Bonici business sense

Holiday card created by Graeme Nairn and featuring Albert with Bill Dalgarno and nephew John Ruggeri when they were part of LCB [Little Cross Buildings] Agency circa 1970

Holiday card created by Graeme Nairn and featuring Albert with Bill Dalgarno and nephew John Ruggeri when they were part of LCB [Little Cross Buildings] Agency circa 1970

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A rival promoter  in his book “Are Ye Dancin’?” referred to Mr. Bonici as a “wide-boy” and sited his contract with The Beatles that gave him exclusive rights to book bands anywhere in Scotland. Others called him shrewd or “cunning” in thinking that Bonici took advantage of agents and managers in London, who had the perception of Scotland being considered a small market. Perhaps the biggest roadblocks in business dealings were others in the business community who were part of the Moray Council. They failed to renew his liquor licence at the Two Red Shoes Ballroom when there were complaints about disorderly conduct in the neighborhood. When he later closed the dance hall and opened a disco venue at the newly constructed Eight Acres Hotel, things went well until one neighbour began complaining about noise. The council gave him an ultimatum which led Bonici to pull the plug on the popular music venue…

Albert Bonici was a well spoken business man and never brash or full of himself. Bill Dargarno, who worked in the same office as Albert, noted that his boss wouldn’t raise his voice though he knew how to read Albert’s expressions after frustration when there was a cancellation or a promise not kept.  Albert Bonici who was good to his word with a gentleman’s handshake, was unrelenting and expected compensation when various agencies and managers sometimes made it impossible for MDE “Modern Dance Entertainment” [spearheaded by spouse Betty Bonici] to deliver the advertised goods to music fans in Scotland.

There were those who may have resented being on the receiving end besides some envious of his stronghold in the north of Scotland but he was to be respected for his business dealings. His detractors who claim that Bonici took advantage or limited performances by his exclusive booking contracts, did not like that Albert Bonici controlled who managed events with popular groups like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones on tour.  However, respected English promoter/managers  like Brian Epstein knew that his acts would be looked after with Albert at the helm of LCB Agency.  One author who wrote that AA Bonici was just “lucky” to sign the Beatles, misjudged a promoter who had been lining up acts for 8 years before signing the Liverpool group [which was followed by several of Epstein’s best acts]. It was Albert’s perseverance, intelligence, and ability to visualize how to achieve his goals that brought Albert success with several of his projects though he experienced failure in earlier ventures.  Albert become more cautious with expenditures after an early gamble with a perfume venture that led to bankruptcy, but he continued reinvest his earnings which resulted in a successful career in the entertainment business. https://scotbeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/17/

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In The Beatles In Scotland, Ken McNab describes him as “a silver-tongued, silver haired, second-generation Scottish-Italian who established himself as Scotland’s principal pop promoter”[http://www.birlinn.co.uk/The-Beatles-in-Scotland-9781846972386.html]. As his reputation grew, industry people knew that Bonici was a good choice to promote groups in Scotland and were glad to sign with him.

“It was a gentleman by the name of Albert Bonici that brought the new wave music scene to the North of Scotland. Clearly a cunning impresario, Bonici scored a coup when he obtained the exclusive Scottish rights to appearances by the Beatles (or Silver Beatles as they were then). Although the Beatles never made an appearance at the Ballerina Ballroom, a myriad of successful bands did come through its doors and performed to Nairn audiences from 1966 through to the early 1970’s – The Who, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Status Quo, Bay City Rollers and Slade among them. Cream, including Eric Clapton, also came and whilst The Small Faces were billed, they did not turn up on the intended Friday night. Bonici perhaps had some harsh words with their manager as they were subsequently billed to appear the following Tuesday instead.” http://www.spanglefish.com/ballerinaballroom/index.asp?pageid=86637

Besides promoting bands spanning three decades, Albert Bonici implemented several small business ventures in Scotland, including purchasing  The Ballerina Ballroom, developing the Eight Acres Hotel [1973], a perfume line, and Norco records… http://www.45cat.com/label/Norco

After his death in 1991, the family sold the Eight Acres Hotel as the business went on hard times during a lull in the oil industry which meant the hotel wasn’t getting the clientele it had previously enjoyed. His nephew John Ruggeri who was part of LCB Agency, said that their were to many loans against the hotel and they were losing money on it. Meanwhile, Park Café Holding Company [which also handled finances for Little Cross Buildings Agency], continued to manage The Park Café, Arnold Wholesale Co, Coffee House, Bellissimo Foods, and Piped Dreams at the time.

Ballerina Ballroom, once owned by LCB Agency, brought many popular bands to a structure built with stone which was part of the former Nairn Castle that once stood on the same spot.

Ballerina Ballroom, once owned by LCB Agency, brought many popular bands to a structure built with stones of the former Nairn Castle that once stood on the same spot.

 

eight acres - elgin scotland

eight acres – elgin Scotland

8 acres 18 acres 2

Note: John Ruggeri who threw disco nights at the “Straight 8” lounge [pictured below], played the groom for this shot in the Westray Suite of The Eight Acres Hotel to create a flyer.

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Image The Park CafeImage

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About

My research began in 2007 as a visitor to the north of Scotland. In the early 1950s, Albert Bonici began promoting dances though it had been an ambition since his teenage years. When he and Henry Robertson co-organized a string of jazz dances in the north Scotland, they could not have predicted the enormous success of the venture. Albert Bonici became one of the most respected promoters in the UK having arranged a high volumn of music venues throughout the north of Scotland which delighted music lovers during the height of the jazz and beat music era. Whilst known for booking the Beatles at the beginning of their 1963 tours, Albert Bonici brought most of the top British acts to north-east Scotland besides working with Scottish musicians to boost their careers. SCOTBEAT was created to share a bit of history about the BEAT years in Scotland and also a tribute to a man with a vision who, with the help of his family and staff, created a happening that is still fondly remembered by those who attended dances and concerts. Albert A Bonici hosted many up and coming bands who went on to gain international acclaim for their contributions. Besides other local resources and interviews, SCOTBEAT presents exclusive photos, adverts, and documents from the A Bonici Archives [circa 1960s]. Unless otherwise agreed, materials are not to be used for financial gain and ask that you respect the terms below. Materials presented are not to be used for financial gain without consent. © 2014-2019 SCOTBEAT.wordpress.com. All rights reserved. No part of this web site may be copied, redistributed, broadcast or published in any form without crediting this blog and/or copyright websites mentioned. All correspondence, flyers, programs, and photos from the Bonici Archives are not to appear in print other than through the propietor of SCOTBEAT. Use of the site signifies your agreement to all of these terms without condition. Please reference https://scotbeat.wordpress.com when sharing materials found here as the site is continuously updated to present the subject matter accurately and as a historical resource. Thank you.

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Posted in 1960's pop music

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