Morecambe nostalgia: Music writer shares Who fans memories

The Who at a performance in 1964, Shepherds Bush Bingo Hall.
The Who at a performance in 1964, Shepherds Bush Bingo Hall.

A music writer researching performances of The Who in Morecambe tells all on his overwhelming response from readers

Richard Houghton has been researching the rock band who played in the resort more than 50 years ago.

Music writer Richard Houghton who is researching the Who's performances in Lancashire in the 60s and 70s.

Music writer Richard Houghton who is researching the Who's performances in Lancashire in the 60s and 70s.

Since Richard put out an appeal for more information on The Who’s seaside performances he has been overwhelmed with stories and memories.

As well as a string of hit records including ‘My Generation’ and ‘Pinball Wizard’, The Who were famed for their headline grabbing antics of smashing guitars, drum kits and hotel rooms.

Fans of the legendary foursome – Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon, have been in touch with author Richard Houghton with tales of seeing them on stage in Morecambe to help him write a ‘people’s history’ of the group.

“The Who played in Morecambe six times all together, so there was obviously a good audience that wanted to hear their music. “The Who are still performing today, albeit with just Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey from the original line up. But the gigs they played in the 60s and early 70s were in much more intimate venues than the arena shows that bands like The Who play now.”

Christine Bowles saw the Who when they appeared at the Floral Hall in Morecambe in June 1965.

She said: “I went with my friend Anne. The audience consisted of about 50 or 60 people, as the Searchers were on at the Central Pier, the other big venue in Morecambe, and at that time they were much better known than The Who.

“So everyone else we knew went to see the Searchers.

“Anne and I had seen the Who on Ready Steady Go and thought they were amazing so we went to see them. Some boys we knew who were there said that they were sat with them in the bar before the show.

“We stood in front of the stage as in those days there were no barriers with security men, so it was as if they were playing just for us.

“I remember they played as if they were playing to 5,000 rather than the few dozen who were actually there.

“I do not remember Pete Townsend smashing his guitar but I do seem to remember that his fingers were bleeding at the end.

“The next time they came was to the Central Pier and it was packed. They played at the Central Pier at least three times more and I went to see them every time.

“Keith Moon often threw his drumsticks into the audience at the end and I once caught one.  Unfortunately I no longer have this as my brother “borrowed” it and I never saw it again.”

Christine also saw The Who when they appeared at the Marine Ballroom on the Central Pier on January 6 1967. Pete Townshend had been in a car accident on the way to the gig but, instead of cancelling, they played with Roger Daltrey on guitar and drafted in a guitarist from a local group called the Doodle-Bugs, who were their support act.

Ian Ward also remembers that evening, because he was there as lead singer of the Doodle-Bugs and recalls a conversation that his group had with the Who’s bass player.

He said: “John Entwistle asked our lead guitarist Mike Dickinson if he would stand in for Pete.

“With only ten minutes notice and a quick run through of The Who’s play list, Mike did a great gig with them.”

Author Richard said the memories help to paint a great picture of what it was like to be a pop fan back then, both in terms of how approachable and accessible groups were but also to give a glimpse of life in the 60s.

Richard is still keen to hear from any Who fans with memories of seeing them perform in Lancashire or anywhere else during the 1960s or 
early 70s.

Richard said: “I’m interested in any stories, however faded the memories might seem to be, of seeing The Who and people’s recollections of who they went with and what they paid for their ticket.

“It’s a story of The Who in the words of their fans that I want to tell.”

Richard can be reached via email on thewhointhe60s@gmail.com or by letter at 1 Totnes Road, Manchester, M21 8XF.