The Manchester Prowlers
Todd Miller and the Prowlers
The Manchester Prowlers, to give them their full title, were not a product of that city, but of its close neighbour, Salford.
Centred around a Swinton pub where they used to practice, called "The Beehive", the group gradually developed its own particular sound. From the mid-sixties until their demise in 1970, they played at a variety of venues from dance halls to cabaret clubs throughout the Northwest of England.
During its existence, various personnel joined and left the group, the ultimate line-up consisting of trumpet, tenor sax, bass guitar, organ and drums; although this was sometimes augmented by a guitar or extra saxophone. Most importantly, the whole thing was brought together by the excellent vocal skills of the singer, Todd Miller.
With a dynamic stage presence, and powerful voice he could perform both ballads and up-tempo numbers favouring the style of the then current American Soul artists such as Eddy Floyd, Sam and Dave and Otis Redding. This made the band very popular on the "Northern Soul" dance circuit, and many appearances took place at the now legendary Wigan Casino in the late sixties.
The band made several recordings for the BBC at the Playhouse Theatre in Manchester. In 1969, Todd Miller released a single recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London, with the A side "To love somebody" and the B side "Rainbow City".
When the group dis-banded in 1970 Todd continued his career by joining the Joe Loss Orchestra and eventually became its musical director.
baritone and tenor saxophonist with the Prowlers from 1967 to 1970.
I seem to remember that when I was dating Todd Miller in the late 60's. He said he was about to release a song called "Ain't Got No ... I've Got Life" - which was released at the same time (1968 I believe) by Nina Simone so Todd's version never stood a chance as he was more or less "an unknown quantity".
Todd had the most sensational voice I have ever heard - he was also pretty good on a 12-string guitar.
The Beehive !! What memories !!! And Todd Miller and the Miller Band were incredible. I remember buying ToddÂ´s single on Swinton market and accompanying him to some nightclub in Manchester ...halcyon days ... told him I wanted to travel .... home now in Buenos Aires Argentina and work in Santiago Chile !!
Manchester Prowlers original line up formed 1964 as The Prowlers. Tod [Ted as he was known then] vocals, Alan Tunstall lead guitar, Geof Knowles guitar, Joe Ashton bass guitar and John Groom on drums.
The Prowlers played thier first gig at the Companions Club in Atherton, following in the footsteps of well known local bands such as The Beat boys and The Nightboppers. They played clubs in Bolton - La Canva, Boneyard, and twice at the famouse Garrick Club in Leigh.
Alan Tunstall left the band to join another local band called Le Jargon. Sometime later Joe Ashton left the band when he got married. Joe later joined the army and formed a band with other squaddies in Germany called Last Chapter who played many gigs around Minden and Hanover.
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Originally founded by 4 lads at Leigh Grammar school. John Groom - drums Jeff Knowles - guitar and vocals Arthur Lodge - vocals and David Houghton -guitar. Practiced in the scout hut at the side of Station Road Swinton, travelled on the bus. I have a photo of the band with brass and keyboards taken at Wigan Casino - John G and Jeff K still there. Last time I saw John Groom was when they had lost Jeff gained Todd Miller and were at a Bolton dancehall.