Beat tunes

Copyright DJ Dills 2007

Copyright DJ Dills 2007

Copyright DJ Dills 2007

Copyright DJ Dills 2007

1959: A year before the “Silver Beetles” appeared in Forres, there was a “Beetle drive and social evening for folk in this small village in Morayshire. The festivities included “a special prize for the best drawing of a Beetle”. None of them resembled John, Paul, George, Pete, or Stu… There were a few pop groups who played NE Scotland in ’59 besides “Johnny Gentle and his beat group” like Rikki Barnes and His All Stars [in Elgin], Johnnie Ross and His Youngsters, Ian Mendez and The New Stompers, but most of the acts were swing, jazz, and blues until 1962.

Fifty years ago, hearing a tune for the first time was often a shared experience rather than a private moment. Besides listening in to Radio Luxembourg or “pirated” broadcasts from ships at sea  young folk visited record stores booths, listened to jukebox selections in local cafés, spinned records together, or attended dance halls to hear new music besides dancing and meeting friends at a discotheque event. Big band style and jazz had waned in popularity as folk and beat tunes began to saturate air waves whilst the BBC catered to an older audience. The Beatles and other beat groups made their debut with many British fans as EMI recorded a popular Friday night radio show that was available across Great Britain at the time of night when the signal was strong.

Also, thanks to television shows like “Oh Boy!” and “Thank Your Lucky Stars” a new style of music was becoming popular among the youth of Scotland. In 1961, Bonici hosted The Springfields, Shane Fenton (Alvin Stardust) and the Fentons, Johnny Douglas New Beat Combo, Gene Vincent (Nov 9), and The Alan Parsons Combo (before Eric Burdon joined in ’62).


My research began in 2007 as a visitor to the north of Scotland. Growing up a few miles from San Francisco, I would frequent the active music scene on weekends besides being a fan of British BEAT music and never missing Shindig! on television. When first visiting the small community of Elgin in 2007, I was surprise to learn how the Beatles and many other vocalist and musicians came to perform during the early days of their careers. 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 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 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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