The Manhattans

The Manhattans were a five piece band who worked the Manchester scene in the early sixties.

During a season at Butlins  Pwllheli in 1965  the lead vocalist (Glenn South) became ill.

Pete Maclaine who was working in the office of  our agent (Alan Arnison, Stockport) at the time, stepped in to fill the breach.

Russ Lee


The Manhattans with Pete Maclaine

The Manhattans story
Kindly provided by Russ Leeand updated by Alan(Al) Dickinson

Alan (Al) Dickinson (pianist and vocalist, son of Lou Dickinson, who had been a professional big band pianist and  the landlord of the Marsden Cross Hotel  Brierfield, Nelson Lancs) originally started the Manhattans back in 1957/58 as a quartet.

The line up was Alan Dickinson (piano), John Dunicliffe (Guitar), Trevor Catlow (drums), Ronnie ?
There was no bass player at this stage.

Ronnie left the group, and was replaced by Ivan Dixon (vocals) and Walter Oliphant came in on bass guitar. The rest of the line up was John Dunicliffe, Trevor Catlow, Alan Dickinson and for a while we had a tenor sax player whose name I cant remember.

This line up lasted until 1960/61? and was reformed with the line up that did Butlin Bognor in 1962.

Jack Beckett/Johnny Grant (vocals)
Brian Birtwell (drums)
Dennis Constable (bass)
Russ Lee/Lacy (guitar)
Alan Dickinson (keyboard)

This line up played Butlins Bognor in 1962 (swapping with a 2 week stint at Butlins Clacton). Then playing

  • Summer season at Butlins Pwllheli 1963
  • Christmas at Butlins Bognor 1963
  • Summer season Pwllheli 1964, when Alan Dickinson left and joined Neil Landon and the Burnetts (inc Noel Redding & Pete Kircher)in Germany.
  • Resident at Dolphin club Colne  Weds.and Suns during the winter periods.


Alan Dickinson: Hohner Pianet ( the first electric piano in the area. Prior to this he had tried various piano mics with varying degrees of success)

Dennis Constable: Gibson SG bass. Non descript 30watt valve amp driving an 18" speaker .
JB ,Harmony Rocket guitar

Brian Birtwell
: Premier kit with Zylgan Cymbals and Ludwig all metal snare drum.

Russ Lee:
Gretch Anniversary guitar with bigsby trem ,and Fender Tremolux amp..

Alan left the group in the winter of 64 and was replaced by Trevor Bastow a virtuoso pianist, poached by JB  from The Peter Hurley trio,an outfit working at Pwllheli  at the same time as the Manhattans.

Brian Birtwell left the band  because he needed to stay nearer his family and took a job backing cabaret artists at Rosegrove Cabaret Club. Sadly Brian died at 27 years of age.

Malcom Foster,a n excellent drummer,was approached, but would only join the band as long as he could bring his own bass player. Malcom Bateson was the man in question and, knowing his pedigree, we had to agree. Sadly we had to let Dennis go.

So for a short time the line up was:

Jack Beckett  aka  John Grant ( vocals)
Russ Lacy ( aka Russ Lee) Guit /vocal
Trevor Bastow ( Key board /vocals)
Malc Foster ( Drums/vocals)
Malcom (Beef) Bateson  (Bass)

During this period Jack Beckett left and was  replaced by Glenn South

The Manhattans Mk 2  1965
Glenn South (voclals,guitar and harmonica)
Russ Lacey  aka Russ Lee ( Guitar,vocals)
Malc Foster (drums/vocals)
Malcom Bateson (Bass)
Trevor Bastow (Keyboards/vocals)

  • Great success,on the Mecca circuit nation wide
  • Went down to Kingsway studios London to record "You've got your troubles"
  • Agreed a simultaneous release date with The Fortune's management.
  • Went off to Butlins Pwllheli that summer anticipating the release of their  record during that time.
  • The Fortunes released early. The rest is history.

Butlins season went well though. They brought the house down every night in the huge Viennese bar.

Half way through the season Glenn who was suffering from a serious bout of asthma had to leave the band. Pete Mclaine (late of "The Clan") joined  on vocals.

The Season continued after some serious rehearsals , and Pete fitted in very well.
After the Season Malc Foster left the band .
The group finally fizzled out after a disastrous tour of South Wales, using a series of dep. drummers.

Russ took a job at Blackburn Locarno with the George Marino Quartet, and one day received a call from  the Vic Rawlings agency inviting him to a free evening at Rosegrove Cabaret club.

He arrive to find that Jack Beckett  had also been invited , and when the pair of them had been ushered into a private "box" in the circle, they discovered that the cabaret that night included The Manhattans.

Alan Dickinson had formed a trio and they were truly awful. To cut a long story short Vic Rawlings  brought Jack Beckett , Russ and Alan together, had them rehearse, and then sent them off to Turkey in the winter of 1966.

Although musically, the tour was a success, Alan was dropped as soon as the group got back to the UK.  Russ  and JB became a duo and for a while the name Manhattans was dropped.

Sometime in the early 70s  Russ answered an ad. In the local paper.The Thornton Manor, Thornton in Craven, was looking for a resident trio. He replied to the ad and got the job. Unfortunately he did not actually have a group at that time.

Luckily  JB was just returning from Dublin where he had been doing the Olympia Theatre. They had broken up  in 69 after their last Mosney season as "Russ and Johnny".

The Manhattans name was reborn and with dep drummers, they took up the residency at  the Thonton Manor.

Shortly after Tony Mirando ( a rrummer out of the pit orchestra at Butlins) came over from Dublin and joined the Manhattans.

So the 70s Manhattans comprised of :

Tony Mirando (Drums,vocals and flute)
JB  (vocals and Bass)
Russ (Vocals and Guitar)

When this outfit broke up in the late 70s the name was dropped again for a while.
The name was revived by JB and Graham Cockett some time later…………

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Comments (8)

Topic: Manhattans
Mike Collins says...
Graham and John. Played Butlins Minehead in the late 70s/early80s. They also played Minehead Football Club. They were a fab duo and Mike, Pauline, Salli and Lisa would love to meet them again.
18th August 2014 10:16pm
Nicky Sweetland says...
We too would love info if you get any. Our last recollection of the Manhattan Trio was at Butlins Minehead, Graham, Tony and John (Grant we think). The following year they split and Tony left. We found them at the pub just round the corner from ... Read More
1st May 2015 6:34pm
julie&dave says...
I have been looking them up for hours,as we have still got our signed record by the manhattons,i found tony seems to have died in dublin.But can't find graham foster or john grant.
2nd March 2017 4:08am
Betty Swollocks says...
You can find Graham on Facebook Graham Cockett.

Sadly Jack died around 7 years ago
8th March 2017 8:22pm
grahamcockett says...
John Grant / Jack beckett formerly
with the Manhattans passed away
11 years ago this February.
8th March 2017 10:02pm
Phil Bastow says...
Hi I am Trevor Bastow's brother. Sadly, Trevor died in 2000, but prior to that he had a successful career writing for films, doing a lot of sessions, producing tons of library music, and doing a lot of TV shows and tours. He was musical director ... Read More
28th December 2014 6:09am
Tash Boennic says...
Hi, I know you said no personal messages but I have been trying to find an old friend of mine for a very long time. John Grant or his singing partner Graham Foster. Any help would be greatly appreciated xxx
7th February 2015 6:44am
graham cockett says...
The Manhattans were actually reborn in1976 with the line-up as follows; Drums,Tony Morando, Bass guitar and vocals John Grant aka Jack Beckett Lead/Rhythm guitar an vocals.The group worked the local club & pub circuit(Burnley, Nelson, Colne) ... Read More
14th March 2017 9:37pm


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