News Stories


It’s a Nugget if you Dig It! A music magazine from Birmingham, which started in April 1976. Co-founded by Mike Davies, Dave Seal, Dave Johnson and Duncan McWilliam. In total 12 issues published until 1978.


Silverwood were first formed in 2002 and have existed in many guises ever since, but the core trio of Stephen Heardman, Dan Campbell and Pedro Rabanillo have been it’s constant driving force. The songwriting has always been strong and Silverwood have produced some stunning material over the years. Whether playing acoutically or electric, Silverwood always deliver. Now playing a mix of covers and original material, Silverwood always guarantee a evening of great music.

De Stijl

Newman College

Newman College (now University) is in Bartley Green. In the 80s and 90s it had a vibrant Student Union Ents team with Cathal Lynch at the forefront in making Newman a regular stopping off point for touring bands and comedians.

You Know Who

Featuring brothers Bill Clayton and Paul Clifford


Hi, love the site, and enjoyed going through it, however there is a band missing who were quite prominent in Birmingham in the late 70’s early 80’s and that was a band called Strider. They were the resident band at the Mercat Cross every Saturday night throughout 78,79, and 80.  Among their songs were “Cover Up” which they were hoping to release as a single. I’m sorry I don’t have much more information, but I seem to remember they were top class rock band and their encore (if I remember rightly) was Johnny B Goode. They were there the same time as Orphan, who were the resident band on a Weds I think and Special Clinic (or Clinic) who were the Thursday one.  Another person (under Mercat Cross comments) mentions Strider, and remember them.

John Collins

Dennis Detheridge

As a working musician in the 1950’s around the Birmingham area, Dennis Detheridge was a well know local music reporter, covering the local jazz scene, and visiting big band concerts, and working for the old Evening Despatch. I left the city in 1958 to pursue my own musical career, and lost track of Dennis.
I understand that, later, he was involved in both the Midland Beat & Brum Beat magazines.

My question is: Is Dennis still around, indeed even alive?!! Any information would be gratefully received.

Eddie Haynes

The Sombreros

Base Brian has written in:

Hi,  don’t if you have heard of this Brum Band;  The Sombreros.  If memory serves me right I think they played a lot around the Kings heath, Selly Oak and  Northfield pubs back in the best times (The Sixties’)  Here is a mention of them I found while browsing the web.

A very popular group in the local area throughout much of the 60s. They originated from Birmingham in 1963 as the Sombreros but changed the name in 1964 to Sight & Sound. They recorded on Fontana (Alley Alley/Little Jack Monday) and included some outstanding players in their ranks at various times including Geoff Turton and Mike Sheridan. In 1969 the group had Joe Valentine, Dave Pritchard, Pete Smith and Bob Doyle (later members included Nev Chamberlain (ex-Peasants) and John Davies). They started playing on the P&O cruise liners and were managed by Mike Carroll.

Tony Stratton-Smith

Tony Stratton-Smith (1933 – 19 March 1987) was an English rock music manager, and entrepreneur. He founded the London-based independent record label Charisma Records in 1969 and managed rock groups such as The Nice, Van der Graaf Generator and Genesis.
Stratton-Smith was born in Birmingham in 1933. He started his career as a sports journalist, mainly reporting on football, for the Daily Sketch and the Daily Express, before becoming influenced by The Beatles, in particular their manager Brian Epstein and decided to enter the music business. The first notable band he managed were Liverpool based The Koobas, taking over from Epstein. He subsequently took over management of The Nice in 1968 from Andrew Loog Oldham and, frustrated with the workings of Oldham’s Immediate Records label, decided to form his own.

Later signings included the Bonzo Dog Band and Van der Graaf Generator. In 1969 he signed the progressive rock band Genesis onto his record and management companies, and released Trespass, the band’s second album. Genesis went on to become the label’s most commercially successful group. Stratton-Smith released many records by Monty Python and helped to finance the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. He also recorded former Bonzo frontman Vivian Stanshall and financed Stanshall’s film Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, as well as being credited as its producer. Other important artists Stratton-Smith was closely associated with include Atomic Rooster, Audience, Brand X, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, Peter Hammill, Lindisfarne, Julian Lennon, Robert John Godfrey, String Driven Thing and Rare Bird.

In the United States, Charisma Records recordings were often licenced to other labels such as ABC Records (including subsidiary labels Dunhill Records & Probe Records), Elektra Records, Buddah Records, Atlantic Records, Mercury Records and Arista Records. The label was eventually sold to Virgin Records in 1983. Virgin re-activated the Charisma name with a new logo for a short time during the late 1980s. The vast majority of the Charisma catalogue is now owned by EMI.

“Strat” as he was known to his friends was famous for his sense of humour and flair for promotion. His sense of humour was often reflected in promotional materials and record label art. With an ear for unusual and creative talent he made Charisma successful, especially in its early years. Though usually known as “Charisma Records”, the company also promoted itself as “The Famous Charisma Label.”

Stratton-Smith died of pancreatic cancer on 19 March 1987 at the age of 53. A memorial service was held for him at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London.

Marillion’s album Clutching at Straws (released in 1987) was dedicated to him in the sleeve credits. The song “Time to Burn” by Peter Hammill (1988) is “something of a goodbye to Tony Stratton-Smith”, and 3, the 1988 band of Keith Emerson, Carl Palmer and Robert Berry, dedicates the closing track of their only album, “On My Way Home”, to Stratton-Smith.

Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License

Alexandra Theatre

The Alexandra Theatre was built in 1901 by William Coutts at a cost of £10,000 and was originally called the Lyceum. Its opening production was a play entitled The Workman, which ran from 27th May 1901, with tickets ranging in price from two shillings to four (old) pence.

Perhaps most closely aligned with theatre, pantomime and musicals, the Alex as it’s commonly known as has an amazing history of hosting popular music. Help us build a gigography!


Send your content to us

We are now actively looking for content for the archive and will always add content that you send to us. The archive is a labour of love and we update it in our spare time.