Leopards remember

l16.JPGRecently [28 April 18] the two remaining Leopards Jimmy and Fraser  met up in Elgin after having not seen each other since Eddie Le Pard decided to quit the band and work on writing music. Also, Fraser’s sister Alyson who recorded with one of the top jazz bands in the UK in the ’60’s, was also in town when the guys met up. Looking around the former Two Red Shoes Ballroom, Fraser remembered seeing the Beatles first gig in Scotland with Ringo Starr. “…the band who supported the Beatles at the Red Shoes on the 3rd January 1963 would have been the resident [house] band, The Alex Sutherland Band. Myself and some friends were in the Park Cafe that night just in for a coffee/coke when Albert himself came in and said ” Go up the back stage lads and have a listen to the group, see what you think!” He often said this to bands/people who worked for him as he knew they/we were always broke and wouldn’t pay to go see many artists he engaged!” Fraser was impressed with the Beatles performance and spoke about their harmonies and that he’d never seen a beat band with every member singing. “from backstage the Beatles harmonies did sound good but unusual for a beat group at this time”.

Fraser, about formation of Eddie Le Pard and The Leopards; “As for when/how the Leopards formed you have to go back earlier to a band called the Sabre’s. As far as I can remember they formed about 1958 by an Elgin piano player called Alister Gordon who sadly passed away about 2/3 years ago! Although I was a classical trained piano player myself, by the time I was 16 yrs old (1960) I was only interested in playing guitar and the Sabres were auditioning for another guitarist, I applied and got the job.

The band lineup at that time was Brian Weir guitar, me guitar, Alister Gordon (Boss) piano, Ronnie Watt bass, Robbie Munroe drums and Margaret? female vocalist, (girlfriend of Ronnie Watt).
After about a year of playing together I think dispute about money (as usual) blew up and Margaret, Ronnie and Brian left the band, Alister then engaged Alan (Rae) Rodgers on bass and a male vocalist called Billy ?[photo below of Sabres lineup; L to R Alister keys, myself guitar, Billy vocals, Alan bass, Robbie drums, taken at the rehearsal Red Shoes when Alan and Billy joined.

My sister Alyson also sang vocals around this time with the Sabres before she joined Alex Sutherland band but no photo and cant rem’r dates etc. I will chat with her and find out more!
Late 61′ I think, Alister engaged Eddie (real name Freddie) into the band so now Eddie and Billy now shared vocals! (not in harmony I may add!) Photo 0002 at Beach Ballroom Aberdeen with Eddie and Alan in band).  Another dispute blew up about who was getting to sing which song so you can imagine where this was leading!
It was then (1962 I think)  that Eddie decided he was wanting to form his own band so myself and Alan was invited to join him! By this time keyboards were beginning to feature in hit records so Eddie said he wanted me to play keyboards as he knew I was also a piano player! I wasn’t too keen at first but he convinced me to give it a try He didn’t rate himself as a great guitarist so he engaged a very good Elgin guitarist, (and footballer) Chick Ralph! The drummer engaged at this time was Sonny Johnstone from Keith, Eddies home town!

In 1964 there was much talk in the band about going full time pro so that we could expand our touring range, Sonny didn’t want to give up his job and Chick likewise, although Chick I think being a keen sportsman didn’t want to lose out an any games he would have been involved in! However thay left the band in spring 64′ (I think) and I felt saddened they had gone as they were both excellent musicians!
Auditions were arranged and the young drummer from Inverurie impressed us right away, he was of course the one and only Jimmy Skinner! Jimmy was always keen to overcome any challenge and some of the most complex patterns and timing he would practice over and over until he got it right!

We still hadn’t got a new lead guitarist so we started practicing with just a 4 piece and found that the vox continental (new keyboard at that time) could cover many of the guitar riffs and sounded reasonable enough so we decided to carry on with that lineup until we split up in 65′ ( cant rem’r date )

As far as i remember we all lived in Elgin from 62′ until 65′ except for Jimmy who used to commute back and forth but he may have stayed over with some of us sometimes!

Alyson Armstrong “Jewel in the crown” comment from Alex. Sutherland: This was after she left Alex’s band, maybe 1 -2 years I think, I often used to run into him post 65 in Elgin and also when I moved to Aberdeen in 1972. Alex used to say to me could I talk to her and see if she would be willing to came back. She also sang with The Jimmy Martin band in the Red Shoes after Alex left for Aberdeen.
Alex Sutherland’s short rehearsal time – Alex expected every member had to be able to read music, the arrangements were all written down and each member could practice at home and hone his part to perfection, all that was left was for the whole band to get together and ‘fine tune’ the whole arrangement! I played with his band and Jimmy Martins when I was free as I was interested in Jazz (and still am) where the sheet music would be dished out and you were expected to take it home and have honed your part for the following week!” see:https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/two-red-shoes-album-2/


“Inside the Red Shoes the Sabre’s with Alan playing bass and Terry [Russell?] standing to the right of the stage. Albert was thinking of the new venue along the lines of the Red Shoes with a jazz biased resident band with visiting bands/artists.” Fraser Armstrong Note: Some of the acts who played at the Two Red Shoes didn’t think much of the small stage though many of the great British beat bands and vocalists performed the popular venue in Elgin, Scotland. The Pink Floyd decided that they would no longer perform in the small dance halls as they were unable to fit their equipment on stage. Eddie Le Pard and The Leopards photos are to be found at https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/eddie-le-pard-and-the-leopard/ besides the following photos from the band on the road the mid 1960’s…

leop3leop6leop7leop2a bit of fun along the way… looks to be Eddie LePard with Leopard’s drummer Jim Skinner [pictured below on Elgin’s High Street]

David “scotbeat” Dills with Alyson Armstrong of Two Red Shoes fame and Jim Skinner, Leopard’s drummer in ’65

a Saturday on the High Street [near former Two Red Shoes hall] with siblings Alyson and Fraser Armstrong


The two remaining Leopards with Alyson by the door leading to stage of Two Red Shoes Ballroom. l11

src=”https://scotbeat.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/l9.jpg” alt=”l9″ width=”4288″ height=”3216″ />



Posted in 1960's pop music

Beat bands at Elgin Town Hall

elgin town hall“Designed by one of Scotland’s foremost 20th century architects, William Hardie Kininmonth, who was knighted for his services to architecture in 1972.

INTERIOR: central timber-lined hall with projecting balconies and canopies, and raked gallery to rear; low stage with angled acoustic board
above; original lighting fixtures. Entrance hall containing sculpted stone from previous town hall; timber-lined telephone kiosk; original signage to telephone and toilets; stairs up to supper room and balconies; glass globe lighting fixtures.
FORMER WATER FEATURE AND FLAGPOLES: set to NE of Town Hall; wall bearing town crest flanked by angels; brick troughs and planters. 2 flagpoles.”

“The new town hall was built to hold a capacity of 1000 people, and the supper room 300 people. The rooms and spaces are designed to flow into one another. Large north-facing windows give a bright and airy character to the entrance hall and supper room,  minimising the transition from the qualities of light and space outside the building. The hall itself is finely finished in boarded timber. Balconies and parapets produce a carefully controlled effect of solid and void, and light and dark” http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk

In 2017, the Moray council began deliberating plans to transfer management of other entertainment halls including the Elgin Town Hall as they struggle to meet current budget restrictions. “The council has confirmed that halls across Moray will close in June should no credible community plan be in place to take them over.” [2018]

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/moray/1449177/cash-offer-for-moray-town-hall-groups-to-give-them-time-to-form-rescue-plans/ [7April18]

“It would be easy to be up in arms and take to the streets raising petitions and demanding the council does something about this, but we have decided instead to look at this as an opportunity… This opportunity, if taken, could allow the town hall to be the central venue for arts and community life in Moray. It would be in the hands of a community that values its purpose and has the drive to see its potential realized. It is clear that if we do not step up and offer an alternative the council will simply shut the door and the building left to rot like Grant Lodge. Now is the time for communities to show solidarity and come together to create a new vision for the town hall.” [Lantern of the North director Barry Jarvis] https://www.northern-scot.co.uk/News/Help-us-save-Elgin-Town-Hall-02032018.htm

Current comments and updates: https://www.facebook.com/Elgintownhall/

Though there is evidence of a bit of wear and tear  over the years, the Elgin Town Hall  is still a beautiful space and continues to host sold out events including NE Scotland groups like Sold on Soul https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0iqzWY_uQc Fusion https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKKSrvNWuns and one of Scotland’s most popular pop bands, Edgar Road http://www.edgarroad.com/music/ besides hosting a variety of popular touring groups and entertainers over the years. Currently, there is a movement to revitalize the Elgin Town Hall through the Lantern of the North Events working group who are seeking volunteers and staff with various expertise in moving forward. http://www.insidemoray.com/lantern-of-the-north-call-for-discussion-over-elgin-town-hall-future/

Elgin is first documented in the Cartulary of Moray in 1190 AD. It was created a Royal Burgh in the 12th century by King David I of Scotland and by that time had a castle on top of the present day Lady Hill to the west of the town. On 19 July 1224, the foundation stone of the new Elgin Cathedral was ceremoniously laid. The cathedral was completed sometime after 1242 but was completely destroyed by fire in 1270. In the 19th century the old medieval town of Elgin was swept away.

The first major addition to the town centre was the Assembly Rooms, built in 1821 by the Trinity Lodge of Freemasons, at the corner of High Street and North Street. Before building the Two Red Shoes Ballroom [1960] Albert Bonici booked bands at the Assembly Rooms and the Cooper Park drill hall [completed in 1908]. He also rented the Elgin Town Hall beginning in the early 1960’s when booking beat and jazz bands that were popular enough to fill the hall’s main floor as it would accommodate over twice as many dancers than the TRS Ballroom besides an ambience that attracted music fans around the region.
elgin town hall 1883The original Elgin town hall (MacKenzie & Matthews, 1884) on Moray Street was destroyed by fire in 1939* and wasn’t replaced until the early 1960’s when the new hall was built. “A fire started in the afternoon of 11 December 1939 and reduced it to rubble within a few hours.” According to local historian Jenny Main, the fire was blamed on a soldier with an unattended cigarette when Army were using the quarters during WWII. “The old town hall was a very grandiose affair – the turrets were topped statuettes of men with spears, and the projecting keystones bore the sculptured heads of Apollo, Vulcan, and Ceres. The keystone of the porch arch featured the figure of St Giles with the head of Minerva below it. The building was a hive of civic and cultural activity [dating back to the 1890s]. Before other entertainments were developed, many dances, theatre productions, festivals and concerts took place in the large hall, which could seat 1,000 people.” Jenny Main “Elgin From Old Photos”

*note: will soon present video footage of fire in 1939

The new Elgin Town Hall was a beautiful sight for “the residents of Moray-shire and featured a garden, fountain, and beautiful red curtains with picture windows. It was built to “hold a capacity of 1000 people, and the supper room 300 people.”

elgin new hall

elgin hall committee 1961

elgin 1961

The article which appeared in the Northern Scot newspaper when the Elgin Town Hall opened states that the main hall comfortable seats 850 and was built at a cost of £100,000.

The hall opening ceremony was December 15, 1961 ‘ “In the evening was held its opening main event – a ball – which was followed by a “Teenagers Ball” the following evening. A concert held on Sunday and organized by the Lord Provost was a happy culmination to three historic days.”

Sunday, December 17th:

“First Concert in New Town Hall – The opening concert in Elgin’s new town hall on Sunday was most successful and attracted a large audience. Compere was Mr Bill Murray, and Elgin City Band played selections prior to the beginning of the show and during the interval. The programme was an interesting and varied one and the artists including Elgin Academy Senior Girls Choir (conductor Miss J.B. Smellie); dancers Miss Margaret Nicholson and Miss Doreen Legge; Miss Elizabeth Sutherland, soprano; dancing pupils of Miss Jean Matthews; Mr Peter Zandre, violinist; Miss Eleanor Young and Miss Linda Duncan, recitations; Mr Roy Gordon, baritone; Greyfriars Convent Musicmakers; and a play by the pupils of Mrs J.W. Evans. Accompanists were Mrs W. Gillan, Mrs E. Sutherland, Mrs J. Mavor, Miss M. Henderson, Miss M. Kessack and Mr W. Clelland.” Note: “Members of the public who were unable to inspect Elgin’s new town hall on opening day [15 December] will have an opportunity to do so on Wednesday (December 27), between 2 and 4 p.m. and 7 and 9 p.m. The hall is again being opened for inspection at the request of the public.” ‘

Besides a variety of regional groups,  local impresario and music promoter, Albert Bonici, saw the new Elgin Town Hall with a large dance floor as an opportunity to host popular music venues though mostly using his newly built, Two Red Shoes Ballroom to assure a full house in the smaller hall. The Elgin Town Hall quickly became a popular venue for theater productions, music venues, and variety shows besides many pop stars and beat bands. Several groups who were well received at the Two Red Shoes and other gigs in the north of Scotland, returned to perform to a larger audience at the Elgin Town Hall as their popularity grew. Here are a few of the past posts from pop groups who graced the stage in the 1960s:

https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/tommy-roe-with-the-beatles-circa-march1963/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2016/01/13/kinks-in-north-of-scotland/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/meet-the-searchers/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/the-kinks-and-the-hollies/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/the-hollies/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/small-faces-1966/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/yardbirds-1966/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/eric-burdon-and-the-animals/

“Thanks David, great post. Hopefully the more people know about the history of the Hall, the more interested they’ll be in its future.” Ray McLean Conservative Councillor- Elgin City South

 “The Leopards https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/eddie-le-pard-and-the-leopard/ as a group paid to see The Animals with Eric Burden and Alan Price there [Elgin Town Hall]. It was the week House of the Rising Sun https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sB3Fjw3Uvc went from No 5 to No 1 in the Hit Parade.
During a pause we spoke with Eric at the front of the stage telling him about our imminent upcoming tour of West Germany. He asked about our music and wished us the best of luck there. They were a great band as evidenced by their future musical achievements. Before we went to Germany we rehearsed our version of ‘Rising Sun ‘ and played it from then on wards . Fraser had the identical Vox Continental organ as Alan Price https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQ0MAFovbrs and he played it really well! We were often asked ” Play it Again ” [Drummer Jim Skinner]
“I went to see The Sweet in the Town Hall. It was the week they were at number 1 [single in UK pop charts]. They played up in the balcony.” Kate Reid
[Glam rockers Sweet, who had a number one hit with Blockbuster, were supported by Windy Miller when they gigged at Elgin Town Hall.] https://www.northern-scot.co.uk/News/Beat-Scene-exhibition-highlights-promoters-impact-25032016.htm
Happy memories of Elgin Town Hall when myself and the other guys in Windy Miller https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/elgin-band-wendy-miller/ played support to Marmalade, Mud and The Sweet when Blockbuster was no. 1.. Also remember going to see The Hollies , The Small Faces, Them who had Van Morrison as their lead singer. There were many more but cannot remember them at the moment.” Brian McDonald

1960’s Elgin Town Hall notes: Tommy Roe with Robb Charles Combo 24 Oct 1963; The Hollies 9 July 1964; Merseybeats 11 Feb 1965; The Searchers 27 May 1965; Herman and the Hermits 14 July 1965; Jerry and The Pacemakers 29 Dec 1965; Freddy and the Dreamers 2 June, 1966; Small Faces 2 June, 1966; Yardbirds 7 July 1966;

Further reading: Bits of history and happenings at Elgin Town Hall

Theatre performances at the Elgin Town Hall have done well over the years with an ample stage area with changing rooms, etc. “Also in 1961 a tremendous decision was taken to shift our production venue from the Holy Trinity Hall to the new Elgin Town Hall. This move was to have a great effect of the whole outlook of the Society – now they set out to create THEATRE. New flats had to be made, publicity was increased and a new feeling of expectancy and excitement lifted the Club to even greater endeavours.
Soon after, the Society took another important step – to stage a musical. Bernard & I had seen ‘Salad Days’ at the Perth Rep and Bernard was very keen for EADS to stage this musical. But, it took a lot of persuasive talk, not to mention playing a recording of the musical, to get the Committee to agree to the gamble! But it came off, the public loved it, the press praised it and the members had a whale of a time doing it. EADS was in the musical business.” http://www.elgindrama.co.uk/history/

oliverThe Monkees’ Davy Jones performed as “Artful Dodger” in Oliver! with the Broadway cast on The Ed Sullivan Show the same night the Beatles debuted on an American TV in 1964. Twenty years later, Hollywood actor Kevin Kidd made his debut with a local cast of Oliver! performing at the Elgin Town Hall. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yd6jl2G26rs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_McKidd

https://www.elginmusicaltheatre.com/ https://www.ents24.com/elgin-events/elgin-town-hall





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Posted in 1960's pop music

Harry of Elgin

Alistair from the Northern Scot newspaper contacted me in December [2017] when gathering info regarding Harry Robinson [Robertson] who grew up in Elgin, Scotland and made his career in the entertainment biz.

Harry Robinson [NS]

Harry Robinson [NS]

https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2016/08/16/harry-robinson-musiciancomposer/ and https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/hoots-mon-harry-robinson/

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Posted in 1960's pop music

Andi Lothian Beatlemania


https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/13/scottish-beat-feb64/ The Scottish Beat was published by The Macolm Nixon Agency and edited by Andy Lothian Jr.   In 1964, Albert Bonici had continued to represent The Beatles in Scotland though in 1963 he agreed to relinquish a contraction clause to soul representation for Beatles performances in the country.  Though the Dundee Beatles show of 1963 was presented by “Albert Bonici and Andy Lothian Jr”, Mr. Lothian purportedly negotiated for the Beatles Shows in Dundee when accompanying  promoter Bonici to meet with Brian Epstein to secure further engagements after the Beatles in January. Though Andi Lothian has been called  “the man who brought the Beatles to Scotland”, it was Elgin promoter Albert Bonici through Jack Fallon of Cana Variety Agency who brought the Beatles to Scotland besides a stable of musician, out for limited tours. https://bonici.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/albert-a-bonici/

“In the early 1960’s I had the good fortune to promote, and tour with the Beatles in clubs and concerts, which effectively launched my theatrical agency.” [Andi Lothian]

Malcolm Nixon who had offices in London opened an office in Dundee, hiring agents including Andy Lothian Jr, who became editor of music magazine, “Scottish Beat” [1964]. Besides a tenure with Malcolm Nixon Agency, Lothian was given the opportunity to co-manage some venues for Mr. Bonici and eventually started his own promotions known as ALP [Andy Lothian Promotions].

BEATLEMANIA  in Dundee : http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05rtcp4

According to Mr. Lothian, he negotiated with Beatles manager Brian Epstein to get the Beatles back to Scotland in October 1963 besides paying £500 per night [the fee was £300 per night according to Peter Innes “Fit Like New York” based on Evening News clippings and interviews].

Though in some interviews Lothian refers to Mr. Bonici as the businessman who accompanied him to meet with Brian Epstein*, Bonici was excluded in “Scotland’s Big Night Out” and Mr. Lothian took credit for January 1963 Beatles tour in Scotland besides the Dundee shows.  Though documents and adverts to prove otherwise, it’s interesting that Andi Lothian said that he lost money on the Beatles first gig in Elgin, Scotland 1963. According to staff and beat fans who attended the performance repeated that Albert Bonici organized and presented the show though used local promoters to manage other venues.*

Without mentioning those early gigs of 1963, BBC producer contends that “it was he [Andi Lothian] not Bonici, who agreed the details of the deal with Brian Epstein for the successful October 1963 tour” and gave Lothian credit for bringing the Beatles to Scotland.
*It was promoter Bonici who invited Lothian to tag along to help shore up a Beatles Show in Dundee [besides Glasgow and Edinburgh]

In another interview, Andi Lothian states that he first heard The Beatles’ “Love Me Do” in June 1962, just after it’s release. At the time, Tony Calder, of Decca Records,  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-42564203 told the BBC that he was responsible to promote the record as it wasn’t getting airplay in the first week. Speaking of the Beatles, “Love Me Do”, Calder told BBC Radio 1 “It was not getting radio play and after the first week they were in panic,” so he sent out free copies to discotheques around the UK. By October, ’62, the song was climbing the charts and catching the attention of promoters and youthful around the United Kingdom as many heard the Beatles on Luxembourg Radio’s top 20 or pirate radio. https://www.beatlesbible.com/1962/09/04/recording-how-do-you-do-it-love-me-do/

Brian Epstein and promoter Albert Bonici https://bonici.wordpress.com/, signed a contract for the January ’63 tour in Scotland [through Jack Fallon of Cana Variety/London] having agreed to the tour year on 9 September 1962, [according to Ken McNab – The Beatles In Scotland]. Final details were sorted out in early November Bonici began advertising the “Love Me Do Boys” on the 12th though no know one could have predicted weather conditions that kept the band catching their flight to Aberdeen Airport [Dyce] that kept them from their first engagement on the 2nd of January 1963. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/beatles-ad-12-12-62/ Beatles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LHtidTwjJ4

and https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2016/09/09/beatles-tour-scotland/

Whilst some of the correspondence is missing from the Bonici Archives, contracts, memos, and adverts indicate that it was Albert Bonici who booked many bands through Cana Variety, brought the Beatles, and other popular British entertainers to the north of Scotland in the 1960s through his well organised business, LCB Agency. Besides long hours in his Elgin office, Mr. B frequented the Park Cafe where he met with various bands at table one [at the bottom/left hand side]. Albert, who usually spent a dozen or so hours attending to business, was said to have had a knack for introducing most of the best new British talent to Scotland. Much of his success was paying attention to feedback from colleagues, musicians, and the young patrons who attended dances and shows. Besides getting regular reports from Alex. Sutherland [who became music director for Grampian Television] he encouraged young music fans to suggest groups and vocalists they would like to see. On occasions, he flew to London and attended clubs and small music venues including 2 ii’s Coffee Bar which inspired him to redecorate the Bonici family’s Park Café with vinyl seats, juke box, and small stage in 1956. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_2i%27s_Coffee_Bar

When I first began collecting information about Bonici’s LCB Agency, I met with Aberdeen promoter, Gordon Hardie,  and asked about their working relationship and that of colleague Andy Lothian as they worked some of the venues. Mr. Hardie related that both were brought on board to manage some of the bookings arranged through Albert’s agency. They were expected to pay the basic cost of a gig besides hall fees from ticket sales. In Elgin, Mr. B had a full time staff to perform various tasks of operating his Two Red Shoes Ballroom.  Bonici did much of his negotiating over the phone [sometimes one on each ear], and dictating letters to his secretary. He met daily with his brother-in-law and concessions manager, Ugo Ruggeri, and made sure that arrangements went as planned including having musicians call in on Thursday to begin their respective tours. Besides his operating plan with Mr. Hardie and Mr. Lothian, Albert Bonici engaged with other promoters in Scotland with similar agreements though used staff members to run shows in Elgin and Nairn. Neil Patterson was the promoter managing programs at his Two Red Shoes Hall.

Scotland’s Big Night Out: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05rtcp4

The presenter reports that Lothian “pulled off a greater feat” than a Twist marathon in Dundee in 1962 when he signed the Beatles to play in Scotland.  Andi Lothian: “I brought the Beatles to Scotland in 1963 and lost money on it… the Beatles arrived and nobody noticed”. The Beatles bookings in Scotland were paid for by Albert Bonici who recovered the basic amount he paid per show from those who managed the shows. The presenter said that Mr. Lothian “lost a mint in Elgin”. Albert Bonici owned the Two Red Shoes Ballroom [300 floor capacity and concession area] and though only 80 tickets sold in the first half according to TRS band leader Alex.Sutherland, a ticket taker told me that their were near 200 after the nearby tavern closed on an unusually cold winter’s night. Though promoter Bonici had to pay the house-band, he made money on concessions besides tickets sold.

Beatles in Glasgow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdftSAnH8dw Beatles home movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzcJpcIpYTo Dusty interviews Beatles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Vl1OH2dXwg

Andy Lothian Jr.  appeared a as “Andy Lothian and his The East Coast Jazzmen with Sheila on vocal” at Albert Bonici’s Two Red Shoes Ballroom on 15 June 1961. The band didn’t gain notoriety though Andy Lothian was hired by Albert Bonici to help manage some of his bookings. There were local promoters throughout Scotland that Mr. Bonici worked with to maintain and develop this business [LCB Agency]. He had promoters sell tickets and manage programs and subtracted the basic cost of a single gig. This usually worked out for colleagues, though they didn’t always make money off the deal.  When The Beatles booked for a “New Years Dance” in Keith followed by four more shows, no one knew that it would be one of the coldest Scotish winters with snow storms and ice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOb7aSy0jDU Andy Lothian interviews: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17rmIWXViFE and https://vimeo.com/84891860
‘”The first time Scottish concert promoter Andi Lothian booked the Beatles, in the frozen January of 1963, only 15 people showed up. The next time he brought them north of the border, to Glasgow Odeon on 5 October, they had scored a No 1 album and three No 1 singles, and it was as if a hurricane had blown into town. The night almost unraveled when nervous local police insisted Lothian bring the Beatles on early to satisfy rowdily impatient fans, even though his bouncers were still in the pub. “The girls were beginning to overwhelm us,” remembers Lothian, now 73 and a business consultant. “I saw one of them almost getting to Ringo’s drumkit and then I saw 40 drunk bouncers tearing down the aisles. It was like the Relief of Mafeking! It was absolute pandemonium. Girls fainting, screaming, wet seats. The whole hall went into some kind of state, almost like collective hypnotism. I’d never seen anything like it.” A Radio Scotland reporter turned to Lothian and gasped, “For God’s sake Andi, what’s happening?” Thinking on his feet, the promoter replied, “Don’t worry, it’s only… Beatlemania.” The coinage is usually attributed to a Daily Mirror story about the Beatles’ London Palladium concert eight days later but Lothian insists it came from him, via Radio Scotland. Either way, the phenomenon predated the label. Throughout 1963 there had been reports of teenage girls screaming, crying, fainting and chasing the band down the street; police escorts were already required. But catchy new words have a magical power in the media. Once it caught on, it seemed to cement the phenomenon in the collective imagination.”‘ https://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/sep/29/beatlemania-screamers-fandom-teenagers-hysteria
Whilst Andi Lothian claims that he the one who brought the Beatles to Scotland and lost money on the deal, it was  Albert Bonici who arranged the booking through friend and associate, Jack Fallon: “6 February, 1963: Dear Albert, This is just a recap letter on some of the points we are discussing. “THE BEETLES. As you will see by the charts, this group are in the charts in three places, jumping in at number 9 with their latest record. He [Brian Epstein] is asking £100 for a period in April, £150 for a period in May, available May 11th – 15th; let me know.” Note: Brian Epstein replied to Albert’s response through Jack at Cana Variety 6 March 1963

Often pairing up pop groups, Albert arranged for The Copycats to share the bill with The Beatles for a New Year’s Dance in Keith [2 Nov 1963]. Unfortunately, the newly formed Scottish band were disappointed that the Liverpool group “Love Me Do Boys” had to cancel because of road conditions. However, The Beatles fulfilled the rest of their first tour in Scotland, commencing with Albert’s dance hall, The Two Red Shoes, Elgin with the Alex. Sutherland house-band supporting them. The Copycats share memories of The Beatles coming to hear them rehearse when Mr. Bonici billed them for The Beatles Shows in Glasgow and Edinburgh. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/the-beatles-show/  In communications between Cana Variety’s Jack Fallon  and Albert Bonici , it was noted that Malcolm Nixon’s demeanour was off putting to some of the local promoters in the north of Scotland which gave Mr. Bonici an advantage in bringing many top bands to the north. Bonici/Fallon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Fallon  The Copycats/Beatles: https://bonici.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/albert-a-bonici/

According to Andi, he accompanied Albert Bonici on his first trip to see Brian Epstein. The intent of the visit was to negotiate a tour featuring the Beatles. By the end of 1962, Albert Bonici, was posed to bring many of the emerging jazz and beat bands into Scotland which included a new group to hit Luxembourg radio’s top 20, The Beatles. https://www.pressreader.com/uk/evergreen/20170906/281595240667105

‘I was a jazz man and didn’t really listen to the pop groups much. On the Monday, I travelled to Aberdeen Station and was picked up by my associate, Gordon Hardie. We went as usual to Chivas Restaurant in Union Street, only this time we were surrounded by waitresses clambering, “Who are these Beatles?” The group had apparently visited the restaurant earlier in the day and made a great impression. I don’t know if it was their personalities or the smart blue suits and rain coats into which the name “Beatle” was sewn, but they had certainly impressed the girls, and that made an impression on me.’ [Albert Bonici, Promoter/entrepreneur] https://bonici.wordpress.com/

Securing the Beatles for Scotland gigs:

Jack Fallon – 6 February, 1963: Dear Albert, This is just a recap letter on some of the points we are discussing. “THE BEETLES. As you will see by the charts, this group are in the charts in three places, jumping in at number 9 with their latest record. He [Brian Epstein] is asking £100 for a period in April, £150 for a period in May, available May 11th – 15th; let me know.” Note: Brian Epstein replied to Albert’s response through Jack at Cana Variety 6 March. Mr. Epstein’s correspondence is currently missing from the Bonici Archives. However, based on Andi Lothian’s testimony and cooberation, BBC ascertains that it was Andi Lothian who negotiated the three October 1963 Beatles programs in Scotland when he and Albert Bonici flew to London to meet with Beatles manager, Brian Epstein.

Albert Bonici layed out the Beatles shows including the three October 1963 presentations. The BBC states that promoter Lothian negotiated the shows though financier Bonici saw to details including ordering metal etched print blocks and laying out the program https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/scottish-beatles-tour-1963/

By the start of 1962, the Two Red Shoes Ballroom had become a popular place to go for top entertainment in the north of Scotland. Ron Murray, a regular to the hall, was aged 33 when he and his wife went to the Beatles performance at “boots”. “We [the attendees] liked the Beatles… they were fun to listen to. They looked smart [smartly dressed] with matching navy blue suits, “winkle pickers” [pointed toed shoes], and smart-looking hair cuts.” By then, music fans were regularly lining up around the hall for venues though their January appearance was during one of the coldest winters in Scotland. Here’s a bit of my notes regarding the early days of the Beatles when they started touring here in Scotland…

“a five night trip around various Scottish towns” thanks to a contract signed between Brian Epstein and Albert Bonici through Jack Fallon’s Cana Variety Agency in November of 1962. The original advert [12 Dec 62] billed the Beatles with the Dave Sisters [Dale] but they took another date. By the end of the month, the Beatles song “Love Me Do” was becoming popular and Bonici then coined, “Love Me Do boys” to promote the band in Scotland. John took the opportunity to fly back to Liverpool for a few hours, returning to Scotland early on the morning of the 3rd in time to get to the Elgin gig.

Albert Bonici would have likely seen the Photo-Cast advert to book the Beatles in November 1962 as the 1963 Edition was released early [the acts had until August ’62 to get their photos to press]. Jack Fallon of Cana Variety, London also advised Albert about new acts and had already booked the Beatles into his dance halls.


Bonici – Fallon correspondence


Above is a reproduction of the first contract signed between Brian Epstein and Albert Bonici [1962] as The Beatles [with Ringo Starr] were to embark on their first tour of Scotland. The booking was handled through Jack Fallon at Cana Variety Agency in London. Albert Bonici who began promoting bands with London contact Tito Burns, had been working with Jack Fallon since the late 1950s.

Albert Bonici who originally hailed from Inverness, Scotland began promoting musicians and vocalists regularly in the mid ’50s though did a charity event with friend Henry Roberson [aka producer Harry Robinson] in 1952. He built a stage in the family owned cafe, the Park Cafe where Harry Robinson performed piano recitals and musicals. The modest stage was also frequented by various local talent including jazz entertainer Alex. Sutherland who became the first band leader of The Two Red Shoes which opened in the summer of 1960 in Elgin, Scotland.

In 1962, Albert  was concerned about a rival agency Malcolm Nixon who had begun pushing acts into the north of Scotland. He wrote to Jack that he may have to offer 10 day tours instead of 5 which became the case in 1963 after the Beatles did their short tour. He had already added a clause that gave him rights to represent return acts in Scotland which included The Beatles to the chagrin of his rivals. However, in the course of renegotiating the Beatles return to Scotland, Albert agreed to dismiss the clause after Brian Epstein agreed to having Mr. Bonici’s young band, The Copycats, on the bill for The Beatles Show. Brian continued to let Albert oversee the Beatles gigs in Scotland.

The first Beatles mini tour of Scotland was to begin in Keith and finish in Aberdeen but didn’t happen as planned as the snow delayed them and they first played at the Two Red Shoes, Elgin. The Keith gig, billed as a New Year’s Dance [2 Jan 63] with The Beatles and Johnny and The Copycats, went on minus the “Love Me Do” boys. The tour which began on the 3rd in Elgin was originally billed as a “pop package” [Northern Scot -1Dec62] was planned as The Beatles with the Dale Sisters. Instead, the show went on with the Alex. Sutherland sextet [Two Red Shoes house-band] and the Beatles did two sets. (The Dale Sisters trio performed on the 2nd in nearby Forres and at the Two Red Shoes the following week).

Beginning with the 3 Jan ’63 performance in Elgin,  the  group toured extensively and appeared on several UK television programs in that year. By 1964, they gained international success after agreeing to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York. Here they are live at the Cavern Club singing Beautiful Dreamer with Ringo on the drums http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_md_z_g8sk Long time business associate, Jack Fallon, acted as a go between to book acts for Albert from his London office.

Joe, editor of the exhaustive Beatles site, http://www.beatlesbible.com/ wrote: “Jack Fallon was (with Bill Reid) one half of Jaybee, which ran a number of clubs across Britain in the early 60s. The Beatles played at a number of their venues. Fallon also played fiddle on Don’t Pass Me By on the White Album.” “Fallon was also involved in the industry as a booker/promoter, having established the booking agency Cana Variety in 1952. Cana booked primarily jazz artists in its early stages but expanded to rock acts in the 1960s, including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Perhaps it was because of a long association during their early years of gigging, Fallon was asked by the Beatles to play fiddle on the song “Don’t Pass Me By”. Fallon continued to play jazz locally in London and in the studios into the 1990s. He published a memoir entitled From the Top in 2005, and died the following year at age 90.” After the first and second contracts were signed  between AA Bonici and Brian Epstein, the two men brought several acts into Scotland and held mutual respect for each other. They both acted in a professional manner as Brian and Albert worked together to give several musicians an opportunity to build a fan base in Scotland. The tour was to commence with a New Year’s Dance in Longmore Hall, Keith with The Beatles and The Copycats sharing a bill 2Jan63. The Copycats who were already fans when Liverpool lads began charting with Love Me Do, were disappointed when it was a no show for the Beatles because of snowy conditions. However, Mr. Bonici made it up to the teenaged Johnny and The Copycats when they shared a bill the following year.

Above: This Beatles photo was the first  that most booking agents and promoters saw. Photos had to be in by August 1962 for distribution and book would have hit the market by November when Bonici sought to book them through Cana Variety – London.

The Beatles were dubbed “Love Me Do boys” by AA Bonici in December 1962 as the song got into Luxembourg Radio’s top 20 just before their 1963 touring began.  During their January tour of Scotland, Aberdeen beat fans took notice of them around town in their collarless suits before their performance. They had charisma and a smart look besides dynamic arrangements of cover tunes and a few compositions of their own in their performances.

The Beatles were meant to start a five day tour in Keith where they had played as a back-up band before reforming the group with Ringo Starr under Brian Epstein’s guidance. Because of snow conditions, their New Year’s show was canceled and they played their first performance at Elgin’s Two Red Shoes on the 3rd of January, 1963. A original band member from Alex Sutherland’s group, told me that they were impressed with their take on popular covers of the time. Though it was the dead of winter, their thursday night performance attracted 200 according to one of the ticket takers. Promoter Albert Bonici dubbed them, “Love Me Do boys” as Love Me Do was their first song which entered the charts, though Please, Please, Me soon took the number one stop on Luxembourg radio.

Fit Like, New York?: An Irreverent History of Rock Music in Aberdeen and North East Scotland [written by Peter Innes/published by Aberdeen Journals, 1997] is an interesting read and includes this bit about Aberdeen promoter Gordon Hardie and The Beatles first tour that finished with a performance at Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom. Ten years after the book was written, Gordon told me that he worked for Albert Bonici on several occasion and that it was Albert who brought the Beatles to Scotland besides many other musicians. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2016/09/09/beatles-tour-scotland/

In an interview with Jim Wilke [published in Blue Suede Brogans] Mr. Bonici said that The Beatles were paid £300 per night for shows in 1963 and £1000 per night in 1964 which doesn’t match up with Beatles fan Lothian who negotiated the Dundee tour dates. According to co-promoter Andy Lothian who announced the Beatles in Dundee said Albert Bonici paid £500 for shows.  “…Glasgow, Kirkaldy, and Dundee – 5th, 6th and 7th October 1963. I was co-promoter with Albert on all three occasions and it was myself who negotiated the October tour in Brian’s office the day after the earlier January trip finished… I MC’d all three events. Albert and I paid the band £40 a night for the short Scottish tour in January, (which is currently the subject of much BBC interest) and £500 a night for each of the three October events.” Andi Lothian comment https://www.beatlesbible.com/1963/10/05/live-concert-hall-glasgow/ Though a large sum in those days, it was a calculated risk that paid off for the promoters. Unfortunately for fans, Albert was not confident that young beat music fans would be willing to pay a large ticket price in the north of Scotland so the group didn’t make a second appearance in Aberdeen though had considered it – tour dates were crossed out in co-promoter Gordon Hardie’s date book.  Note: The Beatles were paid £42 a night in the January tour and the Aberdeen Beatles appearance cost 6 shillings a ticket during that first tour of Scotland 1963 [less than £1].

*Elgin 3 Jan 1963: Several gave glowing reviews of the Beatles that night saying that their arrangement and harmonies were good. Fraser Armstrong [Eddie Le Pard and the Leopards] said that he enjoyed their harmonies and was surprised by a beat band with all four band members singing [a rarity at the time].


promotion photo from 1962 was seen by promoter Albert Bonici and booked them in November and promoted the show as “Love Me Do Boys” when their first song climbed the charts on Luxembourg radio

Nov/62 contract: https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/beatles-tour-contract-nov63/

From Fit Like New York – Peter Innes


[c.Bonici Archives]  rolling stones 64

[C. Bonici Archives] Over the course of my research, two of the promoters who worked at LCB Agency, Elgin, expressed that it was difficult working with some of the agencies down south including Malcolm Nixon Agency, a London based group who had an office in Dundee. In a correspondence between Albert Bonici and Jack Fallon, Mr. Bonici comments that Mr. Nixon wasn’t as successful in working with other promoters in the north of Scotland because of his demeanour. Also, the agency didn’t like the fact that Albert had exclusive rights to the Beatles in Scotland besides hosting several other top acts like The Hollies and The Rolling Stones. A former promoter/agent who wrote “Are Ye Dancin’?” describes Albert Bonici as a “wide boy” and sites a fine for not declaring watches at the border. He may have also used the term to insult Mr. Bonici as he was of Italian decent and a rather large man.  I have not found anything within his personal affects that indicate improprieties in business dealings or otherwise. People who worked closely with him, describe him as an intelligent person who thought “outside the box” regularly coming up business innovations. He was loved and respected by many and did much to help people within his community and supported several starting businesses and careers.

By, 1963, in an effort to keep his business viable against competitor Malcolm Nixon Agency [London and Dundee], Albert Bonici began signing groups for up to 10 day tours [8 evening of work] in 1962 though only signed signed The Beatles for 5 days of work.

The Beatles returned to Scotland for gigs in 1963 and 1964. Though Albert Bonici agreed to drop his “exclusive rights” clause concerning the Beatles shows in Scotland during negotiations, Brian Epstein continued to accept Mr. Bonici’s terms concerning the Beatles and other acts from Liverpool.

Promoter Gordon Hardie kept diaries of groups booked through LCB Agency which included The Springfields, The Beatles, and the Rolling Stones. He and Andy Lothian Jr were promoters who worked with Mr. Bonici  though Gordon had his own promotion business [Stag] and Andy who was associated on with a Malcolm Nixon agency [Dundee] started his own business in 1964

Beatles reflect on Edinburgh performance [1964] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB0xqtSQjWg

After managing a successful Beatles performance in Dundee, Andy Lothian Jr. gained recognition as a pop promoter for his association with Scotland’s premiere promoter/impresario Albert Bonici. However, there is no evidence in the Bonici archives that suggests that a Bonici/Lothian agency in Glasgow came about or that the two worked together after 1964. Besides the Beatles Show in Dundee, one of the other popular venues Mr. Bonici shared with Andy Lothian was the first appearance of The Rolling Stones in Aberdeen when Albert designed another “pop package” of bands and vocalist after the Beatles shows. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/rolling-stone-1964/  In 1965, Albert arranged a second [of several appearances] the Rolling Stones made to Aberdeen where they were well received. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/stones-in-aberdeen/

Comments:  “It looks like Andy Lothian has completely forgotten who Albert Bonici was. How very sad that someone who helped Lothian get established should be conveniently passed over… Albert [Bonici] was definitely instrumental in bringing the Beatles to Scotland as he did long before they were famous. Brian Epstein… wanted to buy out the contract from Albert who held all the rights to all the work the Beatles did in Scotland. That was the reason we [Johnny and The Copycats] got the gig with the Beatles in Glasgow & Edinburgh. The business of buying out the contract & us performing on the same bill as the famous 4 was done over a telephone conversation with Albert & Brian Epstein. Albert had many booking agent friends throughout Scotland of which Andy Lothian was 1 & shared artists depending which part of Scotland they happened to operate in.” Johnny Stewart – Johnny and The Copycats [AKA My Dear Watson] Beatles: http://www.copycats62.co.uk/page3.html

“Very disappointed with BBC Scotland programme and Andy Lothian’s claims. Albert Bonici was not mentioned even once. I was a member of Johnny & the Copycats & that was NOT the way we remember the Beatles in Scotland. Albert took many big names to the North of Scotland, not only the Beatles but names such as Pink Floyd, Moody Blues, Kinks, Johnny Kidd & the Pirates, Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, Hollies, Manfred Mann, Sandy Shaw, Herman’s Hermits, Slade, Small Faces, Status Quo, Troggs, Tremoloes, and these are only some of the acts that we played support for. There were many other acts he booked that we heard about but we were probably away playing in Germany or England at the time, Cream, Who, Fleetwood Mac are just 3 that come to mind, I’m sure NE folk will remember this better than us. Maybe if the BBC researchers were to read David Dills’ Scotbeat they could come up with a much more accurate documentary.”     Bill Cameron.

“Quite good. Fully informative and most of all your facts are mostly backed up.Hope some media music company will take you and your history of Scots music scene and do a programme.” David Lamb

“Your website about music artists who performed at the Two Red Shoes has truly been a revelation about that aspect of Elgin’s history which I really should have known about long ago!  I simply had no idea that so many other acts, who would go on to be massive, had come to Elgin in that period.  It’s as if the appearance of the Beatles, the biggest of all, just blotted out all the others.  So it has taken your research to enlighten me, and I am sure I will not be alone in this regard.
Whatever the number of acts who came here, it was a hugely enterprising achievement on the part of Albert Bonici.  Elgin is far removed from the hub of the music industry, then and now, and there surely cannot have been many towns like it in the whole of the UK which attracted performers of the calibre that came here because of the good work of Mr Bonici.
And so we are now in the year that marks the 50th anniversary of the amazing 1968.  For me, ’68 was the year when music radio really came into being.  It is easy for me to forget, and I am sure impossible for you to imagine, how meagre that medium was in north Scotland until then.  We were way out of range of the pirate ships, and apart from Radio Luxembourg with its sporadic reception, all we had was the BBC Light Programme, that I can’t be bothered to describe.” Stewart F.

“Great research from you again David. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts and totally agree with your comments regarding the misinformation from Andy Lothian. It will be interesting to see if the BBC contacts you.” Alistair [Northern-Scot journalist]

“A bit strange that he claims to have paid them £500 a night whereas in the book Fit Like New York they are said to have paid £300 per night for their October shows… Keenan Ruggeri 

Mr Lothian seems to think he can say what he likes as all the people involved apart from him are now dead,
However, as Albert Bonici was my Uncle, I have the Copy of the contract that he had framed in his office, the contract was signed by him and Brian Epstein, not a mention of Lothian anywhere, I rest my case. John Ruggeri

BBC: Full Complaint: The BBC presenter states that Andi Lothian is a legend for bringing The Beatles to Scotland in 1963 when in fact, it was Scotland’s top promoter Albert Bonici who employed the young promoter to sell tickets and help manage some of the Beatles venues. In the north of Scotland the facts are commonly know amongst those who attended dances and music programs at the time. Though many of the generation do not go online, I have heard several complaints over the broadcast. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2018/01/03/andi-lothian-beatlemania/

BBC answer: ‘Thank you for getting in touch about Scotland’s Big Night Out broadcast on 31 December 2017. Your comments were passed to the Executive Producer, who has asked that I forward her response as follows: “The programme was an overview of 50 years of The Big Night Out in Scotland and we had to keep the section on the Beatles brief. Our interview with Andi Lothian was a first-hand witness with a sharp recall of events and his version of both coining the phrase “Beatlemania” and bringing the Beatles to Scotland is confirmed by other sources.

Andi Lothian coined the phrase Beatlemania on the October 1963 Beatles Tour in Dundee. It first appeared in print in the Daily Mirror on 2nd November 1963. I do appreciate that Albert Bonici was also involved in bringing the Beatles to Scotland, but Andi Lothian was the key contact for the Beatles and according to his testimony it was he, not Bonici, who agreed the details of the deal with Brian Epstein for the successful October 1963 tour. I am sure that in a longer form documentary it would be possible to also reflect the role on Bonici as an important musical entrepreneur, but our programme, as transmitted, was factually accurate.” ‘ James [BBC complaints]

I received the above email on 5 Feb 2018 and wrote a further correspondence though not able to reply per email sent… Dear James, Thank you for clarifying your position that Andi Lothian came up with the phrase “Beatlemania” that was repeated in various news releases. Also, I except your conclusion that Mr. Lothian negotiated the October dates in Scotland since it was in his territory and that two of his acts were included in the Dundee programs. However, in an interview with another co-promoter, Gordon Hardie, I was informed that Albert booked the January shows featuring the Beatles and hired he and Andy Lothian to manage Bridge of Allan [near Stirling] where they saw the Beatles for the first time.

 According to written documentation and Hardie interview, it was promoter Bonici who orchestrated and paid Brian Epstein to bring The Beatles to Scotland in January 1963.  Albert Bonici proudly displayed the first reproduction of the November 1962 contract on his wall and continued to contact Brian Epstein to book his acts besides The Beatles shows in April 1964.  He also developed programs and flyers with several Beatles print blocks [metal etched photos] used to promote them. Whilst appreciating that your team were time limited when creating your presentation several who are familiar with the subject matter, found the Beatles segment misleading considering the role that Mr. Bonici played in bringing The Beatles to Scotland. If there is interest in airing the music phenomenon that took place around Elgin and the north of Scotland in the 1960s, I invite the BBC research team to visit my detailed blog https://scotbeat.wordpress.com  sincerely, David Dills
 “Simple fact which is conveniently ignored by the response from the BBC….if Lothian brought the Beatles to Scotland why is his name not on the contracts?
Answer because he didn’t, it was the named person Albert Bonici.
I wouldn’t accept their response and ask them to explain this “anomaly” .
I also don’t accept Lothian coined the phrase “Beatlemania”. Tony Barrow stated it was the press, how would Lothian get the word into the press? If his other claims lack credibility and evidence then why take his word for that either?
If the BBC hold their line with this I would take it to the national press as an example of Central Belt bias and a lack of fact checking. Indeed is this not an example of “fake news” and therefore a challenge to their processes and integrity?” Mark Aldridge
Note:  In the BBC report Mr. Lothian claims to have lost £3000 [in today’s money] on the first tour dates though it was clearly Albert who negotiated and financed the Beatles appearances from Elgin to Aberdeen. In other interviews, Lothian’s account varies and I noticed that in the book, Take it to the Bridge: Dundee’s Rock and Pop History, he said that upon hearing them sing three songs [two of which hadn’t been written yet] he told Albert to fly him London to meet Brian Epstein.

“Andi Lothian has a very selective memory about the first Scotland tour, especially when it comes to the evening of 5th January 1963 at Bridge of Allan, when he first saw the Beatles, and after reading all he has had to say about the evening, if I hadn’t seen him hanging around the door to back stage, I wouldn’t have believed he had been there. Fights and ‘She Love You’ being sung, my backside!” Stewart Donaldson                          [see  reader comments for further responses]

Brian and The Beatles first contract: http://ultimateclassicrock.com/beatles-contract-brian-epstein/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/the-beatles-1963-advert/https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/scottish-beat-february-1964/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/the-silver-beetles-in-fraserburgh/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/the-silver-beetles-1960-part-1/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/silver-beetles-part-2/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/johnny-gentle-and-the-silver-beetles/



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Posted in 1960's pop music

The Beatles and The Who at Scotland’s Two Red Shoes

“It is where Keith Moon cleared a cafe with a stink bomb, Van Morrison lost his jewellery after being ‘captured’ by screaming fans and The Beatles launched their first UK tour on a freezing January night. The pleasantly sedate town of Elgin on the Moray coast, known for its ruined cathedral and expensive cashmere shops, may seem like an unlikely place for the rising pop and rock stars of the 1960s to gravitate. But the town, thanks to the efforts of local music promoter and cafe owner Albert Bonici, became a magnet for new musical talent trying to push their singles up the charts.”… “It was a life’s ambition of Bonici, who was born in Inverness, to work in the music industry with his LCB Agency forged through close contacts in London and an eagle eye on what music fans were buying. Bonici’s parents owned the Park Cafe in the town with the businessman to later model it on the 2i’s cafe in Soho where the impresario would return to time and time again to strike deals and secure bookings. Burgers were put on the menu at the Elgin joint, where his parents’ soft ice-cream was considered the best around, a small stage was built, vinyl booths were added – and the kids loved it. Bands, including The Beatles, would be fed here during the intervals of their shows at the Two Red Shoes Ballroom, which Bonici opened up next door in 1960. Elgin man David Dills has spent the past nine years researching the music scene in the north of Scotland and will present an exhibition of his work, published on his Scotbeat blog, in the town this weekend.”
http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/when-the-who-s-keith-moon-was-kicked-out-a-cafe-in-elgin-1-4613300 Notes: it was the late ’70s that the Two Red Shoes closed and “kidnapping” THEM [with Van Morrison] was agreed upon with Aberdeen Student Union who brought them to their Elgin office.

ns who's whoFriday, 15 December 2017 Northern-Scot, Elgin, Scotlandns who's who 2

scotbeat event1

The Beatles at the Two Red Shoes event was a success and featured some good music of the ’60s. I displayed four tables worth of materials from the ’60s in Elgin including the Norco Ltd. [first Scottish label] and the etched metal and plastic print blocks of the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and several other bands including local favorites like My Dear Watson and Eddie Lepard and The Leopards featured on SCOTBEAT… For updates you can find me at https://www.facebook.com/scot.beat.1

park cafeAbove is spouse Angela at the street level to the stage door at top of stairs where The Springfields, Beatles, Who, Lulu, Moody Blues, Yardbirds, Cream, and The Pink Floyd played in their early careers. As do young people living around Elgin in the ’60s, Angela remembers the heydays of the Two Red Shoes and the Park Cafe fondly.

trs flyer

THE BEATLES Jan 1963 ‘I was a jazz man and didn’t really listen to the pop groups much. On the Monday, I travelled to Aberdeen Station and was picked up by my associate, Gordon Hardie. We went as usual to Chivas Restaurant in Union Street, only this time we were surrounded by waitresses clamouring, “Who are these Beatles?” The group had apparently visited the restaurant earlier in the day and made a great impression. I don’t know if it was their personalities or the smart blue suits and rain coats into which the name “Beatle” was sewn, but they had certainly impressed the girls, and that made an impression on me.’ [ quotes from Albert Bonici]
When the Beatles performed in Elgin Scotland’s Two Red Shoes Ballroom, they were well received by band leader Alex Sutherland who reported back to impresario Albert Bonici who booked the band for their first tour of 1963. It was said that the “Love Me Do” boys [with song charting #17 on Luxembourg’s top 20] performed good arrangements of cover tunes besides their original compositions. However, it was a mixed reaction in the dance hall as not everyone was keen on the group’s first performance of 1963. Amongst the audience at the Two Red Shoes that night was David Hay who wrote: “There was a poor turnout on the night about 70 max. [80 by Alex.Sutherland’s count]. The Beatles amplifiers were too powerful for the small 2 Red Shoes. We were students at Aberdeen Uni and were home for the Xmas holiday and during the Beatles gig, my 4 pals and me retired to the bar [concessions area looking over the dance floor]. None of us were terribly impressed with the Beatles and thought they wouldn’t get anywhere. How wrong we were.” Another person who attended that night, told me that he didn’t feel that their first performance went that well. Though not everyone was impressed by their first week on the road, they were already gaining a following by the end of their short tour at Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom. See https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/the-beatles-first-visit-to-scotland/ and https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/the-beatles-show/
When George Harrison “Scotland had been our first glimpse of show business, a faint hope.” he may have been speaking of the Silver Beetles Scottish tour as Johnny Gentle’s back up band, but could be applied to John, Paul, and George’s return to Scotland as the Beatles. Ringo Starr, who became the drummer for The Beatles six months earlier, complained that the hall was odd-shaped and that some were distractions in the audience who attended the gig on a rather cold winter evening on 3 January, 1963.

By the end of the five evenings of their first Scotland tour, they gained a following and promoter Bonici flew to Liverpool to meet with Beatles manager, Brian Epstein, to negotiate further tours.
Though some entertainers including the Pink Floyd complained about the small stage and the small dog-shaped dance floor, the Two Red Shoes was popular in Scotland and accommodated hundreds of new acts from jazz musicians to beat groups. Albert Bonici, whose biography is featured on https://scotbeat.wordpress.com brought music and cabaret acts throughout Scotland from Glasgow to Orkney Island though regularly booked the north of Scotland from Nairn to Aberdeen with the help of local promoters.
Besides featuring two guest bands on tour each week, their were dozens of local bands used to support the more known acts. He also managed several musicians and founded Norco Records Ltd, Scotland’s first independent record label which featured a variety of music styles.
Thanks for visiting SCOTBEAT and hope its a great 2018 to you! Here’s “supermash” Christmas and New Year’s wishes from The BEATles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUvCPkp0H0U https://andrewgoutman.com/beatles-merry-christmas/

https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2016/09/09/beatles-tour-scotland/ Note: Use Scotbeat search engine for more blog posts on the Beetles and Beatles.

Posted in 1960's pop music

Nazareth rocks

Nazareth had several major hits by 1973

Nazareth  merged out of Scottish band “The Shadettes” [named for The Shadows] continues to maintain a following

‘ “I remember the exact date that we turned full-time,” reminisces Nazareth bassist Pete Agnew. “It was the first of July 1971 and our manager told us, ‘Turn pro, and I’ll pay you the same salary as you’re earning now’. We were all married at the time, so although it wasn’t much money it made things a lot easier for us to get really started.”

“But we took some persuading,” confides vocalist Dan McCafferty with a grin. “We had already a few regular gigs and were making some nice spondoolah on top of the day-jobs. We decided we’d give it a year; if it didn’t work out then we could all just go back to work. And it’s something we do to this very day – every first of July, either Pete or I rings the other and says, ‘D’ya fancy giving it another 12 months?’”

“Daniel McCafferty and Peter Agnew actually met on their very first day at school, aged five. Asked to share a double-desk together they’ve been best friends ever since. For the overwhelming majority of that time they’ve also liked the same music and been in bands together.” ‘http://www.daveling.co.uk/doc-nazareth.htm#article

Love Leads To Madness [2015]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXO_dxpMz4E Bad Bad Boy [1973]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SU14_6Ekq9g

‘”The original four-piece band of Nazareth started out in 1968 in Dunfermline, SCOTLAND, with Dan McCafferty on vocals, Manny Charlton on guitar, Pete Agnew on bass and Darrel Sweet on drums. At that time the group began to write their own songs, but it wasn’t until the summer of 1971 that they quit their day jobs and moved away from home to a shabby communal flat in London. [note: changed name from Shadettes to Nazareth in 1970]

With their first record deal they recorded two albums that were a minor success. The 1971 self-titled debut may stun fans who are accustomed to the hard-driving Rock and gritty power ballads that characterize Nazareth’s more popular work.”Exercises”, the band’s sophomore effort, followed a year later and was a collection of mostly acoustic tracks with lush harmonies and little sign of their Hard-Rock potential.

It wasn’t until they teamed-up with Roger Glover of Deep Purple as producer that things started to really happen. First came “Razamanaz”, the band’s first album that climbed into the U.K. Top 20 chart, spearheaded by two smashes, “Broken Down Angel” and “Bad Bad Boy”.’ http://100xr.com/artists/N/Nazareth.htm

“Nazareth evolved from The Shadettes, a hard-working band based in Dunfermline Scotland with a long illustrious history of support duties at the [Kinema] ballroom. Manuel ‘Manny’ Charlton had previously played with Mike Satan & The Hellcats, The Red Hawks and The Marshmallow 400 before joining The Shadettes in 1968 and it was he who first suggested that they begin to play their own material. They changed their name to Nazareth in February 1970 as they completed a residency at the ballroom and commenced another at the Bellville Hotel just across the road where, in the foyer, they heard the source of their new name in the opening line of a song called ‘The Weight’ (Sept 1968) by ‘The Band’. (“I pulled into Nazareth, was feeling ’bout half past dead”).” http://www.kinemagigz.com/’n’.htm#Nazareth


[But allegedly Pete Agnew, the bass player, has a different story. There is a Convent/childrens’ home orphanage called Nazareth House and it was famous for the Nuns’ and priests’ sexual abuse and child cruelty back in the sixties … some cases are still coming forward today. Anyway the band were looking for a name which was hard and cruel and heavy so Dan Mcafferty the singer said “why not Nazareth”. They looked in astonishment why Nazareth? Nazareth said Dan you can’t get more hard and heavy than that].

Nazareth 1975: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDE1eFZffo0

Viglante Man [Nazareth 1973] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fh8qgw4SZsk

The name Nazareth was adopted from a hit tune from The Weight in 1968. Two members of the group were part of The Shadettes, a name conceived by one of the groups mentors, The Shadows who came to fame as Cliff Richard’s back up band on Oh Boy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYwiBJou5no the early British TV music program. Shadows hit “Apache”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzgbcyfJgfQ

History of Shadettes and Nazareth: http://www.nazarethdirect.co.uk/website/the-band/nazareth-history/ http://www.daveling.co.uk/doc-nazareth.htm Nazareth top 10: http://ultimateclassicrock.com/nazareth-songs/

[Photo archive – Bygone Dunfermline] ‘ “FOR more than 40 years Dan McCafferty has not only been the hard-edged voice of legendary Scottish rockers Nazareth but, with fellow original member Pete Agnew, he has taken the band through the ups and downs of an ever-fickle music industry, to remain one of the most explosive and exciting live bands out there.
With a UK tour under way, including a gig at The Brook in Southampton on March 21, the band are still delivering the goods in the form of hard rock tunes, mixed with heartfelt ballads and their unwavering sense of fun.
“We still love playing live; it’s the best part of the job and the fun part of our day. For that couple of hours each night we can forget about the other things going on in our lives and just enjoy the moment, and I hope the fans can get into that sense of things as well,” he says.
Formed in Dunfermline in the early 60s and originally known as the Shadettes, they changed their name to Nazareth in 1968. The band was heavily influenced by the American R&B invasion then sweeping the UK.
“Me and Pete were into soul music in the early days, we both loved Otis Reading, Sam & Dave that kind of thing, and then we heard the Rolling Stones and things changed.
“They made a difference, they had that edge, their music wasn’t perfect, there was bum notes and mistakes, but it was raw and exciting. They made us think, if they can do it we can do it as well.”
Struggling to find local gigs, the band kept on going, for no other reason than, as McCafferty explains “if you wanted to eat, you had to work.” The boys from Scotland finally moved to London in 1970, and soon released their self-titled first album.”‘ http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/leisure/music/interviews/9578385.INTERVIEW__Dan_McCafferty__Nazareth/

Video interviews: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vq6DfSvtLw0 http://kashrockitmusic.com/artist/the%20shadettes.html

Posted in 1960's pop music

Terry Russell – Scottish vocalist

Terry Russell was managed by LCB Agency and recorded on BBC radio and Grampian television besides Norco Records Ltd. https://soundcloud.com/albert-bonici/terry-russell-with-the-jimmy https://soundcloud.com/albert-bonici

related post: https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/norco-records/

Terrance “Terry” H Russell who hailed from Aberdeenshire, Scotland before a solo career, was part of the final Jacobeats line-up before the group disbanded and the New Jacobeats were formed. (below: the last line-up of Jacobeats included Graeme Nairne [lead], Rae Rodgers [bass], Ian Young [drums], and Deirdre Cameron and Terry [vocals]). Graeme remembers great times working with Terry with the Jacobeats, the first pop band to wear tartans. They shared a love of R&B though the band did a mix of pop songs and ballads. Lorna remembers Terry’s onstage antics and a time when he was pulled off stage by excited fans…

When Terry joined the Jacobeats, founding members John Rennie and Dougie MacLennon were still with the band [originally known as Apaches] and was hired following an audition for Albert Bonici, Alex. Sutherland, and Jacobeat band members when Sheila left to get married. Lorna and Deirdre Cameron who were also auditioned were also hired as vocalists. Coincidently, they knew Terry quite well as their fathers were childhood friends. Terry was a bit mischievous when with the group and teased the fans in his kilt and breaking manager Bonici’s rule about never turning your back to the audience…

When The Jacobeats were disbanding, Terry decided to pursue a solo career and found it lonely without his former band-mates though decides to carry on Albert’s secretary Aileen handled some of the acts with Mr. Bonici’s “LCB Agency” including young Terry Russell when he began touring as a solo act in late 1966.

note from Aileen Allan [LCB Agency – Christmas 1966]

Manager/promoter Albert Bonici wrote letters to Terry Russell whilst he was touring.

Above: first of three letters from Albert Bonici regarding working as an entertainer

Besides working out food, housing, transportation, taxes, etc. for Terry Russell on the road, LCB Agency’s Aileen Allan wrote introduction letters to promote the young vocalist.

At one point, Ms Allan gave the young vocalist advise about his choice of numbers though ultimately he keeps variety in his show. In a letter to Terry [14Mar67], Aileen advises him to speak with Ian Hamilton who booked Terry at various clubs. His complaint was that Terry was that he wanted him to sing only Scottish tunes and wear his tartan regalia throughout; “Ian advises that you cut all the odd stuff out altogether and do a completely Scottish programme”. Aileen also added, “I can understand the bit about wanting the Scottish programme because I prefer you doing it as well. I think it looks in a way, silly to see a chap in full highland outfit doing pops… I think there’s plenty yelling yobs doing ballad & pop songs whereas a good singer will be remembered and show more of himself doing stuff like Campbelltown Loch, Morag of Dunvegan, etc.” Terry wrote, “I received your letter about the comments Ian Hamilton made. I disagree about what he says about a whole Scottish programme, but I’ll drop in and see him and talk it over with him.” It was Albert Bonici who came up with the idea to dress a beat band in tartan regalia and changed the name of the founding band members from Apaches to Jacobeats. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2017/03/07/the-diamonds-apaches-and-jacobeats/

introducing Terry Russell [1967]

introducing Terry Russell [1967]

introducing Terry Russell [1967]

introducing Terry Russell [Oct 1967] after his birthday [Terrance H Russell 30 Sep 1948]


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Posted in 1960's pop music