The Suedettes - Sex - Coca Cola & Rock n Roll
The Suedettes

The Suedettes Douglas Head Hotel
Suedettes at the Jive Club

The Suedettes at the Anne Hathaway Jive Club Terry Clough - Lennie Chatel - John Harrison
Tom Courtie

The Suedettes at the Douglas Bay Hotel 1962
Tom Courtie - Derek Clague - Terry Clough
Lennie Chatel 

The Suedettes at The Anne Hathaway Jive Club 1960
Tom Courtie - John Harrison - Terry Clough
 Lennie Chatel

​​​These are a selection of true light hearted stories related to my time with The Suedettes and The Ray Norman Combo, actual names of persons concerned where mentioned are real and have not been changed to protect the guilty.

Please scroll down the pages to view the content.​​ ​

Terry Clough

Please Note: The writings do contain a few naughty words.

John Harrison

My life changed direction late one night as I was on my way home from visiting my mate Sandy in Willaston. There was a bloke sitting on the garden wall of his house playing a guitar, he sounded great so I stopped to listen. This, my first encounter with John Harrison, was to be one of the major turning point in my life. John could obviously see how impressed I was with his playing and I couldn’t believe it when he suggested that if I got a guitar he would teach me some chords. I leapt on my bike and peddled furiously back to Onchan where I was living with my Grandmother and pestered the life out of her for days as I pleaded with her to buy me a guitar.

Then there were few music shops on the Island that I knew about, and certainly not in the modern sense of a Music shop. What we had then was Blakemores in Douglas where they used to sell classical sheet music, violins, pianos, classical instruments, etc. At my request for a guitar the two very nice old ladies that owned the shop suggested that if I wanted such a thing, that the best thing to do was ask the CO-OP ! Although their advice was a surprise, I did exactly that and ordered a Hofner Congress six string guitar straight from a brochure. To my delight it was delivered in less than a week and I was the happiest person in the world. All I had to do now was learn how to play.

John kept to his word and started off by teaching me to play the chords to Living Doll, the Cliff Richard hit at the time. As it happens the various chords used in this song were to help a great deal over the coming months as all the basics were there for most Rock & Roll songs. Learning to play the guitar was hard work and it took weeks of practice with the tips of the fingers on my left hand hurting like hell but gradually getting harder and harder as I struggled to move my fingers into the correct positions on the fret board, at the correct time.

By now John and myself were good mates and he introduced me to his best mate, Tom Courtie. Tom had previously had a group called Tom Courtie and the Tom Cats, which I believe had just disbanded. Tom was now singing and playing with John and they also had another member, Howard Grey, who I was told was a relation of Alma Cogan, a big star at the time. I was told Howard was having to leave the group as he was moving away to England and they were looking for someone to replace him on bass, they were looking at me.

I was happy to join and this meant John giving me a few more lessons, this time on bass. The problem being, of course, that I didn't have a bass at this time so I had to make do with my six string Hofner Congress guitar. The great thing about Tom was that he could actually play the guitar properly. Tom’s father had been a jazz guitarist and consequently Tom knew chords that most other guitarists could only dream about. This of course was a fantastic advantage when learning new songs as it was all by ear of course, no written music involved.

We used to go to Fox & Lanes, a record shop in Douglas where they had listening booths and talk the shop assistants into letting us listen to all the latest hits. We would listen to music from the USA: Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly, Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, Chuck Berry, etc. We couldn’t afford to buy many records, just the odd one or two, so Tom would memorize all the chords and guitar solos and we would go back to Tom’s house in Douglas, the house was named Avalon, which I thought was great, we would practice in his front room on Sunday mornings.

Starting Work:

It was round about this time that I started work as an apprentice carpenter with the Isle of Man Harbour Board. Being a carpenter was not the career I had planned, I had spent the last two years at school studying engineering. My then music gurus, Tom and John, both worked in the offices of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and I was aiming to become an apprentice in their engineering department. However, there was a two year waiting list for apprentices. Unsure about what to do on leaving school, I was pondering my options when fate took a hand. Our next door neighbour spotted me repairing the fence in our back garden, I was always pretty good with my hands, he was so impressed with the workmanship that he asked me to consider becoming an apprentice carpenter. Two days later, after due consideration, I was signed up for the five year apprenticeship, I remember my first weekly wage was thirty two shillings and sixpence, less tax, and like the other Harbour Board workers in those days I had to queue up at the Douglas Swing Bridge by the harbour, come rain or shine, snow or gales, to collect my little brown pay packet from the paymaster sat in his cosy gas heated booth .

The Queens Toilet Seat

The work at the Harbour Board was varied and interesting. I was involved in projects such as making furniture for the offices, helping the head carpenter build a new clinker built rowing boat (that really got my interest going), shaping and steaming planks and oak ribs etc. One job particularly sticks in my mind is assisting the head joiner Billy Cubbon who had the job of making a toilet seat for our very own queen, Queen Elizabeth! This project perhaps sounds ridiculous and believe me, it was. The seat was a standard shape made from oak and was so highly French polished, you could see your face in it, not that I believed that was what it was intended for! some bright spark came up with the idea that even though the Britannia would be in Douglas harbour during the Queen’s Royal Visit, there was a chance that her majesty might be ''caught short'' within a hundred yards of leaving the ship and would be forced to use the nearby toilet facilities. Madness !

I really liked Billy, he had a great sense of humour and despite my cheeky know-it-all attitude he put up with me somehow. My first job everyday was making the tea. There were half a dozen workers in the carpentry shed so the tea pot was gigantic. The water was boiled over a wood burning stove in the lunch room which was an add-on small shed about eight feet square. Every morning I would ask Billy if the tea was OK and the only thing he would ever say was, ’I'll be glad when I've had enough!’, another thing he used to say every morning when the lads asked had he been to the toilet and how his bowels were, was 'Yep ! three solids and a pound of mash.

Billy and myself had a narrow escape one day, we were hanging over the end of the pier on a platform held by ropes repairing one of the wooden piles that protect the pier from damage by any ship that came to close when approaching the harbour. The ferry was due in at any moment and as it was quite misty with sea fog Billy decided that we would take a break and climb back on to the pier, it was a good move as two minutes later the ferry appeared out of the fog and ripped the wooden pile that we were working on off the harbour wall, we were very lucky not to be crushed.

A perk of being a 15 year old apprentice at the Harbour Board, was that about once a month I was given the job of servicing the cubicle locks in the toilets next to the harbour, this meant opening each lock and oiling the moving parts, the bonus was keeping the pennies, sometimes as much as one and sixpence which was a great boost to the basic apprenticeship weekly wage.

However, this job came with a warning from the other carpenters and people I worked with, I was told to keep a careful lookout for ''Brown Hatters'' which apparently was a nickname for certain gentlemen who used to meet in the toilets, easy to spot though with their rolled up newspapers tucked under their arms.

My continuing education of the ways of life was added to one morning. At 8 am I arrived at work as normal and was quickly pulled to the side. Billy explained that tragically the body of a man had been found behind the carpenter’s shed. The shed was situated at the foot of a sheer cliff face just below Douglas Head, the cliff was probably about about one hundred feet high. At the top top of the cliff was a field which was regularly used by courting couples as it was well out of view of the main road to Douglas Head. Apparently the man had climbed over the fence to spy on the couples, slipped, and fallen to his death.

Overlooking our work yard was a castle, a private residence used by a family of local hoteliers, wasn’t I the lucky one as their daughter, Susan, used to wave to me from one of the windows. One night while I was in the local Strand cinema to see ‘Love Me Tender’ (Elvis Presley's best ever film in my opinion) I spotted Susan a few rows back with some girl friends. After the film we met outside and from that moment we dated, wrote love letters to one another and, of course, plus plenty of waving to each other at work.

It was mid-summer and one Sunday I took her for a walk in Groudle Glen and found a nice private spot among the ferns. It must be said that plenty of kissing and cuddling took place before I walked her back home. We hadn't noticed that her dress had been covered in mud, trouble ! This proved to be our last date as her posh parents forbade her to see me again and sent her off to a finishing school in Huyton, in Liverpool, we still wrote to each other but that was the end of that budding relationship.

Douglas Holiday Camp

A favourite pastime of John, Tom and myself was to hang around the Douglas Holiday Camp during the summer holidays where there was always lots going on; girls, entertainment, girls, cafeteria, Juke box, girls, swimming baths, girls, roller skating rink, the list could go on! One day John and I were sitting in the lounge and John was playing his guitar. He was singing ‘Living Doll’ and pretending to be Cliff Richard. Some girls thought it really was Cliff as he did look very similar, however, the effect was ruined when John’s dad appeared and dragged him home by the scruff of the neck to attend a family outing or something...

On another occasion we really fancied two girls we had spotted on the roller skating rink, there was a problem though; neither of us could skate. So early each night before the girls were about we would hire skates, get onto the rink and practise. We did this for a week and when we thought we could skate well enough not to embarrass ourselves we went to meet them only to find that they had left for home that day. I haven’t skated since.

We were trying to think of a suitable name for the band/group and by chance this was decided on at the holiday camp. The entertainment’s manager was Gordon, famous for his daily advertised ''Games in the Quad with Gordon'' he approached us one day and asked if we would be interested in performing in the Sunday concert which took place in the ballroom. We agreed instantly, however we were stumped when he asked us the name of the band, we were forced to think of something immediately, I believe it was John who suggested that as we were all wearing suede jackets which were the fashion at the time that the group would be called The Suedettes, the name was adopted by the band and lasted years.

While I was still struggling to get to grips with the bass guitar it was decided that Tom and John would perform as a duo on the Sunday night with me taking charge of the sound. Now while this was great in theory, in reality the P.A. System ''Tanoy'' consisted of four square panels of plywood, one in each corner of the ballroom containing a loudspeaker covered in frayed linen, an amplifier from world war one, and having only one knob on it saying ''volume'' and big glowing valves, plus a microphone from the nineteen thirty’s, still, it had to do!

Anyway, on the evening John and Tom performed a few Everly Brothers numbers which went down a bomb. However, we were never asked back! This might have had something to do with hearing that Gordon the entertainment manager had been sacked for stealing blankets from the camp and selling them in town to supplement his wages.

Also around that time there were Talent Shows, which were held in a pavilion at the Villa Marina gardens in Douglas, they were always popular with musicians and singers trying to make their break. As I was still learning the bass guitar Tom and John decided to again enter one of the shows as a duo. The pair went down well and were placed third, first place was awarded to a man playing the spoons, with second place going to a little known singer who was trying his luck; Gerry Dorsey, later to become a household name as the legendary Englebert Humperdink! Yep! He was second to a man playing spoons, I wonder if he ever remembers that ?

Manx Radio

I think around about this time Manx Radio had been created and was broadcasting to a small section of the island from a Caravan/Mobile Studio in a field on Hillberry Road, between the Manx Arms pub in Onchan and Signpost Corner on the TT course.

One of the presenters, John Grierson, had asked us to record a song for the ''Christmas Show'', the recording was done in the Manx Radio offices, at that time in or near Victory House on Prospect Hill in Douglas. We set up our equipment and John Harrison and Tom Courtie sang a rock n roll rendition of White Christmas, later we were invited to the studio in the field in Onchan to listen to the broadcast..

At that time the Manx Radio signal was only available to a small section of the islands population, and it was a year or so later before full island coverage was attained, however this did not matter to us, it was just good to be on the radio..

People on the island still ask me if I have any recordings of the original Suedettes, the answer is unfortunately no ! apart from the Manx Radio recording as above and the Abbey Road audition {more about that later} the only other recording if I remember correctly was done by Roy Colebourn of T. H. Colebourn's TV and Radio store in Douglas at the Jive Club {Cave Club} in 1962, and I expect that the tape of that is long gone.

Electric Piano

We were told by one of our local boffins that he had invented an electric piano, and better than that if we could get a normal upright one to him he would convert this into an electrical one. So on a bright and sunny Sunday morning we cadged an old upright piano from one of Tom’s friends.

However, first there was a small problem to be dealt with as the piano was located in an area of Douglas which was about a mile away from the boffin's house. The said piano had to be moved manually as there was no one around with a van to transport it for us, and we were to young to hire one. Undaunted, John borrowed a small goods trolley from his place of work, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

We managed to get the piano onto the trolley and set off through the streets of Douglas, this was hard work and naturally we had to have frequent rest breaks where Tom would entertain the passing locals by playing ''Go Now'' (a big hit at the time) on the piano which was of course sat on top of the trolley.

When the piano eventually reached its destination all the boffin did was to open the piano lid and stick a microphone inside which was his idea of an electric piano! The idea worked, of course, but in our minds we had imagined something a little more spectacular.

Party Nights

Thursday night every week was Party Night. This highlight of the week was when Beverley’s parents were out and all the gang would gather to play records and drink Coca Cola; there were no drugs on the island in those days, not that we had heard of anyway! and in those days Coca Cola used to taste like ''Coca Cola'' only to be served in an ice cold bottle straight out of the Cola fridge, not like today where the true taste is often ruined when it is poured over blocks of ice, its not the same..

Then, I was in love with Diana, we would sit for hours necking and smooching on the settee with Roy Orbison’s, ‘'Only the Lonely'’ playing over and over again on the Dansette record player, oblivious to the world...

Meanwhile the more adventurous, Tom to be precise, had decided to try Beverley’s bedroom with Beverley, unfortunately the room was occupied so there was nothing else for it but to opt for Beverley’s parents bedroom. Now, at the bottom of the stairs on the wooden hat-stand resided a trilby hat and raincoat which belonged to Beverley’s dad, who also happened to be Tom’s boss at the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. Full of mischief, one of the lads donned the hat and coat and crept upstairs and opened the parent’s bedroom door. Tom later confessed that he nearly shit himself when the door opened and he looked up to see this apparition standing in the doorway complete with trilby hat and raincoat, he definitely thought it was his boss.

A great laugh, but the parties ended a few weeks later when Beverley’s parents spotted a number of used condoms hanging from the apple tree in the back garden; now they and the neighbours knew what had been going on in their house on Thursday nights..

Diana was the love of my life at this time with an added bonus, her dad owned a fabulous limo with white walled tyres. Diana lived about a ten minutes walk away from Beverly and I lived in Onchan, which was a further two miles away. So, after each party, I would go home with Diana and hang around for a while hoping that her dad would offer me a lift home in the limo, he always obliged, great bloke, the best night of the week.

The Al Capone Buick

We decided that what we needed for the Suedettes was transport, one of the lads had noticed a car for sale privately in Laureston Grove, near St Ninians High School. It was an Al Capone style American Buick, it was huge and black and perfect for rock n rollers looking to do a bit of posing on the prom, we thought it was fantastic, plenty of room for our guitars and equipment, and at a push all the girlfriends as well. ''Snag one'', it was £40.00, between the four of us just a tenner each, but the reality was ''snag two'', we only got ten bob a night each at the Jive Club so were not rolling in cash, and ''snag three'', the car would have to be taxed and insured, sadly it wasn't possible at our ages so we had to give the idea a miss.

Summer Holiday

We were due to rehearse with the band at the Jive Club one night, but we had noticed that the Cliff Richard movie ''Summer Holiday'' was being shown at the Regal cinema just down the street, the girlfriends were with us so we thought, sod it, let's go to the pictures instead. I think some of the girls thought the movie was OK, but we thought it was a load of rubbish, we liked Cliff and played a lot of his songs in the band, and he did his best in the film, but it was terrible, all sugary like some of the awful movies that Elvis Presley was forced to act in.

One good thing did come of the night though, before the main feature film there was a short 15 minute film about a singer I had never heard of at the time, Nat King Cole with his Nat King Cole Trio, I thought they were fantastic, the day after I went into the local record shop and ordered a stack of his recordings, I have been a huge fan ever since. 

Liverpool - Mardi Gras Club

One of the advantages of both Tom and John working in the offices of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company was that they often managed to get cheap travel tickets to Liverpool. The best trip, which we used about once a month, was the ferry which left on Friday at midnight from Douglas, arriving in Liverpool around seven on the Saturday morning and returning on Saturday at midnight from Liverpool.

This meant we had a whole day in Liverpool. On arrival we would walk to the Punch & Judy café near Central station for breakfast, and as we had virtually no cash this meant tea and toast. However, even on our meagre rations it was a bit off putting to once see the waitress scoop her cigarette ash off the top of a cup of tea before serving it.

A small snag on these sea trips was that John could not set foot on a ship even in the harbour without feeling ill, luckily Tom and myself were ''good sailors'' and never had a problem. One trip sticks in mind where the sea was very rough and because of this we had arranged a cabin so John could get his head down for the journey, this he did not expecting Tom and myself to arrive back at the cabin with a lunch of fish, chips, and peas. This was to much for John who ran out on to the outer deck with his pants around his knees heading for the ships rail and had a good old hughee over the side, we split John's portion of lunch between us...

On one of the trips we learnt that Carol Levis was holding a discovery session at the Liverpool Empire Theatre; Carol Levis Discoveries was the top TV talent show prior to Opportunity Knocks. The Empire Theatre was handy for us as on this occasion we were staying in a B&B, the Atlantic Hotel in Lord Nelson Street, directly behind the theatre.

We thought all we would have to do was to get up at nine in the morning, wander down to the theatre and become famous. However, morning arrives and we look out of the hotel window to see hundreds of acts, guitarists, groups, etc., all queuing up along the street to the stage door. Trying to look cool we wandered down past the queue listening to all the guitarists practising their party pieces and we decided to chicken out. I found out years later, when reading The Beatles Book, that in fact Johnny and the Moon Dogs, who later became The Beatles, were in that very line, they were signed up by an agent called Larry Parnes and the rest is history.

So it was off to visit Frank Hessy's music shop; a shop now famous for apparently selling the Beatles their equipment. This seems logical as it was just around the corner from Mathew street and very close to the Cavern. We would spend most of the day in the music shop and must have driven both the owners and the staff mad; we never bought anything other than a few strings and plectrums but they never threw us out. I remember there being a big man in the shop, he was called Jim Getty, who was very friendly and offered Tom a few tips on guitar.

On one of the trips to Liverpool we walked into a music agents office and announced that we were from the Isle of Man and wanted to become famous ! He said this wouldn’t be a problem and told us he would book us into a ‘'shop window'’ that night in Willesden. We were thinking; what the hell is a shop window? And where is Willesden, anyway it turned out to be a club on the outskirts of Liverpool where acts perform free in the hope of being spotted by a record company..

We learned a lot that night. We took what bit of gear we had on a double decker bus and stashed it all under the stairs. On our arrival at the club we were immediately asked to set up as we were going to be first on. There was just one microphone but, not being put off, John and Tom did their Everly Brothers rendition to mild applause from a dozen or so people and, that was it! The important thing we learned from observing the acts which followed was that every group had brought along their own P.A. System, amps, mikes, and speakers, and were not simply relying on old house tanoys.

On another visit to Liverpool we heard that management were looking for groups to appear in the Mardi Gras Club so we went along to suss out the lay of the land. On the door was a huge black man; we only had one black man in the Isle of Man at that time, Charlie, who worked at the Empress Hotel on the Douglas Promenade. Charlie was a friendly sole and used to ride his pristine green bike along the prom always wearing his bow tie and a big smile, this bloke, however, looked tough, bravely we asked for the manager, and give him his due he soon appeared. We told him who we were and what we did and after a little consideration he said that if we came back on the Monday night he would give us a slot.

This piece of luck called for a celebration and off we went to Central Station for a cup of tea. It was worked out that as this was only Saturday, if we pooled our resources and stuck to tea and pork pies we could just about eke out our cash until it was time to catch the Tuesday morning boat back to the island. However, disaster struck. John turned a bright yellow colour, which turned out to be jaundice, and we had to take the next boat back home. So much for our début in the Mardi Gras!

The Cave Club {Jive Club}

Just prior to this visit to Liverpool we had been playing at the Manx Cat, a coffee shop and dance hall in Douglas. The owner of the Manx Cat must have been the meanest man in the Isle of Man, we knew him as Mr O'Season, he looked to be in about his mid fifties, he was a bit rotund and he used to wear a white cap and suit to go with his white hair and white handlebar moustache. Mr O’Season let it be known that he wanted to sign us up on a contract. To talk over the signing of the contract he took us to a fish and chip café in Douglas. After fish and chips all round he produced the contract which we read but said we would think about it. However, at the next dance when we he came to pay our wages he had deducted the cost of the fish and chip supper, tight git, so we refused to sign anything.

Anyway, we got back from Liverpool with John and his jaundice. John was out of action for three weeks but during that time we had an offer from a bloke called Phil Collins, not the Phil Collins! to play in his basement club in Douglas, the Cave Club, from the very first night it was a huge success and continued to be so for a number of years. The Cave Club booking made the Suedettes a household name on the island.

Due to it's success the Jive Club, the other name for the Cave Club, had to be moved to Phil's restaurant two floors up because of lack of space in the basement, the Anne Hathaway restaurant was run by Phil {Pippa} and his beautiful wife, Maureen {Mo} and used for the jive club on Friday and Saturday nights during the winter months. During the summer there was a Cabaret every night of the week except Sundays and we were employed to provide the dance music and backing for the cabaret acts, another local act were the Meteors harmony vocal group with their pianist Jimmy Maddox, we backed them and the ''Guest Star'' from the UK, Wanda L'mour.

Wanda was a Turkish belly dancer who as part of her act used to dance on the tables, this was a bit of a shock to diners who were doing their best to eat while a wobbly women with sweat running down her legs was trying to entertain them under the ultra violet lights, well we hoped it was sweat, one poor bloke was trying to read his paper but it didn't put Wanda off her act, a sight never to be forgotten.

The R.A.F. Show - Gaiety Theatre

One of the highlights of the Manx music scene was the end of season R.A.F. charity show at the Gaiety theatre which was organized by Benny Fingerhut, a local entrepreneur. Benny had roped us in, The Suedettes, to try and attract some of the younger generation to the show, which usually consisted of songs from well known musicals and light operatics. The Gaiety by the way is a fabulous theatre with near perfect acoustics and a beautiful atmosphere. In the music hall days and just after the second world war many famous acts appeared there, I remember seeing posters for a show called ''Sailors in Skirts'' probably an act originally formed for entertaining the troops during the war, I am told that Florrie Ford started her career at the Gaiety. They were boom days and hundreds of thousands of UK and Irish people took their summer holidays in Douglas.

The R.A.F. show was our first experience of playing in the beauitiful Gaiety Theatre, initially there were a few ''on stage'' problems, as we discovered that the electricity supply at that time in the theatre was still D.C. {Direct Current} and not the modern A.C. {Alternating Current} that was the norm for households and businesses throughout the island, and our guitar amplifiers would not work on this system. This problem was solved for us when the stage manager {George Craine} produced a tranformer, covered in dust and spider's webs from somewhere, and thankfully after changing a few plugs we were up and running.   

We had decided that we were going to include in our performance a few Cliff Richard songs, Move It, which is probably the best British rock number ever, Theme for a Dream, and Living Doll, and we planned to open the set with a popular instrumental at the time, Ghost Riders in the Sky. To add to to the effect for this number we thought it would be an excellent idea to record some cow sounds, mooing etc. to be played in the background as we played the number.

One of the lads had an uncle near Peel with a farm so we set of in a friends old ford van with a portable tape recorder to record the moo sounds. Nothing often goes to plan of course, as we approached the cow sheds the cows were making one hell of a noise, but as soon as we walked inside there was silence. We were there for an hour and all we managed to get on the tape was the farmer saying, al right boys.

We scrapped the idea and changed our opening number to Apache, the Shadows big hit, it was a huge success and it went down a bomb, however, in the local paper the following day it said something like, screaming teenagers spoil an excellent night out where the Suedettes were the hit of the show, my grandmother kept the cut out and I still have it in an attic somewhere to this day.

The Majestic Hotel

After the summer season it was back to the Friday and Saturday Jive Club nights, apart from our drummer, Lenny, the only other member of the band who had transport at that time was our other drummer Stan Rimmer, most Fridays and Saturdays I had to cadge a lift back to Onchan with him or walk, the last bus was around 10 o’clock and as the Jive Club finished at this time I was always to late for the bus. The only snag with this arrangement with Stan was I had to sit outside his girl friends house in the back of the van on the way home and wait while they were having it off in the front porch, I used to think, lucky sod...

Apart from the Jive Club there were other gigs we played at throughout the island, our favourite was the Majestic Hotel in Onchan, a fabulous place run by a bloke from Blackpool, big Jim Parkinson, it was a swinging place with dancing in the ballroom, dining room, night club, and with an organist in the lounge bar, the place was packed.

Jim was way ahead of his time, there were telephones on every table in the ballroom, numbered so dancers could scan the available talent and phone their number asking for a dance, if you were told to sod off there was no embarrassment so it was great. The place was really rocking, one of the best spots of the night were the duel-ling drummers, there were usually a couple of bands on and our main drummer Lenny Chatel, who was fantastic, used to challenge the other band drummer, Joey, of the Falcons rock group, each would start their solo and then each would take turns to try and outdo the other. When we were the only band on Lenny was always requested to play his drum solo, this was called ''white sticks'', and was truly fantastic, going on for around 10 minutes or more, from time to time we had guest singers, and our favourite was ''Billy Chase'' {Dave Brown} from Ramsey, he really used to get the place rocking. ..

My most enjoyable summer season at the Majestic was after leaving the Suedettes and joining with Jimmy Maddocks [piano and vocals] and Lenny Chatel [drums] to form a trio booked to play in the Nite Club, this was situated downstairs below the main ballroom. The place was heaving every night with people rocking along to Jimmy,s original type of music, a mixture of boogie woogie, Nat King Cole, and Wilson Picket, later that year Jimmy and myself joined with Ray Norman and Tony Teare to form the Ray Norman Combo. [more about that on later pages]. There was a fabulous girl working in the gift shop, drop dead gorgeous, never got off with her though but I did spend a lot of my wages on Fry's Chocolate Cream bars.

One of the other gigs took place at the Witches Mill in Castletown, a popular rock n roll venue in the south of the island. Lenny was our drummer for these gigs and we used to pack all our equipment into his car, a ford prefect, that’s drums, guitars, amps, and girlfriends, and off we would go, the car got the nickname the ''Virgins Hearse''. For the gigs in Peel, we used to all pack into one of Harry Lamb's coaches, again all the gear, plus all our fans who fancied a night out at Peel town hall, Harry was happy with two and sixpence per head, he would go to the pub while the gig was on leaving his coach parked on a nearby hill just in case it didn't start.

Lenny's Card School

When we weren't inflating condoms at the Sunday matinee at the cinema and floating them off the balcony we would attend our drummer Lenny's Card School, it was held in the winter in the front room of his parents guest house on Douglas prom. The card school really was just Strip Poker, and strangely it was usually the girls that lost most of their clothes, Lenny was good at cards.

Lenny and myself would at times in the summer season cruise the promenade at night in the virgin's hearse after we had finished playing in the band hoping to pull a couple of girls, with never any luck, but one night we did spot a women being screwed up against a wall outside one of the hotels just off the promenade, no big deal you might say, but she was eating a bag of chips at the time behind her lovers back as he was going at it in great style.

The Costa Brava

On one particular occasion Lenny and Myself decided that what we needed was a holiday in Spain, so we booked one week in a resort on the Costa Brava, Malgrat de Mar, and duly arrived and signed in at the hotel. This was late summer/autumn taking advantage of the Manx Holiday period but on our arrival in Spain we had expected better weather than what greeted us, it was quite stormy and wet with just a few good days where we could go on the beach.

This didn't bother us however as we spent most of our time exploring the local bars and shops with the help of a nice French bloke of our age we had chummed up with in the hotel, he spoke Spanish which was a definite bonus. There was one particular leather shop where Lenny had spotted ''The Big Jacket'' which it was to become known as.

We went in looking at this tan coloured leather jacket everyday of the holiday, Lenny loved it but we all agreed it was slightly to big for him, but he bought it anyway and on his return to the island wore it for many years, he probably still has The Big Jacket.

I have never been a late night person, which I suppose is strange for a Rock N Roller, but on the midnight shift at the Casino with the Combo I could stand up and play while virtually asleep, anyway, back to Spain. Lenny had met some blokes from the UK and they were all determined to make a night of it at the end of the holiday, so I had decided on an early night instead of a booze up. However, I was woken at three in the morning by one hell of a row coming from the corridor outside our room, the UK lads were shouting abuse at a German gentleman who had opened his door to complain about the noise, I can't print what they said, however, their wives made them apologize shame faced the next day so all was forgotten. Lenny was his usual self after having a few to many, he just smiles and says nowt, so at three in the morning Lenny had invited the lads back to our room to play cards.

I was angry and told them if they wanted to play cards they would have to play in the bathroom, so they did with the coffee table in the bath, unfortunately one of them slipped and grabbed the shower for support ripping the whole unit off the wall and bringing the card game to a halt, the lads left. This was still Franco days in Spain and Lenny and myself visualized being in jail the next morning when the management found out, so with my joinery skills and some match sticks as wall plugs I managed to fit the shower unit back on the wall hoping the staff would not notice when cleaning the room. As it turned out we needn't have worried as the hotel manager informed us the next morning on checking out that we were the last guests and the hotel was being demolished.

Art School

One of the conditions of my apprenticeship and working for the Isle of Man Government Harbour Board was that I attend night school at the technical college in Douglas on two nights per week for the full five years of my apprenticeship.

Our carpenter teacher was Mr Wood, yes ! Mr Wood. He was a great bloke and I got on really well with him, the usual woodworking projects were available, including the different joints that a carpenter would use, making tables and chairs, staircases etc. but I was over the moon when he agreed that I should make a solid electric guitar, he was as interested as I was to see if I could create a working model. I did with his help and I used it in the band for a while before selling it on.

Another aspect of night school were the architectural drawing lessons, for some reason these were not held at the tech school but at the Art school in another area of Douglas. It was fun on one occasion when after lessons we bored a whole in the wood paneling to view a naked girl who was posing in the art department, we had a good skeet but were caught by Mr Wood, who seemed very understanding about the whole escapade and turned it into a lesson, how to plug up a hole in wood paneling without leaving a visible mark, he was a good teacher and a good bloke.


Tom had a steady girl friend called Monica, but according to Tom he could not get anywhere with her, he could not even access ''the chuckle'' this is the upper area of the leg and inner thigh, it was called the chuckle because if the girl would let you get that far you were ''laughing'', Tom also had a raver on the quiet, Dawn, Tom said she taught him things about love making and sex that he hadn't even dream't about.

Young love was not running smoothly for me as I had drifted apart from Diane, mainly because she had fallen for our drummer, Lenny's brother Norman, this was serious stuff and she married him eventually. However, I then met Ruth at the Jive Club and we hit it off straight away, eventually after a couple of weeks she invited me to her house in Douglas to meet her mum, dad and sister, they liked me and that was a bonus, not like the reception I had from my earlier girl friends parents with the castle, the fact that I was a rock & roller and a carpenter didn't bother them at all, they were just a nice normal working class family, I even introduced Ruth to my grandmother who I think was hoping that Ruth was ''the one'' and she was for a long time.

I was 18 years old now and despite all the posing with the band and talk of sex I had never actually ''done it'', my virgin status however was short lived as Ruth had a winter job house sitting a guest house/hotel on Douglas promenade for a friend of her family, we had full run of the house but spent every night that I was not playing in the band in bed, not just watching TV. I always used to catch the last Onchan bus home though at about 9-45 each night looking a bit worse for wear.

Ruth and myself were an item for a couple of years before she met the man of her dreams and emigrated to Australia, I think they stuck it out for a year or so and then returned to the island with stories of living on a farm with an outside toilet and huge spiders..

I eventually decided I needed my own transport and for a while I had my heart set on buying a bike that was all the rage at that time, an Aerial Leader, all streamlined and wonderful. So I had saved my £80.00 and set off to buy the bike cash, however, on the way to the bike garage I spotted a Hillman Minx car in a showroom that I could buy with a deposit of £80.00 with the balance on Hire Purchase over three years.

I had again to beg my grandmother to sign the HP forms, which she did eventually, I think she thought the car was the safer of two evils, so I was now a car owner. The Hillman Minx was two tone with a maroon lower body and cream top and best of all, white wall tyres, I felt I was now king of the rock 'n' rollers, and it was ideal with the deep leather bench seats for love making.

My next girlfriend after Ruth was Audrey, I met Audrey at night school and we hit it off straight away, we were meant for each other and deeply in love, we spent endless nights throughout the next couple of years making use of the back seat in the Hillman Minx. The car was essential with Audrey as she lived in Ballasalla about eight miles south of Douglas. We had a terrible scare once when Audrey was convinced she was pregnant, so feeling sick with worry we both decided to face up to her parents and tell them the situation, her Mum was lovely about it as I explained how much I loved Audrey and wanted to marry her, her dad however was another story, he went mad, fuming at both of us calling us idiots and worse, which was true of course but it was to late, or so we thought then, the very day after Audrey started her period, probably as a result of the fright of the meeting with her Mum and Dad, so all the soul searching, worry, and shouting was for nothing.

Abbey Road Studios                                         

Click on this download button to view a copy of the original E.M.I. letter asking the band to audition at the studios.

A friend of ours in Douglas, Phil Smith, {he used to perform as Phil Dane} wrote a song for us, ''Nothing but Love'' which we entered into the Norrie Paramor Song Contest, Norrie was a well known and respected musician and producer at that time connected with E.M.I. and Cliff Richard, one of 40 prizes was an audition with E.M.I. John our vocalist received a letter on March 30th 1962 asking us to attend Abbey Road studios in London for our audition, I think this was about six months before the Beatles went for theirs, it was just a recording studio and not widely known outside the recording business at that time. We duly arrived after a horrible trip for me on a coach from Liverpool to London, I suffered travel sickness, it never affected me at sea just on coaches, the coach had to stop to allow me to throw up by the side of the road somewhere in deepest England at three in the morning..

We booked into a B&B somewhere in London and the next day we called a taxi to take us to Abbey Road, we were well into our trip when our drummer, this time Stan, had noticed that the bass drum was missing, he had left it sitting in the middle of the road outside the B&B, it was still there when we got back, we were impressed, if it had been Liverpool it would have been nicked and sold within that period of twenty minutes.

Nothing against Liverpool, I loved the place, but we did have an earlier experience which made us a bit wary, outside the Empire Theatre a supposed photographer pretended to take our photos, yes ! the old no film in the camera con, and we fell for it, also in a local pub in the city centre where we had popped in to fill in time before we went to catch the Ferry back to the island a man approached us furtively with a suitcase, he opened the case saying, combs, combs, and under his breath whispering, Durex, Durex, he was selling contraceptives in little blue round tins, they were not Durex though they were called Clarion, we bought a tin each of course just to prove we were men of the world, anyway back to London.

Our first impression of Abbey Road Studios was that it was like a terraced house, nothing special, however when we went inside to the reception it was more like a palace, very plush. A gorgeous receptionist took our details and ushered us to a waiting area, apart from us there was only one other person there, a very smart man in a bow tie with an accordion and a huge amplifier, at that time the biggest we had ever seen, we thought what the heck does an accordionist want with an amplifier. Anyway, our time had come so we were asked to follow an A&R man, we understood this to mean 'Artists and Repertoire' his name was Bob Barratt who was a top man for E.M.I. and this was the person who had signed the letter to John asking us to audition. We walked down this corridor with numbered studios on either side, there was a red light outside a studio on the left and we peered in through the small window in the door, there was a recording in progress with a big orchestra and the well known singer Danny Williams, we were impressed..

Our studio was on the right of the corridor and I am sure it was the same studio 2 as used by the Beatles later that year, it was set up for recording groups, with baffles in various locations to stop sound transfer between recording microphones for better separation, and there was a separate area surrounded by baffles for the drummer. As we walked in our voices disappeared due to the sound proofing, it was very quiet and strange. The engineers were situated in a room high up nearly in the roof, accessible by a flight of stairs from the studio floor.

As we set up our gear the E.M.I engineers spotted an immediate problem, our singer John also played guitar, unlike Cliff Richard for example who used to sing without his own instrument at that time, this meant that John's voice mike would also pick up his acoustic guitar making it harder to mix correctly. The decision was made for John to take the acoustic into the Singers Box with him as it was only an audition and not a serious recording. The playback sounded fantastic to us but a few months later we received a nice letter from Bob Barratt explaining that we were not commercial ! end of a dream but a great experience.

Later that day we were walking down a street in Soho looking for the ''Two Eyes'' coffee bar where we were told Billy Fury was appearing,  when a lady of the night standing in a doorway stopped us asking, are you coming in boys ? John's reply was a classic, No Thank You ! very polite, if it wasn't the reply it must have been the gaberdine raincoats we were all wearing that made her correctly think that we were definitely not London lads looking for a night out, and Billy Fury was not on that night.

Villa Marina Rock Events

There were many other rock & roll groups now from all parts of the island, and some fantastic characters, there was ''Treble Ball'' real name ''Trevor Ball'' from Ramsey, he was an excellent guitarist famous for the tone of his guitar, he used a treble boost unit and it sounded like breaking glass. Then there was George Jolly from another of the Douglas rock groups, ''The Falcons'' he and the band were known most of all for being able to play all night while pissed out of their minds.

My favourite Island group were ''The Phantoms'' , they were from the south of the Island and first came to my attention during the popular Rock & Roll Competitions held on a regular basis at the Douglas Town Council's main entertainment venue, the Villa Marina.

At this particular event we ''The Suedettes'' thought we were sure to win as we had bought the very latest VOX amplifiers and Fender guitars. Our band were on first and the band sounded really good and with the screams of the fans we thought we had it in the bag, however we had not counted on the performance of ''The Phantoms'', the curtains opened and the whole band were wearing bright PINK suits, the whole place erupted in the loudest screaming I had ever heard, that was it, they had won without even playing a note, fantastic. They played great as well and definitely deserved to win the event without a doubt. I was taken by the lead guitarist ''John Nelson'' , known as ''Nellie'' and we became good friends, and over the years played in many groups together, and wrote songs for an LP for one of the groups ''Jygsaw'' .

After this event our singer John Harrison lost heart with our group the Suedettes and joined the Phantoms. Our group carried on and John was replaced by another excellent rock vocalist ''Derek Clague'' formerly from a group in Castletown called the Saphires.

Rockers & Robbers

It never crossed my mind that anyone that was involved with or played in a Rock Group in the Isle of Man could be disonest, it was the Isle of Man for god's sake, where you rarely locked your house and could leave the keys in your car, there was some raucus behaviour around but nothing serious, after hours drinking, the regular fights between the ''Peel Lads'' and the ''Teddy Boys'' from Ramsey at the Majestic Hotel and other dance venues, and there was rivalry between bands, but this was all of a friendly nature.

It wasn't until Ray Norman and myself opened the Island Music Centre that we realised that some of the younger bands and their followers had other ideas, they were smoking ''exotic woodbines'' and funding their habits by stealing from our shop, just small items at first, but then money from the till, we should have reported the problem, but Ray, being an Ex Army Boxer talked me into letting him handle the thefts personally, this seemed to have worked and the problem eased for a while, until one lunchtime one of the young band members stole my Fender Bass Guitar out of the Island Music Centre van that was parked outside my house in Birchhill Crescent in Onchan.

The theft was witnessed by a neighbour and we were 99% sure who the culprit was, as the thief was a relative of another local group member who was highly respected, I decided not to inform the police, however, I did drop very big hints among the groups saying that I knew who it was in the hope that the Bass would be returned, it never was, and I heard later that it had been taken to Liverpool and sold there for cash. A very sad and disappointing occurance that I have obviously not forgotten, anyway, they know who they are, I prefer to remember the good times.

Greeba Castle

At this point I had finished my 5 year apprenticeship with the Harbour Board and was working with a private building and joinery firm in Douglas, the firm was known as ''Frank Large's Circus'' Frank was a real character and used to watch the pennies very closely, when business was quiet he would have us straightening nails taken from old timbers that he had rescued from derelict buildings, Yes ! Really ..

Anyway, I was given the job of replacing the rotting floor joists in Greeba Castle, this was the ancestral home of the famous Manx writer, Hall Caine. The floorboards were covered with oak parquet flooring blocks, all which had to be lifted, cleaned, and numbered, and stored while the rotten parts of the floor supports were replaced, the blocks would then be re-laid in their previous locations to protect the authenticity of the castle..

I loved Greeba Castle, it was so peaceful, there was just something really calming and beautiful about the house. At lunch times everyday until the job was complete I used to sit in the castle lounge and eat my sarnies, but I also took the opportunity to read a number of Hall Caine's novels that were on the lounge book shelves, the books, The Manxman and The Christian in particular transported me to a different age where I could visualize the castle being part of the local culture at that time, in the bedrooms there were still the pull ropes connecting to bells in the kitchen to summon the servants. I think being in the castle for some reason helped me to make up my mind to leave the Suedettes, I knew I would always want to be involved with music but at this point I had no definite plans.

The World Cup - 1966

Blakemore's music shop in Douglas had now been taken over by Manx Radio Rentals, the two old Blakemore sisters had retired and the owner of Manx Radio Rentals, Guy Dickinson, was looking for someone to run/carry on the music department of the now TV shop. I was a friend of his son, Bill Dickinson, one of our Onchan gang of a few years ago and I was asked if I fancied the job, I said yes of course, and that was the end of my carpentry career, though at that time had no idea of retailing.

One of the conditions of my getting the job at Manx Radio Rentals was that I should have ''piano lessons'' , the family owners were aware that I played guitar, but as they had taken over the long established Blakemore's Music Shop, they thought a bit of piano tuition would not go amiss.

My piano teacher was a Miss Emily Christian who lived in Douglas, it was agreed that I would go for lessons once per week. She was a lovely lady and for the most part very patient with my efforts at reading the piano music and trying to play a few simple melodies, however, I have a ''built in rhythm'' and I am constantly tapping my feet to any sort of music, this was not allowed by Emily as she explained that I had to read the rhythm from the sheet music, not easy for me, my errors were punished by a swipe across the knuckles with a ruler, I was now 23 years old but I felt I was back at primary school.

There were still drawers full of old sheet music and this was left intact and available for sale as this is what the Blakemore's would have wished, however, I started to introduce to the shop, singles, L P’s, and various musical produce such as guitar strings, plectrums, guitar tutor books etc. LP wise I was lucky as The Sound of Music had just been released and I had orders for box loads, also one of my favourite singles of all time was top of the charts, Waterloo Sunset by the Kinks.

The football world cup was being played at this time, up until this competition I had never been a big football fan even though I had played for Onchan school team as a kid and watched Manchester United play a game at Gig Lane in Bury when I was around 8 years old, cricket had always been my game, however, as England had got to the final and as I was working I thought I would watch the game on one of the shop TV's, it was fantastic of course as England won.

The Ray Norman Combo

I had a set of P.A. speakers advertised for sale in the local paper and I received a phone call from a bloke wanting to look at them, Ray Norman appeared at the house and we decided that I would set the system up for him in a pub in Douglas where he was playing, the Jamaica Inn, Ray liked the system so he bought it. I stayed and we got chatting, it transpired that he and his guitarist, Tony Teare, were looking to expand the band and were looking for a bass player, I joined there and then.

I then remembered that my mate Jimmy Maddocks, a fabulous vocalist and piano player was also looking for something to do, and he only lived a few doors away in the same street. I went round and asked Jimmy to pop around for a look, he did, and when we had got our gear together and started playing it was as if we had been playing together for years, it all gelled instantly, Ray on the drums and vocal, Tony on guitar, Jimmy on piano and vocals, and me on bass. The Ray Norman Combo was born, a name we all decided on because it felt and sounded right, it really worked and our first night at the Jamaica Inn despite rain leaking through the roof was a huge success.

Tourism in the Isle of Man at that time was the lifeblood of the local economy and the summer tourist trade was vital, however the summer of 1966 started off bad with a Seaman’s Strike, which stopped all ferries to and from the Island, goods and visitors were still flying in but not in great enough numbers, it was a difficult time for the Island, but lucky for us !

The new Palace Hotel and Casino had just been opened by Sean Connery as James Bond and everything was looking rosy until the strike, all the cabaret acts had been booked and were due to arrive for the season, and the band that had been booked to back the cabaret, none arrived, so in panic they asked us as The Ray Norman Combo to fill in as we were local and on the island.

We played our first gig in the foyer of the Palace Lido as there were not sufficient visitors to justify opening the ballroom, after a few nights word got around and the place was packed with locals all having a great time, this went down very well with the management and The Ray Norman Combo were offered a full time professional job with Palace Hotel and Casino, which thankfully lasted years. The seaman’s strike was settled after a few weeks and the island got back to normal and enjoyed a fantastic season.

Opportunities Lost

The acts for the Casino and Palace Lido summer seasons of 1966/7/8, other than our band the Ray Norman Combo, were booked by an agent from the UK mainland, Billy Forrest, Billy had a great reputation in the entertainment business and provided excellent artists, however, Billy had always wanted to book our band for engagements off the island and each year he would offer us a range of work, including long and exotic engagements on Carribean Cruise Liners, unfortunately the whole band could not agree to accept, the very sensible reason being that we were permanent at the Isle of Man Casino and living at home, however, I always thought that it was an opportunity lost to see and experience a bit of the world.   

The Ray Norman Combo at the Buchan School {1967}

We were booked to play with the Combo at the Buchan Girls School in Castletown for the annual school dance, and the girls were allowed to invite boy guests from King Bill's {King Williams College}. We were shown into the school hall where we began to set up all our gear on the stage, in the middle of us doing this one of the teachers ran over waving her arms and shouting, you can't put your equipment there, that is where the invited ''celebrities'' sit, so we had to move all our equipment off the stage and put it on the dance floor. The stage was then filled with around 20 chairs for the ''celebrities'', one of which was the Rev. Cubbon, I think the Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man, Ronald Garvey, and Lady Garvey were also there.

Anyway the night arrived and we started playing our usual programme of numbers, I think the first number we played was ''Kansas City'' a boogie style semi-jive song, and the dance floor was packed, immediately the head teacher was over waving her arms and saying too loud, too loud, can you play a waltz, we then played ''The Last Waltz'' an Englebert Humperdink hit at the time and a few others, and that calmed her down a bit, all this time of course the celeb's were sat behind us on the stage throwing us unapproving glances, anyway, Ray said ''Sod This'' and we reverted to playing our normal mixture of stuff, it was a great night in the end.

In our break we were served tea and sandwiches by a few of the girls, one of them was the Govenors younger daughter, she was a real randy piece and it was rumoured that Ray had has his way with her on the kitchen table.

Another Story from the Buchan School & King Bill's

The boys at King Bill’s would take photos of their willies and put a number on the back, they would then send the photos to the Buchan school, the girls would then choose a photo and the boy corresponding to the photo would be smuggled into the Buchan School at night. Such fun, but they were caught and the story made all the local papers.

Palace Hotel and Casino

The newly built 100 bedroom Palace Hotel & Casino in Douglas was opened in great style in 1966 by Sean Connery {James Bond} however, the first cabaret season at the Palace Hotel and Casino opened in disarray, when the acts finally arrived on the island, delayed by the seaman’s strike as mentioned earlier, the many short comings of the design of the cabaret room were becoming apparent. 

The changing rooms of which there were two, were nowhere near large enough to accommodate all the artists, bands, acts, and dancers that had been booked. Our band the Ray Norman Combo, as locals had commandeered one of the dressing rooms for our now five person group, Doug Davidson had now joined the combo on saxophone and flute, which gave us more versatility in choice of music. So, the rest of the cabaret artists, comedian, dancers, cabaret backing band {trio} were expected to share one dressing room about eight foot square.

I think the architects of the hotel had been so busy concentrating on building the hotel with the minimum 100 rooms, as required by the gaming board of control, that they had little serious thought about the entertainment side of the business, and another error was designing a cabaret stage without an independent P.A. System, professional singers were expected to use the hotel ''Tanoy'' system, which was seriously inadequate.

This was rectified temporarily on the opening night when the manager of the hotel, Alex O’Brien, of ''Alex Inn Fame'' {see below} asked us if the cabaret could use our mobile P.A. System, this was OK of course except that we were also booked to play in the dining room for the dinner dances, and we would be taking the system with us, anyway, we sold Alex a similar system the next day and that solved the sound problem. An excellent act booked for this season was a limbo dance act that had appeared in the latest James Bond movie, a dancer called ''Stretch Wilcox'', it really was up to the minute class entertainment and the place was full every night.

Before the opening of the Palace Hotel and Casino and the relaxation of the drinking laws for Casino Members, the Alex Inn, owned by Alex O'Brien on the Castletown road was by far the most popular night spot on the island, with a host of island groups and entertainers playing there at the weekends, one particular excellent duo springs to mind and that was ''The Hayseeds'' from the south of the island with their own brand of infectious rock and country music .

Alex though could see the writing on the wall for country venues like the Alex Inn after the opening of the Casino, other venues had no answer to the late night drinking and entertainment offered at the Casino, so he was offered and accepted the managers job at the Palace Hotel and Casino, Alex had a great way with people and his management style helped to put the place on the map.

Going back to the lack of dressing rooms at the hotel, it was suggested that several of the hotel guest rooms could be used for changing, however, this was not practical as they were to distant from the stage area. So it was decided to fix a curtain rail about four feet from the end wall of the cabaret room, the full width of the room, and these professional artists would get changed behind it, except for the dancers who got changed in our band room, it was a good summer !

Joe Gallagher V Tom Jones

Tom Jones was booked to appear in a private function in the Palace Hotel & Casino, his band were a duo, pianist and drummer, unfortunately the drummer was ill and could not appear, he had to be replaced at short notice, a Manx drummer free on the night was the highly talented but slightly mad character, Joe Gallagher, at that time the drummer with the local group The Falcons.

Joe turned up for the rehearsal with Tom Jones in the afternoon before the event, and Tom was pleased enough with Joe's performance, however, on the night Joe was well hyped, it appeared that he had been on the exotic Woodbines. Anyway, they started the set and all seemed to be going well with Tom in fine form when Joe for some reason decided that he would throw in a ''non scripted drum solo'', much to the surprise of Tom, Joe went on and on getting wilder by the minute with Tom Jones standing on the stage {dance floor} with his arms folded watching.

Eventually the security had to stop Joe and carry him off, to wild applause from the audience, Tom finished his act just with his piano player backing him, a night never to be forgotten, thank you Joe.       

Cock o the Border TV Talent Competition

The Douglas team of various artists were selected for the final of the Border TV talent show, ''Cock 'O' The Border'' against a team from Hawick in the Scottish Borders. Jack Cretney, a singer from Onchan had been doing all the organising of the Douglas team so off we went to try our luck.

The Border TV Studios were in Carlisle, a fair journey from the Isle of Man in those days, {1967} the M6 Motorway had not yet been completed so Jack had decided that the whole team would travel together by coach.

Our first stop after arriving in England was an overnight stay in a hotel in Blackpool, this was great and everyone was in a ''party mood'' , but by 11pm I had decided to go to bed, as a non drinker my mood was not as elated as some other members of our team. Anyway, I was fast asleep until there was a knock and a voice at the door saying, get up Terry it's 9am, I thought, bloody hell, I'm late, so I leapt up, packed, and rushed down the stairs to the foyer only to find it was only 3am and all the gang were there pissing themselves with laughter, the joke was on me. I never did find out who's idea it was, I was thinking possibly Ray Norman or John Creer.

Anyway, back on the coach and heading north on the A7 with Engelbert Humperdinck's latest single ''The Last Waltz'' playing on the coach radio, the next stop was Kendal, pee, tea, and a sandwich, and then on to Carlisle. We arrived at the Border TV studios in a gale, with pouring rain and mist, waiting outside were two police officers soaking wet and fed up, they had been assigned to hold back the crowds as pop star ''Paul Jones'' of the group Manfred Mann was appearing on the show as a judge, no one had turned out to see him in that weather. Paul was a really nice bloke who after the show had a good chat with all the artists.

Douglas won ''hurrah'', there is a photo of our team on the Photos & Links page of this site. We arrived back on the island and everyone said they had enjoyed the show, unfortunately this was before the 'video machine age' so we never got to see ourselves on the telly, but all was not lost.

If you were a regular shopper in Strand Street in Douglas you may well have met, or been approached by ''Harold'' this was Harold Callow and was famous for taking random photos of people he met in the street. However, nobody thought Harold had any film in the camera, wrong, he was a keen photographer and he used to pop into our music shop in Castle Street on a regular basis to show us the snaps. We were surprised a couple of days after the TV appearance when he came in to see Ray and myself with a sound tape recording of the whole show, what a bloke, he was the only person in the Isle of Man as far as we knew that had had the nous to record it.

True Stories from The World of Clough