Jack Fallon who worked with Albert Bonici and many others during his career as musician and booking agent, was recently inducted into the London Music Hall of Fame:
“Admirers see that detail as making it fitting the man of two Londons goes into the London Music Hall of Fame as a 2015 inductee. Fallon is probably the only musician — and certainly the only London Music Hall of Fame inductee — to have played with The Beatles and Duke Ellington and Lena Horne and Noel Coward and Bob Hope and Sarah Vaughan and Django Reinhardt and jazz legends Fats Navarro and Tadd Dameron and country stars Tex Ritter and Tennessee Ernie Ford and bluesmen Big Bill Broonzy and Josh White — and a host of others. Off-stage, he booked gigs for The Rolling Stones and The Beatles early in their careers. Perhaps Fallon’s most widely-heard track is Don’t Pass Me By off The Beatles’ White Album. That’s Fallon playing fiddle in 1968. The Beatles had lured him out of semi-retirement.” http://www.lfpress.com/2015/03/26/jack-fallon-denise-pelley-named-as-2015-inductees-into-london-music-hall-of-fame Obituary: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/jack-fallon-479738.html
Jack began working with promoter Albert Bonici of Elgin, Scotland in the mid ’50s after his cousin, Tito Burns, introduced the two. He had also played in a band with Tito who helped Bonici to secure a Scottish tour with the Ray Ellington Quartet in ’52 [Ray also played with the two in 1947]. http://henrybebop.co.uk/tburns.htm
He also helped several of Albert Bonici’s groups like the Leopards and the Copycats get month long gigs at military basis in Germany though some would have like more gigs around London. Jack forged early connections whilst on tour during WW2. “Between 1943 and 1946, the Styreamliners played hundreds of troop entertainment and other gigs throughout Britain, as well as on the continent in France, Germany, Holland, and Belgium.” [Andy Sparling] George who was born in a log cabin in Canada certainly had a brilliant career as a musician and booking agent. http://www.lfpress.com/entertainment/columnists/james_reaney/2011/10/05/18787396.htm
Before Jack acted as go-between to sign the first Beatles contract between Albert Bonici and Brian Epstein, he had already booked them into his clubs around London when they were known as the “Beetles”. He first booked them for the Subscription Room promoter[31 Mar 1962] and then gigs at his clubs. “Fallon and Reid also ran a number of venues under another of their companies, Jaybee Clubs. The Beatles played four different Jaybee venues altogether.”
Gordon Hardie recalls first seeing The Beatles in January 1963: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfEVUzUBiZU&feature=youtu.be.
Though promoting and booking bands since 1952, Albert Bonici worked with Jack Fallon and Cana Variety on a regular bases throughout the 1960s and ’70s. Jack continued as a friend to the family long after Albert’s death staying in contact with wife, Betty. He looked after Albert’s and the two communicated several times in a given month. By 1961, Albert took on promoter Gordon Hardee who was booking jazz groups in Aberdeen and was able to run shows between Nairn and Aberdeen, delegating responsibilities. Another promoter, Andy Lothian Jr. [of Dundee] who was aligned with competitor, Nixon Agency [with offices in London and Dundee], also worked for Albert on some of the tours besides sharing some of the bookings.
During the time, Albert was working with
Promoter Andy Lothian Jr. said in an interview that he accompanied Bonici when he flew to Liverpool to meet with Brian Epstein to negotiate for the Beatles though I questions his version of events. According to Dundee promoter Andi Lothian Jr., Albert agreed to pay The Beatles £500 per night to bring The Beatles back to Scotland later that year. He states that the financial agreement was made on the Monday, following the Bridge of Allan dance where Lothian heard the Beatles live. The same day, Albert Bonici met with Gordon Hardie in Aberdeen to discuss the Beach Ballroom dance featuring The Beatles [6 Jan 1963].
Savvy music promoter Bonici knew that the Beatles had strong potential so it’s understandable that he acted on a hunch to get a return engagement. Though a private person, Albert was known to ask for feedback over bands on the go. He would speak to the teenagers about music and about bands he’d gone down south to see. Also, Two Red Shoes bandleader Alex Sutherland had given heads up with the Beatles after their performance in the Two Red Shoes [though some his jazz band weren’t keen, preferring jazz to the new “beat” style music. In the beginning of 1963, The Beatles cover songs showcased their great arrangements which inquisitive Bonici would have considered in taking a trip to Liverpool and agreeing to Brian Epstein’s terms. In his interview with Jim Wilke, Bonici said that what had impressed him the most was the reactions of young women who met the Beatles in Aberdeen before their performance. The Beatles had charisma.
The correspondence between Fallon and Bonici makes me question some of Lothian’s version of the events to bring the Beatles back to Scotland. If Albert Bonici ‘s trip to meet Brian Epstein in Liverpool was on the same day he met with Aberdeen promoter, Gordon Hardie, to prepare for the evening gig with The Beatles final gig in January. It would have had to been a spur of the moment trip… https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/earliest-beatles-tour-contract/ After the Beatles first tour in Scotland, there were follow-up communications between Bonici and his friend and booking agent Jack Fallon. Albert Bonici was negotiated with Brian Epstein through his London agent, Jack Fallon, for a return visit [9 Feb ’63]. Bonici caught an airplane from Aberdeen to London and meet with Epstein in his office. Accompanying him was young promoter Lothian Jr who tells how he and Albert met Brian Epstein to sign the Beatles. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/earliest-beatles-tour-contract/
Albert Bonici had met with Brian Epstein at least twice besides their communication whilst doing business together. However, it is not known whether he had an audience with Epstein on this occassion. Albert was proposing to get the Beatles back to Germany on tour in 1964. It wasn’t until 1966 when they did a final appearance there…
Another independent promoter that Bonici worked with was Gordon Hardie of Aberdeen who helped with managing concerts, coordinate transportation, and so forth. News articles about the Beatles in Aberdeen: http://news.stv.tv/north/208517-so-were-the-beatles-really-booed-off-stage-in-aberdeen-50-years-ago/ http://aberdeenvoice.com/2014/04/band-nearly-never/ Other posts about Beatles first tour of Scotland: https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/the-beatles-first-visit-to-scotland/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/earliest-beatles-tour-contract/ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/3-january-1963-beatles-gig-in-elgin-scotland/ 3 January – Two Red Shoes, Elgin 4 January -Town Hall, Dingwall 5 January – Museum Hall, Bridge of Allan 6 January Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen Note: Gordon Hardie who recorded some of his memories as a promoter, passed away in November 2014. He was a delight to hang out with though I only spent an afternoon with him. RIPAndi Lothian commented on a “Beatles Bible” webpage about the Beatles show in Glasgow, Kirkaldy, and Dundee [5th – 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 – Albert and I were business partners on a number of major promotions in the early 60’s, the most successful being these three Beatles concerts. 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 Jr.] http://www.beatlesbible.com/1963/10/05/live-concert-hall-glasgow/ In another interview, Lothian goes on to say that he and Mr. Bonici flew to Liverpool the morning after seeing The Beatles in Museum Hall, Bridge Of Allan. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/albert-and-brian-bring-beatlemania-to-scotland/ In interview, Andi Lothian Jr. leaves the impression that he introduced The Beatles to Scotland though Jim Wilkie, wrote that Albert Bonici paid £300 for Beatles shows in October ’63 and £1000 per night in ’64 after interviewing Bonici about it. Andi Lothian states that he negotiated fees of £500 for the Beatles productions that he managed. Lothian Interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17rmIWXViFE
AA Bonici developed a line-up for Glasgow and Dundee shows which also included Billy J. Kramer, another act Brian Epstein supported: https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/scottish-beatles-tour-1963 Upon hearing the Beatles for the first time, Gordon remembered Andy saying “These guys are tipped for the top” as they stood backstage in Museum Hall, Bridge of Allan. Gordon replied, “these guys are too loud”. In the Andi Lothian interview, http://mp3.kedirijaya.com/mp3vid/OJUk_PSgWNU he takes credit for Albert Bonici signing The Beatles to a Scottish five day tour in January 1963 and that he lost money on that occasion. In 1962, Mr. Bonici had hired two young promoters to help manage events for him and likely paid them based on ticket sales. Because of weather conditions, it proved difficult to get young dancers and music fans out besides the Beatles cancelling their opening gig in Keith. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/beatles-tour-contract-nov63/ Andi Lothian states that after hearing The Beatles at the Bridge of Allan Museum Hall [Jan 5] he phoned Albert the next morning and suggested that they flew down to London to rebook the Beatles with Brian Epstein. Lothian who said he negotiated the Beatles appearance in Dundee for Albert, whom he refers to as the “money man” [ as Bonici’s name was on the contract and as presenter of the Scottish Beatles shows].
Albert Bonici employed staff and independent promoters including Gordon Hardie [Aberdeen] and Andy Lothian [Dundee]. Many of his staff in Elgin and around NE Scotland were used in various capacities as needed and he was always the helm executing business from his Elgin office at LCB Agency. When I spoke with Gordon Hardie  he said that Albert often hired him and Andy to help coordinate and make sure music events went smoothly [1962 and early ’60s]. The guys would also help with transportation, ticket sales, and making sure security was in place. Bonici sought feedback when it came to musicians he booked, and used Jack Fallon to negotiate fees with band managers.
Beatles tour: 5Jan63 [Museum Hall] Andy Lothian Jr and Gordon Hardie [ https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/eulogy-for-gordon-hardie/] and both allude to poor attendance for the Beatles first tour though snowy conditions had a lot to do with it though the group coined as “Love Me Do Boys” by Bonici, only had one song getting airplay…
Albert Bonici worked with other promoters to host bands but was at the helm of operations [two on tour each week for LCB Agency]. Gordon Hardie, described the relationship with as subordinate as Albert hired he [and Andy Lothian Jr] to help coordinate and make sure music events went as to plan though Gordon was the Aberdeen promoter. Albert Bonici who began promoting music in 1952 through his contact with London agent, Tito Burns, brought in most of the popular bands of the day worked closely with booking agent, Jack Fallon of Cana Variety in promoting beat and jazz bands around the UK. Albert said, ‘On the Monday [Jan 6 ’63], 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 raincoats into which the name “Beatle” was sewn, but they had certainly impressed the girls, and that made an impression on me.’ [from Jim Wilkies book :Blue Suede Brogans https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/aa-bonici-bio-notes-jim-wilkie/ https://bonici.wordpress.com/ Beatles manager Brian Epstein spoke of their charismatic personalities: “I was immediately struck by their music, their beat and their sense of humour on stage – and, even afterwards, when I met them, I was struck again by their personal charm. And it was there that, really, it all started”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Epstein
Andi Lothian: Both Hardie and Lothian were into the jazz scene as was Bonici. Two years earlier, Albert Bonici booked “Andy Lothian and His Eastcoast Jazzmen” http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/andi-lothian/46/747/471 in Two Red Shoes [18 Jan ’61] Bonici had paid for advertising in “Scottish Beat” publication with Andi Lothian – Editor . The newsprint magazine featured The Beatles Show returning to Scotland. In the publication The Malcolm Nixon Agency [part of London agency] and Albert Bonici are sited as the largest music agencies in Scotland and among those who paid for advertising though MN Agency paid for the printing.Jack Fallon The premier British jazz bassist of the postwar era, Jack Fallon had a thick, rich tone that redefined the instrument for successive generations to follow. Born in London, Ontario, on October 13, 1915, Fallon first adopted the violin before switching to bass at age 20 — while serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II, he played as a member of the RCAF Streamliners dance band, and remained in Britain when his tour of duty ended. In April 1946 Fallon joined Ted Heath‘s famed big band, moonlighting in support of London’s fledgling bebop community — in stark contrast to the leaden bassists who defined the U.K. jazz culture up to that time, Fallon proved a nimble, fluidly rhythmic player with an unerring sense of swing, and his stature quickly grew. “I was born in a log cabin on Oct. 13, 1915. on a hundred-acre farm, at Lot 1, Concession 7, London Township in Ontario, Canada,” Fallon wrote in his 2005 autobiography From the Top: Ellington to the Beatles. Fallon died at his home in London, England, in 2006. He had stayed in Britain after playing in an RCAF band, the Streamliners, during the Second World War. He left Heath’s ranks that September and in 1947 performed alongside future saxophone greats Ronnie Scott and Tommy Whittle at the landmark Melody Maker/Columbia Jazz Rally — from there, Fallon signed on with trumpeter Jack Johnson, and in 1948 toured and recorded behind pianist George Shearing. As his stature grew, he became the first-call bassist for visiting musicians… During the 1950s Fallon‘s profile remained high via tours in support of Mary Lou Williams, Sarah Vaughan, and Lena Horne — he also worked with bandleaders Humphrey Lyttleton, Kenny Baker, and Ralph Sharon, and served as the house bassist at Landsdowne Studios. As the years passed he expanded outside of jazz, backing American bluesmen Big Bill Broonzy and Josh White and joining the ranks of Johnny Duncan’s Blue Grass Boys. Fallon was also instrumental in legitimizing the new bass guitar, and he moved effortlessly between acoustic and electric instruments for the remainder of his career. In 1952, he even founded his own booking agency, Cana Variety, which initially specialized in jazz but over time built a client list that included fledgling rock & roll acts the Beatles and the Rolling Stones; years later, when the Beatles required a violinist to complete “Don’t Pass Me By,” a track on their so-called White Album, Fallon was recruited for the session. He remained a fixture of the London club scene as well as an in-demand session musician until the mid-’90s, and in 2005 published his memoirs, From the Top: Ellington to The Beatles. Fallon died in London on May 22, 2006, at the age of 90.
Fallon was from Irish farming stock. His grandfather had sailed to Canada to escape the 1840s potato famine, settling in a remote part of Ontario. Fallon was born there in a log cabin and might have pursued life as a farmer but for his parents’ musical inclinations, with each of the five children expected to take up an instrument. Jack opted for violin, playing by ear from the age of seven before taking lessons from the leader of a nearby symphony orchestra. With the rest of his siblings, he was part of and later led the Fallon Brothers band, playing for local parties where “every fourth number was a square dance”. As the band grew bigger and more popular, it travelled widely and Fallon fell in with other young musicians, one of whom offered him work provided that he got himself a string bass. Fallon sold a plough, raised the $40 and played his first job on Easter Monday, 1935. Hired by local bandleader Frank Cowley, he embarked on hotel residencies and summer season engagements. He heard Louis Armstrong and Count Basie at local concerts and was impressed by Walter Page, Basie’s bassist, who “used to bang the hell out of the bass”.
Called-up to the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940, he joined the Streamliners dance band, also playing tuba in the station marching band. In 1944, the Streamliners were posted to England and toured RCAF and RAF bases in Britain, Ireland and throughout Europe, often in hazardous conditions. The Streamliners played their last show in January 1946 and Fallon was discharged six months later. Asked why he had stayed on in London, he told me with a smile: “Somebody offered me money.” One of those who did was the bandleader Ted Heath with whom he stayed for six months before moving on to take a bewildering variety of work, often doubling from nightclubs to jazz joints. He played – and recorded – with emerging beboppers such as Ronnie Scott and Tony Crombie in the Tito Burns sextet, performed regularly at the Feldman Club, joined a Latin band at Ciro’s and began to appear on more and more freelance recordings.
Fallon was asked how he had coped with the bopper’s advanced harmonic concepts. “I could just about busk any tune and come very close,” he said, before adding drily: “If I was having trouble, I could always have a coughing spell.” In a career highpoint in 1948, he was asked by Duke Ellington to lead his accompanying trio when the great man came to Europe for a small group “variety” tour. He found Ellington to be very encouraging and learned a lot about pacing a performance. Fallon went on to play for such instrumental stars as Stephane Grappelli and guitarist Django Reinhardt, while also accompanying top American singers including Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Maxine Sullivan and Lena Horne on their British appearances. He toured with various bluesmen, among them Big Bill Broonzy and Josh White, and played country music for Riders of the Range, the cult radio drama serial produced in the early 1950s by Charles Chilton, while recording with everyone from Vera Lynn to Marlene Dietrich. He returned to the violin to accompany visiting Tex Ritter in 1952, and in the same year co-founded the Cana Variety Agency, building it into a substantial enterprise.
Quick to realise the commercial potential of British “trad” jazz, which boomed in the early 1960s, Fallon sent the Kenny Ball band to the continent and the United States, later adding the groups led by Mike Cotton and Alan Elsdon to his roster. He found early work for the Beatles – for whom he later played the violin – and the Rolling Stones, while continuing to play with bluegrass bands and jazz combos until ill-health forced his retirement in 1998 . Jack’s autobiography, Take it from the Top, appeared in 2005. Always humorous and gentle in manner, his speech carried a vestigial Canadian accent to the end. His 90th birthday party was a thronged, affectionate affair, with many friends paying tribute, the ever-cheerful Fallon now confined to a wheelchair. His wife Jean, whom he married in 1957, and a daughter, predeceased him; his daughter Jane and son Mark survive him.”
· Patrick ‘Jack’ Fallon, musician and agent, born October 13 1915; died May 22 2006.
http://blogs.canoe.ca/brandnewblog/entertainment/a-belated-happy-98th-to-the-late-jack-fallon/ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/jack-fallon-mn0001232666/biography http://beatlenews.blogspot.co.uk/2006/06/jack-fallon-booked-beatles-stones.html https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/stones-in-aberdeen/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOuMneqP8Xc Other booking correspondence between Bonici and Fallon: https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/fallonbonici-correspondence/