From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Saturday 1st November):


1946. Ric Grech (Family, Blind Faith) born in Bordeaux, France.

On Tour

1979. Bob Dylan launches his first evangelical tour at San Francisco’s Fox Warfield Theatre. During the 95 minute performance Dylan played nothing more than a year old – and nothing which could be classed as secular. The music may have been great but the songs were “God-awful” according to the critics.

In Court

1971. Singer Danny Williams is jailed for 18 weeks at Falkirk Sheriff Court after he and his wife admitted possessing cannabis in the town’s Metropolitan Hotel yesterday. The court heard how everything went wrong for Williams, who had been a regular in the pop charts, when he was convicted for possession in 1968. His solicitor, Mr. Pat Emery, told how Williams had suffered a nervous breakdown which led to him being unable to work. That in turn led to him being made bankrupt. Williams’ wife, Jean, was remanded in custody for two weeks to allow for background reports.

To The Rescue

2001. After months of uncertainty, it seems that Jimi Hendrix‘s childhood home has been saved from the wrecking ball. The house in Seattle had been sold on eBay in August but the buyer pulled out of the deal. Pleas had been made to Paul Allen who owns the Experience Music Project but he had no interest in it.

A condominium developer who had planned to demolish the building in the next two weeks has agreed to sell it to a developer who happens to be a former business manager og Leon hendrix, the guitarist’s brother. He plans to move the house to a temporary location while a permanent home can be found for it.

On Television

1983. Rockpalast (WDR, Germany) Jack Bruce And Band (Zeche Bochum). Here they are with “Green And Blue”.


1990. Ron Wood‘s father dies from a heart attack during a conversation with his son at the guitarist’s home in Wimbledon.

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From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Friday 15th August):


1951. Hard rocker (Captain Beyond, Armaggedon) turned one-hit balladeer (“What You Can’t Do For Love”) turned million selling songwriter (“The Next Time I Fall”) turned musical actor (“The Rat Pack”) Bobby Caldwell born in Manhattan, New York.

On The Road

1970. Derek McEwen, 32 year-old co-promoter of the Yorkshire Pop, Blues & Jazz Festival goes missing only hours after the event is abandoned because of bad weather. His car is spotted later in the morning on a Yorkshire/Lancashire motorway. Along with the other promoter, Brian Highley, it’s thought that McEwen shares a loss of £ 12,000 on the event. A police search is later mounted of the moors near Scammonden Bridge close to his last sighting.

In Chains

1967. 19 year old telephonist, Deirdre Meehan, arrives outside Buckingham Palace at 3.30 p.m. and proceeds to chain herself to the railings. She then tells onlookers that she doesn’t have a key for the set of handcuffs that she’s used. After 20 minutes standing in the rain, a police van pulls up and she’s quickly released before being ordered home. Deirdre and her 20 year old flat mate, Pat Cameron, have just returned from delivering a letter of protest to Prime Minister Harold Wilson while he was holidaying on the Isles Of Scilly. The girls are protesting at the order to deport two Australian members of The Bee Gees from the U.K.

In Custody

1997. Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian Rosenfield is arrested after breaking into the New York Yankees’ training camp at Legend’s Field in Tampa, Florida. He and his girlfriend, 23 year old Angela Roberts, are charged with burglary and grand theft after being caught on video trying to carry a large foam mat bearing the team’s logo to their car. The couple are released on bail of $ 7,500 each after spending 6 hours in jail. Rosenfield later explains that he’s been a life-long Yankees fan and while he’s sorry he did have a great time running around the bases. He blamed the prank on too much wine.

On Television

1997. Rockpalast (WDR, Germany) Beck; Foo Fighters; Ash; Pavement; Veruca Salt (11Th Bizarre-Festival Köln, Butzweiler Hof). Here’s Beck with “Derelict”. 4m 50s.


1984. Norman Petty, Buddy Holly‘s manager and record producer dies in Lubbock Texas, aged 57. He ceased to be Holly’s manager in 1958 after disagreements over songwriting royalties (Petty claimed a percentage of all Holly’s royalties) and Buddy’s marriage. That didn’t stop him continuing to re-release material and milk the legend of his client up to his death.


It’s finally over! I gave up! After another fruitless day in Nairn trying to find last minute premises for my rock memorabilia exhibition, I realised it was turning into a waste of time.

By the time I’d got back to the office in the evening, I’d decided to get a new blog up. One for the Ballerina Ballroom and all the bands that played there. So far I’ve got a full listing for 1966 and half of 1967 along with period clips of some of the biggest names that played there. I say some because the real gem I discovered was a clip of The Poets from Shindig! A must-see if you’re even vaguely interested in the British Beat Boom of the mid sixties.

I’m hoping to add a selection of adverts and pics of the Scottish bands that gigged there. All I’ve got to do is get them scanned and up. What I really want though is feedback from the folk that went to the ballroom. That’s where the real social history in this lies. The blog’s late up today as I’ve been working on that and also flyers to get in the Ballerina during the film festival which starts this afternoon.

I’d like to think of the blog as a virtual fringe event. You can check it out for yourselves here.

Strangely, the highlight yesterday was probably sitting in a wine bar in Nairn with a guy who was giving the gossip on what REALLY goes on in this sleepy wee town in the North of Scotland. Trouble is, I’m not sure I believe any of it. Think I’ll stick to what I know – sex and dogs and rock ‘n’ roll.


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From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Thursday 7th August):


1949. Tim Renwick (Quiver, Mike & The Mechanics) born in Cambridge, England.

On Tour

1984. Death threats have been received by The Knoxville News Sentinel against Michael Jackson who is performing the first of two shows in the city tonight. The threats are taken seriously enough that the F.B.I. are called in. The F.B.I. think the threats are unfounded but organisers step up security all the same. Both tonight’s concert and another on the 9th pass off without incident.

In Court

1998. Bernard Ortiz, a homeless man who has been stalking Linda Ronstadt for three years, is sentenced to ten months in jail. It was his second time in court over the singer. He had previously been given three years probation and ordered not to contact Ronstadt or her family. He violated the probation after only three months, sending his “victim” a watch, candles and a letter on her birthday.

In Hospital

1997. Richard Marsh (Bentley Rhythm Ace) breaks his back during a parachute jump at Langar Airfield, Nottinghamshire. The jump was being filmed for the video of the band’s next single, “Bentley’s Gonna Sort You Out” but Marsh was caught by a gust of wind during landing and thrown heavily onto his back. He was taken to Nottingham General Hospital where doctors said he would make a full recovery but need three months rest.

On Television

1957. American Bandstand (ABC, U.S.A.) 3. Paul Anka; The Tassels. This was Paul Anka’s first network TV appearance in the U.S.A. Aged only 16, he performed his soon to be massive international number 1 hit, “Diana”. While I can’t guarantee this is the correct clip, it is the correct period and I’m a bit short of time today. 2m 13s.


1978. Les Perrin, publicist for The Rolling Stones and others, dies.


There’s not a huge amount to report since yesterday. I spent another three hours in the Heritage Centre in Elgin digging through microfiche copies of the Northern Scot newspaper. So far I’ve compiled a list from 1966 to 1970 of the bands that played the Ballerina Ballroom in Nairn. 

Here’s a sample from July – December 1967:

July 07 – Cream plus Newton’s Theory with its Go-Go Girls. The gig was cancelled when the van carrying the band’s equipment failed to turn up.

July 10 – Cream return to play their concert.

July 21 – Pink Floyd

July 28 – Gino Washington and The Ram Jam Band plus The Copy Cats

August 18 – The Small Faces – concert cancelled.

August 31 – Zoot Money and his new group Dantalion’s Chariot plus The T-Set

September 08 – The Freddie Mack Show

September 15 – The Throb plus The Life N’ Soul

September 22 – Tony Merrick plus The T-Set

October 06 – The Who plus Gideon’s Few

October 13 – The Beatstalkers plus The Rebel Sound

October 20 – The Four Shades Of Blue plus The T-Set

October 27 – The Tamala Express plus The Beatroute

November 03 – The Rhubarb plus The Barons

November 10 – Clock-work Orange plus Last Chapter

November 17 – Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

December 01 – The Delroy Williams Show plus Keith Taylor

December 08 – The Troggs plus The Throb

December 15 – Symon Dupree

December 22 – Cash Boutique Queen For 1967. Grand Final

December 25 – Aberdeen Students’ Charities’ Campaign present Their Xmas Beatnik Ball with The Circle plus The T-Set

December 29 – The 1967 Last Fling with The Middle Earth plus The T-Set

I have to say it’s been a bit disappointing. While I wasn’t expecting a weekly or monthly catalogue of household names, they’ve so far been few and far between apart from the period above. That said, it paints an incredible picture of the constant touring of small to medium sized bands. The names that have stood out are the likes of Writing On The Wall, My Dear Watson, Spiggy Topes and Archemedes Principle. Now what i’m trying to do is find photos and adverts for some of them.

I went back to the Ballerina and found that John Byrne had more or less completed the area that will serve as exhibition space and festival cafe. I’ll get up some images either later today or tomorrow.


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From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Tuesday 5th August):


1959. Pete Burns (Dead Or Alive) born Pete Jozeppi in Port Sunlight, Merseyside.

On Tour

1980. David Bowie starts a three week run as “The Elephant Man” at Chicago’s Blackstone Theater.

In Rubble

1973. The Rolling Stones‘ producer, Jimmy Miller suffers the loss of at least £ 75,000 of studio gear when the Mercer Arts Center in New York (which houses Jimmy Miller Productions) collapses into a pile of rubble. The hotel next door collapses at the same time and although two people are killed, recent Rolling Stones Records signing, Kracker, who are staying there, escape unhurt.

In Court

1983. David Crosby is sentenced to five years in jail by Judge Pat McDowell in Dallas, Texas after being found guilty of possessing cocaine and carrying a gun into a bar. His lawyers lodge an instant appeal and he is released on bail.

On Television

1965. Where The Action Is (U.S.A.) The Byrds; Jewel Akens; Linda Scott; Steve Alaimo. Here are The Byrds with “All I Really Want To Do”. 2m 02s. The quality of this clip is probably the poorest I’ve ever included but its a real rarity.

1978. Pete Meadon, The Who‘s first manager and writer of “Zoot Suit” dies of barbiturate poisoning at his parents’ home in London.


Regular readers will know I’ve been struggling since April to stage a rock and pop memorabilia exhibition at the Red Shoes Theatre in Elgin. In the 1960s it was one of Scotland’s busiest and best known venues for the hundreds of bands who constantly toured the U.K. The Beatles, The Who and Pink Floyd were among the star names that played there. I was in Elgin yesterday, fully intending to have one last go at rescuing the exhibition but ended up driving another half hour west to Nairn.

Nairn was home to another venue run by Albert Bonici, the Elgin promoter who’d put The Fabs and all the others on. The Ballerina Ballroom (as it was then called), which played host to The Who, Cream, Pink Floyd et al., has lain empty for years until recently when Nairn based Hollywood actress, Tilda Swinton decided to re-open the venue and stage a film festival there. The Ballerina Ballroom Cinema Of Dreams festival lasts 8 1/2 days, starting August 15th.

It was easy to find, driving off the main road to Edinburgh, turning left for the town centre and straight into the High Street. A few hundred yards later, I passed it. I found a parking space and walked back. The doors weren’t locked, so I just walked in. There I found Tilda’s husband, the artist and playwright, John Byrne. I explained my troubles with the Ballerina’s sister venue and he instantly showed me a huge ante-room off the main ballroom with large unobstructed walls and agreed it was a great idea and a perfect adjunct to the film festival.

So, now I’ve got 10 days to promote and create the exhibition. I’m heading back to the ballroom this morning with some of the pieces I’m planning to hang and get some images for tomorrow’s blog. My plan is to replicate the real exhibition with a virtual version online. Sadly, I’d spent a lot of time researching the bands who played the Two Red Shoes and now I’m going to have to redo that for the Ballerina. I loved the idea of boards with gig adverts, reviews and listings to spark the memories of those who’d attended them.

Anyway, enough of what’s to be done. I love ferreting through old newspapers, so I can’t complain. Click on the film festival link above for full details. For some background to the festival, there’s a really great article from The Independent dated July 23rd here.


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