scottish beat bands

Here’s a new book about the Beanstalkers, the Glasgow band who were once banned for playing their music too loud… Mr. Disappointed:
THE BEATSTALKERS: Scotland’s Number 1 Beat Group
Scotland’s first-ever pop stars tell their story in official book, including their rise to fame, working with David Bowie, the Kinks and others, and how they managed to stay friends as the music industry tried to crush them.
By band members David Lennox (vocals), Alan Mair (bass), Ronnie Smith (guitar), Eddie Campbell (keyboards) and Jeff Allen (drums) with award-nominated rock journalist, author and band manager Martin Kielty.
• Limited-edition hardback and paperback published April 12, 2018
• Launch event at The Clutha, Glasgow, 7.30pm
• Band members and author available for press calls on and around April 12
• PDF preview available on request
• Contact Carol Ann Cunningham / +44 7795 822168
FRIDAY, June 11, 1965: Screaming teenagers swarmed onto the bandstand in George Square, Glasgow, today, and mobbed local beat group the Beatstalkers. Mounted police had to be called in as hundreds of screaming girls chased their idols into the City Chambers. The surging mass of fans forced their way past attendants, councillors and staff and began kissing and cuddling the group. A councillor later said: “I was shocked – it was hysteria. Something must be done about the Beatstalkers.”
David Lennox, Alan Mair, Ronnie Smith, Eddie Campbell and Tudge Williamson – soon to be replaced by Jeff Allen – had already made a mark in their home city, and most of the towns of Scotland. They could even sell out ballrooms by sending cardboard cutouts instead of themselves. While England had Beatlemania, Beatstalkermania was bigger in Scotland. But they were nowhere near finished. Their dramatic story was to include more scenes of hysteria, a stream of groundbreaking musical moves, scrapes with senior stardom including a stint of working with David Bowie as their songwriter, and a legacy of unforgettable live shows.
By the mid-1960s they’d become one of a handful of Scottish artists to appear on TV’s Ready Steady Go, sold out 14 nights in the iconic Barrowland Ballroom, played a six-week residency in London’s legendary Marquee Club, released seven singles – including three tracks written by Bowie – and experienced the rock’n’roll lifestyle just as it was becoming a desired way of life..
The Beatstalkers’ story came to a crushing and sudden end in London just a few years after the dramatic events of the George Square Riot. By that time they’d blazed a trail that every single Scottish band has followed ever since. And most importantly, they retained their friendship through thick and thin, high and low – and to highlight their impact, they played a sold-out reunion show at the Barrowland Ballroom in 2005.
As Eddie Tobin – manager of rival band The Bo-Weavles, and later Billy Connolly and the Glasgow Apollo venue – says: “They were the first, and they were the greatest.”
Bassist Alan Mair (who went on to join The Only Ones) says: “It’s been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster ride and a lot of fun recalling those heady days back in the sixties, when we were in the Beatstalkers. It’s taken us all on quite a journey, and we hope it takes our fans on the same journey, because it was as much of a shared experience as a band and fans could have.
“The one thing we always had was great belief in ourselves, which never waned. Along with a little bit of luck – every success needs a bit of luck – and, of course, some talent, we realised our dreams and became Scotland’s top band.
“We hope our story inspires young bands out there today to believe in themselves, never lose focus on what they want to achieve, and eventually find success.”
Author Martin Kielty said: “The story of the Beatstalkers is one I’ve wanted to help tell for a long time. It’s the definitive rock’n’roll experience that every band who came after them lived through, whether they won or lost. Even though so many years have passed, anyone who’s tried to make it through their music will recognise some life-changing moments they’ve dealt with themselves. To me, the band’s biggest success is that, despite it all, they remain close friends to this very day. That’s heroic. I’m proud that such an iconic story is finally recorded for posterity.”
The Beatstalkers launch takes place at the Clutha Bar, Glasgow on April 12th, 2018, with band members present. Members will be available for media calls around that date. Please email Carol Ann Cunningham or call +44 7795 822168 for availability information.
Martin Kielty is a Scottish rock journalist and author, with three books in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Permanent Collection. His titles include Apollo Memories, SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Are Ye Dancin’? and Big Noise: The Sound of Scotland. He’s former manager of iconic Scottish artists The Sensational Alex Harvey Band and The Rezillos. He’s a regular contributor to the biggest rock magazines in the UK and to the leading rock websites in the US. The Beatstalkers is his 17th book.
Publication details:
TItle: The Beatstalkers
Subtitle: Scotland’s Number 1 Beat Group
Authors: David Lennox, Alan Mair, Ronnie Smith, Eddie Campbell and Jeff Allen with Martin Kielty Date: 12/04/2018#
Besides the great influx of visiting musicians, the ’60s music scene in the north of Scotland was a great time for Scottish bands developing their craft. In the early 1960s, there were dozens of skiffle and beat groups springing up throughout the north of Scotland. Featured below are a couple of local favourites plus articles from the time…
The Poets: That’s The Way It’s Gotta Be: The Poets plus other Scottish bands:

The Playboys b

Malcolm Strachan of The Playboys: “We played all over the north from 1963 to 1965 from Dundee and Alyth right up to our furthest northern most gig at Dunnet Bay close to Thurso in Caithness. Our gigs were solo gigs or supporting loads of bands, The Hollies, Lulu and the Luvvers, Dave Berry etc We even played on the same bill as Johnny and The Copycats at Inverurie and Ardersier as i remember.
We headed of to London in June 1965 and recorded a single with Tony Secunda which was never released. Did most of our bookings through The Brian Morrison Agency who was very good to us and we used to support The Pretty Things as they were his top band.We supported The Who twice, The Nashville Teens, Them featuring Van Morrison, Unit Four plus Two, The Applejacks, Alan Price Set, and more.
We were very strong vocally but did not write our own material, which means only one thing. The Marmalade were in London who wrote their own material and were struggling a bit and we also used to go and see The Action at The Marquee Club who did the same stuff as ourselves and were better than we were in every department. It was a great few years and would not have missed it for the world. ps.I also saw The Beatles at The Beach Ballroom in January 1963,met them and have their autographs.Not bad for 3 shillings.”

Included with cassette tape of Playboys live in concert [circa 1964]

The Playboys who were performing around the north of Scotland were featured in a one hour recording from one of their live performances.

The Playboys a

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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
4 comments on “scottish beat bands
  1. david buchan says:

    I was the original lead guitarist of the playboys davy buchan

  2. Patricia Buchan says:

    My husband played in the original Playboys 1963/64 they played all over Scotland from far north to as far down as Perth. Playing before bands like Lulu and the lovers, Searchers etc. I have a photo of the original band but not sure how to post it on here.

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