The Diablos
Courtesy Bert Ashton

Gordon Leach vocals
Alan Warburton lead
Johnny Kirkham drums
Ray Whitehead rhythm
Billy Lees bass

In 1959 a group of lads from the Oldham area formed a beat group and called themselves The Diablos.

They became the resident group at the Waterloo Hotel, Union St, Oldham and later became the resident group in the large upstairs concert room at the Friendship Inn, Mumps, Oldham.

The lads also found success in playing at local workings men's clubs.



Venn Tracey and the Diablos  

Venn Tracey vocals
Alan Warburton lead
Charlie Sidebottom drums
Ray Whitehead rhythm
Billy Lees bass

About 1962, Gordon Leach left the group and was replaced by singer Venn Tracey, and still resident at the Friendship, they attracted a large following and soon found bookings at some of the bigger venues in the Lancashire area.

They also did a stint as warm-up group for Top of the Pops at the Dickinson Road studios in Manchester. The lads also won the best beat group award at the Oldham Empire.

Sadly the group broke up in the late sixties and the lads went their separate ways.

Venn Tracy took to the road as a very successful comedian and MC, appearing at nightclubs and sportsman's dinners throughout the northwest, and is still active today. Alan Warburton joined the Manton Set,  he still lives in the Waterhead area of Oldham.


Venn Tracey and the Diablos have always been good friends of mine.

The group were a very tight combo. Alan Warberton left them and came with me in the Tony Manton Sset.

Venn is a good friend but now I'm living in Spain I don't keep in touch with them. Also Venn looked after me when I was in a bit of trouble - can't speak too highly of them all.

Happy days.

Tony Manton

After leaving the DIABLOS Gordon Leach joined THE RENEGADES

Peter Havery


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Comments (4)

Topic: The Diablos
Peter Kenny says...
Bill Lees, the bass player was my best friend at the time the group was formed. I remember being in a pub in Waterhead tossing around names for this future group. My suggestion was Johnny Drunken and the Blue Bass Boys, but it was dismissed out of ... Read More
16th February 2015 9:34pm
Ian Williams (ST. LEONARDS-ON-SEA) says...
Before The diablos, John Kirkham, myself, and Tony Hallwood formed a trio. I think Tony mightvalso have sung for a while with the Diablos.Are you based anywhere near Torrevieja?
11th November 2017 8:30am
Sandra Dawson (Busselton) says...
My uncle John Gleave, used to manage the band. He was thrilled when I did a Google search and found this page.
12th December 2017 11:30pm
Tony Gardner (Bury) says...
I remember the Diablos very well. They stole the show off us at the Beat contest! I have a sheet with the line-ups on it, and a revue from Beat about the Bush, if you like it.
Tony Gardner. Missing Links.
13th December 2017 1:50am


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