Recreating the Stones gig

The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones

A slice of history is being recreated in Lancashire this month.

The Lankykats rock ‘n roll collective are celebrating an event in 1963 when an unknown group of musicians from west London made what would be a rare appearance in the county.

Thousands of youngsters were sent into a delighted frenzy by a band with just one recent minor hit single behind – Come On, written by American rocker Chuck Berry.

The earthquake felt across the county by the Rolling Stones saw towns, cities and venues brought to a virtual standstill.

The Rolling Stones’ Lancastrian debut was made at The Oasis Club in Manchester on August 30 – with a further gig being played on December 1. A further 10 venues were played with ‘double-ups’ at two venue’s making it 14 gigs in all.

August 30: Manchester Oasis Club

September 27: Morecambe, Floral Hall Ballroom Teen-Beat Night ‘63

October 13: Liverpool , Odeon Theatre – two shows

October 16: Manchester Odeon Theatre – two shows

November 4: Preston Top Rank Ballroom

November 5: Liverpool Cavern Club

November 25: Warrington Parr Hall

Lancashire Day November 27: Wigan , Empress Ballroom (Latterly Wigan Casino)

November 29: Urmston Baths Hall

December 1: Manchester Oasis Club

December 3: Southport Floral Hall

December 12: Liverpool Locarno Ballroom

Bill Hart, founder member of Lankykats, remembers one gig well: “I was at the Wigan Empress Hall, stood on upper balcony, on the left hand side of the stage.

“That same day I had bought the Stones 45 record. I had a great view.

“Local Wigan group The Beat Boys ripped into their spot like a band possessed.

“Going on first they did a storming set and down on the packed dance floor below – you just couldn’t move and inch.

“The Cheetahs from Widnes played their Shadows tunes after the Stones’ spot and the night was a complete success.

“The build-up to the main act was becoming unbearable. The noise and response from the crowd was just incredible.

“Then slipping on to the stage came the familiar sight of The Emp’s resident Showband leader Bill Blackledge, acting as compere for the night.

“In smart bow tie and jacket he tried to calm the crowd down to be heard above the racket.

“All I heard Bill say was ‘The Rolling Stones’ and in the screams and surge towards the stage he was nearly swamped.

“Five bobbing heads of long hair was the first thing I saw.

“Then it was a new style of rock ‘n roll mayhem for the next hour which became the Stones classic trademark performance. I came away exhilarated, mesmerised and totally exhausted.”

On Thursday November 21 the Lankykats will play a Stones’ Celebration at the Standish Unity Club in Cross Street, Standish, .

Featuring The Topspots, Still Standing and The Bootles, a Beatles tribute band, they’ll playing all the rock classics from the era.

Bill Blackledge will be there too with items of memorabilia and the specially-reformed-for-the-night guest band The Cheetahs will complete the line-up.

Admission is £2. Donations are made to local charities and the show starts 8pm. For information on Lankykats see www.lankykats.com.

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