Tristar Airbus

After the break up of the Manchester Big Three (resident at Bredbury Hall - GRIFF BAYLEY (bass), MAX HARDY (drums), JOHN KELLMAN (lead)- J Kellman having replaced John PEDRO Dearden - the guys then formed Tristar Airbus. The group was managed by Willie Morgan (MUFC).


  • Ric Rothwell - drums
  • Griff Bayley - bass
  • John Kellmen - lead 
  • Frank Worthington - vocal

Tristar Airbus had a single released on RCA in January 1972, titled “Willie Morgan”, a tribute song to one of Manchester United’s legendary football stars at the time. It was co-written by Graham Gouldman and Jeff Smith (a.k.a. Geoff Foot), and the latter was singing lead on the demo they cut, which got them a deal with RCA.

With the record deal in his pocket Gouldman then re-entered Strawberry Studios, Stockport to record a new and improved version of the song, this time he was doing the lead vocals himself.

However, when the guy at RCA heard the new alternate version, he asked: “Where is the singer who was on the first demo? I want the guy with the funny voice to sing on the record!” So Gouldman & Co. had to do it all over again with Jeff Smith/Geoff Foot on lead vocals, which became the A-side of the RCA single. The B-side, “Travellin’ Man”, another Gouldman song, was a decent country rock style number,

The song “Willie Morgan” was also covered by The Ted Taylor Chorus And Orchestra in 1972, released on an LP titled “Best Of The Football Themes” (EMI Starline SRS 5122).

Geoff Foot had been a member of The Chasers in the mid 1960s, then The Rogues in 1968 and Sunshine in 1969-70. He got a solo recording deal with Mickie Most’s RAK label in 1971 under the stage name of Jeff Smith.

His one and only solo single coupled “Going To A Party” with “Gypsy In My Blood” (RAK 120) released October 1971, both self-penned by Smith. He also wrote the Hermits’ first Noone-less single “She’s A Lady”, which came out that same month on RCA Victor.

In the mid to late 1980s Geoff Foot played with Mike Sweeney’s Thunderbyrds, who were also Wayne Fontana’s backing band at the time. The Thunderbyrds appeared alongside other bands on several album releases on Imaginary Records – doing tributes to The Kinks, The Stones, Pink Floyd etc.

Geoff Foot then joined Herman’s Hermits in late May 1989 as bassist/lead vocalist, and in 2009 he’s still out there on the road with Barry Whitwam’s version of this very successful Manchester band from the 60’s.

Olaf Owre - 17/11/09
  • tristarairbus3
  • tristarairbus2
  • tristarairbus_rca2170B
  • tristarairbus_rca2170A













Pictured from left to right, Frank Worthington,Griff Bayley,Rick Rothwell,John Kellman.



Comments powered by CComment