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Locarno Ballroom (2)
23 Market Pavement - Basildon Town Centre

Groups, solo artists and entertainers known to have performed at the nightclub.

From 1961, when it opened as the Locarno, through its time as Tiffany's to its eventual closure as Raquels in 1995 the nightclub attracted many famous groups and solo performers. Some of these performances were by ticket only and others were private events where the venue would be booked by companies like Marconi's.

Locarno - 1961-1970
Dave Clark Five
Date: Monday 24th December 1962 - Sunday 12th January 1964
Line up: Dave Clark, drums; Mike Smith, vocals and keyboards; Rick Huxley, bass guitar; Denis Payton, saxophone; Lenny Davidson, guitar
Support: Dave Holland Orchestra
The Dave Clark Five were formed in Tottenham, north London by stuntman turned drummer Dave Clark. The group first played the Locarno in 1962 where they provided both Christmas Eve and New Years Eve's entertainment. They then held down a very successful Sunday night residency that lasted throughout 1963 and into 1964. In January 1964 after around 56 dates the band switched Mecca venues to the Tottenham Royal in north London following the success of their second hit "Glad all Over", released in December 1963.
The Searchers
Date: Friday 24th April 1964
Line up: Tony Jackson, lead vocals, bass guitar; John McNally, rhythm guitar, vocals; Mike Pender, lead guitar, lead vocals; Chris Curtis, drums, lead vocals
Support: Peter Night and the Nightriders plus resident dance band
The Searchers from Liverpool hit the big time the previous year with a string of hits beginning with "Sweets for my Sweet", "Sugar and Spice", "Needles and Pins" and "Don't Throw Your Love Away", which was their latest release and at No.4 in the charts at the time of this performance. A Marconi Basildon Apprentice Association (M.B.A.A.) presentation. 8pm - 1am. Tickets priced at 12/6 (62½p), available from Exchange Travel Agency, 18 South Walk, Town Centre, Basildon or Marconi Company Ltd.
Manfred Mann
Date: Friday 24th July 1964
Line up: Paul Jones, lead vocals, harmonica; Manfred Mann, keyboards, Mike Hugg, drums; Tom McGuiness, bass guitar; Mike Vickers, guitar
Support: The Monotones and The Paramounts
Manfred Mann's appearance at the Locarno was in support of their latest release "Do-Wah-Diddy-Diddy" on 10th July, which went on to spend 2 weeks at number one in August. Support came from two Southend-on-Sea bands The Monotones and The Paramounts. The Monotones comprised Jim Easton, lead vocals, rhythm guitar; Brian Alexander, vocals, lead guitar; Pete Stanley, vocals, bass guitar and Gary Nichols, drums. In 1964 they secured a record contract with Pye Records and released a number of unsuccessful singles including "What Would I Do", "It's Great", "No Waiting" and "Something's Hurting Me". The Paramounts comprised Gary Brooker, vocals, keyboards; Robin Trower, guitar; Diz Derrick, bass guitar; and B.J. Wilson, drums. Both support groups had recording contracts and released regular, though mainly unsuccessful, singles during the period 1964-1966. Three members of the Paramounts - Brooker, Trower and Wilson - would later go on to be members of Procol Harum whose debut record "A Whiter Shade of Pale" topped the British charts in June 1967.
The Kinks
Date: Friday 4th September 1964
Line up: Ray Davies, lead vocals, rhythm guitar; Dave Davies, lead guitar; Pete Quaife, bass guitar; Mick Avory, drums
The Kinks were currently undertaking a British tour to promote the release of their 3rd single "You Really Got Me". The song was released on 4th August climbing to No. 1 in the week following this performance. Their appearance was notable for an altercation between guitarist Dave Davies and the security 'bouncers' which resulted in the performance being halted.
The Animals
Date: Friday 14th May 1965
Line up: Eric Burdon, lead vocals; Alan Price or Mick Gallagher, organ and keyboards; Bryan "Chas" Chandler, bass guitar; Hilton Valentine, guitar; John Steel, drums
Support: The Soul Agents. Felders Orioles.
The Animals were formed in Newcastle upon Tyne earlier in the decade and are perhaps best remembered for their cover of "House of the Rising Sun", which topped both the British and American charts in 1964. Doors open 8pm - 1am. A Marconi Basildon Apprentice Association presentation. Tickets were priced at 13/- (65p) from Exchange Travel Agency, 16 South Walk, Town Centre, Basildon.
The Who
Date: Friday 9th July 1965
Line up: Roger Daltrey, lead vocals; Pete Townshend, guitar; John Entwistle, bass guitar; Keith Moon, drums
Support: The Monotones
This was the first of three Who performances at the Locarno.
The Paramounts
Date: Friday 24th September 1965
Line up: Gary Brooker, lead vocals, keyboards; Robin Trower, guitar; Diz Derrick, bass guitar and Phil Wainman or B.J. Wilson, drums
Support: The Transatlantics and The Pentads
See 24th July entry for Paramounts information.
The Who
Date: Friday 18th March 1966
Line up: Roger Daltrey, lead vocals; Pete Townshend, guitar; John Entwistle, bass guitar; Keith Moon, drums
Support: Not known
The Who performed live throughout 1966 mainly on one-night-stands which included two appearances at the Locarno in March and September. This first show was in support of their latest single "Substitute", released on the 4th March and charting at No. 5.
The Who
Date: Friday 2nd September 1966
Line up: Roger Daltrey, vocals; Pete Townshend, guitar; John Entwistle, bass guitar; Keith Moon, drums
Support: Not known
The Who's third and final performance at the Locarno was in support of their latest single "I'm a Boy", released on 26th August and charting at No. 2.
Small Faces
Date: Friday 23rd September 1966
Line up: Steve Marriott, vocals, guitar; Ronnie Lane, vocals, bass guitar, Ian McLagan, keyboards; Kenney Jones, drums
Support: Not known
The Small Faces were formed the previous year and had had five singles released by the time of this appearance. Their latest "All or Nothing", released in August, had topped the charts the previous week.
The Nashville Teens
Date: Friday 12th May 1967
Line up: Ray Phillips, vocals; Arthur Sharp, vocals; John Allen, guitar, Pete Shannon, bass; John Hawken, piano; Roger Groome, drums
Support: Not known
The Nashville Teens are best remembered for their 1964 hit "Tobacco Road".
Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band
Date: Friday 11th August 1967
Line up: Geno Washington – lead vocals; John ‘Silkie’ Culley, lead guitar; Dave Greenslade, organ; Peter Carney, bass guitar; Lionel ‘Rocky’ Kingham, tenor saxophone; Clive ‘Hercules’ Burrows, baritone saxophone; Hans Herbert – drums
Support: Not known
The band would return for a second appearance in 1968 on 12th July.
The Move
Date: Friday 1st September 1967
Line up: Carl Wayne, lead vocals; Roy Wood, vocals, guitar; Chris "Ace" Kefford, vocals, bass guitar; Trevor Burton, vocals, guitar; Bev Bevan, drums
Support: Not known
The popular Birmingham band were in town to promote their latest single release "Flowers in the Rain", which went on to chart at No. 2 and have the distinction of being the first song to get played on the newly launched BBC Radio 1.
The Moody Blues
Date: Friday 22nd December 1967
Line up: Justin Hayward, lead vocals, guitar; John Lodge, vocals, bass guitar; Mike Pinder, keyboards, vocals; Ray Thomas, vocals, flute, percussion; Graeme Edge, drums, vocals
Support: The Marmalade plus Ivan St. Clair And The System Soul Band
Another popular Birmingham band to visit the town were the Moody Blues. Formed just three years earlier, they had undergone a line-up change the previous year when their former lead singer and guitarist Denny Laine departed for a solo career. His replacement was Justin Hayward who fronted the band for their one and only appearance in Basildon. Although originally a blues band this new line up, which also included John Lodge on bass, were seeking a new direction as heard on their latest album "Days of Future Passed", released in November 1967. This performance was probably to promote both the album and its lead song "Nights in White Satin", which was released on 10th November and would go on to chart at number 19 early the following year.
The Riot Squad
Date: Friday 15th March 1968
Line up: Caldwell Smythe, lead vocals; Len "The Monster" Tuckey, guitar; Pete Scott, bass guitar; Brian "Butch" Davis, piano; Bob Evans, saxophone, flute; Derek Roll, drums
Support: The Original Dyaks
The Riot Squad were formed in 1964 in London. They secured a recording contract with Pye Records who released seven singles between 1965 and 1967. Although none of them charted the band were a popular live attraction and their former members included Mitch Mitchell on drums- who later joined the Jimi Hendrix Experience - Graham Bonney from Basildon, who went on to have a top 20 hit with the song "Supergirl" in 1966 and David Bowie, who briefly joined the band in 1967 debuting at Woodlands School Youth Centre in Basildon on Friday March 17th as support to the 'supergroup' Cream. They also played on Saturday 25th November at Nicholas School Youth Centre in Laindon but not with the David Bowie line-up and again at Woodlands School Youth Centre on Friday 22nd December, 1967 in a "Fancy Dress Christmas Dance". The line-up for this Locarno performance included guitarist Len Tuckey who later married the American solo star Suzi Quatro after joining her backing band in the early 1970s.
Amen Corner
Date: Friday 29th March 1968
Line up: Andy Fairweather Low, lead vocals; Neil Jones, guitar; Clive Taylor, bass guitar, backing vocals; Dennis Byron, drums, backing vocals; Blue Weaver, keyboards; Allan Jones, saxophone; Mike Smith, tenor saxophone
Support: Not known
This welsh band from Cardiff were formed in 1966 and signed to Decca Records subsidiary Deram Records. At the time of this performance the band were enjoying chart success with their third hit single "Bend Me Shape Me", which made number 3. Lead singer Andy Fairweather Low would go on to have a solo career as well as appearing on guitar with former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters and as a member of Eric Clapton's backing band.
Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band
Date: Friday 12th July 1968
Line up: Geno Washington – lead vocals; Dave Greenslade, organ; John ‘Silkie’ Culley, lead guitar; Peter Carney, bass guitar; Lionel ‘Rocky’ Kingham, tenor saxophone; Pat Higgs, trumpet; Hans Herbert, drums
Support: Not known
Geno Washington's second and last appearance at the Locarno.
Desmond Dekker
Date: 1969
Line up: Desmond Dekker, vocals
Support: Not known.
The Jamaican born artist Desmond Dekker was riding on the crest of a wave having topped the charts the previous year with "Israelites" and followed it with "It Mek". It is believed he returned again in the 1970s but a date has yet to be confirmed.
The Box Tops
Date: Thursday 4th December 1969
Line up: Danny Smythe, drums; Gary Talley, lead guitar, backing vocals; Alex Chilton, lead vocals, guitar; John Evans, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals; Harold Cloud, bass guitar
Support: Not known
The Box Tops were formed in 1967 in Memphis, America and are best remembered for the hit singles "The Letter" and "Cry Like a Baby". This date may not have taken place as the band allegedly cancelled their British tour shortly after arrival.
The Upsetters
Date: Friday 26th December 1969
Line up: Glen "Capo" Adams, Keyboards; Alva "Reggie" Lewis, guitar; Lloyd "Gitsy" Willis, guitar; Aston "Family Man" Barrett, bass guitar; Carlton Barrett, drums
Support: Not known
The Jamaican band The Upsetters were essentially a recording group put together to undertake a six week British tour off the back of their hit single "Return of Django", which had peaked at No. 5 the previous month. The instrumental song was credited to Lee "Scratch" Perry who created the band and who took part in a limited musical capacity at some of the tour dates, but not necessarily at Basildon. The group that recorded the song and others couldn't make the tour so a substitute band, known as the Hippy Boys, was hastily put together to perform as the Upsetters. Two of its members, the Barrett brothers, would go on to form the Wailers and back Bob Marley.

Tiffany's - 1970-1974
No dates yet confirmed.

Raquels - 1974-1995
Depeche Mode
Date: Sunday 3rd May 1981 - Wednesday 10th November 1981
Line up: Dave Gahan, vocals; Vince Clarke, keyboards; Martin Gore, keyboards; Andrew Fletcher, keyboards
Support: 10th November - Film Noir, Blancmange
This was the groups second appearance in the town centre, the first having been Sweeneys discotheque on 28th April. The group would return one final time on Wednesday 10th November during their Speak and Spell tour which was also the last to feature Vince Clarke. This concert marked the last time the group would play live in Basildon. Support act Film Noir were also from Basildon and featured Robert Marlow, who was previously in a Basildon band with Alison Moyet called The Vandals, and future Cure member Perry Bamonte on bass.
Pete Shelley
Date: Thursday 18th March 1982
Line up: Pete Shelley, vocals and guitar.
Support: Not known.
Former Former Buzzcocks singer/songwriter Pete Shelley was in town to promote his second solo album Homosapien, released in January.
Bernie Tormé & the Electric Gypsies
Date: Tuesday 20th July 1982
Line up: Bernie Tormé, vocals and guitar
Support: Not known
Former Former Gillan band member Bernie Torme was currently undertaking a short tour in support of his solo album Turn Out The Lights.
Date: Monday 30th & Tuesday 31st August 1982
Line up: Alison Moyet, vocals; Vince Clarke, synthesizers
Support: Not known
Since leaving Depeche Mode in December 1981 Vince Clarke had not been idle and soon put together a new synth pop duo after responding to local Basildon singer Alison Moyet's advert in the national music paper Melody Maker. The duo, named Yazoo, were soon at No. 2 in the charts with the Clarke original "Only You" and embarked on a national tour to promote it from which Raquels were the opening two dates. Further chart hits followed like "Don't Go" and "Nobody's Diary" before the duo broke up with Alison embarking on a successful solo career, while Vince formed another duo with Essex singer Andy Bell, called Erasure, and the hits kept coming.
Culture Club
Date: Saturday 2nd October 1982
Line up: Boy George, vocals; Roy Hay, guitar and keyboards; Mikey Craig, bass guitar; Jon Moss, drums
Support: Not known
The 'new wave' formed the previous year were on tour to promote the release of their third UK single "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me", which went on to top the chart for three weeks from 23rd October.
Kenny G
Date: Wednesday 30th May 1984
Line up: Kenny G, saxophone; Philip Woo, keyboards; Ron Miller, guitar; Roger Sauce, keyboards; Wayne Braithwaite, drums; Moyes Lucas, bass guitar.
Support: Not known
The famous American session musician who played on hits by the Detroit Spinners, Johnnie Mathis and the Mills Brothers was in the country for a small tour backed by a crack group of American musicians. Tickets for this show were priced at £4.

The following groups and artists are also believed to have performed at the venue and dates will be added as the information becomes available. Herman's Hermits, The Swinging Blue Jeans, Freddie and the Dreamers, The Equals, P.J. Proby, Edison Lighthouse, Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, Ingram, Edwin Starr, The Platters, Ben E. King, Change Band, Billy Ocean, Light of the World, 5 Star, Johnny Johnson and the Bandwagon, Shane Fenton (Alvin Stardust), Pickettywitch, Hot Chocolate, Kenny, The Fourmost, Slave (American jazz funk band), Sharon Redd and Dead or Alive.

Text researched and written by William Cox, 2017.
Copyright © 2017, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.
Page added: 23/06/2017
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