St Louis Union
Rhythm and Blues magazine | MM Beat Contest | Keith Millar | Spanish news article | Dave Webb

Tony Cassidy vocals
Keith Millar guitar
Alex Kirby tenor sax/flute
David Tomlinson hammond organ
John Nichols bass guitar
Dave Webb drums
also included  
Lennie Zaksen sax, flute
Bernie Brown sax, flute

Having won a Melody Maker beat contest in 1965, they obtained a  Decca recording deal and were able to cover a great record for their debut - The Beatles' "Girl" - which brought them chart success - just outside the top ten. 

"The Truth", who also released a version at the same time, were not as fortunate.

A pre-mod St Louis Union photo taken at the
Old Twisted Wheel
in Brazenose Street just after the band formed

Front - Alex Kirby, Dave Tomlinson, John Nichols
Back - Tony Cassidy, Dave Webb
Extreme right - Keith Millar

3 December 1965
3 December 1965

Click on image for larger picture

The band  made an appearance in the film "The Ghost Goes Gear", which also featured The Spencer Davis Group. Picture below from the film.


Local dance fans will have purchased the record for it's "B" side - a great version of Otis's "Respect".  I did!

But their follow-ups, Graham Gouldman's Behind The Door (which I also bought and was covered in the USA by Cher) and East Side Story, failed to dent the Top Forty -  bringing their recording career to an end in less than a year.  They eventually split in 1967.

But what a hectic 1966!

They may not have continued to spark the record buying public's interest but they kindled my life-long interest in soul music.  Thank you. 

Paul (webmaster)

Click on link for larger image


Girl/Respect (Decca F12318)


Behind The Door/English Tea
(Decca F12386)


East Side Story/Think About Me
(Decca F12508)


Girl/Respect (Parrot 9812) 1966 


"Dave Webb and I had previously played for a great touring band around the region - The Chapters.

After them, I had then gone on to form a new outfit with Marian Stockley (later known as Friday Brown) which coined the name 'Wynder K. Frog' and we asked Mick Weaver from Bolton to join on keyboards (Farfisa organ).

At the end of the short lived band (but some good gigs), he took the name and went to London and got a recording contract with Island Records. I went on to join St. Louis Union with Dave."

Alex Kirby

I saw the band at the Gay Tower Ballroom (you could say that then) Birmingham, I think as support for the Small Faces. Can anyone confirm this ? Does anyone know the date of this gig? If I remember rightly I spoke to a couple of the blokes.

Sean Toal

I remember John Nichols.

The schoolboy from St. Bedes with whom I 'hung out' at the 'Cona Cafe'when I was 15 and he was 17. We sometimes sat on the step outside of said coffee bar, to mull over our then thwarted 'love lives'.

He was such a lovely guy, and I was so proud to see him on TV singing 'Girl' a couple of years later......and wondered if he was singing about the girl in striped, matelot tee shirt.

Gosh, we were soooooo young and gorgeous, and I still love the St. Louis Union version of that song. Heigh Ho.

Kate Franklin

On second thoughts, methinks it might have been Tony Cassidy who used to 'hang out' at the Cona.

Gawd knows that I spent years thinking he was a 'Mike' for some reason.

Suffice to say......'many moons' etc.,but I remember that sweet, fair haired boy from St. Bedes like it was yesterday.

Kate Franklin

Yes you are right it was Tony Cassidy who frequented the Cona. The group were well known in Manchester mainly where they frequently played at clubs such as The Twisted Wheel and The Oasis. They covered a lot of soul music and played on the same bill as Otis Redding in the '60s  - this was at a time when not many white muscians sang any soul and they were remarkable.  The video does not do justice to them  -  it was taken from a low budget film where they were mearly playing a part.

Francesca Cassidy

The St Louis Union were a fab band, Tony Cassidy has a great voice, saw them several times at The Twisted Wheel on Brazzenose st in Manchester together with "Ivans Meads" they appeared on Top of the pops and several of us from 'The Wheel' went to see them. Where are they now?

Dorothy Lowe

Did Dave Tomlinson go to Old Trafford Sec Boys School? AKA Stretford Road.

Just seem to remember the St Louis Union had a member who used to "study" there.

Peter Aisthorpe-Buckley

At one stage, Lenny Sax (later in Sad Cafe) played tenor sax with the Union together with Bernie Brown who played baritone sax and flute.  They were both on 'East Side Story' but when the band did this on 'Top of the Pops' (recorded at the BBC's Dickinson Road Studio), Lenny and Bernie didn't appear in vision because they were 'employees' of rather than members of the band. 

Pete Crooks

Not in the same musical style, but of relevance and not mentioned here: Dave Tomlinson would later share a flat with Martin Hannett, Manchester's new wave mix master,  and would go on to form a key part of the sound of both Magazine and Visage under the name of Dave Formula.

I have indexed all known radio broadcasts and unofficial recordings of Magazine at - just click the Magazine post in the index on the right. Cheers,

Dave Sez

I knew Dave Tomlinson around 1967 we worked in a shop together on Stockport Rd after the Union split up. He lived in Stretford near Brooks Bar. He married and lived in Altrincham around 1970.

I went to London and we lost touch.

Bernie Fullalove

This group were fantastic on the college & club venues in Nottingham, (I fell madley in love with Dave Tomlinson) Their sound was one of the best 'Blues sounds' by a white group ever & I still believe it, should still be going now.

Sue xxx 

Sue Goodess

Tony Cassidy was my teacher at Cheadle Hulme High school during the 70's and a fantastic teacher he was, opened my and many others eyes. We once played him his record as a joke, he was shocked as he kept that part of his life quiet to his pupils.

Awesome teacher and an around good bloke.

Ian Hannah

Where are they now? I was their road manager when they made GIRL. Alex Kirby was brill. Fond memories. I'm now into my seventies.

John Donovan [Don]

I taught with Tony Cassidy during the early 1980s and he really was a source of inspiration to others...modest too, understated and gently spoken.

I was always impressed by his knowledge of European literature and I was very sorry indeed to hear of his passing in around 2005.

The strange thing is that as a previous contributor has said, he was very reluctant to talk about his earlier life in the music business. But on the night he left our school, I asked him again about it and to my surprise, he spoke most expansively - about the songs and also about the shallower side of pop stardom.

I remember very vividly seeing the St Louis Union on Top of the Pops in early 1966. 'Rubber Soul' of course had been an LP without singles and it was always a delight to see Beatles album tracks covered so well.

But for some reason, 'Behind The Door' has been going round and round in my head to today. That wonderful song and performance was, at least for me, the group's finest moment.

John Ward

We used to go around with them in the early/mid 60's - Went to Twisted Wheel  Blackpool & a venue in  London (can't remember the name) with them & other places. We all just piled in the van no seat belts etc not even seats in the back.

Tony used to wear a jacket which he called "ginger hairy jeffrey" Great times, great memories.

Norma Jones

I taught with Tony at Marple Ridge High School. Such wonderfully happy days!!! A wow bloke! Miss him loads. R.I.P.

Sue McGill

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Comments (5)

Topic: St Louis Union
Steve Coffey says...
I wonder if anyone can tell me why the group's name, St Louis Union, was chosen.
1st April 2014 9:56pm
Richard Taylor says...
Hi, l was one of the Poachers, who came third in the same heat as St. Louis Union and remember many things, including how one of the group would seletape his hair in possition, exact as he wanted. We are still playing, now in our 50th year.
9th June 2014 9:15pm
Norma Jones says...
I also remember them using the sellotapeWink
11th June 2014 3:04am
Matt Rampage says...
David Tomlinson (Formula) has a new beat band- Dave Formula & The Finks.
4th September 2014 8:03am
Kev Morrow says...
I went to Old Trafford Boys in the early 1960,s and remember our Music teacher Mr Johnson explaining Dave Tomlinson was a pupil there some years previously. He thought the name of the group was derived from Lucy st near the main school and East ... Read More
11th March 2015 7:17am

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