Days Gone By: Freedom of the swinging sixties saw many youngsters form bands
- Credit: Dave Kindred
In the 1960s those then in their teens and 20s were the first generation for decades not conscripted into military service for two years.
In November 1960 the last men entered service and call-ups formally ended on December 31, 1960.
With the freedom to enjoy themselves, now the austere 1950s were over, many were inspired by the new sounds of British rock and pop bands forming all over the country.
Recently Days Gone By featured St Matthew’s Baths Hall, Ipswich, where many famous bands played, and reader Graham Day of Stowmarket has recalled going to local band gigs. Today I feature some of those line ups from the 1960s in photos, mostly submitted by band members.
Graham Day said: “When I saw Led Zeppelin in Ipswich for the princely sum of £1. Growing up in Ipswich as a teenager in the 1960s, I first became aware of the use of St Matthew’s Baths as a venue for entertainment when I saw a poster in the town centre advertising “Bluesville”. The star attraction that Monday evening was the Steam Packet, a band with singers Long John Baldry, Julie Driscoll, and Rod “The Mod” Stewart, backed by the Brian Auger Trinity. Monday nights during the winter were Bluesville Club nights, run by Nanda and Ron Lesley.
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“In summer months, when the pool at St Matthew’s Baths was open, the club moved to the Manor Ballroom. Acts seen on those Monday evenings included Lindisfarne, The Move, featuring the excellent vocals of Carl Wayne and guitar playing of Roy Wood, the excellent Spencer Davis group with Steve Winwood on vocals and keyboards. In November 1971 the mighty Led Zeppelin came to town. One of my neighbours, who I grew up in the Stoke area of Ipswich with, was Eric Fleet. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of bands. He worked at “Bluesville” spinning the discs before the live acts appeared on stage. Why did Zeppelin come to Ipswich? Eric said that it was by way of a thank you to Nanda and Ron who had given them some of their very early gigs.
“I walked to the Bath’s Hall box office one lunchtime from my workplace at County Hall and purchased two tickets for £1 each. My workmates were consumed with jealousy and sent me to Coventry for several weeks. The set kicked off apace with Immigrant Song, and other highlights for me included Rock and Roll, Dazed and Confused and Whole Lotta Love. This was also the first outing of the wonderful Stairway to Heaven. During the concert the floor was shaking as if it was trying to remind us that there was a swimming bath underneath.
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“In the ensuing years I have taught French students English during their vacations. One session I ran was on musical likes and many of the students said rock music and in particular Led Zeppelin. They had looks of incredulity when I told them I had seen the band and it only cost £1.
In my youth I would travel around the different dances with great local band bands, held in church halls, schools and other venues. One of my favourite bands was St Willy Cool School.”
Were you in a band locally or have memories of those times? Send your memories, with a photo if possible, to David Kindred, Days Gone By, Ipswich Star/EADT, Portman House, 120 Princes Street, Ipswich, IP1 1RS or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org