This nice display advert dates from 1954 and shows the famous local music shop Wilson Pecks more or less reaching the zenith of their business. By this time they occupied a huge shop opposite the town hall with departments across several floors. Many local musicians got their first gear here, and their record and concert ticket department were familiar to most music enthusiasts.
As you can see they had branched out into TVs and other electrical goods. We don’t remember their branch on London Road so it may have closed not long after. They also had a branch in Chesterfield but again this is poorly documented. There are more details and some old shop bags on our A-Z page.
Jon “Do It Thissen” Downing presents a brief musical history of the Steel city from the 60’s onwards. Great listening!
Not massively well known these days but The Rubinoos still have a bit of a cult following and were peaking in 1978 / 79 when they were booked for this Sheffield Polytechnic Xmas bash in late 1978. Their brand of power pop probably went down pretty well too, though it is not a gig we saw. Their only hit was a cover of I Think We’re Alone Now, but I only recall Lene Lovich’s more adventurous version from the following year. Formed in 1970 the band are still going strong! £1.40 ticket price, won’t buy you a bus ticket today! SR.
David Hayes has send some memorabilia from the Fusion Club in Chesterfield. Fusion was above the old Odeon cinema and is now the ballroom part of The Winding Wheel on Holywell Street. Later on (84/5) Gotham City ran from across the road on Stephenson’s Place in the downstairs club at Fascination nightclub. The shot of Robert Smith is amazing, before he discovered hair spray!
From Other Lands – The Choir and Orchestra of Grange Grammar School for Girls
Highway Records HWE 201 EP
Steve Ward came across this EP in a charity shop and shared it with SMA. I’d never heard of it, even though I attended the nearby Abbeydale Boys Grammar school for a year before we went “co-ed” and became Grange Grammar School. Looking at the chosen songs and the icon on the sleeves, this seems to be a religious offering of some kind, but it’s interesting to know who funded it and where it was made. Interestingly (or not!) I remember Cliff Richard visited Abbeydale Grange in the early 70s to sing about his faith, much to the disgust of us prog & hard rock fans!
From the sleeve notes: Recorded at the School Prize July 1966, in the City Hall Sheffield. Director of Music: Jacqueline A. Williams
1 Kum Bal Va
2 Waltzing Matilda
1 Morning in Tyrol
2 Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory
Grange Grammar School has about 560 pupils ranging in age from 11 to 18. Music iii all its forms is strongly encouraged in the school and most of the girls take an active part and an enthusiastic delight in music making. The whole school performs on the annual Prize Day. The orchestra was formed seven years ago when instrumental teaching was started in the school and it now comprises about 80 players. At first instrumental playing in the school was voluntary, but now all girls have to play at least one musical instrument, and many of them play several. The musical life of Grange is lively and varied, and this is reflected in the pieces on this record.
According to Discogs, Highway Records released another EP in the same year, the Sheffield Youth Squash Choir – Somebody’s Knockin’ (AW 301), featuring
Conductor – Jacqueline Williams, Mezzo-soprano Vocals – Patricia Wild, Organ – John Jackson, Piano – Ronald Sherwood, Soprano Vocals – Margaret Higgins
Pics by Ian Lee
We’ve now exceeded 10.000 gigs – please keep them coming!
2 great posters from Sharon Lee
It’s easy to overlook the importance of local media in an active regional music scene. Martin Lilleker at the Star/Telegraph and Jane Kitson (Radio Sheffield) are both sadly lost to us, but were pillars of support for local bands.
Another “old timer” is Rony Robinson, stepping down from his job as Radio Sheffield daytime presenter after an uninterrupted run since 1984. During that time he’s given exposure to a wide range of local artists and musicians. He attended King Edward VII School and won a scholarship to Keble College, Oxford, where he studied history. He published his first novel in 1971 and has many more to his name.
Twice resident playwright at The Crucible Theatre, he has had over a hundred plays produced all over the country. He also writes children’s poetry and plays and writes songs for the autoharp. In 1999 he received an honorary doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University. Most important of all, he’s a Bladesman! His parting words – “I’m closing my fader. I didn’t expect to get away with it for 40 years.”
SMA’s Nick featured many times on his show over the years and says “Rony is a charming and much-respected local hero – his shows were always engaging and light years away from some of the anodyne, self-congratulatory tosh that often crops up on local radio.”
We wish him well in his retirement.