Keele Icons : Bands
In the seventies there were bands on at the Union every Wednesday during term time. And by bands I mean acts with guitars, drums, organs, other instruments. So far this term whenever there’s been an act (and those have been few and far between), it has been a single person on stage singing or rapping without any evidence of instruments (Professor Green, Tinchy Stryder)
Before I got here among the bands that played at Keele were Pink Floyd, Cream, Mungo Jerry and, famously, Edgar ‘Out Demons Out’ Broughton
With a lot of help from my friends here’s a list of some of the acts that played 1971-1979, with dates where the fog of alcohol and other substances permits:
Al Stewart, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, The Troggs (76), Rory Gallagher, Dr Feelgood (74), Sutherland Brothers and Quiver, Brewer’s Droop, Brinsley Schwarz, Osibisa, Rudi Tchaikovsky, Ultravox (77), Fox, Average White Band (74) Sailor (75), Kilburn & the High Roads (76), Eddie and Hot Rods (76), String Driven Thing, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Stretch, Caravan, Shaking Stevens & the Sunsets (many gigs, passim), Aswad, Desmond Dekker and the Aces, Ducks Deluxe, Bees Make Honey, Rudy Tchaikovsky, Shakatak (76), Amon Duul, Elvis Costello (79), Pretenders (79), Steeleye Span, Ralph McTell, John Martyn, Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Dr Ross the Harmonica Boss, Thin Lizzy (Nov 74), David McWilliams, and Be Bop Deluxe
Thanks to Andy Cassie, who was Social Secretary, we have an almost complete list of 1977-78, as follows: Little River Band, Darts (a free concert), Horslips, Buzzcocks, Lurkers, Mutants, Fabulous Poodles, Automatics, Split Enz, Motors, Steve Hillage, George Melly, Mud, Pasadena Roof Orchestra (Royal Ball), Frankie Miller, Sad Cafe, Steel Pulse, the Albion Band, Kursaal Flyers, and John Miles
My top ten acts during my (first) time at Keele are:
10) Purple Gang and Good Habit – Freshers’ Ball 1971. Both bands were very minor, and not very good, but I remember them clearly at my first Keele gig
9) Dire Straits – November 1978. Sultans of Swing was first released in May 1978 and the eponymous album had just come out. SOS was re-released in January 1979 and the rest is history…
8) Police – another quirk of Social Secretary booking saw them play in spring 1979, jsut as a (re-released Roxanne) was hitting the charts. Earlier singles ‘Can’t Stand Losing You’ and ‘So Lonely’ had also been flops. A great gig
7) Cockney Rebel – May 1974. Judy Teen was a hit at the time and had followed Sebastian, so Rebel were fairly well known. As I recall they all played in matching outfits
6) Andy Fairweather Low – sometime in 1976 I think. Who can forget Katy, Pat and Ann climbing on stage to accompany a slightly nonplussed AFL in a literal rendition of ‘Wide Eyed and Legless’
5) Frankie Miller – November 1979. The football, rugby, netball and hockey teams had all beaten Manchester Uni away, so naturally much alcoholic celebration followed. On return to the Union Huw ‘Tosser’ Hopkins decided to lead us all in a ‘Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho’ to get in free. It worked, after a minor altercation with Social Secretary Anna Jewell-Harrison (very unsavoury, Dai Barling!), and naturally we all joined Frankie on stage for a rendition of ‘Darlin’, his hit at the time
4) Spirit – Easter Ball 1973, supported by McGuiness Flint and Finnish hard rockers Tasavallan Presidentti. Even Keele, which had seen some sights before, was unprepared for Randy California and, on drums, his stepfather Ed Cassidy (20 years or so older than the rest of the band!). Anyone who was there will remember Randy shedding his greatcoat and belting out Cadillac Cowboys and the rest clad only in a jockstrap and cowboy boots. Not a pretty sight!
3) Curved Air – in 1972 I think. Sonja Kristina was definitely a very pretty sight and sang lead while Darryl Way, Florian Pilkington-Miksa, Francis Monkman and Rob Martin did something or the other in the background! Who can forget Backstreet Luv?
2) Vinegar Joe – also around 1972. Supremely talented with Stewart Copeland, Robert Palmer and a very sexy Elkie Brookes, all of whom became hugely famous later in their careers, Vinegar Joe were a sensational pub rock band. Elkie’s mini skirt ensured a huge crush of lads down at the front!
1) Showaddywaddy, 8 December 1976 supported by the Pasadena Roof Orchestra. This was the Christmas Ball, and it was generally thought, in advance, to be a poor show by the Social Secretary to have booked a sort of fifties doo wop cover band. Not so! It proved to be a stroke of genius, as, not only did the lads play a sensational set, ‘but ‘Under The Moon of Love’ was number 1 at the time. Fantastic!