For pre-1967 group see The Modrox

Line-up included  
Brian Cochrane Singer 1967-69
James (Jimmy) Litherland Lead Guitar/vocals 1966
Steve Bolton - 'Boltz' Lead Guitar 1966-69
Johnny Wrigley  Drums 1968-69
Paul Smith Tenor Sax 1967-69
Alan Stone Bass 1966-68
Kevin Bowden Organ


Far left is 'Steve Bolton' - Lead Guitar - later to play with Atomic Rooster / The Who / Paul Young Band and more..... (playing a Grimshaw Guitar )

Formed in 'Royton' in 1966/67 and later Newton Heath up to 1969, the band played all over UK at Universities (which were the big audiences of that time) and cellar bars like 'Twisted Wheel' , 'Jungfrau' , Mr. Smiths' , 'Liverpool Cavern',   Belle Vue, Alma Lodge, Bredbury Hall, Bernard Manning's Embassy Club, and the Domino/Nothern/Southern Sporting Clubs (ie Moss Enterprises, where they shared dressing rooms with jugglers/snake dancers to female impersonators).

They were a support band for lots of name bands of the time.   -  Who / Status Quo / Crazy World of Arthur Brown/ Long John Baldry/ Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band / Hollies / Dave Dee etc / Andy Fairweather-Low, etc.

Agent was 'Alan Arnison Agency'  - Wilmslow/Stockport  -  anybody remember Heather, his secretary and Stuart Littlewood (booker)  ?

The Puzzle's first line-up culminated in them going pro in 1967 to back Jimmy Powell and become the Dimensions. That eventually ended and they reformed to continue their most successful phase until 1969 when they were approached to become the backing group to 'Kirk St. James' - a limited venture.   

Two of the original members went on to wide acclaim in top national bands :-  

James (Jimmy) Litherland  became a founder Member of Jon Hisemans Colosseum, the members included Dick Heckstall Smith, Dave Greenslade, Graham Bond and later Chris Farlowe.  He went on to form 'Mogul Thrash'. He also worked with Leo Sayer plus many more named acts.

He played on the following albums:

  • Colosseum. "Those who are about to die" [1969].
  • Edwards Hand. "stranded" [1971].
  • Long John Baldry . "Everything stops for tea" [1973].
  • Leo Sayer. "Just a boy" [1974].
  • Bandit. "Bandit" [1977].
  • Steve Marriot. "30 seconds to midnite" [1989].

Steve Bolton - 'Boltz' joined Atomic Rooster as Lead Guitar ( 1971-1973) , which at the time featured Chris Farlowe as lead singer. He was a founder member of the Paul Young Band - 'No Parlez'  1983-85  -  and was invited to play with the 'Who ', as Lead Guitar on their 25th Anniverary World Tour. Townsend was unable to play electric guitar at that time. 

Steve played with:

  • Atomic Rooster [1971].
  • Headstone [1974].
  • Joe O'Donnell band [1978].
  • Vampire bats [1982].
  • No Parlez [Paul Youngs band] [1983].
  • Richard Strange and the Engine Room [1988].
  • The Who [1989].

Steve has also worked with:

Carl Palmer. John Otway. Mark Ashton. Dominic Miller. Bill Smith. Mark Pinder. Ian Kewley. [Plus many more].

Brian Cochrane remembers:

One of the most interesting moments was protecting our newly acquired Marshall gear (2 days old and on an HP agreement from Barratts) from annihilation from the antics of the Who when we supported them at York University in 1967/8. All their equipment was in ruins! We just managed to anticipate Townsend's rotary arm!

When Jimmy Litherland left to go to London and join Jon Hiseman's Colloseum - I replaced him as the 'Singer' and Steve moved over to 'Lead Guitar'

Steve and I would keep in touch and visit Jimmy, who was living with Dick Heckstall-Smith, and generally mixing and playing with the top Blues / Jazz musicians of that time - Alexis Korner , Graham Bond etc...... in fact many of those players at that time went on to play in such top bands as The Average White Band, Emmerson Lake and Palmer, Crazy World of Author Brown, Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers etc.

Some Video and Audio clips of Steve Bolton and Jimmy Litherland from the late sixties/early seventies.

Atomic Rooster - Breakthrough 1973

Colosseum German tv special part 4

Colosseum German tv special part 5

Colosseum German tv special part 6

I worked with Steve in a cotton mill in Royton for about a year, we used to have our breaks together and talk music. I also knew Jimmy Litherland before he joined Jon Heisman.

Steve even then was a brilliant guitarist. We all knew each other because we all came from around the Oldham + Manchester area.

Also John Wrigley, Wooley, and the rest of the crew from Barclay James Harvest, they where all good mates and I saddly miss those times.

Pepper Tree

Add a Comment to this page

Please note: All comments are moderated and will not appear straight away. Please do not re-send.
Sorry ... but personal messages not related to the purpose of Manchesterbeat may not be added to the site

Comments (2)

Topic: The Puzzle
John H. Warburg says...
Puzzle formed in 1966 in Royton, near Oldham, Lancashire with a line-up of Brian Cochrane on lead vocals, Jimmy Litherland on lead guitar (b. James Litherland, Tuesday, September 6, 1949, Salford, Lancashire, UK), Steve 'Boltz' Bolton on ... Read More
21st September 2014 11:35am
James Litherland says...
As far as I remember the line up we had was a 5 piece with Al Stone doing most of the lead vocals and Paul Smith on Sax. In fact I still have a picture of that line up. Also I left not to go to London but to join The Gogo as a rhythm guitarist to ... Read More
28th October 2015 9:57pm


Copyright © manchesterbeat.com
All rights reserved. Unauthorized use of any content is strictly prohibited.

Please read our Disclaimer/Copyright Notice