THE GREAT LET DOWN
or what happens when a top group don’t turn up…
IT WAS going to be a great evening, the official opening of Portsmouth’s Birdcage Club. Hundreds of teenagers queued for admission, personalities travelled down from London and disc jockey Jimmy Savile was there to receive a birthday cake shaped like an L.P.
It WAS going to be a great evening. Except the Walker Brothers didn’t turn up.
A frantic telephone call was made to London when it was pretty obvious that the trio were either not arriving or turning up very late.
The message given was: “Scott has cleared off and the others won’t come without him.”
Jimmy Savile went on stage and did his best to explain but people who had paid to go in didn’t want to know about excuses. A contract for the Walkers to appear was produced, but the Walkers did not. It didn’t take long for sections of the audience to start damaging property.
To their great credit, the Vagabonds, the Action and Johnny B. Great and the Quotations, each spent a long time on stage and managed to get the kids going.
That part of the evening, at least, was successful.
Despite the bouncers at the bar door who thought their only job was to keep invited guests out and let others in, things didn’t go too badly.
Asked about the incident the next night, John Walker said: “We couldn’t be bothered.”
On Monday the Walker Brothers’ manager Maurice King told the RM: “The position was, Scott was ill. We have a doctor’s certificate to prove this. He went to Paris and came back with the mother and father of a cold. We are going to offer the promoter a date. We want to go down and give the kids a show to make up for their disappointment.”
© Richard Green, Record Mirror, 30 October 1965