The Starlites


Rod Lee vocals
Ron Williams guitar/harmony
John Norton bass
Steve Baylis drums


I was watching "The Vikings" one Saturday night in the summer of 1963.  They were performing at a venue in Didsbury, the village hall I think it was but I'm not absolutely sure.  The place was bursting at the seams and I was quite near the back.  This wasn't a particularly good spot as I was lacking in the height department.  Mind you I was only 14. 

There were a couple of guys (it was blokes in 1963) behind me and in those day's I was a bit of a big head with a big mouth!  I said something along the lines of well the drummer's only OK.  One of the guys that were stood behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said " Do you know who the drummer is?  I replied that I didn't know and his reply was "It's Phil Summers, he's one of the best around"  I replied "He's not that good" 

So the guys said "If you can play as good as you can talk, then get down to our singer's house in Didsbury tomorrow afternoon and you can try out as we've recently sacked our drummer.  The following day with snare drum under arm I knocked on the door of singer Rod Lee's house. 

After the run through of a couple of numbers, the guys now with the singer, dissapeared into the back room.  five minutes later the bass player, John Norton said "If you can play your kit as well as you played the snare drum, welcome to The Starlites"

I was about to embark upon the most enjoyable and hilarious time of my life! 

The line up was Ron Williams, guitar and vocal harmony, Very sadly no longer with us, but a wit as sharp as a knife.  In the day time sold car parts at Rootes in Manchester centre.  

John Norton on bass whose off the cuff comments would on very many occassions have us in stitches.  He was a heating engineer by day and Rod, as previously mentioned lead vocals.  I don't know what he did for a living. 

I was still at school and most weeks ended up with £8.00 as disposable dosh in my sky rocket!  That was good dough even for someone in full time employment.  Very often we were out three and four nights a week, you only had to look at the entertainment pages of the paper at the time, the Manchester Evening News.  It was bliss to see our name plus all the other outfits names plastered all over it week in and week out. 

Friday night's after the gig, the Wimpy bar, Saturday morning, Barratts!  Did Oasis have as good a time as we did?  You bet your life they didn't!   

Steve Baylis

Ron Williams was my Dad, loved reading this story Steve!

Julie Collier (nee Williams)

I am still playing live in the midlands

Rod Leigh

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Topic: Derek Outram Entertainments
Paul webmaster says...
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3rd July 2017 12:29pm

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