The Decade When Music Scene was a Huge Mix
Variety was the spice of life in the Manchester music scene of the 1970s. From Elkie Brooks and Vinegar Joe to the Hollies, 10cc and the Stranglers – the decade had it all.
The Laronde club on Cheetham Hill Road was an unlikely setting for the birth of a music legend.
But it was where 13-year-old Broughton schoolgirl Elaine Bookbinder performed her first unofficial gig.
She sang professionally two years later at the age of 15. And at 19 she released her first record on the Decca label.
For Elaine Bookbinder was the ‘British Queen of Blues’ – Elkie Brooks.
She changed her name on the advice of her promoter Don Arden, the father of Sharon Osbourne. Elkie is the Yiddish equivalent of Elaine.
Her first record was a cover of Something’s Got a Hold on Me by Etta James – and it was the start of a career that saw its singer achieve worldwide fame and acclaim.
Brooks was at the heart of the band Vinegar Joe, which also included her husband Peter Gage and Robert Palmer. Our photo shows them ripping up the stage at the Reading Festival in August 1972. Guitarist Gage is on the right.
Vinegar Joe released three albums before disbanding in March 1973. But Brooks hit the big time in 1977 with her solo album Two Days Away which included the iconic singles Pearl’s a Singer and Sunshine After the Rain.
Two more massive hits, Lilac Wine and Don’t Cry Out Loud, came from her album Live and Learn released in 1979.
The Stranglers had got into a spot of bother before their gig at Manchester’s Electric Circus in June 1977.
Bass guitarist JJ Burnel’s right hand was heavily bandaged for the publicity photographs shot in the city following a night out at the Wigan Casino. One journalist described Burnel’s hands as looking ‘like they’ve recently been fed to an alligator.’
There were no such injuries to the magnificent fingernails of Barry White’s wife Glodean, pictured with her husband before their appearance at Belle Vue in May 1975.
White toured with the 40-piece Love Unlimited Orchestra. His single Walkin’ in the Rain with the One I Love reached Number 14 in the UK and Number Six in the US Soul Singles chart.
Manchester group the Hollies were still turning out hits at the end of the 1960s, including He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother and Sorry Suzanne.
In December 1969 Graham Nash moved to the USA to form Crosby, Stills and Nash. Stephen Stills came from the band Buffalo Springfield and Dave Crosby joined from the Byrds.
Finally in our line-up are the school friends from Stockport who formed 10cc in 1972. Graham Gouldman, Lol Crème and Kevin Godley were joined by the former Mindbenders guitarist Eric Stewart.
Our photo from April 1975 shows the band filming one of their many appearances on the BBC music show Top of the Pops.
They were performing their Top Ten hit Life is a Minestrone, the lead single from their album The Original Soundtrack. The song was written in a day after Crème and Stewart thought they heard a radio announcer say the phrase when they were driving home from a recording session at Strawberry Studios in Stockport.
Memorable images like these – and many more like them – can be found in Clive Hardy’s brilliant new book Around Manchester in the 1970s.
Clive Hardy’s previous books, the much-acclaimed Around Manchester in the 1950s and Around Manchester in the 1960s, are on sale at all good bookshops. Alternatively you can order the books from our online store.