1980 January to March

continuing to 5th January – FRANKIE AND JIMMY’S CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR

6th January – YANKS

On the screen – for FOURTEEN days – YANKS – is a 1979 drama film directed by John Schlesinger and starring Richard Gere, Vanessa Redgrave, William Devane, Lisa Eichhorn and Tony Melody, released by United Artista in the UK. The film is set during the Second World War in Northern England and features no combat scenes.

The film depicts the relationships between American soldiers stationed in semi-rural England and the local population during the build-up to Operation Overlord in 1944. In particular, three romances between US service personnel and local women are shown, in order to explore the effects of the cultural differences between the brash GIs or “Yanks” and the more reserved British population.

See the UK trailer

There was a FULL SUPPORTING PROGRAMME of short features.

20th January – QUEEN OF THE BLUES

On the screen – for seven days – QUEEN OF THE BLUES – a British 1979 soft porn movie directed by Willy Roe, from Tigon. It features a seedy striptease club in London’s West End that becomes the target for unpleasant crooks. The club’s owners are blackmailed into paying out large wads of cash, but star attraction Mary Millington saves the day with her energetic stripping.

A short scene from the film

The bill was shared with MASSAGE GIRLS OF B’KOK is a softcore Thai movie that is set in Thailand, the story follows a mother and her two daughters who all work in a massage parlor specialized in erotic massages that also serves as a front for semi-legal prostitution. Some girls don’t mind it, but others don’t want to pleasure their sleazy customers. When a particularly nasty customer dubbed Ned unhappy with just the massage tries to rape one of the daughters at knifepoint, the girl kills him in self-defense and the mother takes the blame. Unfortunately, the dead rapist belonged to a small but dangerous gang that takes brutal revenge. Her grieving cabby husband and traumatized young son then seek vengeance themselves. Meanwhile, the other daughter agrees to model nude for an artist and seduces him. The mother is released with no charge as the murder is considered justifiable. She considers quitting her job and accepting her boyfriends offer to come work as a cashier at his seedy but successful strip club.

27th January – AC/DC

Live – one night only – AC/DC – This was the third appearance by the band AC/DC at the Gaumont. The band had undergone several line-up changes before releasing their first album, High Voltage, in 1975. Membership subsequently stabilised around the Young brothers, singer Bon Scott, drummer Phil Rudd, and bass player Mark Evans. Evans was replaced by Cliff Williams in 1977 for the album Powerage. In 1979 the band released what was their biggest selling album to date, Highway to Hell. This tour was to support the release of that album.

This performance at the Southampton Gaumont was the final appearance of front man, singer Bon Scott who died on February 20, 1980, from acute alcohol poisoning.

Support on the night was from DIAMOND HEAD, an English heavy metal band formed in 1976. The band is recognised as one of the leading members of the new wave of British heavy metal movement and is acknowledged by thrash metal bands such as Metallica and Megadeth as an important early influence.

The title track for the tour and the album

28th January – BLAZING SADDLES

On the screen – for five days – BLAZING SADDLES – is a 1974 American satirical black comedy-western film directed by Mel Brooks. Starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, the film was written by Brooks, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg and Alan Uger, and was based on Bergman’s story and draft. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and audiences, was nominated for three Academy Awards and is ranked No. 6 on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Laughs list. Brooks appears in three supporting roles, Governor William J. Le Petomane, a Yiddish-speaking Native American chief and “a director” in line to help invade Rock Ridge (a nod to Hitchcock); he also dubs lines for one of Lili von Shtupp’s backing troupe. The supporting cast includes Slim Pickens, Alex Karras and David Huddleston, as well as Brooks regulars Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn and Harvey Korman. Bandleader Count Basie has a cameo as himself. The film satirizes the racism obscured by myth-making Hollywood accounts of the American West, with the hero being a black sheriff in an all-white town. The film is full of deliberate anachronisms, from the Count Basie Orchestra playing “April in Paris” in the Wild West, to Slim Pickens referring to the Wide World of Sports, to the German army of World War II. In 2006, Blazing Saddles was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

The original trailer

It was paired with MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL a 1975 British comedy film concerning the Arthurian legend, written and performed by the Monty Python comedy group of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, and directed by Gilliam and Jones. It was conceived during the hiatus between the third and fourth series of their BBC television series Monty Python’s Flying Circus. In contrast to the group’s first film, And Now for Something Completely Different, a compilation of sketches from the first two television series, Holy Grail draws on new material, parodying the legend of King Arthur’s quest for the Holy Grail. Thirty years later, Idle used the film as the basis for the musical Spamalot. Monty Python and the Holy Grail grossed more than any British film exhibited in the US in 1975. In the US, it was selected as the second-best comedy of all time in the ABC special Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time. In the UK, readers of Total Film magazine in 2000 ranked it the fifth-greatest comedy film of all time; a similar poll of Channel 4 viewers in 2006 placed it sixth.

2nd February – UFO

Live – one night only – UFO – an English rock band that was formed in London in 1968. They became a transitional group between early hard rock and heavy metal and the new wave of British heavy metal. The band’s lineup includes vocalist Phil Mogg, lead guitarist Vinnie Moore, rhythm guitarist and keyboardist Neil Carter, bass guitarist Rob De Luca, and drummer Andy Parker. They have gone through several line-up changes, leaving Mogg as the only constant member, and are also notable for featuring former Scorpions guitarist and MSG founder Michael Schenker, who was a member of UFO from 1973 to 1978.

After Schenker’s exit, UFO rehired Paul Chapman on guitar, who brought over unused track ideas from Lone Star’s drummer Dixie Lee. Shortly after, they released their next LP, No Place to Run, in January 1980. Produced by former Beatles producer George Martin, No Place To Run failed to match up to the success of its predecessors, though it fractionally missed the UK Top 10. This tour was launched to promote this new album, at the end of the No Place To Run tour Paul Raymond left the band. This was their second of six visits to the Gaumont.

Listen to the title track from the album

3rd February – THE BIG BOSS

On the screen – for FOUR days (Not Tues 5th and Fri 8th) – THE BIG BOSS – is a 1971 Hong Kong martial arts action film written and directed by Lo Wei, with assistance from Bruce Lee, and was Lee’s first major film. It stars Lee, Maria Yi, James Tien and Tony Liu. Originally written for Tien, the leading role was given to Lee instead when the film’s original director, Ng Kar-seung, was replaced by Lo. The film was a critical success and excelled at the box office. Lee’s strong performance overshadowed Tien, already a star in Hong Kong, and made Bruce Lee famous across Asia.

The trailer

Completing the double bill was ONE ARMED BOXER another 1971 Hong Kong martial arts film starring Jimmy Wang Yu. It is about a skilled Chinese martial artist who loses an arm and must exact revenge on his rival school. For the film, Wang Yu, who has both of his arms in real life, had his right arm strapped to his back, and in some shots his other arm can be briefly seen. It was released to U.S. theatres as The Chinese Professionals.

8th February – CLOSED

9th February – ABBEY LIFE ISPA SQUASH CHAMPIONSHIPS

Live – for four days – ABBEY LIFE IPSA SQUASH CHAMPIONSHIPS – For the first time the theatre was equipped with a squash court on stage in order that the International Professional Squash Association could hold its championship tournament in the City in an environment that would allow a large audience to participate in the 5 day event. The event was sponsored by Bournemouth based Abbey Life.

14th February – CLOSED

16th February – TOMMY

On the screen – for one day – TOMMY – a 1975 British rock musical fantasy drama film based upon The Who’s 1969 rock opera album Tommy about a “psychosomatically Deaf, mute, and blind” boy who becomes a pinball champion and religious leader. Directed by Ken Russell, the film featured a star-studded ensemble cast, including the band members themselves (most notably, lead singer Roger Daltrey, who plays the title role), Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, Elton John, and Jack Nicholson. An independent production by Russell and Robert Stigwood, Tommy was released by Columbia Pictures. Ann-Margret received a Golden Globe Award for her performance and was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Pete Townshend was also nominated for an Oscar for his work in scoring and adapting the music for the film. The film was shown at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival, but was not entered into the main competition. In 1975, the film won the award for Rock Movie of the Year in the First Annual Rock Music Awards.

See the trailer

18th February – THE SOUND OF MUSIC

On the stage – for six days – THE SOUND OF MUSIC – Southern Theatre Productions brought back Rodgers & Hammerstein’s THE SOUND OF MUSIC to the stage of the Gaumont, having previously staged it here in 1976. The show, loved around the world, did very good business for an amateur production.

24th February – THE SPINNERS

Live – fot one night – THE SPINNERS – were a folk group from Liverpool, England, that formed in September 1958. The group was unusual for its time in having a multiracial membership. They had four albums in the UK Albums Chart between September 1970 and April 1972. They produced over forty albums, and made numerous concerts and TV appearances. In 1970, they were given their own television show on BBC One that ran for seven years. They also had their own show on BBC Radio 2.

This was their third of five one night appearances at the Gaumont before they retired in 1988, after thirty years together.

Watch this tv performance by The Spinners and friends

25th February – ROLLERBALL

On the screen – for TEN days – (Not Feb 27, 28 and March 3rd and 8th) – ROLLERBALL – a double bill of re-issues – ROLLERBALL a 1975 science fiction sports film directed and produced by Norman Jewison. It stars James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck, Moses Gunn and Ralph Richardson. The screenplay, written by William Harrison, adapted his own short story, “Roller Ball Murder”, which had first appeared in the September 1973 issue of Esquire. Although Rollerball had an American cast, a Canadian director, and was released by the American company United Artists, it was produced in London and Munich.

The trailer for Rollerball

The other half of the programme was DEATH RACE 2000 a 1975 American science fiction sports film produced by Roger Corman, directed by Paul Bartel, and starring David Carradine, Simone Griffeth and Sylvester Stallone. The film takes place in a dystopian American society in the year 2000, where the murderous Transcontinental Road Race has become a form of national entertainment. The screenplay is based on the short story “The Racer” by Ib Melchior.

27th February – TOURISTS

On the stage – one day only – THE TOURISTS – a British rock and pop band. They achieved brief success in the late 1970s before the band split in 1980. Two of its members, singer Annie Lennox and guitarist Dave Stewart, went on to international success as Eurythmics. They released three albums: The Tourists (1979), Reality Effect (1979) and Luminous Basement (1980), as well as half a dozen singles, including “Blind Among the Flowers” (1979), “The Loneliest Man in the World” (1979), “Don’t Say I Told You So” (1980) and two hits, the Dusty Springfield cover “I Only Want to Be with You” (1979) and “So Good to Be Back Home Again” (1980), both of which reached the top 10 in the UK. This tour was bannered “Last Laugh Tour”.

A Feb 1980 appearance on Top Of The Pops

28th February – JOE JACKSON

Live – one night only – JOE JACKSON – an English musician and singer-songwriter. Having spent years studying music and playing clubs, Jackson scored a hit with his first release, “Is She Really Going Out with Him?”, in 1979. The Joe Jackson Band released I’m the Man in 1979. The album followed a similar musical pattern, and received good, though not as strong, reviews. It did produce the single “It’s Different for Girls”, which became Jackson’s highest charting UK single, peaking at no. 5. This was followed by a number of new wave singles before he moved to more jazz-inflected pop music.

Joe Jackson performing on Countdown in 1980

3rd March – GILLAN

Live – one night only – was a rock band formed in 1978 by Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan. Gillan was one of the hard rock bands to make a significant impact and commercial success in the United Kingdom during the early 1980s, with 1 gold and 4 silver albums. They sold over 10 million albums.

At Christmas 1978, Ian Gillan turned down an offer from Ritchie Blackmore to join Rainbow, but Blackmore did make a guest appearance for Gillan at their Christmas show. It was the first time Ian Gillan and Blackmore had performed together since 1973. In 1979 there were changes to the line-up and a new album was released, Mr. Universe, that contained many re-worked songs from The Japanese Album. The album went straight into the UK album charts but stalled as Acrobat Records went bankrupt. This led to a multi-album deal with Virgin Records. Meanwhile, in Japan, Australia and New Zealand a version of Mr. Universe was released with a different track selection to avoid repeating the Gillan tracks used on the Mr. Universe album. Several of the alternative tracks are included on the Japanese Album release.

The band caught the rise of the New Wave Of Heavy Metal at just the right time and the group gained popularity in Europe. By the time of this, their first concert at the Gaumont, Gillan were reaching the peak of their success, releasing the album Glory Road, with initial copies containing the free album For Gillan Fans Only. However, the band remained unknown in North America and were unable to raise any interest there despite a long and difficult 1980 tour there.

Gillan performing at a date on this tour

In support on this tour was UFO who used the opportunity to promote their new album ‘No Place To Run’.

8th March – PETER GABRIEL

Live – for one day – PETER GABRIEL – is an English singer, songwriter, record producer and activist who rose to fame as the original lead singer and frontman of the progressive rock band Genesis. After leaving Genesis in 1975, Gabriel launched a successful solo career with “Solsbury Hill” as his first single.

After preparing material for an album Gabriel recorded his solo debut, Peter Gabriel in 1976 and 1977 in Toronto and London, with producer Bob Ezrin. Gabriel did not title his first four albums. All were labelled Peter Gabriel, using the same typeface, with designs by Hipgnosis. “The idea is to do it like a magazine, which will only come out once a year,” he remarked in 1978. “So it’s the same title, the same lettering in the same place; only the photo is different.” Gabriel recorded the third Peter Gabriel album in England in 1979. He had developed an interest in African music and drum machines and later hailed the record as his breakthrough. The album has been credited as the first to use gated reverb on the drums, creating a distinct sound. While recording drums on “Intruder”, one of the tracks featuring Phil Collins, Gabriel had Collins play various rhythms without using cymbals for several minutes which he used to develop the song further.

From the third album the singles “Games Without Frontiers” went to No. 4 and “Biko” went to No. 36 in the UK. After a handful of shows in 1979, Gabriel toured the album from February to October 1980, which included this concert at the Gaumont. The tour marked Gabriel’s first instance of crowd surfing when he fell back into the audience in a crucifix position. The stunt became a staple of his live shows.

Peter Gabriel and a big 1980 hit

9th March – CLOSED

11th March – ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA

On the stage – for five days – ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA – The 1980 visit to the Gaumont was the first for ENO under the direction of Mark Elder who succeeded Sir Charles Groves the previous year. He would become part of the “Power House” team that also included general director Peter Jonas and artistic director David Pountney, and which would give ENO several very successful years of production.

For this week in Southampton, the company brought their largest production that of AIDA which required a company of more than 150 singers and musicians. The opera was performed on Tuesday and again on Friday. The ever popular LA TRAVIATA was performed on the Wednesday and Saturday performances and then on Thursday Britten’s THE TURN OF THE SCREW was performed.

The triumpphal march from Aida

16th March – JUDAS PRIEST

Live – one night only – JUDAS PRIEST – an English heavy metal band formed in West Bromwich, England in 1969. They have sold over 50 million albums, and are frequently ranked as one of the greatest metal bands of all time. Despite an innovative and pioneering body of work in the latter half of the 1970s, the band had struggled with indifferent record production and a lack of major commercial success or attention until 1980, when they adopted a more simplified sound on the album British Steel. It was this album that brought them back to the Gaumont for their second visit.

A 1982 performance by Judas Priest

Providing support were up and coming English heavy metal band IRON MAIDEN, formed in London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. In December 1979, the band secured a major record deal with EMI. Iron Maiden’s first appearance on an album was on the Metal for Muthas compilation (released on 15 February 1980) with two early versions of “Sanctuary” and “Wrathchild”. The release led to this opportunity to support a major band.

17th March – PORRIDGE

On the screen – for FIVE days – PORRIDGE – a 1979 British film from ITC, based on the television series Porridge, was given this second run in Southampton. It starred British comedian Ronnie Barker and was released under the title Doing Time in the United States. Most of the warders and inmates from the original series appear in the film, with the notable exceptions of Lukewarm, Blanco, Heslop and Harris. There is also a different governor, played by Geoffrey Bayldon. The film, set a year before the final episode of the TV series, includes one of the last appearances by Richard Beckinsale, the actor who played Godber. He died in March 1979, a few weeks after its completion. The film was one of the most popular movies of 1979 at the British box office.

The opening credits for the film

Making up a double bill was a reappearance in the City of CAPRICORN ONE, a 1978 thriller film that narrates a government hoax created to deceive the public on a supposed Mars landing. It was written and directed by Peter Hyams and produced by Lew Grade’s ITC Entertainment. It stars Elliott Gould with James Brolin, Sam Waterston and O.J. Simpson as the astronauts.

20th March – JAMES LAST AND HIS ORCHESTRA

Live – for one day only – JAMES LAST – also known as Hansi, was a 50 year old German composer and big band leader of the JAMES LAST ORCHESTRA. Initially a jazz bassist, his trademark “happy music” made his numerous albums best-sellers in Germany and the United Kingdom, with 65 of his albums reaching the charts in the UK alone. His composition “Happy Heart” became an international success in interpretations by Andy Williams and Petula Clark. Despite at times being derided by critics and purists as the “king of elevator music” or “acoustic porridge”, his style and music were popular in numerous countries and cultures, including Japan, the former Soviet Union, the USA and UK, and his native Germany, where it became “the archetypal soundtrack of any German cellar bar party”, and made him the “most commercially successful bandleader” of the second half of the 20th century. This was his second of many concerts at the Gaumont.

A number from the 1980 concert tour

22nd March – STIFF LITTLE FINGERS

Live – one day only – STIFF LITTLE FINGERS – are a punk rock band from Belfast, Northern Ireland. They formed in 1977, at the height of the Troubles. They started out as a schoolboy band called Highway Star (named after the Deep Purple song), doing rock covers, until they discovered punk. In the second half of 1978, they toured with the Tom Robinson Band, and in 1979, they released their first album on the Rough Trade Label, Inflammable Material. The band signed a contract with Island Records, but it fell through, leaving the band to release the album on their existing label. Despite the album’s independent release, it reached number 14 in the UK Albums Chart and reached Silver status, selling over 100,000 copies. Inflammable Material was the first album distributed by Rough Trade records, and the first independent album to chart in the UK. This inspired their move to London, which led to the departure of Brian Faloon and Colin McClelland (who along with Gordon Ogilvie had been joint manager of the band up until that point). Jim Reilly became their drummer in time for the “Gotta Gettaway” single. In mid-1979, Stiff Little Fingers signed their Rigid Digits label to Chrysalis Records, and in 1980 released their second album, Nobody’s Heroes. The Nobody’s Heroes era heralded this tour and brought some success in media terms, with the single “Straw Dogs” narrowly missing the cut for Top of the Pops; they eventually got on the show twice, with “At the Edge” and “Nobody’s Hero”. However, after their appearance with “At The Edge” the band were told they would never be invited on again as they did not take it seriously as they were not playing live; it was to be one of the most infamous Top of the Pops’ performances.

the band performing live in 1980

In support was ANOTHER PRETTY FACE who only released a few singles before splitting but are famous for being the band Mike Scott was in before forming The Waterboys.

23rd March – CLOSED

25th March – GUYS AND DOLLS

On the stage – for FIVE days – GUYS AND DOLLS – Southampton Musical Society had chosen Guys and Dolls a musical with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows as its first show for 1980. The musical was first seen on Broadway in 1950 and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. It is based on “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown” and “Blood Pressure”, which are two short stories by Damon Runyon and also borrows characters and plot elements from other Runyon stories – such as “Pick the Winner”. The musical has had several Broadway and London revivals, as well as a 1955 film adaptation. Guys and Dolls was selected as the winner of the 1951 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. However, because of writer Abe Burrows’ troubles with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the Trustees of Columbia University vetoed the selection, and no Pulitzer for Drama was awarded that year.

An excerpt from a later SMS production of Guys And Dolls

30th March – THE SPY WHO LOVED ME

On the screen – for seven days – THE SPY WHO LOVED ME – The return of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME a 1977 spy film and the tenth in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions, and the third to star Roger Moore as the fictional secret agent James Bond. Barbara Bach and Curd Jürgens co-star. It was directed by Lewis Gilbert and the screenplay was written by Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum. The storyline involves a reclusive megalomaniac named Karl Stromberg, who plans to destroy the world and create a new civilisation under the sea. Bond teams up with a Russian agent, Anya Amasova, to stop Stromberg. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards amid many other nominations and novelised in 1977 by Christopher Wood as James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me.

The trailer

Completing the double bill was a revival of PINK PANTHER STRIKES AGAIN a 1976 comedy film. It is the fifth film in The Pink Panther series and the third to include the phrase Pink Panther in its title, although the Pink Panther diamond is not part of the story. The plot picks up three years after The Return of the Pink Panther, with former Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) about to be released from a psychiatric prison after having been driven mad by Inspector Jacques Clouseau’s (Peter Sellers) bumbling in the previous film. A typically disastrous visit from Clouseau prompts a relapse which cancels Dreyfus’s planned discharge, but he soon escapes anyway and organises an elaborate plot to threaten the countries of the world with annihilation by a massive laser weapon if they do not assassinate Clouseau for him.

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