles songs in total.[2]

A native of the North London area of Edmonton, Smith was working with the Beatles on 17 June 1965 when he was offered 15,000 pounds by the band's music publishing company, Dick James Music, to buy outright a song he had written.

In early 1967, he began working with a new group, Pink Floyd, producing their first, second, and fourth studio albums The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, A Saucerful of Secrets, and Ummagumma. [3] During the sessions for the song, "Remember a Day", drummer Nick Mason became agitated that he could not come up with the right drum part for the song. Smith, however, knew what he wanted with the drums, so he played the part himself.

In 1968, Smith produced one of the first rock concept albums, The Pretty Things' S.F. Sorrow.

In 1971, Smith, using a recording artist pseudonym of "Hurricane Smith," had a UK hit with "Don't Let It Die". In 1972, he enjoyed a transatlantic hit with "Oh Babe What Would You Say?", which became a U.S. # 1 Cashbox hit.[4] This recording was a demo of a song that he had written for a different artist to record. When he played it for fellow record producer Mickie Most, Most was impressed enough to tell him to release it as it was. Also included on Smith's self-titled debut album was a third hit single, a cover of Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Who Was It?"

Some minor hits followed, like "My Mother Was Her Name" (1972), "Beautiful Day, Beautiful Night" (1973) and "To Make You My Baby" (1974). However, his subsequent attempts at producing successful recordings proved elusive.

He also recorded an instrumental track entitled 'Theme From an Unmade Silent Movie' which the West Midlands-based radio presenter Tony Butler adopted as his theme music.

In 2004, Smith released a new CD, From Me To You (SFMCD030), including new recordings of his biggest self-penned hits, "Don't Let It Die" and "Oh Babe, What Would You Say?", and includes messages in the liner notes from Sir Paul McCartney and members of Pink Floyd.

Norman Smith has written a his memoirs, entitled John Lennon Called Me Normal. It debuted on 16 March 2007 as a limited edition at The Fest for Beatles Fans in Secaucus, New Jersey. There, Smith appeared and sang "Oh Babe". The book contains never-before-published pictures, newly revealed historical facts about the Beatles and Pink Floyd at Abbey Road Studios, as well as details of Smith's life as an RAF Glider Pilot.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

The future is not ORANGE says NO!!!

Anyone having trouble navigating the site will have to bear with me for a while.

I am aware of the problems, which have appeared since Orange "improved" their Broadband service, but anyone having experience of them will know that the possiblility of getting a result within the current millenium is pretty remote.

Their "improvements" to date have included reducing my file upload rate by at least a third and rendering my FTP site update programme useless.

Consequently, I have decided to spend the rest of my life in search of a help-desk employee with a basic grasp of the English language and hopefully half a brain, in the hope of resolving the issues.

Some call it progress - Computer says no.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Who says I never change my strings ??? ....Huh!!!

I am so incensed by the scurrilous accusation that I never change my guitar strings that I have decided to provide a copy of a recent receipt...... cheeky buggers!!

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Vintage Sixties Live - World Wide

An updated map of the locations worldwide who have visited the Vintage Sixties Live Website since 9 December 2007. Click on image to enlarge.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Frankie's Cafe Band Charity Gig

I got an interesting email from Bob Byrne the other day about this shifty looking lot.

They are collectively known as Frankies Café, a band that has been operational within the North East since 1999, and over the years have become known for performing the odd charity gig to raise money for worthwhile causes. As you can see from the pic, the band is a seven piece, four of which are over 60 (shock horror!!). The rest of the mob are fairly close behind in age, and probably far too close for their own liking.

Individually, their pedigree is impeccable.

Billy, the singer, played with our own Colin the Orchestra's Woodland's old group, the Del 5, back in the sixties, and toured with The Walker Brothers, Tom Jones etc. The drummer played with Burlesque professionally for many years, and Bob played with the Bits'N'Pieces in the early to mid sixties. In between these times, they have, along with the others in the band, played with Uncle Tom Cobbly etc.etc.etc.etc. and many other passing ships (oops.. musicians) in the night.

The lads' next big Charity Gig is for the Macmillan Trust at the Clavering Club, Dunston on 7 February 2008.

Tickets are £5 from the club or the band. It may be possible to turn up on the night and gain entry, but this will be dependent on whether any tickets are left (I am informed that tickets are selling quite well!).

The band will be playing totally for free, so that all monies raised can go to the charity. Over the past couple of months, one of the lads in the band has even managed to cajole local pub landlords into donating the odd bottle or two, and these will be raffled off on the night. Other kind souls have also donated items for the raffle, obviously appreciative of what the charity does and stands for.

One poor demented soul has pledged £75 to sit in and play drums with the band for a few numbers. Bob jokes that he is obviously a sad case, but yes, they'll take his money.

The gig came about because one of the bands long serving `fans' developed bone cancer some time ago and died late 2007. At the end, Macmillan Nurses were involved, and they are doing this as a way of putting just a little something back into system.

It really sounds like a great night and I hope as many of you as possible will support it.

If you cannot make it on the night why not go and see the band at one of the following gigs and just give them a donation or a raffle prize.

Thurs 17th January 2008 Storemont Main Club, Wrekenton (downstairs lounge)
Sat 19th January 2008 Three Tuns, Sheriff Hill, Gateshead
Sun 27th January 2008 Marquis of Granby, Streetgate, Sunniside
Sat 2nd February 2008 Ninepins, Saltwell, Gateshead
Sun 3rd February 2008 Falcon, Prudhoe

All gigs are free admission; kickoff about 9pm.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Total viewings on You Tube now exceed 75,000

It's official.
We have now smashed the 75000 hits barrier on You Tube.
Angie is still top of the pops with well over 4000 hits for the Dusty cover "I only want to be with you"
Erik is still in second place with "Tequila" and Paula's "Race with the Devil" has now moved up into third place.

Well done to all performers (and viewers).

If performers would like any of their clips uploaded just let me know and I'll do what I can.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Rod Allen of the Fortunes RIP

It is with great sadness that I must report the passing of Rod Allen, one of the signature sounds of the Sixties.

Rod was at home in Coventry with his family around him.

His wish was for The Fortunes to continue, so they will do their utmost to keep his legacy alive and make The Fortunes a group that Rod would be proud of.

Thanks for the music Rod.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

This is great.....

I got quite a shock this morning when I found the following comment on YouTube. It was on our cover of Gun's fantastic track Race with the Devil.

I never thought I would see the day someone actually reading music to play this song, when we wrote it we didn't know how to write music , only play it, still don't

Paul Gurvitz GUN.

It also transpires that Paul's Dad was once Tour Manager for the Shadows. At that time Paul was a hairdresser and he used to cut Jet, Hank and Tony's hair.

Paul is now living in the US of A and still very much involved in the music business. His website is undergoing a make over but there are several brilliant examples of his current work here.

It is really great that these guys take the time and trouble to make contact with us.