Tony Lopez discusses Rock and Roll at the Mecca [Text only]

'When the Mecca first opened in Stevenage here was a resident band down there, Wally Johnson...'

Stevenage Museum

When the Mecca first opened in Stevenage here was a resident band down there, Wally Johnson and that was OK for your ballroom dancers and the older generation at that time but the kids didn’t want anything to do with that, they wanted Rock and Roll. And the manager at the time Elmer Smith was quite against it and Tony Laverne, the Barron Knights manager, who we was very friendly with at the time tried to persuade Elmer Smith to put a Rock and Roll band on, on a Wednesday night and Elmer eventually relented and said “Yes, OK lets try it” and the first week we had probably 20 people there the second week we probably had 700 and then after that it went through the roof. And still Elmer Smith wouldn’t agree it was the Rock and Roll bands bringing them in but the resident band Wally Johnson. But even he had to agree in the end that it was the Rock and Roll was bringing in the crowds and then from then on he got all the big stars down there, Little Richard, Bill Haley and all the sixties stars.

This page was added on 16/04/2018.

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