Music and stuff

David McWilliams

Sadly David McWilliams passed away at the start of 2002.

Hopefully the following obituaries, which were published in various newspapers, will shed some light on this much underrated singer/songwriter.

Ballymena Guardian; The Legacy of the days of David McWilliams
Ballymena Times; Recalling the days of David McWilliams
Ballymena Times; A personal tribute by Brian Robinson
The Irish Times
Thomas Osterholt has translated the Irish Time obituary in German.
Für die deutschen Fans hat Thomas Osterholt diese Nachruf übersetzt.

The Independent; David McWilliams
The Guardian
Le Monde (France)

Ballymena Guardian

The Legacy of the days of David McWilliams

Tributes have flowed in for Ulster singer/songwriter David McWilliams – author of the worldwide hit The Days of Pearly Spencer – following his sudden death in Ballycastle at the age of 56.

David was born in Belfast and grew up in Ballymena, attracted the interest of Manchester United as a teenage soccer player.
Back in 1970-71 David played football for Saturday Morning League side Broadway Celtic. “He was a useful player recalled long serving League official Brian Montgomery. And when in his 20s David switched from playing outfield to keeping goals he made several appearances with Linfield.

When he lived in Ballymena he was an apprenticeship fitter in the torpedo factory at Antrim.

Quoted as the Dylan Thomas of Ulster, David McWilliams once said ” I listen with my eyes and I sing what I see.” And it was his lyrical talent which saw him pursue a music career with his original “Pearly” selling over one million following its release in 1967, before catching another wave of success under former Soft Cell front man Marc Almond 25 years later. Told then how the new Almond version had rocketed into the Top 10, David said: “I don’t know whether to be flattered or not. I’ve never had any interest in trying to write the sort of songs that might end up in the charts nowadays. “To be honest I haven’t even heard the version. Now that it’s doing so well I’ll have to listen out for it. Do they still have Top of the Pops?”

BBC radio presenter, Gerry Anderson, described the Ballymena song smith as a true home-bred original. “There aren’t too many of them around. Van Morrison is one and David was another. Former Wings guitarist, Henry McCullough, who played gigs with McWilliams said of his death. “It is a big shock, and so sudden. There are music fans all over the world who will be mourning David’s death.” Music entrepreneur, Terri Hooley, said the artist had never been ’embittered’ like other performers ‘who had their hits in the sixties’. He believes the Ulsterman was unlucky not to carve out a bigger career for himself and said he regularly received inquiries at his Good Vibrations record shop from Europeans looking for his releases.

When David started he was working in the Shorts missiles factory and sent off a tape of his songs to Major Minor record label and got himself a deal. David was hyped all the time like every Major Minor artist. On Radio Caroline in the 1960s, you heard his new song every hour and there would have been adverts for it on the front and back of the New Musical Express. “After Major Minor he went to Dawn records, but if he had been signed to the likes of CBS or EMI he would have been a long-term selling artist – he had that much talent. “There was a Belgium dance disco version of The days of Pearly Spencer recorded in the 1980s and it went to number one in that country. A Best of David McWilliams album was later released but has since been deleted, but people from the continent are coming into the shop and asking for it. “He was just a really brilliant guy. The English had Donovan, the Americans Dylan, we had McWilliams “.

Even at the height of his fame, he never forgot his roots. A friend from Ballymena told the News Letter:”It wasn’t uncommon for David to return from being top of the bill on a European tour on a Friday night and be playing football with his mates for Broadway Celtic on a Saturday morning. He never believed he was a pop star, and he certainly never behaved like one.” (David is at the left)

David returned to Northern Ireland in the seventies and settled in Ballycastle. His live performances became increasingly rare but he never lost his love of music and writing. It is understood he was planning an imminent return to the studios to record a number of new songs for a compilation album.

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Ballymena Times

Enigmatic ‘Pearly’ was a huge radio hit for Ballymena songwriter

Recalling the days of David McWilliams DAVID

McWilliams achieved charts success in 1992 when Marc Almond covered the song he released in 1967 “The days of Pearly Spencer”.

But although it had escaped him until then, chart notoriety was not McWilliams’ prime motivation. A love of music and writing were always top priorities for the local man who died suddenly last week. Born 4th July 1945, David never forgot his Ballymena roots. At the height of his success, he would have popped home to play with Broadway Celtic in the Saturday Morning League.
‘The Days of Pearly Spencer’ released on the Major Minor label, was a huge radio hit but, inexplicably, failed to chart. Most people that were listening to the radio in 1967 will remember its 60s ‘psychedelia’ vibe with pleasure.

The record like David McWilliams himself, seemed to have all the right attributes for success. It just seemed like one of those numbers that you didn’t buy. Despite several re-issues in later years, this self penned number by David McWilliams was never to succeed. Yet the 60s and 70s saw an amazing period of productivity matched by the amazing consistency of quality throughout all the material he wrote and recorded. Musically he backed himself on 6 and 12 string guitar with further arrangement and orchestration provided by the then wunderkind producer Mike Leander.
The combination of McWilliams’ heartfelt lyrics and song style with Leander’s evocative arrangements of the simple melodies still sounding bewitching today. ‘The Days of Pearly Spencer’ was covered by Marc Almond in the early 90s and ‘Three O’Clock Flamingo Street is another radio favourite.
There has only been one other McWilliams compilation, released by EMI when the Almond single was a hit in 1992. That collection has long since been deleted and this RPM collection only repeats four tracks from the EMI set. Rated alongside Donovan an Dylan, David McWilliams’ place in music history is assured.

Mr. McWilliams’ funeral took place at Roselawn last Friday.

By Staff reporter for Ballymena Times; 16th January 2002

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Ballymena Times

A personal tribute by Brian Robinson

David moved to Ballymena from Belfast when he was just three years old. He lived in Greenview and I lived nearby in Devenagh Way, so we were friends from early childhood.
He was a very talented footballer. He played for Harryville amateurs and Rectory Rangers with myself. At one stage he signed for Linfield, but just as he was being groomed for a regular place on team, he broke his ankle while playing football with us in People’s Park. That put an end to that for a few months. But we were big Ballymena United fans – we would even go and watch reserve team matches. (David in black shirt and shorts)

“Ronnie Holden and I took David to a studio in Belfast to cut his first disc around about 1966. It was a four track EP. Mervyn Sulvian, the sound engineer and promoter was there listening. His brother Phil was a promoter in the UK and that’s when David’s music career really took off. “His first gig was supporting a country singer in the Ulster Hall, Belfast and after that he went to London where he made an album with Mike Leander who was like a god. He appeared at the Royal Albert Hall in London. “David was massive in Europe, in Holland they named a string of restaurants ‘Candlelight’ after his song and he was very popular in Germany too. “One time in Rome, he literally had his shirt ripped off his back the way Westlife would now, and ‘The Days of Pearly Spencer’ was a number one hit in France. In fact the National Orchestra of France recorded an instrumental version of it and that too went to number one. “To give some idea of just how big he was, David Bowie was once quoted as saying that David McWilliams was his favourite song-writer. “David was just a lovely guy. For example, at one stage I was running a basketball team and we needed to raise money for kids. I asked David to put on a concert at County Hall. He wasn’t really fussing on doing it but agreed because I was a friend. The concert was a sell-out and brought the house down, but David didn’t ask for a penny so that all the funds raised could go to the basketball team. That was the kind of man he was.
“He was a very, very dear friend who will be missed terribly”

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The Irish Times

Saturday 19th January 2002. Belfast musician who wrote classic rock ‘n’ roll hit – DAVID MCWILLIAMS

David McWilliams, who died on January 8th aged 56, wrote and recorded one of the classics of 1960s rock music. The Days of Pearly Spencer, along with Them’s Gloria and Bluesville’s You Turn Me On, marked the arrival of Irish rock ‘n’ roll on the world stage.

Ironically, David McWilliams’s recording of the song, first made in 1967, was never a British chart hit. A quarter-of-a-century elapsed before a cover version by Marc Almond of Soft Cell entered the British Top Ten, reaching number four.

The Days Of Pearly Spencer was based on a homeless man in Ballymena who was befriended by David McWilliams. The song reflected the writer’s deep humanity and his empathy with those who live on the margins of society.

David McWilliams was born on July 4th, 1945, in the Cregagh area of Belfast, as only child of Sam and Molly McWilliams. When he was three, the family moved to Ballymena where he attended the Model School and then the local technical school after which he began an apprenticeship at an engineering works in Antrim town that manufactured torpedoes.

For David McWilliams, however, making music came first. Inspired by Sam Cooke and Buddy Holly, he learned to play the guitar in his early teens.

He was later a founder-member of the Coral Showband (named after Holly’s record label).

When he began writing his own material, friends suggested that he should record a demo disc. On hearing the tapes, the impresario Mervyn Solomons contacted his brother Philip of Major Minor Records. Philip Solomons and his colleague Tommy Scott immediately recognised David McWilliams’s potential.

His début single God and My Country was issued in 1966, and in 1967 The Days of Pearly Spencer was released. Featuring distorted vocals through the use of a megaphone as in The New Vaudeville’s Band Winchester Cathedral, the record won David McWilliams much-deserved recognition.

Before the year 1967 was out, he had recorded three albums of his own compositions, an extra- ordinary feat of creativity given that some of today’s top artists take three years to record one album. These early albums were marked by a consistency of quality that proppelled them into the British Top 40.

Backing himself on six- and 12-string guitar, David McWilliams benefited greatly from the arrangements and orchestration provided by Mike Leander, who had worked with both Phil Spector and the Rolling Stones.

In all, he released nine albums of which two were compilations. Apart from Pearly Spencer, his best-known songs include Harlem Lady and Three O’Clock Flamingo Street.

David McWilliams undertook concert tours with the Dubliners which were compèred by his friend Dominic Behan. He attracted a large following in mainland Europe and was particularly popular in France, Holland (topping the charts in both countries) and Italy.

In the 1970s he moved to London where he was briefly managed by an associate of the notorious landlord Peter Rachman. It was neither a happy nor fruitful relationship and in 1988 he wrote the following dedication for an album track, Landlord, Landlord: “For all the Rachmans of this world. We’re gonna get ya.”

On one occasion at a party in London, David McWilliams accidentally broke a prized Appalachian lap dulcimer owned by Billy Connolly. Mortified, he asked how he could best make amends. Connolly replied that a copy of his latest album for his brother, a keen fan, would be more than adequate.

As well as being an accomplished musician, David McWilliams was a talented footballer who, in different circumstances, might have joined a Cregagh-born contemporary, George Best, in the professional ranks. Signed by Linfield FC from amateur side Harryville, he immediately became the first-team goalkeeper. Unfortunately, an ankle injury kept him out of the game for four months by which time his musical career had taken off.

David McWilliams was quiet and self-effacing. He was ill at ease in the world of showbusiness and he had an intense dislike for the glitter and hype of the music industry. He was more at home playing in the Fourways Inn, Ballymena, than in the Royal Albert Hall.

As with many singer-songwriters of his generation he lost out on the publishing rights to his music. This, it is estimated, cost him in the region of £2 million sterling.

Twenty years ago, he moved to Ballycastle, Co Antrim, where he concentrated on writing songs and making the occasional public appearance. In 1984, he played at a concert in aid of the striking miners in Britain and supported other such causes. In recent years he performed at the Ballycastle Northern Lights Festival, which celebrates the links between Scottish and Irish music.

Both David McWilliams’s marriages, firstly to Jill Sowter and secondly to Julie Ann Farnham, ended in divorce. He is survived by his daughters; Mandy, Julie, Helen, Nanno, Hannah, Shonee, and Meghan, and his son Shannon.

David McWilliams: born July 4th 1945 and died January 8th 2002

with thanks to: Nanno McWilliams, The Irish Times and Mile High Music

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The Independent

An obituary of a performer who, for me was one of the most memorable stars created by Radio Caroline in the 60s, but who was largely ignored by the BBC.

16 March 2002 David McWilliams, singer- songwriter: born Belfast 4 July 1945; twice married (one son, seven daughters); died Ballycastle, Co Antrim 9 January 2002.

In October 1967, the Irish singer-songwriter David McWilliams was launched in mainland Britain by his eager manager Phil Solomon, with a barrage of publicity for the dreamy track “The Days of Pearly Spencer”.

“The single that will blow your mind, the album that will change the course of music” trumpeted full-page adverts in the New Musical Express alongside enthusiastic quotes from journalists and other pop impresarios comparing the 22-year-old McWilliams to Donovan and Bob Dylan.
Unfortunately, back in 1967, Radio 1, the BBC’s new pop network, didn’t add “The Days of Pearly Spencer” to its playlist, maybe because Solomon was also a director of Radio Caroline, the pirate station just outlawed by the Marine Broadcasting Offences Acts passed by Harold Wilson’s government.
Nevertheless, the single was played incessantly and defiantly on Caroline while stations in continental Europe picked up on its strange “phoned-in” chorus and pastoral arrangement. The following year, the track charted all over Europe and impinged itself on the continental consciousness as the soundtrack to Swinging London alongside the likes of “Nights in White Satin” by the Moody Blues and Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”.

A reluctant stage performer, McWilliams recorded more than 10 solo albums and eventually saw the torch singer Marc Almond, formerly of Soft Cell, score the biggest hit of his solo career with a carbon-copy version of “The Days of Pearly Spencer” which reached No 4 in the British charts in 1992.

Born in the Cregagh area of Belfast in 1945, David McWilliams moved to Ballymena when he was three. He grew up with seven brothers and sisters and as a teenager developed an early interest in the rock’n’roll music of Buddy Holly and learned to play the guitar. He also developed a rebellious streak and in 1960 was expelled from Ballymena Technical School for drinking between lessons. Even when he returned, McWilliams played truant constantly, spending days thinking up songs.

In 1963, he followed his father and became an apprentice fitter in a torpedo factory in Co Antrim. However, he was always looking for a way out. Six foot tall with blue eyes and unruly black hair, he cut a distinctive figure on the football pitch; he excelled as a goalkeeper but an ankle injury kept him out of the local Linfield football team.

He preferred music anyway and joined the Coral Showband. Not content with performing covers, he began writing his own compositions such as “Redundancy Blues” and “Time of Trouble”, inspired by his surroundings. “I listen with my eyes and I sing what I see,” he later told journalists.

In 1966, he signed to CBS and released his début single, “God and My Country”, but Dylan and Donovan seemed to have the protest singer and troubadour market sewn up and the track sank without trace. Undaunted, McWilliams went into a Belfast studio to record some demos. The impresario Mervyn Solomon overheard McWilliams’s tapes and contacted his brother Phil, who was equally impressed by the material.

The formidable Irish entrepreneur Phil Solomon had made his name with Them and the Bachelors. He had also joined Ronan O’Rahilly’s Radio Caroline operation and was keen to establish a record company connected to the pirate station. Having launched the Major Minor label at the tail end of 1966, Solomon wanted to add McWilliams to his roster. Even better, since CBS already manufactured Major Minor’s releases, he could appear to do them a favour by offering to take the singer off their hands. The scam worked and Solomon brought his new signing over to London. He teamed up McWilliams with the arranger Mike Leander.

McWilliams had found the perfect producer for his delicate and heartfelt songwriting as well as his six- and 12-string acoustic guitars and the partnership blossomed. In June 1967, his début album, David McWilliams Sings Songs from David McWilliams, made the Top Forty. The second one, simply called David McWilliams, fared even better, probably because it featured “The Days of Pearly Spencer”.

Thanks to Leander’s orchestral arrangement, the track had evolved from a poignant ballad about a homeless man whom McWilliams had met in Ballymena into a haunting radio record and a considerable turntable hit. Though it never charted in Britain, the single was re- released on three separate occasions and remains a favourite on oldies stations around Europe. The follow-up single, “Three O’Clock Flamingo Street”, proved equally evocative of the down-and-out milieu the songwriter had observed as a teenager. And, despite the lack of hit singles, his third album, David McWilliams Volume III, also charted in March 1968.

He joined the Dubliners on a package tour compered by the writer Dominic Behan but never recaptured the heights of his first two years. He stuck with Solomon and Major Minor for three further singles – “This Side of Heaven”, “The Stranger” and “Oh Mama, Are You My Friend?” – before switching to Parlophone and then Dawn Records.
McWilliams recorded well into the Eighties but his career was mismanaged to such an extent by the likes of the notorious London landlord Peter Rachman that he lost an estimated £2m in royalties.

In 1982, McWilliams moved back to Northern Ireland. He remained an elusive performer, only making the odd appearance in support of striking miners. McWilliams’s work deserves re-appraisal. The Days of David McWilliams, a compilation issued last year by the RPM label, provides a good career overview.

By Pierre Perrone

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The Guardian

Alan Clayson
Saturday April 20, 2002

The pop-star career of David McWilliams, who has died aged 56, was all but over by 1968. Yet, by then, he had released one record, The Days Of Pearly Spencer, that was a domestic flop, a continental hit – and has been a cult record ever since. Twenty-five years later, it was covered by Marc Almond, who made it a British top 10 hit.

McWilliams was educated at Ballymena technical school, in Northern Ireland, and completed an engineering apprenticeship in Antrim. Moonlighting in folk clubs, he released a CBS single, God And My Country, as a 22-year-old, and impressed Phil Solomon, founder of Major-Minor records, who launched him with a large advertisement in the New Musical Express, and the services of Mike Leander, who arranged Pearly Spencer. But subsequent singles sold poorly and, despite transfers to Parlophone in 1969 and later to Dawn Records, before long McWilliams returned to Irish venues. There, those who remembered would not let him quit the stage before singing Days Of Pearly Spencer.

Two marriages ended in divorce; he is survived by seven daughters and one son.
David McWilliams, singer-songwriter, born July 4 1945; died January 8 2002

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Le Monde

Décès de David McWilliams, chanteur et auteur-compositeur irlandais David McWilliams, chanteur et auteur-compositeur irlandais, est mort le 8 février, vient-on seulement d’apprendre.

Né à Belfast le 4 juillet 1943, David McWilliams avait fait partie des chanteurs folk-rock influencés par Bob Dylan. C’est par l’apport du rock psychédélique dans ses compositions que le succès viendra. Ainsi The Days of Pearly Spencer, enregistré en 1967 avec force violons et effets sur la voix : produite et arrangée par Mike Leander,(qui s’occupait alors de la chanteuse Marianne Faithfull) la chanson fut un grand succès. Cette popularité sera sans suite pour David McWilliams, qui avait cessé d’enregistrer en 1982, après une dizaine d’albums.

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Traurigerweise verließ uns David McWilliams zu Beginn des Jahres 2002.

Dieser Nachruf wurde in der „Irish Times“ veröffentlicht. Hoffentlich wird dies ein bisschen Licht auf diesen unterbewerteten Sänger und Songwriter werfen.

Samstag, der 19. Januar 2002. Belfaster Musiker, der klassische Rock ’n’ Roll Hit schrieb – David McWilliams:

David McWilliams, der am 8. Januar 2002 im Alter von 56 Jahren starb, schrieb und nahm einen der Klassiker der 1960er Rock Musik auf. „The Days of Pearly Spencer“, sowie „Them’s Gloria“ und „Bluesville’s You Turn Me On“ läuteten die Ankunft des Irischen Rock ‘n’ Roll auf der Weltbühne ein.

Ironischer Weise, wurde David McWilliams Erstaufnahme des Songs im Jahre 1967 nie ein britischer Charthit. Ein Vierteljahrhundert verstrich, bevor eine Coverversion vom Soft Cell Sänger „Marc Almond“ die britischen Top Ten eroberte und Platz vier erreichte.

„The Days of Pearly Spencer“ basierte auf dem Leben eines Obdachlosen in Ballymena mit dem David McWilliams befreundet war. Dieser Song spiegelte die tiefe Menschenachtung und Empathie des Songwriters mit diesen, die am Rande der Gesellschaft lebten wieder.

David McWilliams wurde am 4. Juli 1945 in der Cregagh Area von Belfast, als einziges Kind von Sam und Molly McWilliams geboren. Als er 3 war, zog die Familie nach Ballymena, wo er erst die Model School und dann auf die örtliche Technikschule nach deren Abschluss er eine Ausbildung als Ingenieur in Antrim Town, das Torpedos herstellte.

Für David McWilliams stand Musik zu machen immer an oberster Stelle. Inspiriert von Sam Cookie und Buddy Holly lernte er das Gitarrenspielen in seinen frühen Jugendjahren. Er war später ein Gründungsmitglied der „Coral Showband“

Als er begann sein eigenen Stücke zu schreiben, schlugen Freunde vor, dass er eine Demo Disc aufnehmen solle. Als der Impressario Mervyn Solomons die Aufnahmen hörte, kontaktierte er seinen Bruder Philip von Major Minor Records. Philip Solomons und sein Kollege Tommy Scott erkannten sofort Davids Talent.

Seine Début-Single „God and My Country“ wurde 1966 herausgebracht und 1967 die Single „The Days of Pearly Spencer“ veröffentlicht.

Die, im Hauptteil verzerrten Vokale wurden durch den Gebrauch eines Megaphons, wie in der New Vaudeville’s Band der Winchester Catherdral. Die Aufnahme brachte David McWilliams die wohlverdiente Anerkennung. Bevor das Jahr 1967 zu ende war hatte er drei Albums mit seinen eigenen Kompositionen, eine beachtliche Leistung an Kreativität, für die einige der heutigen Top-Artisten mehrere Jahre brauchen würden.

Diese frühen Alben waren von einer stetigen Qualität gekennzeichnet, die sie in die britischen Top-Ten katapultieren. Neben eigener Begleitung mit einer Sechs- oder Zwölfseitengitarre, profitierte David McWilliams sehr von den Arrangements und Instrumentation mit Mike Leander, der sowohl mit Phil Spector als auch mit den Rolling Stones zusammen gearbeitet hatte.

Insgesamt gab er neun Alben heraus, von denen zwei Zusammenstellungen aus mehreren waren. Neben „The Days of Pearly Spencer“ waren seine meistgekannten Songs „Harlem Lady“ und „Three O’Clock Flamingo Street“.

David McWilliams unternahm einige Konzert-Tourneen mit den Dubliners, welche von seinem Freund Dominic Behan moderiert wurden. Er gewann eine große Fangemeinde auf dem europäischen Festland. Besonders berühmt wurde er in Frankreich, Holland und Italien.

1970 zog er nach London, wo er kurz von einem Mitarbeiter des berüchtigten Grundherrn Peter Rachman gemanagt wurde. Es war weder eine glückliches, noch eine von Erfolg gekröntes Arbeitsverhältnis und 1988 schrieb er folgende Widmung für einen Album-Track Landlord, Landlord: „Für alle Rachmans in der Welt, wir werden euch kriegen.“

Ein Zwischenfall auf einer Party in London war, dass David McWilliams ein wertvolles Hackbrett für Leder aus den Appalachen zerbrach, das Billy Connolly gehörte. Beschämt fragte er, was als Schadensersatz machen könne. Connolly antwortete, dass eine Kopie seines neusten Albums für seinen Bruder, der ein großer Fan sei, mehr als adäquat sei.

So sehr er ein vollendeter Musiker war, war er ein talentierter Fußballer, der, unter anderen Umständen, vielleicht dem Cregagh Fußballclub beigetreten wäre und wie George Best in professionellen Rängen. Bei der Übernahme von Amateur Harryville zum Linfield FC, wurde er sofort zum Torwart des ersten Teams. Unglücklicherweise hielt ihn eine Sprunggelenkverletzung vier Wochen aus dem Geschehen heraus. In dieser Zeit startete seine Musik Karriere.

David McWilliams war ein stiller und übertrieben bescheidener Mensch. Er fühlte sich unbehaglich im Showbusiness. Er hatte eine heftige Abneigung gegen den Glanz und den Medienrummel in der Musikbranche. Er spielte lieber im Fourways Inn in Ballymena, als in der Royal Albert Hall.

Wie viele Musiker und Songwriter seiner Generation verlor er die Lizenzrechte seiner Musik. Dies kostete ihn vermutlich etwas in der Region von 2.000.000 £ Sterling.

Vor zwanzig Jahren zog er nach Ballycastle bei Co Antrim, wo er sich auf das Schreiben von Songs und machte gelegentlich Auftritte. 1984 spielte er ein Konzert zur Unterstützung streikender Minenarbeiter und befürwortete deren Gründe. In den letzten Jahren trat er beim Ballycastle Northern Lights Festival, das die Verknüpfung von schottischer und irischer Musik feiert, auf.

Beide Ehen, zuerst zu Jill Sowter und dann mit Julie Ann Farnham endeten mit Scheidungen. Er lebt jetzt noch durch seine Töchter Mandy, Julie, Helen, Nanno, Hannah, Shonee, Meghan und seinen Sohn Shannon weiter.

David McWilliams: geboren am 4. Juli 1945, gestorben am 8. Januar 2002

Herzlichen Dank an Nanno McWilliams, The Irish Times and Mile High Music


Latino Americano

Demasiado Corazon
Spanish Stroll
Willy De Ville (Ansa)
Willy De Ville (Ansa)

La sua avventura era cominciata negli anni Settanta al CBGB, il club di New York che aveva alimentato gli inizi del punk. E’ finita, a 55 anni, a causa di un tumore al pancreas che lo ha ucciso. Il rock dà l’addio al suo «mariachi», Willy De Ville, musicista di grande talento, capace di riunire generi differenti, dal primo R&B anni ’50-’60 al rock ‘n’ roll, dal blues al cajun, in uno stile «ispanico» moderno e originale. De Ville è morto ieri in un ospedale di New York.LA CARRIERA – A inizio carriera Mink De Ville era il nome con il quale lui e il gruppo si presentavano sulle scene. Tempi di punk distruttivo ancora nelle cantine, pronto ad emergere, genere del quale la magrissima figura di Willy De Ville (vero nome William Borsay) poteva rappresentare un’immagine. E c’erano davvero anche suoni forti e taglienti nelle sue canzoni, ma poi De Ville incantava con ballate morbide come «I Broke My Promise», «Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl», «Guardian Angel», un genere che sarebbe diventato una delle sue migliori espressioni, spesso anche con versi in parte in spagnolo. I primi album dal 1977 al 1981 («Cabretta», «Return To Magenta», «Le Chat Bleu») rivelano un artista di grande capacità e versatile ma anche di totale aderenza alle radici della musica americana grazie anche alla collaborazione con Jack Nitzsche, produttore cresciuto alla scuola di Phil Spector, che soprattutto in «Return To Magenta» fra ampio uso di archi e di arrangiamenti tipici del maestro del «muro del suono», con più di un riferimento al sound dei Drifters negli anni Sessanta. Ma poi «Le Chat Bleu», registrato a Parigi, è pieno di sapori francesi ecajun., una prima prova della versatilità di De Ville che sarà sempre una sua caratteristica.

La copertina di Return To Magenta
La copertina di Return To Magenta

PIRATA – Il suo modo di stare sul palco, e di abbigliarsi lo facevano somigliare a un pirata. Avrebbe potuto tranquillamente presentarsi sul set di «Pirati nei Caraibi» senza trucco e rubare la parte almeno a Keith Richards come «custode del libro». Nella sua musica riusciva a far convivere stili diversi senza mai scivolare nel banale. E anche i titoli rivelano una delle sue caratteristiche: fare una musica con più ispirazioni, da «cane randagio» come si definiva. Non era un «chicano» come si poteva pensare ascoltando molti dei suoi brani. Era nato infatti a Stamford, nel Connecticut, stato a nord di New York. Sua nonna era un’indiana irochese, ma c’era in lui anche sangue irlandese e basco. In qualche modo deve aver contribuito a farne un musicista eclettico.

NEW ORLEANS – Dopo l’esperienza parigina e pubblica (ancora con Nitzsche) «Coup de Grace», uno degli album migliori della rpima parte di carriera. Il cambio di etichetta (dalla Capitol all’Atlantic, il suo mito per le produzioni anni Sessanta) dall’85 cambia definitivamente il nome da Mink De Ville a Willy De Ville, trovando uno stile personale che gli regala momenti di buon successo come con l’album «Miracle» (1987). Trasferitosi a New Orleans nel 1988, rafforza la propria attrazione verso gli stili locali prodotti dalla prima colonizzazione francese (cajun e zydeco) e il R&B della zona del Delta, pubblicando «Victory Mixture» (con la presenza di grandi musicisti di quell’area come Dr. John, Eddie Bo e Allen Toussaint) e «Loup Garou» (1995). Dalla Louisiana un nuovo trasferimento, questa volta in New Mexico, con un ritorno a musiche ispirate alle tradizioni del Sud degli Usa e alle melodie ispaniche.

La copertina del Live del 1993
La copertina del Live del 1993

DEMASIADO CORAZON – Tra i brani più famosi della sua lunga carriera c’è la bellissima e latina «Demasiado Corazon» (in Italia usata come sigla di Zelig) ma anche una versione «mariachi» del classico «Hey Joe». Ma non si possono non citare altri brani sia della prima parte di carriera (come «Spanish Stroll», «This Must Be The Night») sia di quella successiva la cambio di nome («Storybook Of Love», «Heart and Soul», «Bamboo Road»). Willy De Ville era tornato a vivere a New York dal 2003 (il suo ultimo album, «Pistola», era uscito nel 2008) e la sua vita privata non è stata fortunata. Sposato tre volte, le sue due prime mogli sono entrambe morte. Lascia la terza consorte, Nina, un figlio, Sean, e una sorella che vive in Australia. E in tutti gli appassionati di musica il ricordo di un musicista atipico capace di stupire per versatilità genuinità musicale, da riascoltare nei suoi album migliori, in particolare quelli di inizio carriera o il live del 1993.

Houses of the Holy

La prima collaborazione fra Led Zeppelin e Hipgnosis

Houses of the Holy cover

Houses of the Holy, uscito nel 1973, è il quinto album della leggendaria formazione inglese. E’ un album senza dubbio peculiare, che costituisce una decisa sterzata rispetto alle produzioni precedenti. E le sue peculiarità non si esauriscono certo nel fatto che si tratta del primo album dei Led Zeppelin con un titolo vero e proprio (i quattro precedenti, come saprete, sono esclusivamente numerati e, originariamente, anche questo doveva essere privo di titolo).

Le sonorità rock blues proprie delle prime quattro produzioni sono certamente presenti, ma il carattere solare e meno cupo (fatta eccezione, forse, per No quarter), gli accenni di rock progressivo, di funk (The Crunge), addirittura di reggae (D’yer Mak’er, che, in dialetto cockney, suona come Jamaica), dimostrano la poliedricità del mitico quartetto.

E la sua copertina? Beh, quando vi sveleremo chi l’ha curata, quando vi diremo come è stata realizzata, quando ci interrogheremo insieme, senza trovare una risposta, sui possibili significati occulti, capirete per quale ragione la copertina di Houses of the Holy è stata inserita, dalla rivista Rolling Stones, al 50° posto fra le 100 migliori cover della storia della musica.

Location e ispirazione

Nonostante l’immagine sembri, soprattutto per i suoi colori surreali, esclusivamente un’opera grafica, essa proviene da una sessione fotografica svoltasi in un sito assai noto e affascinante. Si tratta del Giant’s Causeway o Selciato del Gigante (preferiamo risparmiarvi il nome in Gaelico), una formazione mozzafiato di colonne basaltiche (40mila!), a forma prevalentemente esagonale, situata nella Contea di Antrim, in Irlanda del Nord.

Il selciato, secondo una versione delle numerose leggende riguardanti questa meraviglia geologica, sarebbe stato costruito, appunto, da un gigante di nome Finn McCool per raggiungere la Scozia e battersi contro un altro gigante, Benandonner.

E, in effetti, in Scozia esiste una formazione analoga, chiamata Fingal’s Cave.

Gli scienziati ci hanno tenuto, però, a precisare che le scaramucce tra giganti c’entrano ben poco: un’immensa esplosione vulcanica, avvenuta 60 milioni di anni fa, avrebbe generato questo fenomeno naturale, scelto come location per gli scatti.

Ma chi ha ideato la copertina?

Qua tornano in gioco le leggende, quelle in carne ed ossa però; quelle che sono state in grado di contribuire, in modo indelebile, alla storia della musica senza bisogno di suonare neppure una nota. Mi riferisco allo studio Hipgnosis. Forse questo nome non vi dirà niente, e forse neppure il nome di uno dei suoi principali artefici e creatori, Storm Thorgerson

Se pensate, però, che The Dark Side of The Moon dei Pink Floyd è opera loro (oltre a tante altre copertine immortali) capirete immediatamente la sua importanza.

Houses of The Holy è tra queste e il lavoro prevalente di realizzazione spettò al socio di Thorgerson, Aubrey Powell, grafico e fotografo.

Powell e Thorgerson

L’immagine prende ispirazione da un libro di fantascienza di Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood’s End, vale a dire “la fine dell’infanzia”(da qui, l’immagine dei bimbi che si innalzano scalando la collina verso il cielo e lo spazio).

Una precisazione: a causa della strana usanza di stravolgere i titoli anglosassoni, il titolo originale dell’opera in italiano è “le guide del tramonto”…bah…

Ad ogni modo, l’idea proposta piacque ai Led Zeppelin. Inizialmente, si era pensato di effettuare la sessione fotografica in Perù, ma poi si decise di optare per la più comoda e vicina Irlanda. Aubrey Powell ricorda che i dieci giorni di scatto furono infernali, a causa delle condizioni climatiche e della pioggia (chissà se in Perù le cose sarebbero andate allo stesso modo). Proprio a causa del tempo inclemente, Powell abbandonò l’idea di scattare a colori, concentrandosi sull’utilizzo di pellicola in bianco e nero. Successivamente, si sarebbe provveduto ad aggiungere il colore all’immagine. Una prima curiosità sta nel fatto che il colore dei bambini non doveva essere quello. Powell aveva pensato di dipingerli in argento e oro, ma il grafico che si occupava della tinteggiatura, per errore, versò sulle loro immagini della colorazione magenta. E la cosa piacque. La seconda curiosità sta nel fatto che l’immagine non è costituita da un singolo scatto, ma si tratta della sovrapposizione di 30 scatti, in cui sono stati immortalati, in varie pose, solo due bambini, replicati fino ad ottenere undici distinte figure. Anche senza l’ausilio di Photoshop, al tempo, si era in grado di compiere imprese mirabolanti. I bambini sonoStefan e Samantha Gates, fratello e sorella.

Stefan, che all’epoca aveva solo cinque anni e che oggi è un presentatore della BBC, ha avuto modo di parlare in più occasioni della copertina dell’album e della esperienza trascorsa in quei dieci giorni. Ha affermato di ricordare perfettamente la stanchezza nello svegliarsi alle 4 del mattino (lo shooting veniva poi replicato al tramonto) e il freddo sofferto; ha aggiunto, inoltre, di non sentirsi particolarmente a suo agio di fronte a quell’immagine così misteriosa e inquietante. Ma ha anche riconosciuto, a questa immagine, il ruolo di portafortuna per la carriera intrapresa ed ha affermato di voler, un giorno, tornare sul Giant’s Causeway, spogliarsi integralmente ed ascoltare l’album a tutto volume! In effetti, vi è tornato per un’intervista della BBC nel febbraio del 2010, ma, a quanto ne sappiamo, non si è tolto alcun indumento.

Stefan Gates al Giant's Causeway

Se può essere definita inquietante l’immagine della main cover, che dire della parte retrostante della copertina? Un uomo che innalza al cielo e verso un raggio di luce, in un atto che potremmo definire sacrificale, il piccolo Stefan, ai piedi delle rovine di un castello.

La copertina interna


Il castello in questione è il Dunluce Castle, un maniero abbandonato sul finire del XVII secolo, situato a pochi chilometri di distanza dal Sentiero del Gigante.

Si sono sprecate le illazioni da parte di coloro che pretendono di scovare Satana, oltre che tra le parole (a dritto e a rovescio) dei testi musicali, anche nelle immagini degli album più controversi. Si dice che Jimmy Page fosse non solo influenzato, ma addirittura ossessionato da Aleister Crowley, occultista deceduto nel 1947 e indiscussa autorità in questo campo. Page acquistò addirittura Boleskine House, che era stata abitazione di Crowley fino al 1919, situata sulle rive del lago di Loch Ness ed avrebbe anche cercato di appropriarsi dell’Abbazia di Thélema, che si trova in Sicilia e in cui Crowley ha vissuto durante gli anni 20 (secondo alcuni, il titolo dell’album farebbe riferimento proprio a queste dimore).

L’occultista inglese, nel suo Libro della Legge, fa riferimento a sacrifici in favore della luce. Posto che Lucifero, dal latino, significa “portatore di luce”, l’immagine della copertina posteriore dell’album sarebbe un ulteriore tributo a Crowley e al dio degli inferi. Semplice no?

Personalmente, mi piace più il riferimento fantascientifico al libro di Clarke, ma ognuno è libero di pensarla a modo suo.

Un’ultima curiosità: il disco era avvolto da una sottile etichetta su cui erano indicati nome della band e titolo dell’album e che doveva essere rotta per consentirne l’apertura. Non era solo questione di packaging, ma serviva a coprire la nudità dei bambini in primo piano, al fine di evitare polemiche o censure.


Come abbiamo visto nel precedente articolo su Nevermind, a Cobain vennero sollevati gli stessi problemi, ma qui la soluzione fu di evitare etichette coprenti…i tempi, dal 1973, erano decisamente cambiati!

Per concludere, The Houses of The Holy non solo è un album sui generis nella produzione musicale dei Led, con nuove sonorità che, ai fan della prima ora, avranno inizialmente fatto storcere la bocca; ma segna anche la loro prima collaborazione con lo studio Hipgnosis di Torgershon & C.. Non ne seguiranno molte altre, a dire il vero, e la cosa può sembrare difficilmente comprensibile, visti i riconoscimenti che la copertina ha ottenuto in ambito mondiale. Ma è inutile porsi troppe domande; fortunatamente, la storia del rock non ha mai seguito sentieri prevedibili e scontati.

A wee grumpy man from Belfast

If you’re a Van Fan

Van Morrison with The Monarchs / Them
Chronology 1947/8-1969

Compiled by David Chance

Compiled from books, articles, press clippings, liner notes, interviews (numerous radio/TV/press audio/video interviews with relevant information have yet to be transcribed or noted), contracts, and private correspondence too numerous to cite properly (a detailed bibliography would be book length!). Most of these materials are of public record, though some located only through diligence, while a scant few were provided in kindness by several who had firsthand documentation, knowledge or experience of these events. See also the Glossary entry for Them, and the Them section of the Discography.

August 31, 1963 is the earliest specifically noted date, Van Morrison’s 18th birthday, celebrated in Heidelberg, West Germany while on tour with “The International Monarchs”. Them had, from best accounting, 16 working lineup changes before Van departed company circa August-September 1966. Placement of numerous events [noted by ???] is speculative. Most textual information is directly quoted from source material. In some instances I have parapharased events as noted in more than one source.

This document is anti-copyright, to be freely distributed for information purposes. Criticisms, corrections (doubtless there are many, as all primary source material contains discrepancies throughout, as do I…help with UK geographics especially appreciated), ADDITIONS, and verifications are greatly encouraged. Disclaimers ad infinitum apply. I can be contacted via e-mail at: David Chance, PO Box 39500, St. Louis MO 63139-8500, USA

1947/48 | 1956?/57 | 1957-1958 | 1959 | 1960
1961-1962 | 1963 | 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969

	(Hit Parader, 2/68: "When Van was 2 years old he had his first
	job. His aunt from Detroit gave him $5 for singing "Money Is The
	Root Of All Evil"; "...his greatest influence stems from his
	parents, John Lee Hooker, Leadbelly, Edgar Allan Poe, Muddy
	Waters, Ray Charles, Sonny Boy Williamson, a gypsy woman and,
	moreover, soul brothers and soul sisters.")

	 ???	Smithfield Market	Belfast N. Ireland
		(Turner: "That year his father took him to buy his first
		acoustic guitar", with Solly Lipsitz & Jimmy Thompson [?];
		12th birthday present ???, @August 31st; Mick Brown
		interview, Van says he was 12 when his father bought him
		his 1st guitar; Lonnie Donegan's Leadbelly cover "Rock
		Island Line" was in the UK charts in March '56; Van, Hot
		Press 2000: "I had this book, it was called the Alan Lomax
		Folk Guitar Book, and it was mainly based on the Carter
		Family style...I listened to records as well, of the
		Carter Family and Leadbelly, while I was practising";
		Peter Doggett: "by 1957 he had gathered together a group
		of friends in his first skiffle combo, the Sputniks")

	  ??	??			Belfast	N. Ireland
		(Van: "I toured with the Hospital Stage Productions when I
		was 12. I think that was my first entry into the bright
		lights" [answers a reader's letter {Jean Murphy, Bangor}
		in the "You Pop the Question" column in unknown
		publication, shown in W#4])

THE SPUTNIKS (Van Morrison [gtr, vox], Walter Blakely [washboard], Billy
Ruth [gtr], John McLean [tea-chest bass], Gil Irvine [zobo {wind
		(formed late-1957??)

	  ??	The Willowfield		Belfast	N. Ireland
		(Turner: children's matinee at a local cinema, audience
		aged between 7 and 11)
	  ??	The Strand		Belfast	N. Ireland
		(Turner: children's matinee at a local cinema)
	  ?? 	Turner: "The Sputniks drifted apart later that year
		[1958]"; Doggett: "the Sputniks collapsed within 18

randomly picked from a card deck each weekend] 
(George Jones [gtr], Billy McAllen [gtr], Roy Kane [drm/vox], Van Morrison
[sax, vox?])
	(Mick Brown interview, Van: "various names...The Thunderbirds,
	The Four Jacks...we changed the name about 6 times or something.
	It was the Thunderbirds originally")

	  ??	"the back of a truck parked outside George Jones's house"
					Belfast	N. Ireland
		(at this time Van learns rudimentary tenor sax &
		notation from George Cassidy in order to join "3 weeks
		later" after first inquiring)
	  ??	East Belfast Working Men's Club (aka The Hut)  
					Belfast N. Ireland
	  ??	Brookborough Hall	Belfast	N. Ireland
	  ??	Harriers Hall		Belfast N. Ireland
	  ??				Belfast N. Ireland
		(Bill Dunn joins/sits-in at some point/s; Turner: "Bill
		Dunn remembers working with Van in 'at least 4 different
		bands' around this time...Deanie Sands & The Javelins was
		simply another variation of the old line-up"; NDT 12/91,
		Van: "We had a piano player but he didn't stay there;
		"playing 'Peter Gunn' & 'Tequila' and all that kind of

DEANIE SANDS AND THE JAVELINS (Evelyn Boucher [vox], George Jones [gtr],
Billy McAllen [gtr], Roy Kane [drm], Van Morrison [gtr?, sax, vox])
	(Richard Cromelin writing in the UCLA Daily Bruin 1971: "a 7-piece
	outfit called The Thunderbirds {sometimes The Monarchs}")

	  ??	A.B.C. Cinema		Belfast		N. Ireland
		(minors matinees, Saturdays; Frame: "who by 1960 had
		evolved into The Monarchs")
     Dec. ??	Orangefield School For Boys	Belfast	N. Ireland
		(Van, Hot Press 2000: "The first song I got up and sang
		would probably be the Leadbelly song 'Midnight Special'
		when I was at school. We did this at Christmas, in my last
		year there. I had a skiffle group and it went down great.
		The other guys in the group were actually at the same
		school as me.")

THE MONARCHS (George Jones [gtr], Billy McAllen [gtr], Roy Kane [drm/vox],
Van Morrison [gtr, sax, vox], Wesley Black [keys])
	(Rogan: "by late 1959 they were busy playing local gigs in
	Belfast"; --discrepancy, Turner: "in 1960 the four boys, along
	with Wesley Black, became The Monarchs"; Yorke: 1960, Van: "the
	bass player [?] did the singing, I only sang for part of the
	time...about a quarter of the singing")

    @July ??	Turner: "Van left Orangefield" School for Boys
         ???	VM employed "a few weeks" as an apprentice fitter at
		Musgrave & Co. [engineering firm]
	 ???	"after a brief period in a meat-cleaning factory, Van
		teamed up with Sammy Woodburn and began cleaning windows
		in the streets around Hyndford Street"
	 ???	[dance hall]		Dundonald	N. Ireland
		(intermission at Johnny Johnston and The Midnighters gig,
		witnessed by Tommy Hanna, co-worker at Musgrave & Co., he 
		sang "I Go Ape" [N. Sedaka 1959 charts]; Kane: "we had one
		number based on a blues riff, 'Daddy Cool'")

	(order of membership in various bands is speculative; some events
	may be as late as 1963)

THE MONARCHS (George Jones [gtr], Billy McAllen [gtr], Roy Kane [drm/vox],
Van Morrison [sax, vox, ?], Wesley Black [keys], Jimmy Law [vox], Davey
Bell [sax], Leslie Holmes [trmpt], Ronnie ? [trmbn])
	(questions as to members of the band at this point)

   	  ??	King George V Youth Centre  Belfast  N. Ireland 
		(photo in Turner pg.29, noted as "King George VI")
	  ??	Town Hall		Carrickfergus	N. Ireland
		(recalled by Herbie Armstrong)

THE HALF CUTS (George Jones [gtr], Van Morrison [sax, vox, ?], Geordie
Sproule [?], ....) 

	  ??	Queen's University	Belfast	N. Ireland
		("Geordie & Van & several Monarchs & Federals took the
		stage during a rock 'n' roll festival...dubbing
		themselves The Half Cuts...but the unique amalgam was
		never repeated")

THE GREAT EIGHT (Harry "Mac" Megahey [baritone sax, trmpt], Van Morrison
[sax, vox, ?], ...)

	  ??	??			Belfast N. Ireland
		("Van stayed with them for a few months")

THE HARRY MAC SHOWBAND (Harry "Mac" Megahey [baritone sax, trmpt], Van
Morrison [sax, vox, ?], ...)
		(same as The Great Eight, above ?)

	  ??	East Belfast Working Men's Club (aka The Hut)  
					Belfast N. Ireland

THE OLYMPICS (Harry Baird [?], Van Morrison [sax, vox, ?], ...)

	  ??	??			Belfast	N. Ireland
		("during this period he also became involved with 
		Harry Baird's Olympics; the Olympics hired Van for a few

THE REGENTS SHOWBAND (Harry Baird [Hinton: sic?, Bird] [?], Van Morrison
[sax, vox], ...)

	  ??	??		Radalstown	??
		(B[a]ird/Hinton: "a young farmers' dance, a 5 hour
		marathon during which Van relieved the 2 main singers
		with an impromptu version of Elvis' 'Blue Suede Shoes'. As
		he started singing the audience stood mesmerized. "I edged
		forward to look--his face had gone purple! His eyes were
		stuck out like organ stops. He was freaking out, going
		crazy, and the crowd watched in amazement, wondering if he
		was going to have a stroke. We couldn't let him sing
		anymore--he was scaring the people."")

	(consistent print discrepancies concerning events 1962 or 1963
	regarding tour of Scotland, to London, to Germany, home to
	Belfast; verified by Van: "we got back from Europe in 1963")

	???	??		Drumshanbo	Ireland

THE MONARCHS (George Jones [gtr], Billy McAllen [gtr], Roy Kane [drm/vox],
Van Morrison [sax], Wesley Black [keys], Jimmy Law [vox], Davey Bell
[sax], Leslie Holmes [trmpt], Ronnie ? [trmbn]) 
	("after a few months Morrison set about returning to the 

 @Jan-May ??	Town Hall		Carrickfergus	N. Ireland
	  ??	The Calypso		Lurgan	N. Ireland
	  ??	Thompson's Restaurant	Belfast	N. Ireland
		(numerous performances)

THE MONARCHS (George Jones [gtr], Billy McAllen [gtr], Van Morrison [sax],
Wesley Black [keys], Harry "Mac" Megahey [sax, trmpt], George Hethrington
[vox], Laurie McQueen [drms])
	(some question as to 6 or 7 members)

     @Jun ??	[council house garden of manager Frank Cunningham]
		33 Levernside Rd. 	Pollok	Scotland
		(rehearsal sessions; "starting a tour of Scotland on
		Thursday"; urged to tour Scotland due to a trip to
		Belfast by George Hethrington "a few weeks ago" trying to
		lineup dates "for his own part-time band...He was
		introduced to the Monarchs and signed on...he later got
		his own drummer McQueen into the group"; "after touring
		Scotland the boys move to England and sometime in August
		they hope to tour Germany")
          ??	??			Glasgow	Scotland
		("the unit spent much of the period starving in a council
		estate in the middle of Glasgow...eventually they secured
		a number of gigs"; "during the *months* they spent in
		Scotland"; partial tour support for Don Charles)
          ??	[a spa]			Strathpeffer	Scotland
		("they were scheduled to play at a local hop")
    @July ??	??			London	England
		("they decided to leave Scotland & risk the dangers of
		life in London"; "the *sextet* lived & starved in an
		Austin mini bus parked around the Leicester Square area";
		"one night they were driving around Central London in the
		middle of a *summer* fog"; introduced to Ruby Bard,
		manager of Don Charles & Georgie Fame; Van: "after about 2
		weeks of sleeping in the park we finally got an
		audition...we played about 6 numbers"; Mick Brown
		interview album 1986 inner sleeve transcript, Van: "we
		did U.S.Airbases in England and then in Germany. No, here.
		It was just here actually. We just played U.S.Airbases in
		England, but we went to play clubs in Germany. About four
		months, every night for four months, gruelling. I was 17
		about then." 
	  ??	Flamingo Jazz Club	London	England
	  ??	["Irish dance hall"]	London	England
	  ??	["Irish dance hall"]	London	England
	  ??	["Irish dance hall"]	London	England
		(Bard: "we booked them into a few Irish dance halls in

THE INTERNATIONAL MONARCHS (George Jones [gtr], Billy McAllen [gtr], Van
Morrison [sax], Wesley Black [keys], Harry "Mac" Megahey [sax, trmpt],
George Hethrington [vox], Laurie McQueen [drms]) 

 @Jul-Aug ??	Storeyville Jazz Club	Heidelberg W. Germany
		("they played an arduous series of gigs"; McAllen: "we
		did a second month in Heidelberg and then moved on to the
		Storeyville Club in Frankfurt")
 @Aug-Sep ??	Odeon Keller		Heidelberg W. Germany
		("one month booking")
      Aug 31	[Van's 18th birthday]	Heidelberg W. Germany
		(Van: "Hiedelberg...The Odeon Keller...My surprise
		birthday party...7 sets a night, 7 nights a week,
		matinees Saturday & Sunday")
     @Oct ??	Storeyville Club	Frankfurt W. Germany

THE INTERNATIONAL MONARCHS (George Jones [gtr], Billy McAllen [gtr], Van
Morrison [sax], Wesley Black [keys], Harry "Mac" Megahey [sax, trmpt], Roy
Kane [drms, vox], "King" Oliver Trimble [vox]) 
		(George Hethrington & Laurie McQueen fired while
		in Frankfurt, vocalist "King" Oliver Trimble hired, Roy
		Kane flies over to take over drums & co-vocals)

     @Nov ??	Storeyville Club		Cologne	W. Germany
		("at the height of their success in Frankfurt they were
		required to complete their contractual obligations with 
		a residency in Cologne"; Van appears as a walk-on jazz
		musician in a movie titled 'Glide' after being spotted by
		the film director ["he"]; band scouted by Ron Kovacs of
		CBS Records)
	  ??	Ariola Studios		Cologne	W. Germany
		("Boo-Zooh"/"O Twingy Baby" [both credited to Bob Elger]
		recorded under the name Georgie and The Monarchs [song
		titles & band name as per sleeve, "Boo-Zooh (Hully Gully)
		on label?]; first appearance of Van on record, sax only;
		single released only in Germany & Holland; Doggett: "an
		18-year old Van just recognizable on the extreme left of
		the cover in a ridiculous hat")
	  ??				London	England
		(Doggett: "within a few weeks the Monarchs were back in
		London" [probably to settle 'business'] where they
		immediately broke up")
     @Dec ??				Belfast	N. Ireland
		(the band returns home "a few weeks later"; "Van stayed
		around [London] for awhile" --discrepancy?, likely Van
		returns to Belfast with the rest of the band then joins
		The Manhattan Showband for a tour of England; "following
		the return George Jones received a package of records
		congratulating him on the Top 50 success of 'Boozoo Hully
		Gully'...several weeks later a telegram arrived indicating
		the single had risen to #4 in the German pop charts")

THE MANHATTAN SHOWBAND (Geordie Sproule, Van Morrison, Billy McAllen, 
Herbie Armstrong, ...)

  @Jan-Mar ??	??			Calais	England
	  ???	??			Dover	England
	  ???	??			London	England
		(NDT 12/91, Van: "We were playing at a club in Heidelberg
		[Summer 1963] I went back--Calais, Dover &
		London--and it had all changed from 6 months previously"
		[referring to R&B vs. "groups" style of music being
		popular]; Turner: "they played weekend dates mainly at
		Irish clubs"; Frame: "Morrison joined The Manhattan
		Showband for 3 months before playing briefly with The
		Golden Eagles")
	   ??	Club A-Go-Go			Newcastle England
		(Turner: "in Newcastle they saw the Alan Price Set",
		with Eric Burdon, later The Animals; --discrepancy, Van:
		"we played the Cafe A-Go-Go in Newcastle...they said
		there's this band in here called the Alan Price Band or
		something like that, but we never heard them")
     March 16	Studio 51 (Leicester Square)	London	England
		(Van & Herbie Armstrong attend The Downliners Sect
		concert; Armstrong: Van asks "if he could blow harmonica
		with them but they said it was too late")
	   17 	[Irish ballroom]  Camden Town	London	England
	   ??			  Camden Town	London	England
		(Van plays 'Could You Would You' for Herbie Armstrong "in
		a spare bedroom over the venue")
	   ??	The band returns home to Belfast
           2?	The Orchid		Belfast	N. Ireland
		(Wrixon: "at the same time the Manhattan Showband had come
		together to play in the Orchid, with Van Morrison on sax")

(BRIAN ROSSI AND) THE GOLDEN EAGLES (Brian Rossi [organ], Herbie Armstrong
[gtr], Van Morrison [sax, harmonica, vox], Tito Tinsley [bass], ...; 
11-piece band, "9 men & 2 teenage girls")

	   2?	The Plaza Ballroom	Belfast N. Ireland
		(Turner: upon his arrival back in Belfast Armstrong
		invited to join The Golden Eagles, Van offers his
		services, hired as a vocalist [auditions had been held
		for 2 weeks], Van & Herbie rehearsed the next day at
		Armstrong's home, drive to the audition in a butcher's
		van "to avoid being seen by anyone connected with The
		Manhattan Showband", they started work that night; Van
		given vocalist spot on 'Sticks and Stones' & 'What'd I
		Say'; "five-night-a-week feature"; "during this period
		there was an advert in the Belfast Evening Telegraph,
		'Musicians wanted to start R&B club'; Van: "there was
		only me and this other guy who showed up")

THE GAMBLERS (Billy Harrison [gtr, vox], Alan Henderson [bass], Ronnie
Millings [drms], Eric Wrixon [keys], Van Morrison [sax, vox]) 
	("formed in 1962"; Wrixon recruited later, who later recruited
	Morrison; --discrepancy as to who "recruited" whom, whether Van
	was seeking a "backup group" for the R&B club, or The Gamblers
	took him on as another member...I suppose it depends on how one
	looks at it and who is doing the looking)

     	   ??	??			Belfast	N. Ireland
		(Hinton: "their repertoire was largely rock 'n' roll:
		early Presley, Little Willie John's 'Fever', 'The Hippy
		Hippy Shake'"; Wrixon: "that went along for 2 or 3 months
		rehearsing as The Gamblers; at the same time the Manhattan
		Showband had come together to play in the Orchid, with Van
		Morrison on sax; Billy & I went along to see it one night,
		we were speaking to Van afterwards...Van came down and
		within a week he was a permanent fixture in the band";
		band name soon changed to 'THEM')

THEM (1)
(Billy Harrison [gtr, vox], Alan Henderson [bass], Ronnie Millings [drms],
Eric Wrixon [keys], Van Morrison [sax, vox, hrmca]; 16 lineup changes
before Van leaves circa August-September 1966)

     April ??	(Hinton: "a band also called The Gamblers had just
		replaced The Tornados as backing group to Billy Fury";
		"Eric Wrixon came up with the name Them when we were
		sitting in the rehearsal rooms, and we decided to let the
		hair grow..."; Wrixon: "I think it was a reaction to the
		fact that everyone was called the 'somethings'...I think
		it was the first time anyone had given themselves a name
		that was a single word"; the group rehearsed at Billy
		Harrison's home and in a rented attic room above Dougie
		Knight's bicycle & record shop)
	   14	Belfast Telegraph ad: Who are? What are? THEM
	   15	Belfast Telegraph ad: When? and where? will you see THEM
	   16	Belfast Telegraph ad: Rhythm and Blues and THEM When?
           17	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel, College Square North
					Belfast	N. Ireland 
		(aka "The Maritime Club", later Club Rado)
		(Belfast Telegraph ad: To-night, 8:30, Introducing
		THEM, Ireland's Specialists in Rhythm and Blues; 
		200-capacity ballroom; "the first night ["gig on a
		Friday"] there were 40 people"; 1st public performance, 20
		weeks later to the day they would release their 1st single)
           24	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
		(2nd performance; "the second [week] there were 100
		[people]"; supporting band The Mad Lads come on board)
       May  1	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
		("the third week they were queueing before 6:00 to get
		in"; "the thing just took off on that third week"; Wrixon:
		"it was sold out at 7:00 with 250 people paying 10
            8	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
		(4th week; "gig on a Friday night")
           15	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
		(Hinton: "The Misfits drummer would often deputize for
		Ronnie Millings, or Van would duet with Keith [sic,
		Kenny] McDowell of The Mad Lads, or for showmen of the
		calibre of Johnny Johnston or Tony Ford to vault on stage
		for a couple of numbers"; "The Rolling Stones played
		Belfast a month after the opening of the Rhythm & Blues
	  ???	[recording studio ?]	Belfast	N. Ireland
		(1st studio session with engineering student Peter Lloyd
		[having seen them perform, implied] for "a University rag
		week promotion"; "Peter persuaded them to record a song
		for the University rag [Queens' University Rag Week]"
		--see late-66 also; college-issued recording/vinyl ???)
           22	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
          ???   [recording studio]	Belfast N. Ireland
		(2nd studio session w/Lloyd; "and following the session he
		took the group into another studio where they cut 'Turn On
		Your Lovelight'"; "the fledgling band recorded some demos
		for Peter Lloyd" [see?? the 'bedroom tape' @4/67]; the
		song ['Lovelight'] was then taken to Mervyn Solomon,
		brother of Phil Solomon; Mervyn "arranged for the group to
		come to his home where they ran through their repertoire
		on acoustic guitars...satisfied with what he heard he
		alerted Phil", who then contacted Dick Rowe)
           29	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
     @June ??	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
					Belfast	N. Ireland
		("Dick Rowe arrived one night at the Maritime")
	   ??	(contract signed between Decca & manager Phil Solomon for
		Them; Hinton: "Rowe had to secure their parents'
		signatures for a *standard 2 year contract*"; "within
		weeks of the signing Them were taken to" London to record)

  @June?-Dec?	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
					Belfast N. Ireland
		(numerous performances, "we reached the stage of playing
		7 nights a week, 4 times a night")
	  ???	The Dance Studio 	Belfast N. Ireland
	  ???	The Fiesta		Belfast N. Ireland
	  ???	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
		(Wrixon: "the way of making money was to play in as many
		places as possible in one night; once the Maritime had
		been built up with Them as the anchor band, Them would 
		have gone out and played [The Dance Studio & The Fiesta]
		and then an hour in the Maritime")
	  ???	Spanish Rooms (Falls Rd.)	Belfast N. Ireland
	  ???	Sammy Houston's Jazz Club	Belfast	N. Ireland
	  ???	Embassy				Derry	Ireland
	  ???	??				Dublin	Ireland
	  ???	??				Waterford Ireland
		(Hinton: "during a month with run-of-the-mill dates like
		the Spanish Rooms & Sammy Houston's Jazz Club, there would
		be side trips into ballrooms like Derry's Embassy...they
		would regularly drive over the border to Dublin & as far
		south as Waterford")
	  ???	The Plaza Ballroom	Belfast	N. Ireland
		(BW who attended: "they would have played there at least a
		couple of times at lunchtime")
	  ???	The Plaza Ballroom	Belfast	N. Ireland
		(BW: "they would certainly have played there at night" 
		[as well])
	  ???	Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI)  
					Belfast N. Ireland 
		(as per BW who attended)
	  ???	Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI) 
		(BW: on at least 2 occasions)
	  ???	Queen's University	Belfast N. Ireland
		(MB: "Holmes Hook, contracted Them for a gig in '64. Their
		organ died and they left it in the club. It was at the
		same university where Van got his honorary doctorate")
          ???	King George V Youth Centre (May St.)  Belfast  N. Ireland 
                (as per BW who attended, noted as "King George VI" in
		Turner pg.29)
          ???	Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI)  
					Belfast N. Ireland 
		(as per BW who attended, "it was on a Saturday night
		before the week they headed off to London to record their
		first record...well documented in the papers")
	  ???	Rhythm & Blues Club, Maritime Hotel
		("on one occasion Van entered the club at closing time
		and along with a fellow member of Them took the stage
		for an impromptu session...a couple of hours")
	  ???	(Eric Wrixon departs, Patrick 'John' McAuley recruited)

THEM (2)
(Billy Harrison, Alan Henderson, Ronnie Millings, Van Morrison, Patrick
'John' McAuley) 

       July 5	[Decca's #2 studios]  West Hampstead  London  England
		(1st sessions, Turner: Groovin', You Can't Judge A Book By
		Its Cover, Turn On Your Lovelight, Don't Start Crying Now,
		One Two Brown Eyes, Philosophy, Gloria)
           ??	Aaland Hotel [lounge]	Bloomsbury  London  England
		("the band stayed at the same hotel as blues harmonica
		legend Little Walter"; Van: "we had a manager who brought
		us to London to stay at this hotel...we were sitting
		there for weeks...we were having a jam session downstairs
		and all of a sudden there people were wandering through
		and somebody says 'Little Walter's coming in!'...and I 
		used to go for Chinese food for him--there was a Chinese
		restaurant a couple streets away"; NME '65, Van: "we used
		to have sessions with him and John Lee Hooker in the
		lounge"; Van: "sometimes I would run errands and then he
		[Little Walter] would show me something like playing a
		harp in several keys")
	   ??	Bloomsbury Cafe across from the Aaland Hotel
		(Dutch article 3/77, Van: "There we used to get
		sandwiches, if we had the money for them {and that was
     	   ??	[club, Little Walter gig]	London	England
		("Van, Alan and Billy went to see Walter at a club one
		night and he called us up on stage to play with him; he
		and Van both sang and blew harp, Alan played bass, Billy
		played guitar")
	  ???	[club, Jimmy Reed gig]		London	England
		(Dutch article 3/77, Van: "One day we were asked to
		{support} Jimmy Reed in London. And there we went,
		nervous as hell...the night before the gig we wanted to
		meet Reed to go through the setlist, but Jimmy had
		troubles at the airport, so we only saw him when we had
		to get up on stage")
	  ???	??				Manchester England
		(Dutch article 3/77, Van: "Manchester was a real Them
		minded town. We loved playing there. It's still a real
		Jimmy Saville town. We got to see him once when we were
		touring the town. We said hello and he invited us into his
	  ???	??					England
		(at some point Them tours with The Pretty Things)
      @Aug ??	band returns to Belfast
        Sep 4	"Don't Start Crying Now"/"One Two Brown Eyes" released
		(1st Them single; review appears in Record Retailer and
		Music Industry News, September 3, 1964, W#11)
  	  ???	'Thank Your Lucky Stars' [TV studio] ??	Ireland
		(Saturday night ITV program, "first important public
      @Oct ??	band returns to London
		(2nd sessions: Baby Please Don't Go, All For Myself,
		Stormy Monday Blues, ...)
        Nov 6	"Baby, Please Don't Go"/"Gloria" released
		(2nd Them single; DeWitt: BPDG reaches #2 in Ireland, #5
		in England, #108 in America [8 weeks in Billboard]; Gloria
		reaches #1 in Holland, #71 in America [7 weeks in
		Billboard]; --discrepancy, see UlsterWeek 9/65: "BPDG
		reached #10")
	  ???	'Discs-a-Gogo' (TV program)	??	??
	  ???	??				??	??
		(J.Robb column @Feb '65: "[Billy Harrison] told the
		story of the time Phil Solomon bought them a set of new
		suits for a TV show--and they turned up in old 
		prisoner-of-war garments bought in an army surplus shop
		for a few shillings"; Discs A-Go-Go??)

THEM (3)
(Billy Harrison, Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Patrick 'John' McAuley)

           ??	(Ronnie Millings returns to Belfast; "for a short while
		they worked as a 4-piece"; Patrick 'John' McAuley switches
		from organ to drums; "lasted only a few weeks")

THEM (4)
(Billy Harrison, Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Eric Wrixon, Patrick 'John'

      @Dec ??	(Eric Wrixon returns on keyboards)
           2?	'Ready Steady Go'	Redufussion TV Studios	
				Kingsway	London	England
		(lip sync, "Baby Please Don't Go"; Hinton: "a Yuletide
		edition of ITV's Ready Steady Go, headlined by The Rolling
		Stones"; "2 weeks later they learned that BPDG had entered
		the British charts and that the song was going to be
		played each week over the opening credits of Ready Steady
		Go", "supplanting Manfred Mann's '54321'")
           2?	the band returns to Belfast
		("Don't Start Crying Now was released and did nothing so
		the Solomon organisation said 'It didn't chart, why don't
		you fuck off back to Belfast'; so the band arrived back
		in Belfast about 12 weeks later"; Frame: "they went home
		for Christmas")
           ??	"Baby, Please Don't Go" enters British charts at #46
		(Yorke: "it hit the British charts in the last week of
 @Dec-Jan'65?  (Yorke: "they had to abandon their residency booking at
		the Maritime Hotel")

	  ???	Queen's Hall		Holywood	Ireland
	  ???	Queen's Hall		Newtownards	Ireland
	  ???	Queen's Court		Bangor		N. Ireland
	  ???	The Crown		Morden		England
	  ???	Hope & Shamrock		Birmingham	England
	  ???	The Lyceum		??		??
		("at the Lyceum Van's moodiness incensed the punters to
		such a degree that they booed him off the stage")
	  ???	The Pacific 		??		??
		(photo accompanying Billy Harrison interview, W#4,
		manager Micky Quinn)
	  ???	The Royal Hotel		London	England
		(Van meets Gene Vincent; Van: "I hung out with him...and I
		got to know him a bit. He'd been to Egypt and he'd just
		got back")

THEM (5)
(Billy Harrison, Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Patrick 'John' McAuley,
Jackie 'Griff/ith' McAuley)

       Jan ??	("early in January" Eric Wrixon departs, replaced by
		Jackie McAuley; "Peter Docherty comes in as road manager
		prior to return to London; both out within 4 months")
	  ???	??		Strabane	Ireland
	  ???	??		Newry		Ireland
		("the band started to be demanded in provincial Northern
		Ireland", mention of previous 2 locations)
           ??	??		Donegal Town	Ireland 
		("penny riot")
          	??		Lifford		Ireland 
		("penny riot"; same evening?, "they had been booked to
		make half-hour appearances at a dance...on Sunday night")
           ??	Orange Hall	Armagh		Ireland 
		(Friday night, "penny riot")
           ??	Town Hall	Cookstown	Ireland 
		("penny riot"; weekend after Donegal Town & Lifford
		incidents; attended by City Week journalist Paul Charles)
           ??	Strand Ballroom		Portstewart	Ireland
		("the week after Cookstown; supporting The Pacific
		Showband; Baby Please Don't Go at #4 in Ireland, #23 in
		Britain" [NME charts])
	   ??	(Wavelength filmography note "11/64" interview clip news
		report "standing next to a juke box commenting on recent
		crowd trouble at a gig")
	   ??	'Top Of The Pops' (BBC TV)	Manchester England
		(introduced by Alan Freeman, "BPDG" at #23;
		--discrepancy?, see March 1965 below)
           ??	Delta Rhythm Club		Ireland
		("this week's stars of Top of the Pops")
	   ??	The Flamingo		Ballymena	Ireland
		(2 nights after Top of the Pops aired; --discrepancy?, see
		March 1965 below)
	   ??	Sammy Houston's Jazz Club	Belfast	N. Ireland
		("last Belfast appearance before...London")
	   21	the band returns to London
		(Johnny Robb column: "their return to England on January
		21; Lillian Gore, the 18-year old machinist who is
		secretary of the THEM Fan Club")
	   ??	[recording studio]		London	England
		(Hinton: "in January Berns jetted across the Atlantic";
		"he forced them to undergo endless rehearsals in a
		room above a pub facing Brewer a matter of
		weeks Them were transformed into a reasonably effective
		recording unit"; 3rd recording session with Bert Berns:
		Here Comes the Night, (It Won't Hurt) Half As Much, Little
		Girl [rude], ...)
	 ???					??	??
		(Them interviewed by Ron Boyle, Daily Express: "he could
		not remember a less co-operative group than THEM...'One
		of them even refused to answer simple personal questions
		like "What age are you?" I just got fed up and left
	 ???					??	??
		(J.Robb column @2/65: Them interviewed by Des Hickey,
		Sunday Independent, "a few weeks ago...he said they were
		rude & disinterested & Billy Harrison started to play the
		guitar while he was talking to them")
       Feb 9	("'Baby, Please Don't Go' reached the #9 spot in Britain's
		most authoritative was #2 in Ulster and went to
		#5 in Scotland") 
          1?					London	England
		(see Feb. 19th Johnny Robb column)
          20	Club Noreik	Tottenham	London?	England
	  ??	'Them' EP released in the UK (Decca DFE 8612) w/"Philosophy"
	  ??	(Mirabelle, 'Heart Throbs' column [Them & Michael Caine]
		by Dawn James: [Harrison] "our next record 'Here Comes The
		Night' is more melodic than the last. It will be a hit")
	 ???				Edinburgh	Scotland
	 ???				Barnstaple	England
	 ???				??		Scotland
		(Jackie McAuley: "we'd be in Edinburgh one night,
		Barnstaple the next, back in Scotland the next,
		sometimes twice a night")
	 ???	Pontiac		Putney		England
	 ???	Beat City		London	England
		(Hinton: "strutting their stuff in supercool new clubs
		like the Pontiac in Putney or Alexis Korner's Beat City")
       Mar 5	"Here Comes The Night"/"All For Myself" released
		(3rd Them single; "3 weeks later it entered the British
		charts & finally peaked at #2, 2 months later it entered
		the US charts [DeWitt: July], peaking at #24"; 10 weeks in
          17	"Here Comes The Night" at #25 UK
          19	'Thank Your Lucky Stars' (Irish Television [ITV] program)
		(Saturday night, "to plug new single")
          31	"Here Comes The Night" at #12 UK
	 ???	??			Stevenage	??
		(Chris Ryder: "in Stevenage they doubled the average
		crowd when they appeared")
	 ???	??			Bath 		England
		(Ryder: "in Bath they drew 500 more than The Beatles")
	 ???	??			Elgin		Scotland
		(Ryder: "in Elgin rag students captured them...all were
		mobbed and lost cufflinks, ties and even shoes")
         ???	??		Barrow-In-Furness	England
		(sleeping in a jail for lack of hotel space & minibus 
	 ???	The Bird Cage		Plymouth England
	 ???	Agincourt		Camberley	England
	 ???	Floral Hall		Southport	England
	 ???	Basingstoke Technical College  Basingstoke  England
	 ???	Rock Garden Pavilion	Llandrindod Wells  England
	 ???	Dreamland		Margate	 ??	England
	 ???	Palace Ballroom			Isle of Man
		(Hinton: "they zigzagged from the Bird the
		Palace Ballroom on the Isle of Man, often they would
		have to drop everything to fit in Saturday Club or Top of
		the Pops"; see January 1965 above)
	 ???				??		??
		(Jackie McAuley: "one time Van got out and I went with
		him; we walked for miles...he was saying 'I'm just gonna
		keep walking, for ever and ever.'...Billy would do
		everything he could to persuade Van that everything would
		work out in the time Van never said one word
		for 3 days, and we were with him 24 hours a day!")
       Apr 3	'Saturday Club' (BBC radio)	London	England
		(1st BBC radio session, possibly 'Saturday Club', a
		morning show: Here Comes The Night, All For [By] Myself)
           7	"Here Comes The Night" at #5 UK
          11	The Empire Pool (Wembley Arena) London	England
		'New Musical Express Poll Winners Concert 1965'
                (introduced by Jimmy Saville, "Here Comes The Night",
		"Turn On Your Lovelight"; only live performance of Them
		known to exist, concert recorded for UK TV broadcast,
          14	??			Birmingham	England
		(last performance of Jackie McAuley with Them; "Here Comes
		The Night" at #3 UK)

THEM (6)
(Billy Harrison, Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Patrick 'John' McAuley)
		(Jackie McAuley sacked in Birmingham; Frame: "Jackie left
		following a ferocious argument with Alan Henderson and
		went back to Belfast"; Jackie reported "missing for a
		week" since the 15th, press clip @April 21st)

	  15	??			Kidderminster	England
		(single performance by this 4-piece lineup of Them)
          17	St. Columbana's Parish Church, Ballyhome, N. Ireland
		(marriage of Billy Harrison to secretary Vivian McMeekin;
		honeymoon in London; Alan Henderson is Best Man; remainder
		of the band "stayed in their Belfast homes")

THEM (7)
(Billy Harrison, Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Eric Wrixon, Patrick 'John'
		(Eric Wrixon returns "for another 6 weeks")

 	 ???  	Wimbledon Palais  London  England 
		(as per Chris Walter, photographer)
	 ???	??			Swindon England
		(Hinton: "a support slot to Screaming Lord Sutch dragged
		from Morrison, 'I wasn't born in Swindon, but I'm dying
	 ???	[recording studio]		London?	England
		(interview with Keith Altham of the NME; "Billy Harrison
		spent most of the interview cleaning his nails with a
	 ???		London	England
		(Turner: press conference, Great Malborough Street, the
		group arrived an hour late)
	 ???	??				??	??
		(15-minute interview with Judith Simons; "Eventually she
		said, 'Well, who actually formed you?' and Harrison said,
		'British Plastics fucking molded us'")
	 ???	[interview with the New Musical Express]  London  England
		(Frame: "Van would tell the NME that the greatest thrill
		of his life was 'talking the blues' with John Lee Hooker,
		who he'd met in the interim"; see July 1964 above)

THEM (8)
(Billy Harrison, Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Patrick 'John' McAuley,
Ronnie Millings) 

 @late-Apr??	(Eric Wrixon leaves again, replaced by Ronnie Millings)
	  ??	Rikki Tik	Windsor  Cheshire  England
		(Millings: "they knew their *organist* was leaving...I
		went along and played that night at the Rikki Tik",
		probably only gig this lineup)

THEM (9)
(Billy Harrison, Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Patrick 'John' McAuley,
Peter Bardens) 

      May  ?	("Peter Bardens recruited from The Cheynes; Millings
		switches to drums"; question as to a 6-piece band for a
		short while ?, "Millings switches to drums"; Millings
		"leaves" at some point; Frame: "as soon as Bardens arrived
		they began work in earnest on their first LP")
           7	(CityWeek: "Them have been recording a lot during the past
		few days with new organist Peter Bardens for their
		longplayer which will be released soon")
	 ???	Y.M.C.A. (Tottenham Court Rd.)	London	England
		(rehearsal session)
	  ??	Regent Sound (recording studio)	London	England
		(Frame: final Berns session, band records Go On Home Baby, 
		My Little Baby, and I Gave My Love A Diamond; "Berns
		returned to the States leaving Tommy Scott to complete the
		work on Them's debut album"; likely point at which Little 
		Girl re-recorded due to "rude ending" on Lord Taverner's)
	  ??	Lord Taverner's '14' album released w/"Little Girl" [rude]
	  12	"Here Comes The Night" at #2
          ??	(Chris Ryder column: "Dick Clark has booked our own
		Belfast popsters to appear in his own 'Caravan Show'";
		later publication: "owing to the present difficulties with
		the immigration authorities and American unions, the
		trip--originally scheduled for June--may have to be
	  28	'Them' album released in Belfast
		(CityWeek: "although its official British release date is
		tomorrow, the debut album from THEM has been available in
		their native city since last weekend")
      June 1	Tunbridge Wells Public Hall	?? 	England
	   2	Bristol Corn Exchange	Bristol		England
           3	Town Hall		Holsworthy	England
	   4	Forum			Plymouth	England
	   7	Top Spot		Ross-On-Wye	England
 	  10	'Them' album released in the UK (Decca LK 4700)
		released on a Thursday (from clipping); "The Angry Young
		Them" [publicist Les Perrin] on the back cover, Decca logo
		on the front cover; "for 1965, best selling album on the
		Irish charts, 8th best selling album in the British
		charts, reaches #54 in US album charts [Yorke: #21]
		(released July) [in Billboard for 23 weeks]"; Henderson:
		"the 3 sessions we did for it were good")
	  ??	"One More Time/How Long Baby" released
		(4th Them single; half-page ad on the front of the NME,
		June 1965; DeWitt: reaches #1 in Ireland, #4 in England,
		not released in the U.S.; --discrepancy, see CityWeek
		8/65: "which did not get enough TV plugs to push it past
		the 46 slot")
	  11	Scunthorpe TA Centre	Scunthorpe?	England
	  12	Ramsey Gaiety		?	England
	  13	Putney The Place	?	England
	  19	Town Hall	Dudley	?	England
	  21	Beachcombers at Leigh & Bolton	?	England
	  23	'Ready Steady Go' (TV studio)   ?  	England
		(2nd [?] appearance "to plug new single"; Frame: "they
		were dumped off RSG for being 2 hours late for rehearsal"
		--conflicts w/Hinton pg.52; NME "Lifelines" section
		article; CityBeat: "Ulster TV didn't take the programme
		until the week after their appearance"; possibly a "3rd" 
		RSG appearance back in April 1965?; Henderson: "that was
		just about the best thing ['One More Time'] we've done
	  ??	BBC Studios (radio)	London	England
		(2nd BBC radio sessions: "Gloria", "One More Time")
	  ??	[recording session?]	London	England
		("'Them Again' cut at various sessions since June")
	 ???	??			London?	England
		interview with Richard Green of Record Mirror
		("Green asked Morrison how he wrote 'One More Time', the
		singer replied abruptly, 'I got a pencil and wrote it on
		a piece of paper.'")
     July ??			North London	England
		(CityBeat: "they all live in different flats around North
		London...Billy & Vivienne living in Willsden since their 
		marriage last Easter...Alan Henderson shares the 5-room
		apartment"; Turner: "Van was now living in a rented
		flat [Nottinghill Gate]")
	   ?	??			Preston	England
	   ?	??			West Hartlepool	England
	   ?	??			London	England
		(CityBeat article, Harrison: "We've no intention of
		breaking up...truth is, I'm tired out. We have just
		finished as 800-mile round trip, playing dates in Northern
		clubs...W.Hartlepool, Preston, London tonight. Man, I'm
		shagged."; Henderson: "Splitting up indeed! Here we are,
		one record in the American top 20, another one moving up
		the British charts and *less than a month away from our
		tour of the States*"; CityBeat: "the boys hope to get back
		to Belfast for a few days before their August 1st
	  ??	the band returns to Belfast
	  ??	[CityWeek offices]	Belfast N. Ireland
		(presented with 1st CityBeat Golden Guitar Award; "one of 
		their first Belfast stops will be the CityWeek office
		where they will be presented with the Golden Guitar

THEM (10)
(Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Patrick 'John' McAuley, Peter Bardens)

	   ?	??			??	??
		(Billy Harrison leaves the band: "one day they turned up
		in the minibus at the house *to go to a show* and I said,
		'Bye, bye. Go on your own. I'm not going'"; single ?
		performance with this 4-piece lineup?; breakup reported
		as "the other 4 members of Them met recently and voted
		Billy out of the group")

THEM (11)
(Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Patrick 'John' McAuley, Peter Bardens, Joe

	  ??				Belfast N. Ireland
		(Joe Boni recruited to replace Harrison; Bardens/Frame
		interview: "Van was head and shoulders above the rest of
		the band, though he was often difficult to work with and
		often had trouble communicating his ideas to the others.
		As well as that there was always conflict and tension over
		who was leader...'and sometimes Van's eyes got all glassy,
		you knew he was about to erupt!' All of this internecine
		warfare came to a head in the first week of July when
		Harrison was booted out")

THEM (12)
(Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Peter Bardens, Joe Boni, Terry Noone)
		(discrepancy? as to the name(s) Joe Boni and/or Joe Baldi
		[sic?] around this time, one and the same person??)

	  ??				??	??
		(Patrick 'John' McAuley departs "within days of
		Harrison's dismissal"; replaced by Terry Noone; Turner:
		lineup "never recorded...lasted only a matter of weeks")
	  ??	??			??	??
		(press clip, "Lowdown": "their minibus, which has only
		been able to travel backwards because of gear
		trouble", "the group also fell out of the back recently,
		their Canadian road manager forgot to lock it...shame
		about the split")
      Aug  1	("but they're looking forward to a trip to America on
		August 1...their visit will last 5 weeks")
	  ??				Ruislip Lido	??
		(photo session in a swimming pool, Turner pg.59)
	   3	(contract signed in London by "Mr. Boyle" for gig on 
		Nov. 19 in Shropshire UK)
	  ??	"(It Won't Hurt) Half As Much"/"I'm Gonna Dress In Black"
		(5th Them single; "recorded before Harrison & McAuley left
		last month")
          16	("on August 16 they fly to America for a five week tour")
	  ??				Edinburgh	Scotland
		("Van & Alan sacked Boni, Noone and Bardens"; Frame:
		"Baldi [Boni?] 'One day we arrived in Edinburgh and I said
		'this is where I get off'...Bardens, unhappy with the
		administrative side of the group, took that as his cue to
		leave too, and Noone, who had never felt comfortable, made
		it three"; Van & Alan return to Belfast)
      Sep  1	(UlsterWeek: "Billy Harrison & John McAuley are starting a
		group called Them. They claim they have the name
		registered with the Board of Trade...presently rehearsing
		for a recording session next week...joined by Nick Wyner
		& Skip Allen"; "shortly after this news broke, Alan
		Henderson admitted that he and Van were coming home this
		month to form a new all-Irish group")
	   3	The Wheels release their cover of "Gloria"

THEM (13)
(Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Eric Wrixon, Jim Armstrong, Ray Elliot,
John Wilson)

	  ??	The Maritime Hotel	Belfast	N. Ireland
		(band audition, Saturday; band rehearsals "each day this
		week"; Frame: "Morrison and Henderson shot back to Belfast
		and in 2 weeks had recruited, rehearsed and debuted a new
		Them"; ?: "new players were rapidly recruited including
		Joe Baldi [sic?, likely inaccurate, see Edinburgh previous
		entry], soon replaced by Jim Armstrong, returning pianist
		Wrixon, saxophonist Ray Elliot & drummer John Wilson";
		6-piece lineup)
	  1?				Belfast N. Ireland
	  1?				Belfast N. Ireland
	  1?				Belfast N. Ireland
		(Wrixon: "we did about 3 gigs...and then...I...left")
	 ???				Belfast N. Ireland
		(as per Frame, at some point "Van [had] asked Paul Brady
		to join Them")

THEM (14)
(Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Jim Armstrong, Ray Elliot, John Wilson)

          24	Top Hat Club		Lisburn N. Ireland
		(Friday night gig, debut of new band lineup; "played a
		40-minute set...before leaving for London"; Belfast clip:
		"their first work will be in America. Them fly out after
		their Belfast holiday" --discrepancy?)
          ??	[Decca studio]		London	England
		("in September Morrison recorded with the fresh lineup")
      Oct 15	Zeeta House	Putney	??	England
	  19	Olympia			Paris	France
		(CityBeat: "Iron Curtain Tour For Them?...1st working
		visit abroad...appeared just one night...more European
		tours are in the offing, among them the possibility of
		Poland...they may be going back [to France] before
		Christmas"; Armstrong: "Barry Maguire was on the bill with
		us...we played 6 numbers, 3 of which are in the French top
		30"; CityWeek: "they had no less than 4 curtain
		calls...only vocalist Van Henderson [sic] & bass
		guitarist Alan Henderson are left of the original...the
		once-scheduled Stateside autumn tour that was lined up
		before their troubles is definitely on in the New Year")
      Nov  5	(Patrick 'John' & Jackie 'Griff' McAuley, under the
		management of Ray Henderson, had formed a group also
		calling themselves Them ["once billed as 'Some of Them'];
		advertisement was made in Disc Weekly for 'Them' in
		caricature, the McAuley brothers along with "Ken" [Billy
		Harrison] & "Mark" [?, Van Morrison], "the agency were
		unable to supply the surnames of the latter pair"; 
		alluding that this 'Them' was the 'Them' of Baby Please
		Don't Go fame; legal complaint registered under the
		'Business Names Act' of 1916 by "Them Limited in the name
		of Them" [London; "Capable Management Ltd."; "Maurice
		King, boss"] through Bernard Sheridan for an injunction
		against the McAuley group...alleged by the petitioners as
		constituting a misrepresentation"; Harrison: "the McAuley
		group are not the group that kids know as THEM. I got out
		of the whole affair pronto before this thing blew up"; see
		Jan 13, 1966)
	  ??	"Mystic Eyes"/"If You And I Could Be As Two" released
		(6th Them single; DeWitt: reaches #33 in America
		[Yorke: #29] in December; 8 weeks in Billboard; fails to
		chart in the UK; may be 1st week November release)
	  ??				London	England
	  	(interview 10/65, Van comments on recording 'Mystic Eyes':
		"the lyrics were just words from another song I was
		writing at the time...we put it on tape the 2nd time
	  ??	("a second Them LP was finished by November, cut at
		various sessions since June"; Turner: "in Dec. Them
		recorded their second album with Tommy Scott in total
          19	Majestic Ballroom	?alington   Shropshire	England
		(contract signed August 3 by "Mr. Boyle, 'the Management'")
	  25	profile of Van Morrison appears in CityWeek
      Dec 16	contract signed between Galaxy Entertainments (management)
		and Kings Agency for bookings in January 1966

@Oct-May'66??	various unknown UK/European gigs
		(Wilson: "I was so young I couldn't get a permit to do
		European gigs, so they had to get a stand-in drummer any
		time they played in Europe")
          ??	St. Mary's College	?	?	
		(Armstrong: "one night in St. Mary's College they pulled 
		the plug...the caretaker came on and switched off the
		power", during 'Train and the River')
	  ??	Newcastle College	Newcastle	England
		(Armstrong: "we found out that our manager was actually
		charging a lot Newcastle College they told us
		they'd paid 500 [pounds] for us, and we said, 'But we're
		only supposed to get 300'...when we asked the management,
		their line was 'You've been booked from someone over here
		who's paying 400 for you, and someone over here paid
		300'...we couldn't understand why they couldn't sell us
		direct for 500. And the management was taking 35% of the
		300 as well.")

THEM (15)
(Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Ray Elliot, Jim Armstrong, Dave Harvey)
	(Hit Parader 2/68: "Van scored a successful tour in 1966 in France,
	*Scandinavia* and the West Coast of America with Them")

      Jan  ?	(John Wilson leaves the band, replaced by Dave Harvey)
           4	Assembley Hall	Aylesbury	Bucks	England
	  10	Labour Hall	Bletcheley	Bucks	England
	  11	The Hut	(Furlong Rd.)	Westcott  Surrey  England
          12	'Them Again' released in the UK
	  13	(legal case over McAuley group's 'Them' appears in court
		documents signed by J.H. Davies, Registrar of Business
		Names; CityBeat's Johnny Robb columnist called in to
		testify; CityBeat article week of Jan 16-22)
	  ??	??			??	Wales
		("at the time of press [legal affair], Van Morrison was
		touring with THEM in Wales")
	  27	Whitehall	East Grinstead	Sussex	England
	  ??	(CityWeek 1/66: THEM wish to thank their many fans for the
		wonderful success in voting them TOP in the 'Irish Beat
		Group Of The Year' Poll and in the Rhythm and Blues
		section, and also Tenth in the 'Best British Group'
		section. They would like to hear personally from their
		fans if they would care to write to: THEM c/o Hyde Park
		Music Publishers Ltd., 73-75 New Oxford Street, London WC1")
      Feb ??	???			???		UK
      Mar ??	"Call My Name"/"Bring 'Em On In" released in the UK
		(7th Them single; Collis pg.210 "alternate versions")
	  ??	"Call My Name"/"Bring 'Em On In" released in the USA
		(album versions --Collis pg.210)
	  ??	??			??	Wales
          ??	Hungerford Bridge, Thames Embankment nr Big Ben	
					London	England
		('Shindig / Where The Action Is' film shoot; aired on US
		TV, voice of Dick Clark dubbed in; lip-sync "Call My Name"
		& "Mystic Eyes"; Armstrong: "we drove overnight from
		Wales, were in London 8:00 a.m. to pose & mime to some
		records for an American TV show called 'Shindig'
		['Shindig' was cancelled 1/66, 'Where the Action Is'
		became "replacement" show], and then we drove to Edinburgh
		for a gig that night")
	  	[unknown venue]		Edinburgh	Scotland
      Apr ??	'Them Again' released in the US
		(reaches #138 in Billboard, 6 weeks in the charts)
	  ??	[recording studio]	London	England
		(last studio session, "Them didn't record after April";
		"Tommy Scott produced the final Them session"; Richard
		Corey, Mighty Like A Rose, ...)
      May 14	Decca Entertainments Centre ("the Ashton Palais")
				Ashton-under-Lyne	England
	  ??	"Gloria" at #71 Billboard charts USA
	  ??	"Richard Cory"/"Don't You Know" released
		(8th Them single)
	  2?	the band flies to America, "accompanied by Tommy
		Scott"; Armstrong: "we were met in at the airport in NY
		[Kennedy Airport for a press reception] and had the Riot
		Act read to us. No drugs, no underage women. ["they
		visited radio stations"] Then we flew to San Francisco and
		the guy who'd read us the riot act woke up beside a 15
		year old!...then we flew to Phoenix"
	  2?	[football field]	Phoenix AZ
		(Armstrong: "we did the first gig in a football
		field...they drove us on an open-backed Cadillac with
		these masses of screaming kids around us. We had a P.A.
		with 2 little column speakers and I had a little Fender
		amp, not miked or anything, and we were expected to fill
		this huge outdoor arena"; see August below, return to AZ)
          27	Rollarena		San Leandro CA
		(Van meets Janet "Planet"; supporting acts were Peter
		Wheat & The Breadmen, and The Canadian Fuzz)
	  28	'American Bandstand' [TV studio] Los Angeles CA
		(only reference found in DeWitt: "in May 1966 when Van was
		interviewed by American Bandstand's Saturday show from
		L.A. [possibly the 21st? band in NY?]...when Them was 
		booked to appear on American Bandstand, Ronnie Harran the
		talent agent for the Whisky-A-Go-Go, was able to sign Them
		for a 17 night [sic] stint")
          30	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA	
		(Monday, 1st night of an 18-night stint (24 performances);
		300-capacity club owned by Elmer Valentine; 1st week
		supported by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, with
		Frank Zappa on occasion joining Them [Armstrong: "played
		with us a couple of was fun swapping choruses
		with him on something like 'Stormy Monday'"]; John
		Densmore: "Them slammed through several songs one right
		after the other, making them indistinguishable...Van was
		drunk & very uptight & violent with the mic stand, 
		crashing it down on the stage...when he dropped his lower
		jaw & tongue and let out one of those yells of rage")
		[opening night private party, apartment]  ??  CA
		(Densmore: "[Van] sat on the couch, moody & glowering, and
		didn't say a word. All of a sudden he grabbed a guitar and
		started singing songs about reincarnation, being in
		'another time & place'...the apartment fell silent and all
		eyes were riveted on Van..."; Van roomed at the Sunset
          31	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
     June  1	[Wednesday, night off]
	   2	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
           3	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
           4	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA (2 shows)
           5	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA (2 shows)
           6	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
		(Frame: 2nd week opening act was The Doors; other acts
		appearing at the time were The Association, Buffalo
		Springfield?, ...; a live album was planned [unreleased];
		contract signed in Beverly Hills with Artistic Consultants
		for Hawaii gigs July 8-10)
           7	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
           8	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
           9	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
          10	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
          11	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA (2 shows)
          12	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA (2 shows)
          13	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
		(DeWitt: among those who witnessed the performances were
		Roger McGuinn, Harry Vestine, Mac Rebennack, Jim Guercio,
		Grace Slick, Kim Fowley, Nick Venet, Lou Adler, Joe Smith
		["soon Warner Brothers, at Smith's urging, began a 
		campaign to lure Van to their label"]; Armstrong: "beer
		was free for the band and spirits half-price, but we still
		ran up a tab of $2600 in 2 weeks!")
          14	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
          15	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
          16	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA
          17	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA  
          18	Whisky-A-Go-Go	West Hollywood CA (2 shows)
		("on the last night of the residency Jim Morrison joined
		Them onstage...'we did the big Gloria jam'"; Densmore: "we
		all played 'Gloria' together, 2 keyboards, 2 guitars, 2
		drummers, Alan [bass], and 2 Morrisons"; Yorke: "In The
		Midnight Hour" also performed)
          23	Fillmore Auditorium 	San Francisco CA 
		(supported by The New Tweedy Brothers)
	  2?	Longshoremen's Hall	San Francisco CA
          26 	Oakland [Coliseum] Auditorium Arena	Oakland CA 
     July  8	Waikiki Shell	Kapiolani Park  Honolulu  Hawaii
		(shared the bill with the Ramsey Lewis Trio; Turner:
		'Ballerina' played for the first time in public, having
		been rehearsed on tour; Armstrong: "a lot of the stuff we 
		rehearsed into tape recorders was the guts of 'Astral
		Weeks'. Alan, Ray and I sat acoustically with flutes and
		stuff playing 'Ballerina' into a tape recorder. In fact we
		used to do 'Ballerina' on stage")
           9	Waikiki Shell	Kapiolani Park  Honolulu  Hawaii 
		(the promoter, thinking the band had played horribly &
		was drunk the 1st night, confronted them; "we played
		Waikiki Shell absolutely the *next night* we
		all got drunk")
          10	Waikiki Shell	Kapiolani Park  Honolulu  Hawaii 
		(rain date; likely no performance)
  	 ???	??			Fresno Beach CA
		(as per Armstrong interview 1989)
	 ???	??			San Luis Obispo CA
		(incident between Ray Elliot & Van)
	 ???	Loser's South		San Jose CA 
		(Turner: "to play a residency"; possibly August)
	  23	Strand Theater		Modesto CA
          29 	Fillmore Auditorium 	San Francisco CA 
		(supported by The Sons of Champlin; Dewitt: "3 encores")
	  30 	Fillmore Auditorium 	San Francisco CA
      Aug ??	football stadium at Salpointe Catholic High School
					Tucscon AZ
		(Turner: "after playing more dates in AZ the tour ground
		to a halt in Los Angeles"; see May 2? above; "at the
		same time they were unable to extend their visas and had
		to turn down offers of extra dates"; Van buys an
		"expensive reel-to-reel tape recorder")
	   6				Los Angeles CA
		(Turner pg.66: Van sends postcard to Bangor, having just
		met Bo Diddley)
	  ??	(Van leaves the band, returns to London w/Alan Henderson
		"to sort out business", leaving Armstrong, Elliot & Harvey
		in L.A.)
	  ??	"I Can Only Give You Everything"/"Don't Start Crying Now"
		released in the US "posthumously"
		(9th/final Them single w/Van)
	 ???				London	England
		(Turner: "they failed to reach an agreement with the
		Solomons and returned, dejected, to Belfast"; Rogan: "When
		he visited Phil Coulter upon his return to London, it was
		evident that Van had not yet recovered from the sudden
		break from his manager")
	 ???				Belfast N. Ireland
		(Frame: "he arrived back in Belfast a couple weeks before
		his 21st birthday")

THEM (16)
(Alan Henderson, Van Morrison, Jim Armstrong, Sammy Stitt)

     @Sep ??	Embassy Ballroom	Derry	Ireland
		("Back in Ireland the band played a last few gigs",
		w/Sammy Stitt [drums, Van's cousin]; Armstrong: "we ended
		up playing the Embassy in Derry with Van's cousin Sammy
		Stitt, a harmonica player on drums. The place was stuffed
		but the band was awful. There was still a bad feeling from
		the American tour and the drummer was all over the place,
		so I said forget it")
	  ??	??			Dublin	Ireland
		(Hinton: "Van and Alan gravitated back to Belfast and
		played 2 final concerts, in Derry & Dublin")

(Van Morrison [vox, gtr, sax], Eric Bell [gtr], Joe Hanratty [drms], Mike
Brown [bass]) 

 @Sep-Nov ??	The Maritime Club	Belfast N. Ireland
		(Eric Bell: "Morrison held auditions in the Maritime Club
		for a new band"; Turner: "after playing through his set
		with them individually at home he arranged for them to
		rehearse in a room over Dougie Knight's [bicycle/record
		shop]" Collis: Van living in a flat in Ladbroke Grove)
    	 ???	Square One Club		Belfast	N. Ireland
		("the first gig we did", on a weekend; Turner: Alan
		Henderson "turned up to double on bass for some Them
		numbers such as 'Mystic Eyes', & 'Baby Please Don't Go',
		the local press was on hand and the room was so jammed
		that girls in the front were actually playing with the
		musicians' shoe laces"; Bell: Van said "fuck the list and
		start a blues in E...he was playing a blue 
		Stratocaster...and started making things up as he went
		along...just like a jazz musician")
	 ???	Town Hall		Carrickfergus N. Ireland
		(Turner: "their next performance"; "top the bill to the
		Bangor Carpetbaggers and The Fugitives in a beat-feast";
		"Van turned a few heads by arriving in a floral suit
		bought in San Francisco"; "in the middle of the set he
		walked to the mic with a big book in his hand...he stood
		there and said, 'To wank or not to wank, that is the
		question'...when he didn't get much reaction he said,
		'Hands up all the wankers in the hall'...Teddy Boys
		started throwing pennies on stage and the promoter had to
		clamber up and appeal for calm", as per Bell)
	 ???	[various locations]		Ireland
		("we played around Ireland for 2 or 3 months"; Rogan: "on
		one occasion he was joined onstage by Rod Stewart for an
		impromptu rendition of 'Gloria'"; Doggett: "Van was
		performing 'TB Sheets' by the end of 1966")
	 ???	Sammy Houston's Jazz Club	Belfast N. Ireland
		("the group played a few more local gigs at Sammy
		Houston's Jazz Club and at Queen's University")
	 ???	Queens' University "Rag Ball"  Belfast  N. Ireland
		(incident reviewed in City Week by Donal Corvin; Bell: "I
		left the band that night because there was a bad feeling")


 @Dec'66-Feb??	[monastery]			??	??
		(Interview 3/67: "We heard something, you were in the 
		monastery some it true?"; Van: "Yeah I was,
		yeah."; "Why?"; Van: "Because I was completely sick of the
		pop scene and I just wanted to get away from it all
		because it was gettin' too much, y'know, it's so false,
		the pop scene is false, it's not real...I went and they
		said they would let me stay there for as long as I 
		intended to stay, to think and read, philosophize, y'know,
		this type of thing, and they said if I wanna come back 
		anytime I could come back")
	  ??	Alan Henderson, from America, contacts Jim Armstrong "at
		the beginning of 1967 and asked if I fancied going back to
		the States. We [without Van] rehearsed in Belfast with
		Kenny McDowell on vocals and we were sent tickets [Texas
		promoter?] and went back without Van. Van actually rang
		Alan in the States wanting to know how we'd got over
		there"; Them, without Van, goes on to record later in
		1967, releasing an album 1/68, "Now and Them", more to
		follow through 1979, various incarnations of 'Them'
	  ??	Turner: "during this period he had been writing a lot
		more songs with the use of the new tape recorder [see
		August 1966] and sending tracks to record
		companies...Philips in London had begun to show some
		interest and also Bert Berns in NY"; possibly offers from
		Warner Bros. as well --see June 1966; Hinton: "Decca
		showed interest and arranged for 4 solo tracks to be
		recorded at their West Hampstead studios"; Doggett: demo
		tape with 'Brown Eyed Girl' & 'TB Sheets' "circulated
		around London and also sent to Bert Berns"; Van: "somebody
		saw Bert and he said, 'Oh, yeah, if you see Van, tell him
		I have my own record company, and I'd like to do something
		with him'. At the same time I was trying to get a solo
		thing together, and basically the interest from Bert was
		the first thing that had come through. I was waiting on
		someone else from another company to make up his mind when
		Bert said, 'Why don't you come over and we'll cut a few
       Mar ?	Van travels to Holland
	  ??	??				The Netherlands
		(Van interviewed by Harry 'Cuby' Muskee & Willem De
		Ridder for Hitweek; Van: "I have a new manager, Jerry
	   9	Buiten Societeit	  	Deventer   The Netherlands
		(concert reel of this perfromance sent to a US fan by Van
		later; existence noted of a Van/Cuby studio collaboration,
		as yet unissued)
	  ??    Wassenaar Wildlife Breeding (zoo) Wassenaar The Netherlands
		(w/Cuby & The Blizzards, lip-sync "Mystic Eyes" + 
		'monastery' interview)
	  ??	(H.Armstrong, "playing guitar in The Wheels with Brian
		Rossi, asked Van if he would like to join": "he told me
		that he had a phone call to make to Bert Berns in America")
	  2?	(Turner: "Dougie Knight remembers Van coming into his shop
		and announcing that he was going to be making a record in
		New York; within days word was out that he'd signed a
		contract and was in America")
	  2?	(Hinton/Dougie Knight: "one night just before taking the
		plane Van spent an evening drinking & listening to blues
		albums, 'At one stage he decided he was going to swim
		across the Lagan' but was persuaded against it")
          27	Van arrives back in New York City, Kennedy Airport
		(Hinton: "took a taxi to Bert Berns' apartment"; Van: "I
		had a couple of other offers but I thought this was the
		best one seeing as I wanted to come to America anyway")
	  28	A&R Studios (112 W. 48th St.)	New York NY
		(first BANG recording sessions; Rogan: "One day Bert
		entered the studio...Morrison was instructed to cut 8 
		tracks from which Berns intended to select 4 singles":
		Brown Eyed Girl [23 takes], Ro Ro Rosy, Goodbye Baby,
		TB Sheets; Hinton: the session was from 4:00pm-midnight)
	  29	A&R Studios (112 W. 48th St.)	New York NY
		(2nd day of recording: Who Drove the Red Sports Car,
		Midnight Special, Spanish Rose, He Ain't Give You None;
		--discrepancy, Van, Hot Press 2000: "I went to New York
		for 4 days. One of those days I recorded 8 tracks")
	  30	(Turner: "the next day Van was on the plane back to
  @Apr-Jun??	(Turner: "he kept a low profile over the next 3 months,
		during which he spent a lot of his time at home on
		Hyndford St. writing most of the songs that would make up
		'Astral Weeks'", notably Madame George & Beside You)
	 ???						The Netherlands
		('The Bedroom Tape' sent to "Mysterious Strength" fanclub
		in Holland [originally called The Dutch Them Fanclub,
		started @1966, name changed "within a few months" to The
		Dutch Van Morrison Fanclub, name changed to Mysterious
		Strength "at Van's suggestion"]; speculative: tape made
		available through Van's mother; J.Armstrong, commenting on
		"Now and Them" LP 1/68: "'Walking in the Queen's Garden'
		is one we used to do with Van" [America '66 tour])
     July 15    "Brown Eyed Girl" released
		(reaches #10 Billboard "about 6 weeks later" and remained
		there for 16 weeks"; Van: "originally it was called 'Brown
		Skinned Girl' when I wrote the 	song...after we'd recorded
		it, I looked at the tape box and didn't even notice that
		I'd changed the title")
	  22	Turner: "BEG enters the Cashbox charts on July 22nd and
		eventually rises to #8; --discrepancy with next entry
	  28	"Brown Eyed Girl" released in the UK (London Records)
     @Aug ??	[phone interview from Belfast to "Go" magazine in NY]
		(Van: "Now there is no limit to what I can do. I plan to
		use the type of instrumentation I like and be completely
		free. This is only the beginning for me.")
	  ??	Hinton: "within weeks Berns had summoned him back
		to NY & booked him into a hotel on Broadway--within safe 
		view & bugging range of Berns' office"; Turner: "with a
		hit on his hands Berns made plans to have Van return to
		America...Janet & Peter flew in from CA to move in with
	  ??	[boat celebration/gig]	Hudson River	New York NY
		(DeWitt: Bert Berns hired a boat to cruise down the Hudson
		River and this extraordinary press conference resulted in
		airplay and a great deal of media attention"; photo shown
		in the Sep. 2nd issue of Record World)
	  31	The Bitter End		New York NY
		(possibly shows on August 29 and 30 as well)
      Sep  1	The Bitter End		New York NY
	   2	The Bitter End		New York NY
	   3	The Bitter End		New York NY
	   4	The Bitter End		New York NY
	  11	The Scene		New York NY 
		(Van, Hot Press 2000: "I got a gig at a place called The
		Scene in New York, for $75 all in. I had to pay the band,
		pay the taxi, pay everything out of $75 a night, two sets
		a night") --may allude to Jan. 27, 1969 press (?) gig
	  12	The Scene		New York NY (2 shows?)
	  13	The Scene		New York NY (2 shows?)
	  14	The Scene		New York NY (2 shows?)
	  15	The Scene		New York NY (2 shows?)
	  16	The Scene		New York NY (2 shows?)
	  17	The Scene		New York NY (2 shows?)
		(possible final show on Sep. 18, 1967)
	  ??	"The Story of Them" posthumously released single
      Oct ??	"Ro Ro Rosey"/"Chick-A-Boom" [w/The Sweet Inspirations]
		(reaches #107 in the US, 2 weeks in Billboard)
	  ??	Van begins West Coast tour
		(backed by Charlie Brown [gtr], Eric Oxendine [bs] and Bob
		Grenier [drms]; Rogan: "a tour of the States was order to cash in on the chart impact of
		'Brown Eyed Girl', booked into a number of dives and MOR
		joints"; Van: "it put me in some of the worst joints I
		ever worked...they were totally unreal")
           7	Hullabaloo Club		Hollywood CA
	  13	The Family Dog		Denver CO
		(opening act, The Daily Flash)
	  14	The Family Dog		Denver CO
		(opening act, The Daily Flash)
	  17	Crystal Ballroom	Portland OR
	  20	Avalon Ballroom		San Francisco CA
		(opening acts, The Daily Flash and Hair)
	  21	Avalon Ballroom		San Francisco CA
		(opening acts, The Daily Flash and Hair)
	  22	Avalon Ballroom		San Francisco CA
		(opening acts, The Daily Flash and Hair)
	  ??   	Blowin' Your Mind LP released
		(Turner: "he learned of its release while on the road";
		Van: "I got a call from a friend one day [Peter Wolf?] and
		this guy says 'Hey I got your album, man.' And I said,
		'What album?' Bang had turned around and put out an album
		of those 4 singles and I didn't even know about it!";
		reaches #182 in Billboard, 7 weeks in the charts)
      Nov ??    [KRLA radio studio]	Los Angeles CA
		(interview w/John Carpenter)
	  11	'American Bandstand' [TV studio] Los Angeles CA
		(broadcast date ?; brief 'interview' with Dick Clark;
		lip-sync Brown Eyed Girl, Ro Ro Rosey)
	 ???	Loser's South		San Jose CA
	  ??	Van returns to New York
	  ??	[recording studio]	New York NY
		(3rd studio sessions with Berns: Chick-A-Boom, It's All
		Right, Beside You, Madame George, Joe Harper Saturday
		Morning, ... [8 tracks altogether])
      Dec ??	DeWitt: "there were a number of major record companies
		interested in Van and during December several recording
		executives approached him"
	  30	Bert Berns dies of a heart attack, 38 years old
		(Doggett: "the day before New Year's Eve)

	 ???	[Green Street]		Cambridge MA
		DeWitt: "in late 1967 Van moved from NY to Cambridge";
		--discrepancy w/Doggett: "soon after the collapse of
		Van's contract with Bang [Van & Janet] set up home in
      Feb ??	"The Best Of Van Morrison" released
		(BANG label, including songs from 11/67 sessions)
	 ???	Doggett: Eileen Berns told Turner that Van quickly
		approached her with a request to be released from his
		contract"; see 'The BANG Contractuals'
  Mar-Aug ??	??			??	??
	 ???	[WPIX Channel TV]	??	New York
		(appearance with Tom Kielbania & John Payne, "on a Sunday
		morning/afternoon", live show)
	 ???	[unknown]		??	  MA
		(TV appearance "on a public station in Boston" with Tom
		Kielbania & Charlie Mariano, live show)
	 ???	[unknown small club]	Cambridge MA
		(DeWitt: "one night in an obscure Cambridge club Van and
		Peter Wolf shared the stage and sang 'Gloria' and 'Brown
		Eyed Girl' to an eager audience of about 50 people")
	 ???	Doggett: "for the rest of 1968 Morrison played local
		shows with jazz musicians like Tom Kielbania and John
	 ???	Doggett: "as soon as the Warners deal was completed,
		Morrison began cutting songwriting demos of the material
		he'd accumulated over the past year. Warners Music
		apparently has around 6 hours of this material, dating
		from 1968 and 1969, though only about 60 minutes of tapes
		have leaked onto the collector's market"; see bootleg
		"Gypsy Soul"
      Sep ??	Century Sound [recording studio] New York NY
		(Doggett: "the sessions for Astral Weeks occupied 3
		days in September 1968")
	 ???	Doggett: "later in the year [Van & Janet] were married"
      Nov ??	'Astral Weeks' released in the US
		(Doggett: "it reached American shops before Christmas
		but wasn't issued in Britain until the following autumn")

      Jan 27 ?  The Scene		New York NY
		(not verified, possible pre-West Coast press gig?)
          31    Avalon Ballroom         San Francisco CA
      Feb  1    Avalon Ballroom         San Francisco CA
           2    Avalon Ballroom         San Francisco CA
      Feb  5	Whisky-A-Go-Go		West Hollywood CA
		(Doggett: "Judy Sims, Hollywood correspondent of
		London-based 'pop paper' Disc & Music Echo, reports on
		Van's opening night: [her review trashed the who attended a following night notes
		that the audience thoroughly enjoyed the performance],
		'he played an acoustic guitar backed by a saxophone player
		[John Payne, also on flute] and an upright bass {Tom
		Kielbania]'"; see example line-up, Don Paulsen photo,
		Turner pg.82)
           6    Whiskey-A-Go-Go         West Hollywood CA
	   7    Whiskey-A-Go-Go         West Hollywood CA
	   8    Whiskey-A-Go-Go         West Hollywood CA
	   9    Whiskey-A-Go-Go         West Hollywood CA
	  1?	Van returns home to Cambridge MA (see next entry)
	  1?	Doggett: "in February 1969, the week after [the 
		Whisky-A-Go-Go gigs], Van & Janet Morrison moved out to
	  21    Grande Ballroom         Detroit MI
	  22    Grande Ballroom         Detroit MI
	  23    Grande Ballroom         Detroit MI
  Mar-Jun ??	??			??	??
	 ???    The Catacombs           Boston  MA
	 ???    The Gaslight            Boston  MA
		(???, New York City NY ???)
      Jul 20 	[unknown venue] Newport RI "Newport Folk Festival"
      Aug 29    Cafe au Go Go           New York NY
	  30    Cafe au Go Go           New York NY
	  31    Cafe au Go Go           New York NY
      Sep 15    Ungano's                New York NY
	  16    Ungano's                New York NY
	  17    Ungano's                New York NY
	  18    Ungano's                New York NY
  Oct-Dec ??	??			??	??
	 ???				Woodstock NY
		(at some point Van rehearses, performs, and records
		[on drums] with The Montgomeries, a local Woodstock band,
		producing some songs with them; see also David Gahr photo,
		Turner pg.103, possibly 1970)

CityWeek - CityBeat column clippings
Collis, John - Van Morrison: Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart (1995)
DeWitt, Howard A. - Van Morrison: The Mystic's Music (1982)
Doggett, Peter - articles
Frame, Peter - The Beatles and Some Other Guys: Rock Family Trees
	from the Sixties Beat Boom (1997)
Hinton, Brian - Celtic Crossroads: the art of Van Morrison (1997)
Hodgett, Trevor - articles
Hogg, Brian - articles
New Musical Express - clippings (@1964-66)
Rogan, Johnny - Van Morrison: A Portrait Of The Artist (1984)
Turner, Steve - Too Late To Stop Now (1993)
Wavelength: the Unofficial Van Morrison Magazine [The Story of Them series]
Yorke, Ritchie - Van Morrison: Into the Music (1975)
private correspondence - Thanks! to innumerable who have generously
	supplied scarce secondary source material

To myself, because I put so much damn work into it for no one's ultimate
curiosity & obsession but my own. And to Van Morrison, and everyone
concerned/mentioned in this chronology, for allowing heart to open in
spite of the bullshit and unawares... admirable for anyone to live in,
whether it's mobile phones or a knock on the door. "Take it where you
find it". Thanks for keeping it real...

Part of the unofficial website


Twinkling of an eye

Bright Side of the Road

 – Taobh Bright an Bhóthair

–  Lato sollegiato della strada





John Altman, Chaz Jankel, Peter Van Hooke

Non si uccidono così anche i cavalli?

Ballando ballando

Nella California dei primi anni trenta, nel pieno della grande depressione, è in voga un genere crudele di spettacolo, quello delle maratone di ballo, durante le quali coppie di disperati senza lavoro ballano per giorni interi attratti, ancor prima che dal premio in denaro a chi resisterà di più, dalla semplice possibilità di avere almeno il vitto assicurato per qualche tempo.

A uno di questi spettacoli, organizzato e presentato dall’ambiguo impresario Rocky in una sala da ballo sul molo di Santa Monica, partecipano fra gli altri Gloria, giovane donna sfiorita, già sconfitta dalla vita, Robert, coinvolto suo malgrado mentre passeggiava sulla spiaggia senza meta, entrato nella pista da ballo solo per curiosità e accoppiato proprio con Gloria rimasta senza partner, una coppia di aspiranti attori che comprende l’inglese Alice, in abito da sera e platinata come Jean Harlow, Harry Kline, un uomo in divisa da marinaio, visibilmente più vecchio degli avversari, una ragazza incinta e il marito che vivono passando da un treno merci all’altro.

La gara, iniziata da cento coppie, si prolunga per molti giorni, è un vero e proprio gioco al massacro, che porta i concorrenti fino ai loro limiti fisici e psicologici e al completo esaurimento, al punto da continuare in uno stato di semi-coscienza, sostenendosi l’uno al corpo dell’altro, senza riuscire a riposare davvero durante le brevi pause in uno squallido dormitorio, mentre i pasti vengono consumati direttamente sulla pista da ballo. Rocky sfrutta ogni occasione per ravvivare quello che a Robert dice esplicitamente essere uno spettacolo, non una competizione: organizza numeri musicali più o meno improvvisati, inventa un passato ai concorrenti (fa passare il vecchio lupo di mare per un eroe della Grande Guerra) e soprattutto li costringe ad affrontare delle prove devastanti, i “derby”, dieci minuti di corsa a eliminazione.

Superate ormai le mille ore (oltre quaranta giorni), la coppia Robert-Gloria si divide quando ella crede che egli abbia fatto l’amore con Alice (in realtà non è stato così, anche se egli aveva ceduto con l’abituale passività alle avances della donna): si concede a Rocky, che l’aveva adocchiata fin dall’inizio, e abbandona Robert per il compagno di Alice, ma rimane sola quando questi si ritira dopo aver ottenuto una comparsata in un western Monogram. Il crollo della compagna del marinaio le permette di continuare la gara con lui fino al drammatico derby delle 1200 ore, quando lo trascina letteralmente al traguardo senza rendersi conto che ha avuto un infarto ed è morto. Mentre Rocky nasconde l’accaduto al pubblico, Alice, già psicologicamente molto provata, è sconvolta dalla tragedia a cui ha assistito e ha una violenta crisi nervosa.