1st October –
2nd October – OZZY OSBORNE
Live – for one day – OZZY OSBOURNE – was a 31 year old English singer, songwriter, and television personality. He rose to prominence during the 1970s as the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, during which period he adopted the nickname “Prince of Darkness”. Osbourne was fired from Black Sabbath in 1979 due to alcohol and drug problems, but went on to have a successful solo career. In late 1979, under the management of the Ardens, Osbourne formed the Blizzard of Ozz, featuring drummer Lee Kerslake (of Uriah Heep), bassist-lyricist Bob Daisley (of Rainbow and later Uriah Heep), keyboardist Don Airey (of Rainbow, and later Deep Purple), and guitarist Randy Rhoads (of Quiet Riot). The record company would eventually title the group’s debut album Blizzard of Ozz, credited simply to Osbourne, thus commencing his solo career. Cowritten with Daisley and Rhoads, it brought Osbourne considerable success on his first solo effort. Blizzard of Ozz is one of the few albums amongst the 100 best-sellers of the 1980s to have achieved multi-platinum status without the benefit of a top-40 single. This date at the Gaumont was part of a major tour to promote the album.
The supporting act was BUDGIE a Welsh hard rock band from Cardiff. They are described by author Garry Sharpe-Young as one of the earliest heavy metal bands and a seminal influence to many acts of that scene, with fast, heavy rock (an influence on the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) and acts such as Metallica being played as early as 1971. The band was noted as “among the heaviest metal of its day”.
5th October – UFO
Live – for one day – UFO – Gaumont – 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 ever changing lineup included orginal vocalist Phil Mogg. They achieved moderate success in the late 1970s and early 1980s with several albums and singles (including their 1979 live album Strangers in the Night) in the UK and US Top 40 charts. Some of their best-known songs include “Doctor Doctor”, “Rock Bottom”, “Natural Thing”, “Lights Out”, “Too Hot to Handle” and “Only You Can Rock Me”. UFO are considered one of the greatest classic hard rock acts, and often cited as one of the key influences on the 1980s and 1990s hard rock and heavy metal scenes.
7th October – THE SHADOWS
Live – for two days – THE SHADOWS – (originally known as the Drifters) were an English instrumental rock group. They were Cliff Richard’s backing band from 1958 to 1968 and on numerous reunion tours. The packaging of hits in Twenty Golden Greats by EMI in 1977, which led to a number one album prompted the group to re-form once more for a ‘Twenty Golden Dates’ tour around the UK, featuring Francis Monkman (soon to be in Sky) on keyboards and Alan Jones on bass guitar. Francis left after that tour and the line-up settled as Marvin, Welch and Bennett, supplemented on records and gigs by Cliff Hall (keyboards) and Alan Jones (bass).
It was this line-up that reunited with Cliff Richard for two concerts at the London Palladium in March 1978. Highlights of the concert, including four solo Shadows tracks, were released the following year on the top ten charting album Thank You Very Much. On the back of this The Shadows recorded an instrumental version of “Don’t cry for me Argentina” from the west end production “Evita”, released as a single at the tail end of 1978. The record eventually reached number 5 in the singles chart thereby giving the group their first top ten single since the 1960s. In 1979, their version of “Cavatina” also became a top ten hit, and they recorded ten more tracks with bassist Jones and keyboardists Dave Lawson and Alan Hawkshaw for the album String of Hits on EMI which topped the British album charts. The success of this led to EMI issuing a follow-up album with 13 old tracks (including a Marvin solo track) and one unreleased track from the ‘String of Hits’ sessions. These tracks came from albums released earlier in the group’s career of cover versions of hit singles; this was eventually released as Another String of Hot Hits in 1980 and prompted this reunion tour.
9th October – JASPER CARROT
On the stage – for two nights – JASPER CARROTT – a 35 year old English comedian, actor and television presenter. He set out on a career in entertainment performing folk songs and as an MC. His banter overtook the songs and he became more a comedian than singer. He also worked as a musical agent (with John Starkey, who was his manager from 1974 to 1992), as Fingimigig, managing among others Harvey Andrews. He toured UK rugby clubs. He recorded an album in 1973 called Jasper Carrot – In the Club, which he sold from his van. The album contained the original “Magic Roundabout”, although mainly material used in his next three LPs (such as “Hare Krishna”, “Car Insurance”, “Bastity Chelt”, and “Hava Nagila”) plus the Fred Wedlock song “The Folker”.He had a UK Top 5 chart hit in August 1975 with the novelty record “Funky Moped”, produced by Jeff Lynne.
By the late 1970s, Carrott had developed anecdotal sketches which he still performs. Often they purport to be autobiographical; many celebrate the Birmingham accent and culture, including his support of Birmingham City. His big break came in 1977, when Michael Grade asked for a pilot programme for LWT. Grade liked it, and five further shows were recorded, which became his first TV series, An Audience with Jasper Carrott, in 1978. This partnership with LWT would last until 1981. By the time of this concert Carrott had become a Director of Birmingham City FC which gave him another avenue for his humour which enabled him to cross-reference local culture.
12th October – RORY GALLGHER
Live – one day only – RORY GALLAGHER – a 32 year old Irish blues and rock multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer was brought up in Cork, Gallagher recorded solo albums throughout the 1970s after forming the band Taste during the late 1960s. Gallagher played and recorded what he said was “in me all the time, and not just something I turn on …”. It was his marathon live performances that won him greatest acclaim.
During the heightened periods of political unrest in Northern Ireland, as other artists were warned not to tour, Gallagher was resolute about touring Ireland at least once a year during his career, winning him the dedication of thousands of fans, and in the process, becoming a role model for other aspiring young Irish musicians. Gallagher admitted in several interviews that there were not any international Irish acts until Van Morrison and he, and later Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy. In January 1975, when the Rolling Stones gathered in Rotterdam, Netherlands, to continue working towards their album Black and Blue they auditioned new guitarists, to replace Mick Taylor, as they recorded. Gallagher went over for a jam with the band “just to see what was going on,” but did not join the group, happy with his solo career.
He recorded two “Peel Sessions” (both February 1973 and containing the same tracks), but only the first was broadcast. Along with Little Feat and Roger McGuinn, Gallagher performed the first Rockpalast live concert at the Grugahalle, Essen, Germany in 1977. Gallagher collaborated with Jerry Lee Lewis and Muddy Waters on their respective London Sessions in the mid-1970s and played on Lonnie Donegan’s final album.
13th October – DARTS
Live – for one night – DARTS – were a nine-piece British doo-wop revival band that achieved chart success in the late 1970s. The London-based band had a number of UK top 20 hits including three successive number twos with revivals of early US rock and roll and R&B songs.
Founded in 1976, by Den Hegarty along with Griff Fender (Real Name:Ian Collier), Rita Ray (Real Name:Lydia Sowa) and Horatio Hornblower (Real Name:Nigel Trubridge), all former members of the band Rocky Sharpe and the Razors (pre-Rocky Sharpe and the Replays). Joining the band was Iain “Thump” Thomson, George Currie and John Dummer, all ex members of the John Dummer’s Blues Band. The line-up was completed by William “Hammy” Howell and ex Mickey Jupp singer Bob Fish. They built up a large following playing clubs and universities, although their break came after they appeared on Charlie Gillett’s show on BBC Radio London in October 1976. This secured the band a recording contract with Magnet Records, where they were teamed up with record producer Tommy Boyce who had previously produced The Monkees. Covering 1950s rock and roll hits, they scored their first UK hit in November 1977 with a medley of “Daddy Cool” (originally a US 1957 hit for The Rays) and Little Richard’s 1957 hit “The Girl Can’t Help It”.
More cover versions followed in 1978 with “Come Back My Love” (originally recorded by US R&B group The Wrens in 1955), and “The Boy from New York City” (originally a US hit for The Ad Libs in 1965). Their next single of 1978 was an original song “It’s Raining” written by band member Griff Fender (real name Ian Collier). All three reached number 2 in the UK Singles Chart and sold a combined total of 1.25 million copies.
Following “It’s Raining” in September 1978, Hegarty left the band to tend to his terminally ill father, and he was replaced by American singer Kenny Andrews. Their final hit of 1978 was “Don’t Let It Fade Away” (written by George Currie). “Get It” (written by Horatio Hornblower, under his real name Nigel Trubridge), followed in early 1979 and they also covered Gene Chandler’s US 1962 hit “Duke of Earl”, produced by former Wizzard frontman Roy Wood.This was their last UK Top 10 hit, their only other sizeable hit coming in 1980 with a cover of The Four Seasons “Let’s Hang On!”. During the year, the line-up changed with Currie, Fish and Dummer leaving the band. Duncan Kerr (guitar) and Keith Gotheridge (drums), both formerly with Plummet Airlines joined, and ex-Mud guitarist Rob Davis briefly joined the band, before moving into songwriting and production work. Another later member was Mike Deacon (ex Suzi Quatro band) on keyboards. This tour really marked the end of Darts as a hit parade band.
14th October – JOHANN STRAUSS GALA
On the stage – for two nights – Johann Strauss Gala – Founded in 1966 by Raymond Gubbay, Raymond Gubbay Ltd is recognised as being at the forefront of promoting and producing popular shows, classical concerts, opera, ballet and special events both in the United Kingdom and abroad. His links with the music of Johann Strauss are world famous and this two night musical extravaganza was an early example of something that would become an annual tradition across the UK. An enchanting concert of favourite waltzes and polkas. Snow falls gently on the gilded ballrooms of old Vienna and young couples skate on the frozen Danube, romance is in the air. The elegant dancers in their billowing gowns flamboyantly whirl to the music of Johann Strauss and friends. Music that comes from the heart of Vienna, dancing as if in a winter wonderland.
16th October – UB40
Live – for one day – UB40 – are an English reggae and pop band, formed in December 1978 in Birmingham. The ethnic make-up of the band’s original line-up was diverse, with musicians of English, Welsh, Irish, Jamaican, Scottish and Yemeni parentage. The origins of what would become UB40 began when in mid-1978 guitarist Ali Campbell, together with the rhythm section of drummer Jimmy Brown and bassist Earl Falconer, began rehearsing charting reggae songs in addition to some of their own original compositions. They were soon joined by several of their friends, firstly percussionists Yomi Babayemi and Norman Hassan, and then saxophonist Brian Travers and keyboardist Jimmy Lynn. Robin Campbell, although initially reluctant to commit to forming a band with the others, was invited to join once again by his brother and bought a guitar with which to do so in December of that year. Once Robin had joined the others in their jamming sessions, the eight musicians formed a band, deciding on the name ‘UB40’ after a friend suggested it was an appropriate name given the unemployed status of all of the band members. Prior to this, Travers had work as an electrical apprentice for NG Bailey; whilst Robin Campbell had been an apprentice toolmaker.
This lineup of the band lasted long enough to play their first show at the Hare & Hounds pub in Kings Heath in February 1979 and one other, before the band underwent its first lineup change in the form of Babyemi and Lynn leaving the band and Mickey Virtue joining in place of Lynn. A month later UB40’s classic lineup was rounded out with the inclusion of percussionist and vocalist Astro. Astro had previously been working for Duke Alloy’s sound system attending reggae dances in Birmingham. Before some of them could play their instruments, Ali Campbell and Brian Travers travelled around Birmingham promoting the band, putting up UB40 posters. Their sound was created and honed through many long jam sessions at various locations in Birmingham.
UB40 caught their first break when Chrissie Hynde saw them at a pub and gave them an opportunity as a support act to her band, The Pretenders. UB40’s first single, “King”/”Food for Thought” was released on Graduate Records, a local independent label run by David Virr. It reached No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart. The title of their first album, Signing Off, indicates the band was signing off from, or ending, their claim for unemployment benefits. It was recorded in a bedsit in Birmingham and was produced by Bob Lamb. Norman Hassan said of the recording: “if you stripped my track down, you could hear the birds in the background.” This is because his tracks were recorded outside in the garden. Signing Off was released on 29 August 1980. It entered the UK Albums Chart on 2 October 1980, and spent 71 weeks in total on the chart. Signing Off is now a Platinum album.
This performance was to promote their album and was one of their first string of major dates.
17th October – GILLAN
Live – one day only – GILLAN – Ian Gillan a 35 year old English singer and songwriter. He was the lead singer and lyricist for the rock band Deep Purple and known for his powerful and wide-ranging singing voice, in particular his high pitched banshee screams. Initially influenced by Elvis Presley, Gillan started and fronted several local bands in the mid-1960s, and eventually joined Episode Six when their original singer left. He first found widespread commercial success after joining Deep Purple in 1969. He resigned from the band in June 1973, having given a lengthy notice period to their managers. After his departure from Deep Purple, Gillan retired from performing to pursue various unsuccessful business ventures. These included a £300,000 investment in a hotel near Oxford. A second was the Mantis Motor Cycles project, which suffered from the collapse of the British motorcycle industry in the mid-1970s, culminating in Gillan being forced to file for liquidation. A more successful opportunity, however, came with his investment in Kingsway Studios in 1974. This led to a live performance at the Butterfly Ball on 16 October 1974, replacing Ronnie James Dio at the last minute.
In 1975, he formed the Ian Gillan Band with guitarist Ray Fenwick, keyboardist Mike Moran, quickly replaced with Mickey Lee Soule and then Colin Towns on keyboards, Mark Nauseef on drums and John Gustafson on bass. Their first album, Child in Time, was released in July 1976, followed by Clear Air Turbulence in April 1977 and Scarabus in October. The sound of the band had a distinct jazz-rock aspect which, although interesting to Gillan, proved commercially unsuccessful, particularly since punk rock was popular at the time.
Gillan then formed a new band, simply called Gillan, retaining Towns (who would co-write most of the material), and adding guitarist Steve Byrd, bassist John McCoy and drummer Pete Barnacle. Byrd and Barnacle were quickly replaced by Bernie Tormé and by former Episode Six bandmate Mick Underwood, after Gillan saw Torme playing with his punk trio. This band had a more high-powered hard rock sound, and the release of Mr. Universe in October 1979 saw Ian Gillan back in the UK charts although the independent record company the album came out on – Acrobat Records – folded soon after the album was released, prompting a contract with Richard Branson’s Virgin Records.
In Christmas 1979 Gillan was visited by Blackmore, who offered him the position of lead vocalist in Rainbow. Gillan declined due to the smaller workload the band had compared to his own. However, the pair did jam together for three nights at Marquee Club – the first time the two men had shared a stage since 1973. Gillan continued, releasing Glory Road in 1980, which resulted in the band making the first of several appearances on Top of the Pops. He considered the album to be his best work since Machine Head nearly a decade earlier.
This concert, part of a UK tour came on the back of the success of the band‘s Glory Road album.
18th October – YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA
Live – for two days – YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA – (YMO) is a Japanese electronic music and formed in Tokyo in 1978 by Haruomi Hosono (bass, keyboards, vocals), Yukihiro Takahashi (drums, lead vocals) and Ryuichi Sakamoto (keyboards, vocals). The group is considered influential and innovative in the field of popular electronic music. They were pioneers in their use of synthesizers, samplers, sequencers, drum machines, computers, and digital recording technology, and effectively anticipated the “electropop boom” of the 1980s. They are credited with playing a key role in the development of several electronic genres, including synthpop, J-pop, electro, and techno, while exploring subversive sociopolitical themes throughout their career.
YMO was initially conceived by Hosono as a one-off exploration of computerized exotica and parody of Western conceptions of the orient. The three members were veterans of the music industry before coming together as YMO, and were inspired by eclectic sources, including the electronic music of Isao Tomita and Kraftwerk, Japanese traditional music, arcade games, funk music, and the disco productions of Giorgio Moroder. They released the surprise global hit “Computer Game” in 1978, reaching the UK Top 20 and selling 400,000 copies in the US. For their early recordings and performances, the band was often accompanied by programmer Hideki Matsutake.
Their second album Solid State Survivor went on to sell over 2 million records worldwide. By 1980, YMO had become the most popular group in Japan, where they were performing to sold-out crowds. Their first live album Public Pressure set a record in Japan, topping the charts and selling 250,000 copies within two weeks, while their next studio album X∞Multiplies had 200,000 pre-orders before release and both albums held the top two spots on the Japanese charts for seven consecutive weeks, making YMO the only band in Japanese chart history to achieve this feat. They repeated their success abroad, performing to sold-out crowds during tours on this world-wide tour which stopped in Southampton for two nights as part of a limited number of UK engagements.
20th October – GLYNDEBOURNE TOURING OPERA
On the stage – for five days – GLYNDEBOURNE TOURING OPERA – made its annual visit to the Gaumont with a programme of three operas with the music supplied by the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, conducted by Nicholas Braithwaite – La Boheme – Puccinin‘s opera featured Helen Field as Mimi, Christopher Blades as Marcello and Pietro Ballo as Rodolfo: – The Rake‘sProgress – Stravinsky‘s opera featured Helen Walker as Anne, Roger Bryson as Trulove and Peter Jeffes as Tom Rakewell. Finally, Mozart‘s Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail – completed the week‘s season with Konstanze, played by Sally Matthews and Edgaras Montvidas as Belmonte.
27th October – CINDERELLA
On the stage – for five days – CINDERELLA – Southern Theatre Productions brought Rodgers And Hammaerstein‘s musical to the Southampton stage for the first time. Orginally devised for a US tv broadcast, it was further developed into a Broadway musical and this is the basis for this 1980 amateur production.
4th November – OMD
November 4, 1980 – Live – for two days – OMD – (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) are an English electronic band formed in Wirral, Merseyside in 1978. Spawned by earlier band The Id, the outfit is composed of co-founders Andy McCluskey (vocals, bass guitar) and Paul Humphreys (keyboards, vocals), along with Martin Cooper (various instruments) and Stuart Kershaw (drums). OMD released their debut single, “Electricity”, in 1979, and gained popularity throughout Europe with the 1980 anti-war song “Enola Gay”. The eponymous first album showcased the band’s live set at the time, and was basically the Humphreys/McCluskey duo, although it included some guest drums from Id drummer Malcolm Holmes and saxophone from Wirral musician Martin Cooper. It had a raw, poppy, melodic synth-pop sound. Dindisc arranged for the song “Messages” to be re-recorded and released as a single – it gave the band their first hit. Dave Hughes, a founder member of Dalek I Love You who joined OMD in early 1980, is featured in the “Messages” video.
The second album Organisation (a reference to the band which preceded Kraftwerk, founded by Kraftwerk’s original members Florian Schneider-Esleben and Ralf Hütter) followed later that year, recorded as a three-piece with Humphreys, McCluskey and Holmes. It was again produced by Howlett, and had a rather moodier, dark feel. The album included the hit single “Enola Gay”, named after the plane that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The song was intended to be included on the debut album, but was left out at the final selection. The tour for this album had a 4-piece band line-up, with saxophonist Martin Cooper (another Dalek I Love You alumnus) recruited for keyboard duties and was the first time that the band had played Southampton.
The support band was The Fatal Charm,a post-punk then alternative rock band that formed in Nottingham, England in 1978.
6th November – TRIUMPH
Live – for one day – TRIUMPH – a Canadian hard rock band formed in 1975 that was popular in the late 1970s, building on its reputation and success as a live band. Triumph was nominated for multiple Juno Awards, including Group of the Year Award in 1979. Triumph is most known for its guitar-driven rock songs and alternative Canadian rock trio vibe with such songs as “Lay It on the Line”, “Magic Power”, “Fight the Good Fight”, “World of Fantasy” and strong cover songs like “Rocky Mountain Way”. The band was formed in Toronto, and for much of its existence featured Rik Emmett (guitar, vocals), Mike Levine (bass, keyboards), and Gil Moore (drums, vocals) from 1975 onward. This lineup, which recorded the band’s first nine studio albums, would last until 1988.
Triumph’s third album, Just a Game (1979), featured a moderate U.S. radio hit, “Hold On”, which reached No. 38 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single “Lay It on the Line” received greater acceptance at album-oriented rock FM radio across the U.S. and Canada. It received heavy FM radio airplay, and reached No. 86 on the Billboard Hot 100. In ‘oldies’ classic-rock format radio stations in the US, it remains the most widely played and recogniSed song from the Triumph catalogue. The album eventually went gold in the US. In 1980, the album Progressions of Power was released and peaked at No. 32 in the US, reaching Gold in overall sales. Its single “I Can Survive” peaked at No. 91 on the Hot 100. That year the band performed their heavy metal show in Passiac, New Jersey; it was their first show in the New York area and following this concert they travelled to Europe and for a mutli-country tour “Progressions Of power“ which included this date at the Gaumont.
The support band was PRAYING MANTIS, an English Heavy Metal band. Although a part of the new wave of British heavy metal scene, they pursued a musical direction more melodic and AOR-sounding than their contemporaries.
7th November – AC/DC
Live – for TWO days – AC/DC – are an Australian rock band formed in Sydney in 1973 by Scottish-born brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. Although their music has been variously described as hard rock, blues rock, and heavy metal, the band themselves call it simply “rock and roll”. The band underwent several line-up changes before releasing their first album, 1975’s High Voltage. Membership subsequently stabilised around the Young brothers, singer Bon Scott, drummer Phil Rudd, and bassistMark Evans. Evans was fired from the band in 1977 and replaced by Cliff Williams, who has appeared on every AC/DC album since 1978’s Powerage. In February 1980, Scott died of acute alcohol poisoning after a night of heavy drinking. The group considered disbanding but elected to stay together, bringing in longtime Geordie vocalist Brian Johnson as Scott’s replacement. Later that year, the band released their first album with Johnson, Back in Black, which was dedicated to Scott’s memory. The album launched AC/DC to new heights of success and became one of the best selling albums of all time. This mammoth “Back In Black“ European tour was to promote that album and the Southampton dates were amongst a handful across the UK.
9th November – WORZELS
Live – for one day – THE WURZELS – continued as a band after the untimely death of their frontsman Adge Cutler who had died after falling asleep at the wheel of his MGB sports car which then overturned on a roundabout approaching the Severn Bridge. He was returning alone from a Wurzels show in Hereford in May 1974.
Cutler’s death marked a turning point in the history of the Wurzels. Deprived of the main song-writing talent, the remaining Wurzels recorded The Wurzels Are Scrumptious! in 1975, an album containing many favourites from the back catalogue, including a number of previously unrecorded Cutler-written songs. In order to continue the surviving band needed its own songs, and these mostly took the formula of re-written popular pop songs of the time with the lyrics changed to include the usual Wurzel themes (cider, farming, local villages, Cheddar cheese, etc.)
In 1976, the Wurzels released “The Combine Harvester”, a re-work of the song “Brand New Key”, by Melanie, which became a UK hit, topping the charts for 2 weeks. The band quickly followed its success with the release of a number of similarly themed songs such as “I Am A Cider Drinker” (a rework of Paloma Blanca which was written by and had been a hit for the George Baker Selection and also covered by Jonathan King the year before) which got to number three in the charts and “Farmer Bill’s Cowman” (a reworking of the Whistling Jack Smith instrumental “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman”). This was their second concert at the Gaumont.
12th November – ELKIE BROOKS
Live – for one day – ELKIE BROOKS – After commencing her recording career back in 1964 Elkie Brooks met Pete Gage, whom she would marry, joined the short-lived blues rock fusioneers Dada before forming Vinegar Joe with Gage and Robert Palmer. Brooks gained the reputation as the wild woman of rock ‘n’ roll due to her wild stage performances. After three albums, they split up in 1974, and Brooks and Palmer pursued separate solo careers. After a time as backing singer with the American southern boogie band Wet Willie, she returned to England. 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.
It came before a run of albums, starting with 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”. Her polished, powerful cover of Gallagher and Lyle’s “The Runaway”, saw the Scottish singer-songwriters appear with Brooks on TOTP’s to provide backing vocals. In 1980, Brooks performed at the Knebworth Festival with the Beach Boys, Santana and Mike Oldfield, before embarking on her 1980 UK tour.
13th November – SAD CAFE
Live – for one day only – SAD CAFÉ – an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1976, who were at their peak of popularity at the time of this concert. They are best known for the UK Top 40 singles “Every Day Hurts”, “Strange Little Girl”, “My Oh My” and “I’m in Love Again”, the first of which was their biggest hit, reaching number 3 in the UK Singles Chart in 1979. The band also had two US Billboard Hot 100 hits with “Run Home Girl” and “La-Di-Da”. The line up \t this concert was led by Frontman, Paul Young, vocals; Ian Wilson – guitars, vocals, Dave Irving – drums, vocals, Des Tong – bass, vocals and Lenni – saxophone.
14th November – MOTORHEAD
Live – for one day – 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. The band are often considered a precursor to the new wave of British heavy metal, which re-energised heavy metal in the late 1970s.
During August and September 1980, the band were at Jackson’s Studios in Rickmansworth, recording with producer Vic Maile. The “Ace of Spades” single was released on 27 October 1980 as a preview of the Ace of Spades album, which followed on 8 November. This concert was part of the Ace Up Your Sleeve, UK tour to promote the album. The single reached No. 15 and the album reached No. 4 on the UK charts. Bronze celebrated its gold record status by pressing a limited edition of the album in gold vinyl. Motörhead made an appearance on Top of the Pops this week with “Ace of Spades”, with support from Girlschool and Vardis,
To coincide with the Ace of Spades release, Big Beat, who had inherited the Chiswick catalogue, put together four unused tracks from the Escape Studios sessions in 1977 and released them as Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers, which reached No. 43 on the UK Singles Chart in the same month.
Support was from Girlschool a British rock band that formed in the new wave of British heavy metal scene in 1978. Frequently associated with contemporaries Motörhead, they would become the longest-running all-female rock band. Formed from a school band called Painted Lady, Girlschool enjoyed strong media exposure and went on to achieve commercial success in the UK. Opening the evening was Vardis an English three-piece hard rock, boogie rock and heavy metal band fromWakefield.
15th November – WEATHER REPORT
Live – for one day – WEATHER REPORT – an American jazz fusion band founded (and initially co-led) by Austrian-born keyboard player Joe Zawinul, American saxophonist Wayne Shorter and Czech bassist Miroslav Vitouš. Other prominent members at various points in the band’s lifespan included Jaco Pastorius, Alphonso Johnson, Victor Bailey, Chester Thompson, Peter Erskine, Airto Moreira and Alex Acuna. Throughout most of its existence, the band was a quintet consisting of Zawinul, Shorter, a bass guitarist, a drummer, and a percussionist.
The band started as a free improvising jazz group with avant-garde and experimental electronic leanings; when Vitouš left Weather Report (due mostly to creative disagreements), Zawinul increasingly steered the band towards a funky, edgy sound incorporating elements of R&B and native musics from around the world. Zawinul utilized the latest developments in synthesizer technology, and took advantage of a large variety of sounds and tone colors to make the band stand out. During the first half of their career, Weather Report were seen as one of the defining acts in modern jazz, winning the DownBeat “best album award” five times in a row.
At the beginning of 1980, Pastorius recruited hand-drummer Robert Thomas Jr. (a fellow Floridan, with whom he had jammed previously) into the band. Thomas featured on the 1980 album Night Passage. A tighter and more traditional recording than previous releases, the record featured a more prominent role for Shorter, a strong element of bebop, and a nod to jazz’s golden age via a high-speed cover of Duke Ellington’s “Rockin’ in Rhythm” (showing off Zawinul’s pioneering and ever-increasing ability to create synthetic big-band sounds on his synthesizers).
By the time the band played this gig at the Gaumont, Pastorius was displaying signs of the mental instability and substance abuse problems that ultimately wrecked his career; and the close relationship he’d previously shared with Zawinul was becoming strained as Zawinul grew tired of Pastorius’ showmanship onstage (beginning to feel that it detracted from the music).
Alongside Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Herbie Hancock’s the Headhunters, Weather Report are widely considered one of the defining bands of the fusion era.
16th November – DON WILLIAMS
Live – for one day – DON WILLIAMS – was a 41 year old American country singer, songwriter, who began his solo career in 1971, singing popular ballads and achieving many number one country hits. His straightforward yet smooth bass-baritone voice, soft tones, and imposing build earned him the nickname: “Gentle Giant” of country music.
17th November – CHARLIE DANIELS
Live – for one day – CHARLIE DANIELS – was a 44 year old American singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist known for his contributions to Southern rock, country, and bluegrass music. He was best known for his number-one country hit “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” which won the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance in 1979. This year, 1980, the song became a major crossover success on rock radio stations after its inclusion on the soundtrack for the hit movie Urban Cowboy, in which he makes an onscreen appearance. Much of his output, including all but one of his eight Billboard Hot 100 charting singles, was credited to the Charlie Daniels Band.
18th November – BARBARA DICKSON
Live – for one day – BARBARA DICKSON – is a Scottish singer whose hits include “I Know Him So Well”, “Answer Me” and “January February”. She became a well-known face on the British folk circuit of the late 1960s and early 1970s, but changed her career course after meeting Willy Russell. He was at that time a young student running a folk club in Liverpool. He showed Dickson the first draft of what later became the award-winning musical John, Paul, George, Ringo … and Bert and asked her to perform the music. The combination of fine writing, a superb cast of young unknowns (including Antony Sher, Bernard Hill and Trevor Eve) and Dickson’s idiosyncratic interpretation of Beatles songs made the show hugely successful.
The show’s co-producer, Robert Stigwood, signed Dickson to his record label, RSO Records, where she recorded the album Answer Me, arranged and produced by Junior Campbell, the title track becoming a Top 10 hit in 1976. John, Paul, George, Ringo … and Bert also led to her guest residency on The Two Ronnies, which brought Dickson’s singing to the attention of more than ten million BBC Television viewers every week. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice also spotted Dickson in John, Paul, George, Ringo … and Bert, and invited her to record “Another Suitcase in Another Hall” from their new musical Evita, which became her second hit in 1977. She contributed two tracks to Scouse the Mouse a children’s album (1977) with Ringo Starr and others. Also during the late 1970s, Dickson also contributed backing vocals to two best-selling albums by the Scottish singer-songwriter, Gerry Rafferty: City to City (1978) and Night Owl (1979). Other solo hits including “Caravan Song” and “January February”, followed for Dickson in 1980.
20th November – NATIONAL TALENT CONTEST
On the stage – for one day – NATIONAL TALENT CONTEST – The Southern Area Finals of the 2020 National Talent Contest was held at the Mayflower. The winners would represent the region in the National finals to be held in London in December.
More details needed
24th November – THE DAMNED
Live – for one day – THE DAMNED – are an English rock band formed in London, England in 1976 by lead vocalist Dave Vanian, guitarist Brian James, bassist (and later guitarist) Captain Sensible, and drummer Rat Scabies. They were the first punk rock band from the United Kingdom to release a single, “New Rose” (1976), release an album, Damned Damned Damned, and in 1977, tour the United States. That August, Lu Edmonds was added as a second guitarist. This expanded line-up unsuccessfully tried to recruit the reclusive Syd Barrett to produce their second album. Unable to get Barrett, they settled for his former Pink Floyd bandmate, Nick Mason. In December, this album was released as Music For Pleasure, and was quickly dismissed by critics. Its failure led to the band being dropped from Stiff Records. Scabies was also displeased with the album, and quit the band after the recording. He was replaced by future Culture Club drummer Jon Moss, who played with The Damned until they decided to break up in February 1978.
The former members of the band worked on a series of brief side projects and solo recordings, all making little commercial impact. Scabies formed a one-off band called “Les Punks” for a late 1978 gig: Les Punks was a quasi-reunion of The Damned (without Brian James or Lu) that featured Scabies, Vanian, Sensible and bassist Lemmy of Hawkwind and Motörhead. The Damned tentatively reformed with the “Les Punks” line-up in early 1979, but originally performed as “The Doomed” to avoid potential trademark problems. Captain Sensible switched to guitar and keyboards, and after a brief period with Lemmy on bass for studio demos and a handful of live appearances, and a slightly longer period with Henry Badowski on bass, the bassist position was filled by Algy Ward, formerly of The Saints. During a December 1978 tour of Scotland, Gary Holton filled in for Vanian. The band officially went by The Damned again, playing their first gig under that name in April 1979, and signing a deal with Chiswick Records. They went back to the studio and released the charting singles, “Love Song” and “Smash It Up”, followed by 1979’s Machine Gun Etiquette, and then a cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”. Vanian’s vocals had by now expanded from the high-baritone of the early records to a smoother crooning style. Machine Gun Etiquette featured a strong 1960s garage rock influence, with Farfisa organ in several songs. Recording at Wessex Studios at the same time as The Clash were there to record London Calling, Joe Strummer and Mick Jones made an uncredited vocal appearance on the title track. Fans and critics were pleasantly surprised, and Machine Gun Etiquette received largely positive reviews; Ira Robbins and Jay Pattyn described it as “a great record by a band many had already counted out”. Ward left the group in 1980, to be replaced by Paul Gray, formerly of Eddie and the Hot Rods. The Black Album was released, with three sides of the double album consisting of studio tracks, including the theatrical 17-minute song “Curtain Call”. Side 4 featured a selection of live tracks recorded at Shepperton. This gig was part of UK tour to promote the album.
25th November – JON ANDERSON
Live – for one day – JON ANDERSON is a 36 year old English-American singer and songwriter best known as the former lead singer of the progressive rock band Yes, which he formed in 1968 with bassist Chris Squire. In August 1975, Yes took an extended break for each member to release a studio album. Anderson chose a concept album, Olias of Sunhillow, about an alien race of four tribes and their journey to a new planet as theirs is under threat from destruction. Olias, one of the three main characters, builds the Moorglade Mover, an aircraft formed of living organisms to transport everyone to their new home. Atlantic Records released the album in July 1976, and it reached number 8 in the UK and number 47 in the US. Between 1976 and 1979, Anderson recorded Going for the One and Tormato with Yes and completed their supporting tours. In February 1979, he reconvened with Vangelis to start recording as Jon and Vangelis. Their first album, Short Stories, was recorded in a matter of weeks with minimal preconceived ideas which Anderson found to be a refreshing experience. Released in January 1980, Short Stories went to number 4 in the UK. In October 1979, Anderson travelled to Paris to record a new Yes album with producer Roy Thomas Baker. Progress staggered early into the sessions following disputes over the band’s musical direction; material prepared by Anderson and Wakeman was not met with enthusiasm by their bandmates, who started to put down tracks without them that was released on Drama. “Very quickly”, recalled Anderson, “the mood changed from enthusiasm to frustration and then complete confusion”. Matters failed to improve when they reconvened in February 1980, and Anderson and Wakeman left in the following month. Anderson spent much of 1980 recording a collection of songs for Song of Seven with a group of musicians he named the New Life Band, which Atlantic agreed to release. When it was put out in November, it reached number 38 in the UK and number 143 in the US. Anderson completed his first solo tour with the band, performing a mix of solo and Yes material in Germany and England including this concert at the Gaumont.
26th November – MAX BOYCE
Live – for two nights – MAX BOYCE is a 37 year old Welsh comedian, singer and entertainer. He rose to fame during the mid-1970s with an act that combined musical comedy with his passion for rugby union and his origins in the mining communities of South Wales. In the early 1970s Boyce undertook a mining engineering degree at the Glamorgan School of Mines in Trefforest (now the University of South Wales), during which he began to pen tunes about life in the mining communities of South Wales. He started out performing in local sports clubs and folk clubs around 1970, where his original set began to take on a humorous element, interspersed by anecdotes of Welsh community life and of the national sport, rugby union.
As Boyce’s popularity became established throughout Wales and the United Kingdom, he became involved in many side projects, including three books, several television series and televised concerts, and three multi-part television specials produced by Opix Films. His spoken and sung poetry was first collected in Max Boyce: His Songs and Poems in 1976, with an introduction by Barry John. The comic illustrations that accompany the poems were drawn by his friend Gren Jones of the South Wales Echo (who had also illustrated the cover of We All Had Doctors’ Papers). This publication was followed up with a similar collection, I Was There!, in 1980.
This was his third visit to the Gaumont and due to the popularity of his previous visits he played for two nights.
28th November – ADAM AND THE ANTS
Live – for one day – ADAM AND THE ANTS – Adam Ant had befriended some influential figures in the burgeoning London punk scene, most notably Jordan, who worked in Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s SEXboutique. The Ants eventually formed in early 1977 with a line-up of Lester Square (guitar), Andy Warren (bass guitar) and Paul Flannagan (drums). Lester Square left to finish his course at art school (and later formed The Monochrome Set) just days after The Ants played their first gig on 5 May 1977, at a bedroom in Muswell Hill. Mark Ryan replaced him on guitar and played the first formal gigs (starting with a performance at the ICA in London on 10 May 1977). In early June, Flannagan was replaced with Dave Barbarossa (also known as Dave Barbe) and the resulting line-up recorded “Plastic Surgery” (along with seven other unreleased demos later dubbed the “Jubilee Demos” by bootleggers) and featured in the film Jubilee as the band of Adam’s character Kid, until Ryan was replaced by Johnny Bivouac in October 1977. Shortly after this, the group adopted the longer Adam and the Ants bandname.
On 26 January 1980, McLaren convinced the rest of the band – then comprising guitarist Matthew Ashman, bassist Leigh Gorman (who had replaced Warren in November 1979) and drummer Dave Barbe – to leave Adam and the Ants and form Bow Wow Wow, fronted by Annabella Lwin.
Between February and April 1980, a new version of Adam and the Ants was formed with Marco Pirroni (an ex-member of Siouxsie and the Banshees) on guitar, Kevin Mooney (bass guitar) and two drummers, Terry Lee Miall and Chris Hughes (ex-The Blitz Brothers), who took the pseudonym of “Merrick”. Pirroni would become an influential member of the group, co-writing all of their new songs with Adam Ant. While in the process of assembling the band, Ant and Pirroni re-recorded the Dirk Wears White Sox track “Cartrouble Pt.2” as a contract-fulfilling single for Do It, together with future Culture Club drummer Jon Moss and with Hughes producing. The label released the single under the shorter title “Cartrouble” in March 1980 (with Moss credited as “Terry 1+2”), and it reached No. 1 on the UK Independent Singles Chart. The following month, the by-then recruited full band recorded the single “Kings of the Wild Frontier” for prospective record companies. Without label support, the band carried out this major UK “Ants Invasion” tour.
29th November – SHOWADDYWADDY
Live – for one day – SHOWADDYWADDY are a pop/rock group from Leicester, England. 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. Showaddywaddy then went on to have a further 20 UK hits until late summer 1980. These cover versions included “Three Steps to Heaven” (originally byE ddie Cochran in 1960), “Heartbeat”, “Under the Moon of Love”, “When” and “Dancin’ Party”. From “Dancin’ Party” (1977), the band produced their own records with more cover versions including “I Wonder Why” (originally by Dion and the Belmonts), “Blue Moon” (based on the Marcels’ interpretation) and another Curtis Lee original “Pretty Little Angel Eyes”, co-written by Tommy Boyce.
30th November –
11th December – ULTRAVOX
Live – for one day – ULTRAVOX – were a British new wave band, formed in London in April 1974 as Tiger Lily. Between 1980 and 1986, they scored seven Top Ten albums and seventeen Top 40 singles in the UK, the most successful of which was their 1980 hit “Vienna”.
From 1974 until 1979, singer John Foxx was frontman and the main driving force behind Ultravox. Foxx left the band in March 1979 to embark on a solo career and, following his departure, Midge Uretook over as lead singer, guitarist and frontman in October 1979 after he and keyboardist Billy Currie worked in the studio project Visage. Ure filled both John Foxx’s and Robin Simon’s posts for Ultravox’s next album, Vienna, which heralded a major change of direction and would become their most successful to date, far surpassing any of the previous Ultravox (or Foxx’s) albums. As with Systems of Romance, it was produced in Germany by Conny Plank. Ure knew of Ultravox’s past, being a fan of Systems to the point where the new four-piece outfit (Ultravox mk. III) played songs from that album on tours with Ure singing Foxx’s lyrics. Released on Chrysalis Records in June 1980, the Vienna album produced the band’s first UK Top 40 hit with “Sleepwalk” reaching No. 29, while the album itself initially peaked at No. 14. A second single, “Passing Strangers”, failed to reach the Top 40, only reaching No. 57, but the band achieved a substantial hit with the third single, the album’s title track (inspired by Carol Reed’s 1949 film The Third Man). Accompanied by a highly distinctive video, the single became Ultravox’s biggest ever hit.
This was the band‘s first visit to the theatre.
12th December – THE KINKS
Live – for one day – THE KINKS – are an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, north London, in 1964 by brothers Ray and Dave Davies. They are regarded as one of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s. The band emerged during the height of British rhythm and blues and Merseybeat, and were briefly part of the British Invasion of the United States until their touring ban in 1965 (as a result of constant fighting between the brothers). Their third single, the Ray Davies-penned “You Really Got Me”, became an international hit, topping the charts in the United Kingdom and reaching the Top 10 in the United States. Their music was influenced by a wide range of genres, including American R&B and rock and roll initially, and later adopting British music hall, folk, and country. They gained a reputation for reflecting English culture and lifestyle, fuelled by Ray Davies’ wittily observational writing style. Early works included albums such as Face to Face (1966), Something Else (1967), The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (1968), Arthur (1969), Lola Versus Powerman (1970), and Muswell Hillbillies (1971), along with their accompanying singles. After a fallow period in the mid-1970s, the band experienced a revival. Sleepwalker, released in 1977, marked a return to success for the group as it peaked at number 21 on the Billboard chart. After its release and the recording of the follow-up, Misfits, Andy Pyle and keyboardist John Gosling left the group to work together on a separate project. In May 1978, Misfits, the Kinks’ second Arista album, was released. It included the US Top 40 hit “A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy”, which helped make the record another success for the band. The non-album single “Father Christmas” has remained a popular track. Driven by session drummer Henry Spinetti’s drumming and Dave Davies’ heavy guitar the song “Father Christmas” has become a classic seasonal favorite on mainstream radio. For the following tour, the band recruited ex-Argent bassist Jim Rodford and ex–Pretty Things keyboardist Gordon Edwards.Edwards was soon fired from The Kinks for failing to show up to recordings sessions, and the band recorded 1979’s Low Budget as a quartet, with Ray Davies handling keyboard duties. Keyboardist Ian Gibbons was recruited for the subsequent tour, and became a permanent member of the group. Despite the personnel changes, the popularity of the band’s records and live shows continued to grow.
Beginning in the late 1970s, bands such as the Jam (“David Watts”), the Pretenders (“Stop Your Sobbing”, “I Go to Sleep”) and the Knack (“The Hard Way”) recorded covers of Kinks songs, which helped bring attention to the group’s new releases. In 1978, Van Halen covered “You Really Got Me” for their debut single, a Top 40 US hit, helping boost the band’s commercial resurgence (Van Halen later covered “Where Have All the Good Times Gone”, another early Kinks song which had been covered by David Bowie on his 1973 album Pin Ups). The hard rock sound of Low Budget, released in 1979, helped make it the Kinks’ second gold album and highest charting original album in the US, where it peaked at number 11.In 1980, the group’s third live album, One for the Road, was produced, along with a video of the same title, bringing the group’s concert-drawing power to a peak and inspiring this tour and their visit to the Gaumont.
13th December – STEELEYE SPAN
Live – for one day – STEELEYE SPAN – an English folk rock band formed in 1969. They are, along with Fairport Convention, amongst the best known acts of the British folk revival, and were among the most commercially successful, thanks to their hit singles “Gaudete” and “All Around My Hat”.
While they would never regain the commercial success of All Around My Hat, Steeleye remained popular among British folk rock fans and generally respected within the music industry. It has been widely reported that Peter Knight and Bob Johnson left the band to work on another project together, The King of Elfland’s Daughter. The actual situation was more complex. Chrysalis Records agreed to allow Knight and Johnson to work on “King” only as a way to persuade the duo to continue working with Steeleye. Since the record company had no interest in “King” for its own sake, it made no effort to market the album. Chrysalis’ ploy failed, however, and Knight and Johnson quit. Their departure left a significant hole in the band. For the 1977 album, Storm Force Ten, early member Martin Carthy rejoined on guitar. When he originally joined the band for their second album, Carthy had tried to persuade the others to bringJohn Kirkpatrick on board but the band had chosen Knight instead. This time, Carthy’s suggestion was accepted and Kirkpatrick’s accordion replaced Knight’s fiddle, which gave the recording a very different texture from the Steeleye sound of previous years. Kirkpatrick’s one-man morris dances quickly became one of the highlights of the band’s show. This line-up also recorded their first album outside of the studio, Live at Last, before a “split” at the end of the decade that proved to be short-lived. Carthy and Kirkpatrick had only intended to play with the band for a few months and had no interest in a longer association.
During 1977 and some time thereafter, Nigel Pegrum and Rick Kemp created a “porno punk” band called The Pork Dukes, using pseudonyms. The Pork Dukes released several albums and singles over the years. The band were contractually obliged to record a final album for the Chrysalis label and, with Carthy and Kirkpatrick not wanting to rejoin the re-formed band, the door was open for Knight and Johnson to return, in 1980. The album Sails of Silver saw the band moving away from traditional material to a greater focus on self-penned songs, many with historical or pseudo-folk themes. Sails was not a commercial success, in part because Chrysalis chose not to promote the album aggressively but also because many fans felt uncomfortable with the band’s new direction in its choice of material. The failure of the album left Hart unhappy enough that he decided to leave the band and give up commercial music entirely, in favour of a reclusive life overseas.
After Sails of Silver there were to be no new albums for several years, and Steeleye became a part-time touring band and this was their third visit to the Gaumont.
14th December – THE UNDERTONES
Live – for one day – THE UNDERTONES – a rock band formed in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1974. The Undertones consisted of Feargal Sharkey (vocals), John O’Neill (rhythm guitar, vocals), Damian O’Neill(lead guitar, vocals), Michael Bradley (bass, vocals) and Billy Doherty (drums). Much of the earlier Undertones material drew influence from punk rock and new wave; the Undertones also incorporated elements of rock, glam rock and post-punk. Despite the backdrop of the Troubles in Derry and across Northern Ireland, the vast majority (though not all) of the material the Undertones released focused not upon the political climate, but upon issues such as adolescence, teenage angst and heartbreak.
Following the ‘You Got My Number tour’ of October 1979, the Undertones began recording the songs for their second album, Hypnotised. Ten songs were recorded before the band returned to Derry prior to Christmas to write and record further songs for the album. Three further songs were written during this break: “Tearproof”, “More Songs About Chocolate and Girls” and “Wednesday Week”. In January 1980, the production of Hypnotised was finished with the Undertones recording the three further songs written the previous December, plus two further songs—”Hypnotised” and a cover of “Under The Boardwalk”—which had been written that month. On 28 March 1980, the Undertones released their sixth single, “My Perfect Cousin”. The song, which had been written the previous summer by Damian O’Neill and Michael Bradley, reached number 9 in the UK charts and would subsequently prove to be the band’s highest charting single in the United Kingdom. The album,Hypnotised, reached number 6 in the UK Albums Chart, remaining in the Top 10 for one month. In December the band embarked on the ‘See No More’ tour, a small number of dates in the UK, which included this, their only ever, Southampton appearance.
15th December – XTC
Live – for one day – XTC – an English rock band formed in Swindon in 1972. Fronted by songwriters Andy Partridge (guitars, vocals) and Colin Moulding (bass, vocals), the band gained popularity during the rise of punk and new wave in the 1970s, later playing in a variety of styles that ranged from angular guitar riffs to elaborately arranged pop. Partly because the group did not fit into contemporary trends, they achieved only sporadic commercial success in the UK and US, but attracted a considerable cult following.
In 1977, the group debuted on Virgin Records and were noted for their energetic live performances. They aspired to be “completely original” and refused to play conventional punk rock, instead synthesising influences from ska, 1960s pop, dub music and theavant-garde. The single “Making Plans for Nigel” (1979) marked their commercial breakthrough and heralded the reverberating drum sound associated with their subsequent popular music.
Black Sea, released in September 1980, reunited the group with Lillywhite and Padgham and was well-received critically. Singles “Generals and Majors”, “Towers of London” and “Sgt. Rock (Is Going to Help Me)” returned them to the charts at numbers 32, 31 and 16, respectively. “Respectable Street” was banned from BBC radio due to its references to abortion and a “Sony Entertainment Centre”. Partridge believed Black Sea was the closest the group had come to representing their live sound in the studio. It remains XTC’s second-highest charting British album, placing at number 16, and the most successful album in the U.S. of their career, peaking at number 41 on the Billboard 200. The band organised a short UK tour to promote Black Sea and the Gaumont was one of the few dates.
16th December – DIRE STRAITS
Live – for one day – DIRE STRAITS – a British rock band formed in London in 1977 by Mark Knopfler (lead vocals and lead guitar), David Knopfler (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), John Illsley (bass guitar and backing vocals), and Pick Withers (drums and percussion). Their first single, “Sultans of Swing”, from their 1978 self-titled debut album, reached the top ten in the UK and US charts.
In 1980, Dire Straits were nominated for two Grammy Awards, Best New Artist and Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for “Sultans of Swing”. In July 1980 the band started recording tracks for their third album. Produced by Jimmy Iovine with Mark Knopfler also sharing credit, Making Movies was released in October 1980. During the recording sessions, tension between Mark and David Knopfler took its toll on the band, and David Knopfler left over creative differences with his brother to pursue a solo career; he was uncredited on the album. The sessions continued with Sid McGinnis on rhythm guitar and keyboardist Roy Bittan from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. After the recording sessions were completed, keyboardist Alan Clark and Californian guitarist Hal Lindes joined Dire Straits as full-time members for the promotional tours.
Making Movies received mostly positive reviews and featured longer songs with more complex arrangements, a style which would continue for the rest of the band’s career. The album featured many of Mark Knopfler’s most personal compositions. The most successful chart single was “Romeo and Juliet” (number 8 in the UK singles chart), a song about a failed love affair, with Knopfler’s trademark in keeping personal songs under fictitious names. Although never released as a hit single, “Solid Rock” was featured in all Dire Straits’ live shows from this point on for the remainder of their career. This date in the Making Movies tour marked their only visit to the Gaumont.
19th December – HAWKWIND
Live – for one day – HAWKWIND – an English rock band known as 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. Many musicians, dancers and writers have worked with the band since their inception. Hawkwind are best known for the song “Silver Machine”, which became a number three UK hit single in 1972.
In late 1979, Hawkwind‘s line-up was Brock, Bainbridge, King with Huw Lloyd-Langton andTim Blake (formerly of Gong), embarking upon a UK tour despite not having a record deal or any product to promote. In December 1980 the band set out on an 11 date UK tour which included this concert in Southampton.
20th December – MADNESS
Live – for one day – MADNESS – The core of the band formed as the North London Invaders in 1976, and included Mike Barson (Monsieur Barso) on keyboards and vocals, Chris Foreman (Chrissy Boy) on guitar and Lee Thompson (Kix) on saxophone and vocals. They later recruited John Hasler on drums and Cathal Smyth (better known as Chas Smash) on bass guitar. Later in the year, they were joined by lead vocalist Dikron Tulane. This six-piece line-up lasted until part-way through 1977, when Graham McPherson (better known as Suggs) took over the lead vocals after seeing the band perform in a friend’s garden. Tulane went on to be an actor under the name Dikran Tulaine. Smyth, who left after an argument with Barson, was replaced by Gavin Rodgers, Barson’s girlfriend’s brother. McPherson was kicked out of the band for too often choosing to watch Chelsea instead of rehearsing. Thompson left the band after Barson criticised his saxophone playing.
By 1978, the band had allowed McPherson to return as a vocalist after he had filled in temporarily for Hasler (who had taken over vocals when McPherson was removed). Thompson returned after patching things up with Barson. Drummer Dan Woodgate (Woody) and bass player Mark Bedford (Bedders) also joined the band, replacing Garry Dovey and Rodgers, respectively. After briefly changing their name to Morris and the Minors, the band renamed itself as Madness in 1979, paying homage to one of their favourite songs by ska/reggae artist Prince Buster. The band remained a sextet until late 1979 when Chas Smash rejoined and officially became the seventh member of Madness as a backing vocalist and dancer.
During 1979, the band began to attract a live following in London, being regulars at the Dublin Castle in Camden Town. The band’s first commercial recording was the Lee Thompson composition “The Prince”. The song, like the band’s name, paid homage to their idol, Prince Buster. The song was released through 2 Tone Records, the label of The Specials founder Jerry Dammers. The song was a surprise hit, peaking in the UK music charts at number 16. Their debut album, One Step Beyond… was released byStiff Records. The album included a re-recording of “The Prince” and its B-side “Madness”, and the band’s second and third singles: “One Step Beyond” and “My Girl”. The title song was a cover of the B-side of the 1960s Prince Buster hit “Al Capone”. One Step Beyond… stayed in the British charts for 78 weeks, peaking at number 2. Smyth performed on the album but was not an official member of the band at the time or the album’s recording or release. He would formally join Madness a few weeks after One Step Beyond was issued in October 1979.
After the release of “My Girl”, the band felt that they had exhausted the material from One Step Beyond…, and did not want to release any more singles from the album. However, Dave Robinson, head of Stiff Records, disagreed. Eventually, a compromise was made, and the band decided to release an EP featuring one album track and three new tracks. The result was the Work Rest and Play EP, which was headlined by the song “Night Boat to Cairo”, from the One Step Beyond album. The EP reached number 6 in the UK Singles Chart.
In 1980, the band’s second album, Absolutely reached number 2 in the UK Albums Chart and spawned some of the band’s biggest hits, most notably “Baggy Trousers”, which peaked at number 3 in the UK Singles Chart. “Embarrassment” reached number 4 and the instrumental song “The Return of the Los Palmas 7” number 7. In December 1980 Madness embarked on a 9 date UK tour which included the Gaumont in Southampton.
23rd December – THE WIZARD OF OZ
On the stage – until 3rd January 1981 – 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 and was the version that the SMS premiered in October 1979 and was such a hit with Southampton audiences theat it was updated for the theatre‘s 1980 Christmas show.