The Mighty Avengers Rugby info courtesy Tony Campbell
Kevin (Bep) Mahon
Dave (Biffo) Beech
I started The Mighty Avengers in 1962 (I think).
I had already being playing in several semi-pro bands around Rugby, and was at the time an apprentice at the Coventry Bristol Siddeley Co, where I met Dave (Biffo) Beech and found out that he was one hell of a rock & roll drummer.
I was at school with Mike Linnell and Kevin (Bep) Mahon, and met them again when they were both playing with "Rockin" Chris Pottle (and his dad).
They both agreed to join us and the Avengers were born. (Changing to the Mighty Avengers to avoid confusion with the Birmingham group of the same name.)
We played many venues in Coventry and Rugby first, being part of the Coventry "Twang" scene including a regular once a week stint at the Walsgrave Hotel. Other regular nights were run by "Friars Agency" and other promoters in the City including the Pilot, Parkstone Club and many many others. In fact on a Friday and Saturday, there were two pages of adverts for venues in the Telegraph, I think I counted twenty eight pubs with live bands one night.
We regularly supported name acts on the Reg Calvert circuit. Now you might have known Reg, and if you did please forgive me for mentioning him, but he lived just up the road at Clifton Hall, and was host to two resident bands (Danny Storm and the Strollers and Buddy Britten and the Regents) who lived in and formed the backbone of his promotions around the area. Later he was responsible for putting the Fortunes together and lost his life during the Radio Pirates (Radio Sutch/390) era. He used many headliners and also local bands like us in support. We worked regularly with Joe Brown, and played with the Beatles at Nuneaton Co-op hall on the night that Love Me Do was released. Denny Lane (of Moodys and Wings fame) was also on the bill fronting his band The Diplomats.
We managed to start working further afield, and managed to secure a management deal with Kennedy St Artistes in Manchester. They were also managing Herman`s Hermits, Freddie & The Dreamers, Wayne Fontana and others.
Our Manager Danny Betesh negotiated a deal with Decca and we recorded our first record "Hide Your Pride" at Decca No1. This is best forgotten and luckily died without trace.
Our second attempt was under the guiding hand of that well known nutter Andrew Loog Oldham, then the Rolling Stones Manager, hence the reason why we recorded two Jagger/Richard songs "So Much In Love" and "When Blue Turns To Grey" (Later done by Cliff Nickers who had a hit with it).
Mild success with So Much, nothing with When Blue. Neither of the Stones played on our tracks , but we augmented with John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page later of Led Zeppelin. Jimmy and Paul were playing session at the time, (Jimmy did that lovely solo in Dave Berry`s Crying Game).
I don`t remember anyone throwing up on a desk, but considering the amount of pop consumed at the time by the other guys (I was teetotal) it would not have surprised me and age is affecting the grey matter.
Our last effort with Loog Oldham was a track called Walking Through the Sleepy City, which was when he had had pinched Phil Spector`s "wall of sound" head.
We recorded it in one take with at least forty session musos and everything but the kitchen sink on it.
30 Jan 1965
There were many outrageous incidents including Biffo`s trump in front of a stage full of Northern Dance Orchestra and a live audience in the Manchester recording of BBC Pop North, just in the silent bit where Gay Burne had introduced us and we were walking on to plug in. Shame the tape was cut there.
We did not have great success in the UK, but “So Much”. did well in Australia. Loog Oldham was visiting Oz and he was questioned by the press, not about the Stones who hadn’t had a hit there then, but about us. Since he was only our Recording Manager and wasn’t really interested in us other than a vehicle with which to make money, he didn’t know much about us, and the question took him by surprise.
There are many happy memories of the Mighty Avengers time, not least the great early days around Coventry, the midnight band bowling league, late night meals at Gregs on Ball Hill. The good friends we made in other bands like the Hinkley Matadors, Tony Martin, Pip Witcher, Don Fardon and a lot more.
Happy times in Manchester with Jimmy Savile, Ray Teret, Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Hollies, Fourmost, Blue Jeans, Freddie & Herman (affectionately refered to as Gap Gob)
We came to the end of the Avenger road in 1966, but Biffo and Kevin joined me when I decided to start a six piece band called Jigsaw, but that is another story.
I am just watching Mike Linnel on Countdown, Channel 4 prog and he has just mentioned the days playing in the Mighty Avengers - interesting hey.....
Surprised there was no mention of the time they did the Cavern in Liverpool, I remember that one because we (The Travellers) were one of the groups on wth them that night. Very good group.
I remember the Mighty Avengers appearance on Ready Steady Go
I did my apprenticeship with The Ministry Of Defence establishment "Aquila" in Chislehurst and one of the other apprentices in my year (Alan Cole from Rugby) organised for a band called The Liberators to play at one of our "dos". Alan said that his cousin played in The Liberators and later-on said that the band had changed it's name to The Mighty Avengers. There is no mention of that on this website so maybe Alan's cousin actually left one band and joined the other - I don't know. Alan himself later became a roadie for Gary Glitter and after he had left Glitter lost his life to either drugs or AIDS - (we think that it was drugs).
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I was married to Chris Pottle (still good mates)and the Mighty Avengers were the lads in his first real group. They practised in the school classroom as his dad was a caretaker. Good days,lots of fun. Also when Mike and Kevin moved on to another ... Read More
I was married to Chris Pottle (still good mates)and the Mighty Avengers were the lads in his first real group. They practised in the school classroom as his dad was a caretaker. Good days,lots of fun. Also when Mike and Kevin moved on to another band, Chris got together with Tony Newman and Sam Kempe and they were called Gavin Stone and The Solitaires - Tony and Sam then joined other musicians Tom Long included and became Pinkertons (Assorted)Colours. Rugby had good bands and we all had fun - we're still in touch these days. Chris himself had a few local bands and played until the 1990's. He has still got his original Fender Strat which cost him £169 from a shop in Coventry, worth a bit more now!!! We have been to a number of birthday parties recently - some now in their 70's but we still enjoy music and meeting up for a drink. My own sons are local dj's and one is a drummer with a local band, another son is a bass player. Tom Long helps out with equipment for their discos. I have had a great time with the lads and have very fond memories of the music scene- those were the days.
Popcorn to Rock 'n' Roll - new book by S.K. Moore, available on Amazon. About Reg and Dorothy Calvert and their early days of Rock 'n' Roll and bringing Rock 'n' Roll to England, putting pop groups together and running dances ... Read More
Popcorn to Rock 'n' Roll - new book by S.K. Moore, available on Amazon. About Reg and Dorothy Calvert and their early days of Rock 'n' Roll and bringing Rock 'n' Roll to England, putting pop groups together and running dances for teenagers. NEXT BOOK: CLIFTON HALL - School of Rock 'n' Roll should be out summer 2016. Mentions the Mighty Avengers and many other groups including the Beatles.
Hiya, any memories of your Gig at the Little Fat ***** Cat Club in Bradford please. It was on Friday Oct 16th.1964. The Cat was in a huge cellar complex and very scruffy. How does that date relate to the recording of So Much In Love? John