Local band in same show as The Who

Advert in the Yarmouth Mercury for The Who playing at the Britannia Theatre. Date: 24 Jun 1966.

Advert in the Yarmouth Mercury for The Who playing at the Britannia Theatre. Date: 24 Jun 1966. - Credit: Archant

A member of a Great Yarmouth pop group in the 1960s has vivid memories of The Who playing the town, and witnessing Keith Moon and Pete Townsend smashing their drums and guitar on stage.

Steve Dunn was lead singer of The Mi££ionaires and he was quick to reply to an appeal from an author researching The Who’s shows in Yarmouth – in last week’s Mercury.

Steve said: “The Mi££ionaires appeared on several of the Sunday shows, including if my memory serves me right, three shows with them in 1965. The flyer shows them appearing in 1966, but they also gigged on the Britannia Pier on 1/8/65, 7/8/65,15/8/65, and 22/8/65, again if I’m not mistaken.

“We also played with Donovan, Tom Jones, David Bowie, Dana etc in 1965, and as you can imagine we played to packed houses on both of the evening shows throughout the season.”

Robert Stigwood’s agent originally employed The Mi££ionaires to do the “soundings” at the Hippodrome for an upcoming Swinging Blue Jeans Show, and as the Yarmouth band were considered to be clone versions of the Hollies and Herman’s Hermits at that time, Stigwood contracted them to play for the summer season.

“Unfortunately,” added Steve, “the only record of our playing at the Brit is the Yarmouth Mercury publicity for the Donovan show on June 20, 1965, but we definitely gigged as supporting group for the whole summer season.

“My memories of our participation are still vivid, with images of Keith Moon wrecking his drums, and Pete Townshend demolishing one of the many guitars he destroyed on stage.

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“They gave the impression they couldn’t care less what people thought of them, which in many ways explains why many of the youth of today have exactly the same attitude.”

Steve now lives in the south of France but is a regular visitor back home.

Reg Garrod of Ormesby worked at the Britannia Pier for 10 years from 1965 as house manager then accountant/ deputy general manager.

He recalled The Who appeared in a number of Sunday Night Concerts during this period, doing two shows a night to audiences of 1,511 per show.

His main memory was a night when the audience started to leave because stink bombs were being let off and it was found drummer Keith Moon was throwing them from the stage.

Author Richard Houghton of Manchester is trying to trace fans who may have witnessed some of the earliest performances of The Who, including their appearances in Yarmouth in 1965 and 1966 to help him write a “people’s history” of the group.

He has written books about The Beatles and Rolling Stones.

To share your memories of The Who email thewhointhe60s@gmail.com or write to Richard at 1 Totnes Road, Manchester, M21 8XF.