News Stories

The First Rhythm & Blues Festival in England

I was shown this album by Alan Cross, Andy Hamilton’s manager, who has a pretty impressive record collection.

According to the title, the first ever Rhythm and Blues festival was held at the Town Hall on 28 February 1964.

Recorded live, the album features greats such as Sonny Boy Williamson, Spencer Davis R & B Quartet, The Yardbirds and Long John Baldry  and the Hoochie Coochie Men who included a young Rod Stewart on vocals.

The cover clearly states Rod Stewart but as you can see on the label there is a credit for Rod Stuart. Anyone who went could clear this up?

What is also interesting is the album was part of a series called the Rock Generation (this is volume 5) yet this is a Rhythm and Blues Festival. Released on BYG Records, this is a great slice of Birmingham, Town Hall and British R&B history.

As always, would love to hear from anyone there, or did you know the Announcer caught on record, Bob Wooler?


Beshara – When You’re Wrong

Recorded at Outlaw Studio, When You’re Wrong is a 2 Tone influenced song but it sounds more authentically sixties. It was the first Beshara song to be played on the radio and it was played by the late John Peel. It’s also a song that some said at the time, would have been a hit if it had been released on the 2 Tone label.


This is the artwork for the song:


The Star Club

© Brenda Burrell 2010

Historic venue that was above the Communist Book shop in Essex Street in the city centre. Main Punk venue and featured in the BBC John Peel Arena show featuring a set by the Nightingales.

Brenda Burrell also sent this picture of the membership cards for the Star Club.

As always, we need your memories of this venue and gigs you saw there!

© Brenda Burrell 2010



© Brenda Burrell 2010

Substitute – Sex Pistols at Bogarts

So Paul Apperley, of the local punk legends The Prefects was at the Sex Pistols gigs and has sent us in these photographs of the Pistols on stage. These are, I think, the first time these photos have been publicly shown. These compliment the audio recording below, and capture the energy of the band and the completely different look. Bogarts was a predominately biker and rock club so to be confronted with the Sex Pistols, must have been, shall we say, interesting. I love the bloke sitting on what looks like the PA, and in the second photo, you can just make out part of the Bogarts sign.

As ever, I’d love to hear your memories of this gig. Where you there the night the Sex Pistols played at Bogarts?

Andy Marshall over at the Sex Pistols Archive has just posted another recording from the Sex Pistols gig at Bogarts on 20 October 1976. This is a legendary gig in the history of Birmingham music as it was one of only two gigs the Pistols played in Brum (the other one was at Barbarella’s on 14 August ’76).

We are still after pictures, videos and memories of the gig, so if you were then then please tell us!

Memories of Brum Gigs 77-79. Where you there?

So here it is, 657 gigs that took place in Brum from 77-79. Compiled by Neil from gigs he attended, gigs he saw advertised in the Sunday Mercury, evening Mail and Melody Maker. It is an incredible picture of the bands who played and played together and the venues they played. I’m really interested in the history of Barbarellas and the bands who played there over that period is a who’s who of punk.

I want to thank Neil for providing such an amazing list of gigs and throw it open to BPMA community to add other gigs, amend line ups, and share memories of the gigs. What were the bands like, who did you go with, what was the best gig?

As always, over to you!

Memories of Brum Gigs 77-79 part 2

So I exchanged emails with Neil saying this is exactly the type of memories that we want here at the BPMA. Neil has sent the Archive his list of gigs from 77-79 (all 657 of them!) which I’ll post in a separate separately but as Neil says, he hopes this triggers some more memories and debates from those who were there!

Memories of Brum Gigs 77-79 part 1

We were contacted here at the Birmingham Popular Music Archive by Neil Evans who lived in Birmingham up until 1978. Neil wrote…In fact here is the original message Neil sent:

I left Birmingham in 1978 but I’m interested in what you are up to. Somewhere I have a list of pretty much all the concerts that took place probably in 1975 – 1977 era, I’ll see if I can dig it up and get it on a copier and send it off to you.

Bands I remeber seeing:

Ticket Stubs

Some great ticket stubs sent in by Steve Taylor of gigs by U2, The Teardrop Explodes, Dr Feelgood and The Jam amongst others. The Jam at the Bingley Hall is the gig that went down in legend I think, as the last gig held there before it burnt to the ground. Anyone know who the ‘local band’ support was?

Stairway To Nowhere

Luke James of Fashion fame and notoriety has written a very entertaining book about the band. Luke has sent me the introduction to the book which I’ve posted on the Fashion page. Luke also sent this video of him reading extracts form the book, very funny!

Made In Birmingham: Reggae Punk Bhangra

Screen Grab of Made In Birmingham: Reggae Punk Bhangra

Birmingham has a long established reputation as a multicultural city. From the beginning of the Industrial Revolution the city has attracted large numbers of immigrants; from English rural communities to large numbers of Irish, Afro-Caribbean and Asians. This has undeniably impacted on the music that has originated from the city. Folk, Reggae and Bhangra/Asian Fusion are all examples of scenes that became prominent forms of expression for those communities.

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.