1979 October to December

2nd October – GARY NUMAN

Live – on stage – GARY NUMAN – an English singer, musician, songwriter, composer, and record producer. He first entered the music industry as the frontman of the new wave band Tubeway Army. Following exposure in a television advertisement for Lee Cooper jeans with the jingle “Don’t Be a Dummy”, Tubeway Army released the single “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” in May 1979. The single took seven weeks before finally reaching No. 1 at the end of June; its parent album Replicas simultaneously reached No. 1. After releasing two albums with the band, he released his debut solo album The Pleasure Principle in 1979, topping the UK Albums Chart reaching No. 1 in Canada and No. 9 in the U.S. The single released from the album, “Cars” reached number-one in the UK, and this sell-out tour (The Touring Principle) followed; the concert video it spawned is often cited as the first full-length commercial music video release.

Gary Numan performing Cars

3rd October – ELKIE BROOKS

On the stage – for one night only – ELKIE BROOKS – is an English singer. She was a vocalist with the bands Dada and Vinegar Joe, and later became a solo artist. She gained her biggest success in the late 1970s. Her first solo album on A&M records was Rich Man’s Woman (1975). It was released to critical acclaim, but Brooks was given a hard time because of the album’s cover shot of a naked Brooks with a feather boa, which was considered outrageous for the time. Her album Two Days Away (1977), produced by the songwriting duo Leiber & Stoller, who had also worked with Elvis Presley and many others. Brooks also wrote some tracks with them. The hits “Pearl’s a Singer” and “Sunshine After the Rain” came from this album. That same year, Brooks duetted with Cat Stevens in the song, “Remember the Days of the Old Schoolyard”. The albums Shooting Star (1978) and Live and Learn (1979) also saw success along with the singles “Lilac Wine” and “Don’t Cry Out Loud”. This 1979 concert was the third of her eight appearances at the Gaumont.

A 1979 tv appearance by Elkie Brooks

4th October – AVALANCHE EXPRESS

…continuing from 30th September

6th October – MANHATTAN TRANSFER

Live – one night only – a jazz vocal group founded in 1969 that explored a cappella, vocalese, swing, standards, Brazilian jazz, rhythm and blues, and pop music. There have been two editions of the Manhattan Transfer, with Tim Hauser the only person to be part of both. The first group consisted of Hauser, Erin Dickins, Marty Nelson, Pat Rosalia, and Gene Pistilli. The second version of the group, formed in 1972, consisted of Hauser, Alan Paul, Janis Siegel, and Laurel Massé. In 1979, Massé left the group after being badly injured in a car accident and was replaced by Cheryl Bentyne. The group’s long-time pianist, Yaron Gershovsky, accompanied the group on tour and served as music director and this was how the band lined-up for this, their only concert at the Gaumont. The tour was set up to promote the group’s next album, Extensions (Atlantic), which produced the hit “Twilight Zone”, a tribute to the TV series and also featured a cover version of “Birdland”, an instrumental by the jazz fusion group Weather Report, with lyrics by Jon Hendricks of Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross.

Here they perform Twilight Zone

7th October – CLOSED

9th October – GLYNDEBOURNE TOURING OPERA

On the stage – for FIVE days – GLYNDEBOURNE TOURING OPERA – Glyndebourne Festival Opera is an annual opera festival held at Glyndebourne, an English country house near Lewes, in East Sussex, England. Under the supervision of the Christie family, the festival has been held annually since 1934, except in 1941–45 during World War II. Since the company’s inception, Glyndebourne has been particularly celebrated for its productions of Mozart operas. In 1968, Glyndebourne Festival Opera established a touring ensemble, Glyndebourne Touring Opera, which in its first season took opera productions to Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Oxford. In addition to bringing the work of Glyndebourne Festival Opera to audiences some distance from Glyndebourne, Glyndebourne Touring Opera offers opportunities for younger opera singers to develop their craft. In 1971 the annual tour was extended to include Southampton.

In 1979 the company brought 3 of their current productions to the city ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ played Tuesday and Thursday, with ‘Fidelio’ on Wednesday and Saturday. Friday saw Haydn’s ‘La Fedelta Premiata’ being performed for the first time in Southampton.

A scene from the production of Fidelio – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQ8ABiTf7VY

A scene from the production of Fidelio

14th October – SKY

Live in concert – for one night only – SKY. ‘Sky’ is the debut album by the supergroup SKY released in 1979 and promoted by this tour which visited Southampton. This was the second of seven visits to the Gaumont and they were proving hugely popular with the older generation. The line up of the group was – Herbie Flowers on bass, Tristan Fry playing drums and percussion, Francis Monkman on keyboards, Kevin Peek on guitar and leader guitarist, John Williams.

Sky performing

15th October – PSYCHIC KILLER

On the screen – for FIVE days (not 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 22nd) – PSYCHIC KILLER – is a 1975 American horror film, first released in the UK in 1978 and directed by Ray Danton and written by Greydon Clark, Mikel Angel and Ray Danton. The film stars Paul Burke, Jim Hutton, Julie Adams, Nehemiah Persoff, Neville Brand and Aldo Ray. This was the final theatrical film for both Jim Hutton and Paul Burke.The film was released in December 1975, by AVCO Embassy Pictures. Originally released under the alternate title The Kirlian Force, it was changed to Psychic Killer to emphasiSe the more sensational horror scenes of the film, it tells the story of mental patient Arnold Masters, hospitalised for a murder he didn’t commit, learns astral projection–the art of leaving one’s physical body and transporting the soul some place else, from a fellow inmate. Upon his release, Arnold uses his new powers to bump off the people he holds responsible for his arrest, his mother’s death while he was imprisoned and the price of meat! Lt. Morgan and Lt. Anderson are the cops on his trail, while his caring shrink, Dr. Scott, tries to prevent any more deaths.

See the trailer

The programme was completed with CANNIBAL – originally titled ‘Jungle Holocaust’ about an oil prospector who escapes from capture by a primitive cannibal tribe in the Philippine rain forest and heads out to locate his missing companion and their plane to return home.

17th October – CAMEL

Live in concert – for one day only – CAMEL – an English progressive rock band formed in Guildford, Surrey, in 1971. Led by founder-member guitarist Andrew Latimer, they have produced fourteen original studio albums and fourteen singles, plus numerous live albums and DVDs. Predominantly instrumental, with melody paramount, Camel’s music combines elements from rock, pop, jazz, blues, folk, classical and electronica. Without achieving mass popularity, the band would gain a cult following with albums such as Mirage, The Snow Goose and Moonmadness. This line up recorded the more commercial I Can See Your House from Here (1979), an album which caused problems for the advertisers due to its irreverent cover, displaying a crucified astronaut looking at Earth. The album was Camel’s most varied to date, ranging from the fast-paced “Wait”, through lush orchestration (“Who We Are”, “Survival”) and light-hearted, sequencer driven electronica (“Remote Romance”) to the 10-minute instrumental conclusion “Ice”, showcasing Latimer’s emotional lead guitar playing. This tour was to support thr release of the album. Surviving punk rock, they moved into a jazzier, more commercial direction.

See Camel In Concert

18th October – THE STRANGLERS

Live in concert – one night only – THE STRANGLERS – an English rock band who emerged via the punk rock scene. Formed as the Guildford Stranglers on 11 September 1974 in Guildford, Surrey,[note 1] they originally built a following within the mid-1970s pub rock scene. While their aggressive, no-compromise attitude had them identified by the media with the emerging UK punk rock scene that followed, their idiosyncratic approach rarely followed any single musical genre, and the group went on to explore a variety of musical styles, from new wave, art rock and gothic rock. In 1979, one of the Stranglers’ two managers advised them to break up as he felt that the band had lost direction, but this idea was dismissed and they parted company with their then current management team.[note 12] Meanwhile, Burnel released an experimental solo album Euroman Cometh backed by a small UK tour and Cornwell recorded the album Nosferatu in collaboration with Robert Williams. Later that year the Stranglers released The Raven, which heralded a transition towards a more melodic and complex sound which appealed more to the album than the singles market. The songs on The Raven are multi-layered and musically complicated, and deal with such subjects as a Viking’s lonely voyage, heroin addiction, genetic engineering, contemporary political events in Iran and Australia and extraterrestrial visitors, “The Meninblack”. The Raven saw a definite transition in the band’s sound. The Hohner Cembalet – so prominent on the previous three albums – was dropped and Oberheim synthesizers were deployed on most tracks. A Korg Vocoder was used on the track “The Meninblack” whilst acoustic piano was used on “Don’t Bring Harry”. The Raven was not released in the US; instead a compilation album The Stranglers IV was released in 1980, containing a selection of tracks from The Raven and a mix of earlier and later non-album tracks. The Raven sold well, reaching No.4 in the UK Albums Chart, although it is believed[by whom?] it could have made No.1 but for an error in the chart. The Police hit No.1 despite their album not yet being released, leading to controversy that the Police album was mis-credited with sales of The Raven. The Raven spawned one top 20 single, “Duchess”, with “Nuclear Device” reaching No.36 and the EP “Don’t Bring Harry” reaching No.41. This visit to the Gaumont was part of their fist major UK tour and was tied in to the release of The Raven.

The Stranglers perform ‘Longships’ from their 1979 album ‘The Raven’

19th October – BILLIE JO SPEARS

On stage – for one night only – BILLIE JO SPEARS – was a 42 year old American country music singer. She reached the top 10 of the country music chart five times between 1969 and 1977. In 1975, Spears signed again with United Artists Records, now the home to some of country music’s pop-based acts such as Kenny Rogers. She returned to the charts in 1975 with “Blanket on the Ground”. The song had been previously turned down by Nashville producers who feared controversy due to the phrase “slip around”, though the tune was not about adultery. The expected controversy never materialised, and it became her only number-one song.

In the United Kingdom, the song climbed into the top 10 of the UK Singles Chart in August 1975, reaching number six. Her 1976 country top-five record “What I’ve Got in Mind” proved to be a second major British pop hit for her, peaking at number four, though it did not cross over to the American pop charts. Spears had a third British pop hit, albeit a lesser one, peaking at number 34 with “Sing Me an Old Fashioned Song”, a track that was just an album cut in the US.

At the time of this concedrt at the Gaumont she was at the top of her game continuing a succession of records on the American top-20 country chart with such hits as “Misty Blue” (a remake of the 1960s Wilma Burgess classic), “’57 Chevrolet”, “Love Ain’t Gonna Wait For Us”, and “If You Want Me”.

A number form the Wembley leg of this tour

20th October – WRESTLING SPECTACULAR

Live – one night only – WRESTLING SPECTACULAR – The fourth and final Wrestling Spectacular to be held at the Gaumont in 1979.

22nd October – GERRY MULLIGAN BIG BAND

Live on stage – one night only – GERRY MULLIGAN BIG BAND – GERALD MULLIGAN was an American, 52 year old jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, composer and arranger. Though Mulligan is primarily known as one of the leading jazz baritone saxophonists – playing the instrument with a light and airy tone in the era of cool jazz – he was also a significant arranger, working with Claude Thornhill, Miles Davis, Stan Kenton, and others. Mulligan’s pianoless quartet of the early 1950s with trumpeter Chet Baker is still regarded as one of the best cool jazz groups. Mulligan was also a skilled pianist and played several other reed instruments. Several of his compositions, such as “Walkin’ Shoes” and “Five Brothers”, have become jazz standards.

Mulligan formed his first “Concert Jazz Band” in the spring of 1960. Partly an attempt to revisit big band music in a smaller setting, the band varied in size and personnel, with the core group being six brass, five reeds (including Mulligan) and a pianoless two-piece rhythm section (though as in the earlier quartets Mulligan or Brookmeyer sometimes doubled on piano). The membership included (at various times, among others): trumpeters Conte Candoli, Nick Travis, Clark Terry, Don Ferrara, Al Derisi, Thad Jones and Doc Severinsen, saxophonists Zoot Sims Jim Reider, Gene Allen, Bobby Donovan, Phil Woods and Gene Quill, trombonists Willie Dennis, Alan Raph and Bob Brookmeyer, drummers Mel Lewis and Gus Johnson, and bassists Buddy Clark and Bill Crow. The band also recorded an album of songs sung by Mulligan’s girlfriend Judy Holliday in 1961. The band toured and recorded extensively through the end of 1964, ultimately producing five albums for Verve Records.

Mulligan resumed work with small groups in 1962 and appeared with other groups sporadically (notably in festival situations). Mulligan continued to work intermittently in small group settings until the end of his life, although performing dates started to become more infrequent during the mid 1960s. After Dave Brubeck’s quartet broke up in 1967, Mulligan began appearing regularly with Brubeck as the “Gerry Mulligan / Dave Brubeck Quartet” through 1973. Thereafter, Mulligan and Brubeck would work together sporadically until the final year of Mulligan’s life. In 1971, Mulligan created his most significant work for big band in over a decade, for the album The Age of Steam. At various times in the 1970s he performed with Charles Mingus. The Concert Jazz Band was “reformed” with younger players, including a full-time pianist in Mitchel Forman, in 1978, and visited the Gaumont as part of its initial tour.

Gerry Mulligan Big Band performing

25th October – BALLET RAMBERT

On the stage – for THREE days – BALLET RAMBERT – THE TEMPEST – an evening-length work in two acts. Based on the play by William Shakespeare. The world premiere took place at the Schwetzinger Festival, Schwetzingen, Germany, which had given Glen Tetley the commission. Tetley choose to make his new work with Ballet Rambert. With live music from soprano and baritone soloists and orchestra: 2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), oboe, cor anglais, clarinet in Bb, bass clarinet in Bb, bassoon, contrabassoon, horn in F, trumpet in C, trombone, timpani, percussion (3 players), harp and celest.

A 1978 featurette made with Rambert – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehtM_DurY5Y

28th October – CLOSED

30th October – THE WIZARD OF OZ

On the stage – for five days -THE WIZARD OF OZ – In 1979 Southampton Musical Society took a brave step and sought the rights to produce a stage version of the screen musical, THE WIZARD OF OZ. This was before the landmark productions from the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1987 and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Palladium show of 2011. The Wizard of Oz was first turned into a musical extravaganza by L. Frank Baum himself, who wrote the original book. A loose adaptation of his 1900 novel (there is no Wicked Witch or Toto, and there are some new characters), it first played in Chicago in 1902 and was a success on Broadway the following year. It then toured for nine years. The 1939 film adaptation bore a closer resemblance to the storyline of Baum’s original novel than most previous versions. It was a strong success, winning the Academy Awards for Best Original Song and Original Score, and continues to be broadcast perennially.

The previous musical theatre adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, used the songs from the film. In 1945, the St. Louis Municipal Opera (MUNY) created a version with a script adapted by Frank Gabrielson from the novel, but it is influenced in some respects by the motion picture screenplay. It uses most of the songs from the film. This was the version that the SMS used for their production. It was a hit with Southampton audiences, so much so that it would return as the Christmas show the following year.

4th November – CONFESSIONS FROM THE DAVID GALAXY AFFAIR

On the screen – for TEN days (Not 5th, 9th, 15th, 16th ) November 17, 2019 – CONFESSIONS FROM THE DAVID GALAXY AFFAIR is a 1979 British sexploitation comedy film directed by Willy Roe and starring Alan Lake, Glynn Edwards, Mary Millington, Bernie Winters, Diana Dors and Antony Booth. A playboy astrologer has to prove an alibi to police for a robbery five years before. Dors performed the film’s theme song over the opening titles. The film was financed by businessman David Sullivan to promote the career of Millington, who was his girlfriend at the time. It was not part of the Confessions series of films from Columbia Pictures, but it was hoped that it would benefit commercially from the similarity of title. This was made at a time when attendance at cinemas was plummeting and there was a duopoly of Rank and ABC. They were both desperate for British films to fulfil their quota requirements that they would show feeble sex comedies like this. There is the pleasure of spotting British character actors, such as Ballard Berkeley, taking the money and running.

A look at Mary Millington who died shortly after completing this film

In support was CONFESSIONS OF THE SEX SLAVE, a 1977 continental film. The plot has pretty, middle-class Caucasian girls (college students, runaways etc. being kidnapped right off the streets of Zurich and Montreal, and after being beaten, raped, and hooked on heroin, they are sent to Amsterdam to work as zombified strippers and prostitutes in a nightclub called the Moulin Rouge. A female reporter is investigating the disappearance of one girl and ends up on the trail of the slavers.

5th November – WHITESNAKE

Live – one night only – WHITESNAKE – a hard rock band formed in England in 1978 by David Coverdale, after his departure from his previous band Deep Purple. Their early material has been compared by critics to the blues rock of Deep Purple, but they slowly began moving toward a more commercially accessible rock style. The core line-up had been working as his backing band The White Snake Band on the White Snake (1977) album tour and they retained the title before officially being known as Whitesnake. They toured with Coverdale as his support band and for both of the solo albums he released, White Snake (1977) and Northwinds (1978), between exiting Deep Purple and founding Whitesnake. At this time, the band was made up of David Coverdale, Bernie Marsden, Micky Moody, Neil Murray and drummer David “Duck” Dowle with keyboardist Brian Johnston. Johnston would soon be replaced by Procol Harum organ player and keyboardist Pete Solley. Because of Solley’s producing commitments he was replaced by the former Deep Purple keyboard player Jon Lord, during sessions for the first LP. Whitesnake recorded the EP Snakebite, which was released in 1978 and included a cover of a Bobby “Blue” Bland song “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City”, their first hit song proving the new wave of British heavy metal could have a chart hit. The EP had some success in the UK and subsequent reissues of this EP included four bonus tracks from Coverdale’s second solo album Northwinds (1978) produced by Roger Glover.

A blues rock debut album Trouble was released in the autumn of 1978 and peaked at No. 50 in the UK album charts. Whitesnake toured Europe to promote the album and their first live album Live at Hammersmith was recorded on this tour and released in Japan in 1979. Whitesnake released Lovehunter in 1979, which courted controversy due to its risqué album cover by artist Chris Achilleos, which contained an illustration of a naked woman straddling a coiled snake. The album made the UK Top 30 and contained the minor hit “Long Way from Home”, which reached No. 55 in the single charts. Shortly after that, drummer Ian Paice replaced David Dowle. giving Whitesnake three ex-Deep Purple members.

This was the closing night of the UK tour and would be Whitesnake’s first of five concerts at the Gaumont.

An early 1979 performance by the band

9th November – BLUE OYSTER CULT

Live – for TWO days – BLUE OYSTER CULT – is an American rock band formed on Long Island, New York in 1967, perhaps best known for the singles “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”, “Burnin’ for You”, “Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll”, and “Godzilla.” Blue Öyster Cult haD sold more than 24 million records worldwide, including 7 million in the United States alone. Blue Öyster Cult’s longest-lasting and most commercially successful lineup included Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser (lead guitar, vocals), Eric Bloom (lead vocals, “stun guitar”, keyboards, synthesizers), Allen Lanier (keyboards, rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Joe Bouchard (bass, vocals), Albert Bouchard (drums, percussion, vocals). The band’s current lineup includes Roeser and Bloom, as well as Danny Miranda (bass, backing vocals), Jules Radino (drums, percussion) and Richie Castellano (keyboard, rhythm guitar, backing vocals).

The 1978 live album, Some Enchanted Evening was intended as another double-live album in the vein of On Your Feet or on Your Knees, Columbia insisted that it be edited down to single-album length. It was a resounding commercial success, becoming Blue Öyster Cult’s most popular album and eventually selling over 2 million copies. It also revealed that while the band’s studio work was becoming increasingly well-produced, they were still very much a hard rock band on stage. It was followed by the studio album Mirrors (1979). For Mirrors, instead of working with previous producers Sandy Pearlman (who instead went on to manage Black Sabbath) and Murray Krugman, Blue Öyster Cult chose Tom Werman, who had worked with acts such as Cheap Trick and Ted Nugent. It featured the band’s glossiest production to date. It also gave Roeser, the lead vocalist on the band’s biggest hits, bigger prominence as a vocalist, singing lead on four of the nine songs. This tour, Mirrors, was to promote that album and despite the success of these two concerts the resulting album sales were disappointing.

Listen to a track from Mirrors

Supporting band for the two nights was MAGNUM an English hard rock band. They were formed in Birmingham by Tony Clarkin (guitar, songwriter) and Bob Catley (vocals) in order to appear as the resident band at the Rum Runner nightclub in the city. A one off deal with CBS was arranged via producer Roger Greenaway, and the band released a cover of The Searchers’ “Sweets for My Sweet” in February 1975; however, this failed to make the charts. The original recording included a medley of “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” but was edited out for the single release. Lead vocals on this song were by Morgan, who left the band soon after, and was replaced by Colin “Wally” Lowe. Success was still minimal; they were working as a backing band for artists, such as Del Shannon, on small tours.[6] The band was expanded to a five-piece with the addition of Richard Bailey on keyboards. In May 1977 the band supported Judas Priest on their Sin After Sin UK tour, still without the backing of a record label. Magnum’s debut album Kingdom of Madness was released on Jet Records at the end of 1978 and reached #58 in the UK Chart; it received a five star review from Geoff Barton of Sounds magazine. They toured the UK in October/November 1978, as support to David Coverdale’s Whitesnake. Leo Lyons, formerly bassist with Ten Years After, produced the follow-up album Magnum II – which was released in 1979, but failed to chart and this support appearance followed.

15th November – BOXCAR WILLIE

Live – for one night only – BOXCAR WILLIE – Lecil Travis Martin, whose stage name was Boxcar Willie, was a 48 year old American country music singer-songwriter and Air Force personnel sergeant, who sang in the “old-time hobo” music style, complete with dirty face, overalls, and a floppy hat. He joined the United States Air Force in 1949, and served as a flight engineer for the B-29 Super Fortress during the Korean War in the early 1950s. In Lincoln, Nebraska, Martin was once sitting at a railroad crossing and a fellow that closely resembled his chief boom operator, Willie Wilson, passed by sitting in a boxcar. He said, “There goes Willie.” He pulled over and wrote a song entitled “Boxcar Willie”. It eventually stuck and became Martin’s nickname. He attended a talent show as “Boxcar Willie” and performed under the nickname for the first time. He won first place, a $150 prize and a nickname that he forever went by. That was his part-time vocation, however he was still in the Air Force and had been flying daily missions. In the early seventies, he was a Flight Engineer on KC-97L tanker aircraft, flying over the Atlantic to Germany to do air-to-air refuelling. In 1976, Martin retired from the Air Force and became a full-time performer. One of his first national appearances was a win on Chuck Barris’ The Gong Show. He entered American mainstream pop culture consciousness due to a series of television commercials for record compilations of artists who were obscure in the United States, yet had large international followings, such as Slim Whitman and Gheorghe Zamfir.

A typical performance in the UK

Saturday 14 April 1979 was a defining moment in his career. Handed a bare 15-minute slot at the 11th International Festival of Country Music at Wembley that Easter, the 47-year-old Texan brought the house down, propelling himself instantly toward a kind of superstardom. British country fans were at the time amongst the most conservative anywhere, favouring a traditionalism rooted in the Forties and Fifties which seemed perfectly in tune with his style.

He was now a star in country music. This was his only appearance in Southampton.

16th November – STEVE HILLAGE

Live in concert – one night only – STEVE HILLAGE – 28 year old Steve Hillage had been raised in Chingford, then in Essex. Whilst still at school, he joined his first band, a blues rock band called Uriel, with Dave Stewart, Mont Campbell and Clive Brooks. The band split up in 1968 with the other members going on to form Egg, but they briefly re-united under assumed names to record the album Arzachel in 1969. Hillage also guested on Egg’s 1974 album The Civil Surface. In 1969, Hillage began studies at the University of Kent in Canterbury, befriending local bands Caravan and Spirogyra and occasionally jamming with them. Meanwhile, he wrote songs and, by late 1970, had accumulated enough material for an album. Caravan put him in touch with their manager Terry King, who got Hillage signed with Deram on the basis of a demo of his material recorded with the help of Dave Stewart of Egg. In early 1971, Hillage formed Khan with bassist/vocalist Nick Greenwood, formerly of Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Although future Gong and Hatfield and the North drummer Pip Pyle was involved in the early stages, the line-up finally settled with the inclusion of organist Dick Heninghem and drummer Eric Peachey, both of whom had recently collaborated on Greenwood’s solo project Cold Cuts, recorded in California in 1970 but belatedly released in 1972.

Following a series of concerts throughout 1971, several of them supporting label mates Caravan, Khan began recording their debut album in November, by which time Heninghem had left, forcing Hillage to bring in his former bandmate Dave Stewart to play the keyboard parts. By the time Space Shanty came out in May 1972, Canadian Val Stevens (formerly of Toronto’s popular soul-rock band Grant Smith & The Power) had filled the vacancy, making his debut on a short European tour (including a televised appearance at the Montreux Festival) and continuing with a UK tour supporting Caravan in June. By then, musical disagreements between Hillage and Greenwood culminated with the latter’s departure. Hillage decided to form a new line-up with a slightly different direction, retaining the services of Peachey and asking Stewart back, and adding Nigel Griggs (later of Split Enz) on bass. New compositions by Hillage and Stewart were added to the repertoire, including “I Love Its Holy Mystery”, which would form the basis of Hillage’s later Solar Musick Suite. Hillage broke up the band in October 1972 and promptly joined Kevin Ayers’ new live band Decadence, participating in Ayers’ 1973 album Bananamour (Harvest, May 1973) and touring the UK and France for two months. Having in the meantime become a fan of Gong after meeting Daevid Allen, hearing Camembert Electrique and Allen’s solo album Banana Moon, as well as meeting his longtime partner Miquette Giraudy through Allen, Hillage stayed in France after the Ayers tour to join the band. In January 1973, he took part in the sessions for Flying Teapot, the first installment of the “Radio Gnome” trilogy, and soon after graduated to full-time membership with the departure of bassist/lead guitarist Christian Tritsch. The ‘classic’ line-up of Gong was now in place, with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Didier Malherbe, Tim Blake, Mike Howlett and Pierre Moerlen, and recorded two further albums, Angels Egg and You (the latter also featuring Giraudy).

In June 1973, Hillage (along with Pierre Moerlen) participated in the debut live performance of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells at Queen Elizabeth Hall. Both Hillage & Moerlen also took part in a live-in-studio performance filmed for the BBC’s Second House series, filmed in November 1973. The BBC performance is available on Oldfield’s Elements DVD. After Allen abruptly left in April 1975, Hillage stayed on as the band’s sole guitarist, but soon found this position increasingly uncomfortable, and by the year’s end had jumped ship himself to launch his solo career full-time, having performed as a guest (with Giraudy) on Gong’s first album without Allen, Shamal on only two of the album’s six tracks. His motivation to do so was fuelled by the success of his solo album Fish Rising, recorded in late 1974 while still in Gong and featuring most of his band mates, as well as former band mate in Khan, Dave Stewart. His next effort L album was recorded in the United States using musicians from Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, and on its release Hillage formed a touring band which toured in late 1976. During the latter half of the 1970s, Hillage made a name for himself as a guitarist and prog-rock/fusion composer and performer. 1977’s Motivation Radio, with its shorter tracks, marked a departure from the long instrumental workouts of previous efforts, but 1978’s Green, co-produced by Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, was a return to his earlier work. These 1970s works (tacitly in collaboration with his longtime girlfriend Miquette Giraudy) blended complex studio production techniques with dreamscape anthems.[2] Hillage spent time in the Ladbroke Grove area of London, home of the UK Underground and worked with Nik Turner ex roadie for, then later saxophonist of early Hawkwind. In 1978, Hillage played onstage with punk band Sham 69 during their performance at the Reading Festival, and in 1979, he played guitar on “Nuclear Waste” by The Radio Actors with lead vocals by Sting. Also in 1979, Hillage released Open on Virgin Records, featuring Dave Stewart, Jean-Philippe Rykiel, Paul Francis and Andy Anderson and it was on the back of this album that Steve Hillage made his first and only headlining visit to the Gaumont.

Steve Hillage performance

18th November – SHOWADDYWADDY

Live – one night only – SHOWADDYWADDY – are a pop/rock group from Leicester, England. They specialised in revivals of hit songs from the 1950s and early 1960s as well as original material and dress as Teddy Boys. Showaddywaddy spent a total of 209 weeks on the UK Singles Chart, and had 10 Top Ten singles, with one reaching number one. They appeared on the ATV series New Faces, and won one programme in the series in November 1973, and were runners-up in the “All Winners Final”, which was broadcast on 28 December 1973. Their first single, “Hey Rock and Roll” (written by the band), was released in April 1974. It reached number two in the UK Singles Chart. They had most of their biggest hits with covers of songs from the 1950s and the early 1960s. These cover versions included “Three Steps to Heaven” (originally by Eddie Cochran in 1960), “Heartbeat” (originally written and recorded by Buddy Holly), “Under the Moon of Love” (originally a US hit for Curtis Lee in 1961 and co-written by Tommy Boyce), “When” (originally by the Kalin Twins), “You Got What It Takes” (originally by Marv Johnson) and “Dancin’ Party” (originally by Chubby Checker). These six singles were all produced by Mike Hurst (a former member of the Springfields). This was the third of six appearances at the Gaumont.

Showaddywaddy performing on Top Of The Pops just 3 days before this concert

19th November – GAME OF DEATH

On the screen – for EIGHT days (Not 22, 23, 24,26,28) – GAME OF DEATH – is an incomplete 1973 Hong Kong martial arts film directed, written, produced by and starring Bruce Lee, in his final film attempt. Lee died during the making of the film. Over 100 minutes of footage was shot prior to his death, some of which was later misplaced in the Golden Harvest archives. The remaining footage has been released with Lee’s original Cantonese and English dialogue, with John Little dubbing Lee’s Hai Tien character as part of the documentary entitled Bruce Lee: A Warrior’s Journey. Most of the footage that was shot is from what was to be the climax of the film. During filming, Lee received an offer to star in Enter the Dragon, the first kung fu film to be produced by a Hollywood studio (Warner Bros.), and with a budget unprecedented for the genre ($850,000). Lee died of cerebral edema before the film’s release. At the time of his death, he had already made plans to resume the filming of Game of Death. After Lee’s death, Enter the Dragon director Robert Clouse was enlisted to finish the film using two stand-ins; it was released in 1978, five years after Lee’s death, by Golden Harvest.

The trailer for the film

Making up what fans of the genre would call the perfect programme was ENTER THE DRAGON, the 1973 martial arts action film produced by and starring Bruce Lee. The film, which co-stars John Saxon and Jim Kelly, was directed by Robert Clouse. It would be Bruce Lee’s final completed film appearance before his death on 20 July 1973 at age 32. A joint American and Hong Kong production, it premiered in Los Angeles on 19 August 1973, one month after Lee’s death and went on to gross US$90 million worldwide, a record for this type of movie. Enter the Dragon is considered to be one of the greatest martial arts films of all time. In 2004, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

22nd November – GALLAGHER & LYLE

Live – one night only – GALLAGHER & LYLE – were a Scottish musical duo, comprising singer-songwriters Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle. Their style consisted mainly in pop, soft and folk rock oriented songs. Their first recognition came in 1968, when they were signed by The Beatles to write for Apple Records’ artists. They were founding members of the band McGuinness Flint and wrote the 1970 UK chart hit “When I’m Dead and Gone”. In 1972 they formed the duo Gallagher and Lyle, whose fifth album Breakaway charted well and included the hit songs “Heart on My Sleeve” and “I Wanna Stay with You”. Don Williams took their song “Stay Young” to No. 1 on the US Country charts. This the “Lonesome No More” tour was their second and final performance at the Gaumont.

Gallagher & Lyle performing one of their hits

23rd November – THE JAM

Live – TWO nights – THE JAM – were an English mod revival/punk rock band, which formed in 1972 at Sheerwater Secondary School in Woking. While it shared the “angry young man” outlook and fast tempo of the contemporary mid-1970s’ British punk rock movement, in contrast with it the band wore smartly tailored suits reminiscent of English pop-bands in the early 1960s, and incorporated mainstream 1960s rock and R&B influences into its sound, particularly from The Who’s work of that period, and also drew influence from the work of the Kinks and the music of American Motown. This placed the act at the forefront of the nascent Mod Revival movement. The band released their debut single ‘In The City’ in 1977.

The trio were known for their melodic pop songs, their distinctly English flavour and their mod image. The band launched the career of Paul Weller, who went on to form The Style Council and wrote and sang most of the Jam’s original compositions. He played lead guitar, using a Rickenbacker 330. Bruce Foxton provided backing vocals and prominent basslines, which were the foundation of many of the band’s songs, including the hits “Down in the Tube Station at Midnight”, “The Eton Rifles”, “Going Underground” and “Town Called Malice” mainly using a Rickenbacker 4001 or a Fender Precision Bass, as well as, on rare occasions, an Epiphone Rivoli.

This tour was in support of their latest album “Setting Sons” which had been released on 16th November.

Here’s a 1979 performance

26th November – HAWKWIND

Live – one night only – HAWKWIND – an English rock band known as the premiere (and one of the earliest) space rock groups. Since their formation in November 1969, Hawkwind have gone through many incarnations and have incorporated many different styles into their music, including hard rock, progressive rock and psychedelic rock. They are also regarded as an influential proto-punk band. Their lyrics favour urban and science fiction themes. Dave Brock and Mick Slattery had been in the London-based psychedelic band Famous Cure, and a meeting with bassist John Harrison revealed a mutual interest in electronic music which led the trio to embark upon a new musical venture together. Seventeen-year-old drummer Terry Ollis replied to an advert in a music weekly, while Nik Turner and Michael “Dik Mik” Davies, old acquaintances of Brock, offered help with transport and gear, but were soon pulled into the band. Gatecrashing a local talent night at the All Saints Hall, Notting Hill, they were so disorganised as to not even have a name, opting for “Group X” at the last minute, nor any songs, choosing to play an extended 20-minute jam on the Byrds’ “Eight Miles High.”[8] BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel was in the audience and was impressed enough to tell event organiser, Douglas Smith, to keep an eye on them. Smith signed them up and got them a deal with Liberty Records on the back of a deal he was setting up for Cochise. The band settled on the name “Hawkwind” after briefly being billed as “Group X” and “Hawkwind Zoo”.

Pretty Things guitarist Dick Taylor was brought in to produce the 1970 debut album Hawkwind. Their use of drugs, however, led to the departure of Harrison, who did not partake, to be replaced briefly by Thomas Crimble. He played on a few BBC sessions before leaving to help organise the Glastonbury Free Festival 1971; he sat in during the band’s performance there. Lloyd-Langton also quit, after a bad LSD trip at the Isle of Wight Festival led to a nervous breakdown. Their follow-up album, 1971’s In Search of Space, brought greater commercial success, reaching number 18 on the UK album charts. Dik Mik had left the band, replaced by sound engineer Del Dettmar, but chose to return for this album giving the band two electronics players. Bass player Dave Anderson, who had been in the German band Amon Düül II, had also joined and played on the album but departed before its release because of personal tensions with some other members of the band. Anderson and Lloyd-Langton then formed the short-lived band Amon Din. Meanwhile, Ollis quit, unhappy with the commercial direction the band were heading in. The addition of bassist Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister and drummer Simon King propelled the band to greater heights. One of the early gigs the band played was a benefit for the Greasy Truckers at The Roundhouse on 13 February 1972. A live album of the concert, Greasy Truckers Party, was released, and a single, “Silver Machine”, was released, reaching number three in the UK charts. This generated sufficient funds for the subsequent album Doremi Fasol Latido Space Ritual tour. Dik Mik departed during 1973 and Calvert ended his association with the band to concentrate on solo projects. Dettmar also indicated that he was to leave the band, so Simon House was recruited as keyboardist and violinist playing live shows, a North America tour and recording the 1974 album Hall of the Mountain Grill. Dettmar left after a European tour and emigrated to Canada, whilst Alan Powell deputised for an incapacitated King on that European tour, but remained giving the band two drummers. At the beginning of 1975, the band recorded the album Warrior on the Edge of Time in collaboration with Michael Moorcock. However, during a North American tour in May, Lemmy was caught in possession of amphetamine crossing the border from the US into Canada. The border police mistook the powder for cocaine and he was jailed, forcing the band to cancel some shows. Fed up with his erratic behaviour, the band dismissed the bass player replacing him with their long-standing friend and former Pink Fairies guitarist Paul Rudolph. Lemmy then teamed up with another Pink Fairies guitarist, Larry Wallis, to form Motörhead, named after the last song he had written for Hawkwind.

Calvert made a guest appearance with the band for their headline set at the Reading Festival in August 1975, after which he chose to rejoin the band as a full-time lead vocalist. Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music is the first album of this era and highlights both Calvert’s well-crafted lyrics written with stage performance in mind and a greater proficiency and scope in the music. But on the eve of recording the follow-up “Back on the Streets” single, Turner was dismissed for his erratic live playing and Powell was deemed surplus to requirements. After a tour to promote the single and during the recording of the next album, Rudolph was also dismissed, for allegedly trying to steer the band into a musical direction at odds with Calvert and Brock’s vision. Adrian “Ade” Shaw, who, as bass player for Magic Muscle, had supported Hawkwind on the Space Ritual tour, came in for the 1977 album Quark, Strangeness and Charm. The band continued to enjoy moderate commercial success, but Calvert’s mental illness often caused problems. A manic phase saw the band abandon a European tour in France, while a depression phase during a 1978 North American tour convinced Brock to disband the group. In between these two tours, the band had recorded the album PXR5 in January 1978, but its release was delayed until 1979. On 23 December 1977 in Barnstaple, Brock and Calvert had performed a one-off gig with Devon band Ark as the Sonic Assassins, and looking for a new project in 1978, bassist Harvey Bainbridge and drummer Martin Griffin were recruited from this event. Steve Swindells was recruited as keyboard player. The band was named Hawklords, (probably for legal reasons, the band having recently split from their management), and recording took place on a farm in Devon using a mobile studio, resulting in the album 25 Years On. King had originally been the drummer for the project but quit during recording sessions to return to London, while House, who had temporarily left the band to join a David Bowie tour, elected to remain with Bowie full-time, but nevertheless contributed violin to these sessions. At the end of the band’s UK tour, Calvert, wanting King back in the band, dismissed Griffin, then promptly resigned himself, choosing to pursue a career in literature. Swindells left to record a solo album after an offer had been made to him by the record company ATCO.

And now in late 1979, Hawkwind reformed with Brock, Bainbridge and King being joined by Huw Lloyd-Langton (who had played on the debut album) and Tim Blake (formerly of Gong), embarked upon this UK tour despite not having a record deal or any product to promote. Some shows were recorded and a deal was made with Bronze Records, resulting in the Live Seventy Nine album, quickly followed by the studio album Levitation. However, during the recording of Levitation King quit and Ginger Baker was drafted in for the sessions, but he chose to stay with the band for the tour, during which Blake left to be replaced by Keith Hale.

A live recording of Spirit Of The Edge from this tour

This was Hawkwind’s third of eight concerts at the Gaumont.

28th November – MOTORHEAD

Live -for one night only – MOTORHEAD – an English rock band formed in June 1975 by bassist, singer, and songwriter Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, who was the sole constant member, guitarist Larry Wallis and drummer Lucas Fox. Lemmy was dismissed from Hawkwind in May 1975 after being arrested in Canada for drug possession; he said the band dismissed him for “doing the wrong drugs”. Now on his own, Lemmy decided to form a new band called Motörhead, the name was inspired by the final song he had written for Hawkwind. The band are often considered a precursor to the new wave of British heavy metal, which re-energised heavy metal in the late 1970s. Though several guitarists and drummers have played in Motörhead, most of their best-selling albums and singles feature the work of Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor on drums and “Fast” Eddie Clarke on guitars.

In July 1978, secured a one-off singles deal with Bronze Records. The resulting “Louie Louie” single was issued in September peaking at number 68 on the UK Singles Chart and the band toured the UK to promote it, recorded a BBC Radio 1 John Peel in session and appeared for the first time on BBC Television’s Top of the Pops on 25 October. A hint of what the band had recorded for the album came on 9 March 1979 when the band played “Overkill” on Top of the Pops to support the release of the single ahead of the Overkill album, which was released on 24 March. It became Motörhead’s first album to break into the top 40 of the UK Albums chart, reaching number 24, with the single reaching number 39 on the UK Singles Chart. These releases were followed by the “Overkill” UK tour which began on 23 March. A subsequent single was released in June, coupling the album track “No Class” as the A-side with the previously unreleased song “Like a Nightmare” on the B-side. It fared worse than both the album and previous single but reached number 61 on the UK singles chart. During July and August, except for a break to appear at the Reading Festival, the band were working on their next album, Bomber. Released on 27 October, it reached number 12 on the UK Albums Chart. The “Bomber” Europe and UK tour followed, with support from SAXON. The stage show featured a spectacular aircraft bomber-shaped lighting rig. This date at the Gaumont marked Motorhead’s first visit to the Southampton Gaumont.

A number performed on the tour

1st December – WINGS

Live – for one day – WINGS – GAUMONT –

Paul McCartney brought his band WINGS to the Gaumont for their second visit. A British-American rock band formed in 1971 by former Beatle Paul McCartney, his wife Linda on keyboards, session drummer Denny Seiwell, and former Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine. Wings were noted for frequent personnel changes as well as commercial success, going through three lead guitarists and four drummers. However, the core trio of the McCartneys and Laine remained intact throughout the group’s existence.

Created following the McCartneys’ 1971 album Ram, the band’s first two albums, Wild Life (1971) and Red Rose Speedway (1973) (the latter featuring guitarist Henry McCullough), were viewed as artistic disappointments beside Paul’s work with the Beatles. After the release of the title track of the James Bond movie Live and Let Die, McCullough and Seiwell resigned from the band. The McCartneys and Laine then released 1973’s Band on the Run, a commercial and critical success that spawned two top ten singles in “Jet” and the title track. Following that album, the band recruited guitarist Jimmy McCulloch and drummer Geoff Britton, only for Britton to quit shortly afterwards and be replaced by Joe English. With the new line-up, Wings released 1975’s Venus and Mars, which included the US number one single “Listen to What the Man Said”, and undertook a highly successful world tour over 1975–76 which visited the Gaumont. Intended as more of a group effort, Wings at the Speed of Sound (1976) was issued midway through the tour and featured the hit singles “Silly Love Songs” and “Let ‘Em In”.

In 1977, the band earned their only UK number one single, with “Mull of Kintyre”, which became the then-best-selling UK single in history. Wings experienced another line-up shuffle, however, with both McCulloch and English departing before the release of the group’s 1978 album London Town. The McCartneys and Laine again added new members, recruiting guitarist Laurence Juber and drummer Steve Holley. The resulting album, Back to the Egg, was a relative flop, with its singles under-performing and the critical reception negative. During the supporting tour, Paul was arrested in Japan for cannabis possession, putting the band on hold. Despite a final US number one with a live-recorded version of “Coming Up” (1979).

On this UK tour, Wings, once again adding the horns and brass section consisting of Tony Dorsey, Howie Casey, Thaddeus Richard, and Steve Howard. This tour climaxed with a massive “Rockestra” all-star collection of musicians in London in aid of UNICEF and Kampuchean refugees. Also during this tour, a live version of the McCartney II track “Coming Up” was recorded and became Wings’ sixth US number one hit the following year.

Wings performing ‘Coming Up’

2nd December – CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF A HANDYMAN

On the screen – for six days – CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF A HANDYMAN – was made in 1970 but was refused a certificate by the censor. It was resubmitted in 1978 and after cuts was garnted an X certificate. The film starred (?) Jan Boven, Rainer Peets and Tina Traven.

The other half of the programme was made up with KING DICK a 1973 German animated film that was refulsed a certificate by the BBFC until 1978 and then only with cuts. Little Dick, the well-endowed dwarf servant of Master Limpcock is being pursued Nymphomania, an ugly witch who must have 69 orgasms to turn herself beautiful again.

8th December – THE WURZELS

live – for one night only – THE WURZELS – This was The Wurzels first appearance at the Gaumont and the tour was to promote the November release of their ‘Greatest Hits Album’. Known as a Scrumpy and Western band, they are from Somerset and best known for their hits “The Combine Harvester” and “I Am A Cider Drinker”.

A 1979 tv appearance

9th December – CLOSED

10th December – SADLER’S WELLS ROYAL BALLET

On the stage – for six days – SADLER’S WELLS ROYAL BALLET – had returned to Sadler’s Wells Theatre in 1970 after a significant spell camped at the Royal Opera House when not touring. However touring would continue to be a major part of its programme up until its relocation to Birmingham in the late eighties. This was the fourth time that the company had visited the Gaumont under the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet banner. Previous visits had also been under the names Sadler’s Wells Ballet (1952), Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet (1955 & 1957).

On this visit the company performed three programmes – on Monday and Tuesday they danced COPPELIA. A performance that would be recorded for posterity as during the tour it was profuced for tv and recorded by the BBC. Wednesday and Thursday saw a mixed programme which included a 1971 creation by Hans Van Mahen to the music by Beethoven, GROSS FUGUE. On Friday and Saturday Frederick Ashton’s ballet set to Andre Messager’s music under the title THE TWO PIGEONS took over the stage.

Inside The Two Pigeons

16th December – THE POLICE

Live – one night only – THE POLICE – a British rock band formed in London in 1977. For most of their history the line-up consisted of Sting (lead vocals, bass guitar, primary songwriter), Andy Summers (guitar) and Stewart Copeland (drums, percussion). The Police became globally popular in the late 1970s. Emerging in the British new-wave scene, they played a style of rock influenced by punk, reggae, and jazz. Their 1978 debut album, Outlandos d’Amour, reached No. 6 in the UK Albums Chart. Their second album Reggatta de Blanc (1979), became the first of four consecutive No. 1 studio albums in the UK and Australia with its lead single, “Message in a Bottle”, their first UK number one.

The Police performing ‘Message In A Bottle’ in 1979

17th December – CONFESSIONS OF AN AU PAIR GIRL

On the screen – for seven days – CONFESSIONS OF AN AU PAIR GIRL – (original title ‘La Ragazza Alla Pari’) is a 1976 Italian sex comedy. Monica is a young and beautiful virgin, played by Italian model and actress Gloria Guida. She’s only 16 years old, and has already attracted the attention of classmates and seniors alike. She has a boyfriend, Leo, but does not know he is in fact a pimp, who offers young and innocent girls to rich businessmen. One such client falls in love with Monica and offers Leo a significant amount of money to get her. Meanwhile Monica turns her attention to her teacher, not knowing that he also has his secrets.

See the original trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=po9Yl0tUqJI

The X-rated double bill was completed with SEXY SCHOOL TEACHER (L’insegnante), a 1975 Italian sex comedy directed by Nando Cicero. The film had a great commercial success in Italy and generated an “Insegnante” film series, that consists of six titles, three of them starred by Edwige Fenech in the main role. L’insegnante represents the first major role for Alvaro Vitali, who in a short time would become a star of the genre. Fenech reprises the name of Giovanna from her previous box-office hit Giovannona Long-Thigh.The film was followed by The Schoolteacher Goes to Boys’ High.

18th December – AC/DC

Live – one night only – AC/DC – were back for their second visit to the Gaumont. The Australian rock band formed in Sydney in 1973 by Scottish-born brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. Their music has been variously described as hard rock, blues rock, and heavy metal; however, the band themselves describe their music as simply “rock and roll”.

The major breakthrough in the band’s career came in their collaboration with producer “Mutt” Lange on the band’s sixth studio album Highway to Hell, released earleir in 1979. It became the first AC/DC LP to break into the US top 20 and it propelled AC/DC into the top ranks of hard rock acts. Highway to Hell had lyrics that shifted away from flippant and comical toward more central rock themes, putting increased emphasis on backing vocals but still featured AC/DC’s signature sound: loud, simple, pounding riffs and grooving backbeats. This tour was in support of that album release.

Performing the title track

23rd December – CLOSED

Theatre closed for preparation and rehearsals of the Chrisy=tmas show

26th December – FRANKIE & JIMMY’S CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR

On the stage – for TWO weeks – FRANKIE & JIMMY’S CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR – Variety seemed to be the traditional fayre for Christmas at the Gaumont and 1979 was no exception. Two of Britain’s most acclaimed Liverpudlian, all round performers, came together to provide a seasonal entertainment; singer, Frankie Vaughan and comedian Jimmy Tarbuck. Frankie Vaughan had hosted a Christmas show at the Gaumont before, back in 1958 and so he was on familiar territory. Vaughan’s career began in the late 1940s performing song and dance routines. He was known as a fancy dresser, wearing top hat, bow tie, tails, and cane. In the 1950s he worked for a few years with the band of Nat Temple, and after that period he then began making records under his own name. In 1955, he recorded what was to become his trademark song, “Give Me the Moonlight, Give Me the Girl”. Jimmy Tarbuck had been host of Sunday Night at the London Palladium in the mid-1960s, and hosted numerous game shows and quiz shows on ITV during the 1970s, however he was best known as a stand up quick witted comedian.

This traditional variety show included ventriliquist act Ray Alan with Lord Charles and jazz singer, cabaret singer, comedian and impressionist, Karen Kay.

A typical Frankie Vaughan performance in 1979
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