When Norwich band Circuit 5 became Eyes of Blond thanks to our readers
- Credit: Archant
On the beat at the Bedford, a much-loved and well-remembered club at the heart of the swinging 60s in Norwich.
Thanks for all your memories of the night Billy Fury raised the roof at the Cat Trap Club when it opened again at the Bedford in 1970. Also playing the 'Cat' around that time were the Nashville Teens, the Swinging Blue Jeans and the timeless Marty Wilde.
But, apart from the big names, the Bedford was a hot spot for Norfolk bands and one, which were almost resident there, were a bunch of lads named by readers of the Evening News – Eyes of Blond.
Among those who got in touch following my story the other week was Phil Wade of the much-loved Eyes of Blond, one of the best bands on the local scene who also travelled the country and abroad.
It was in April of 1966 when a picture of a group by the name of Circuit 5 appeared in the Evening News. At the time several bands were changing their name – The Continentals became The News and Ye Highwaymen turned into the 13th Hour.
Circuit 5 were pictured climbing a lamp-post, a popular pastime in the 1960s, and the EN Here and Now music page, written by Colin Bevan and Peter Franzen, who went on to become editor of the EDP, was offering £10 as a prize to the reader who could come up with the best new name.
And so it was that Phil, along with John Averill, Ronnie Dearing, John Marshall, Colin Clegg and Trefor Thomas became known and loved as Eyes of Blond.
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The line-ups changed over the years. The group went professional in 1969 and travelled the country picking up a small army of fans. Phil Dimitri, Michael Sullivan, Neil Applegate, Paul Watts, David Farrow and Harry Rix were among the members.
They wrote a lot of their own material. Recordings were made in the back room at the Cellar House, Newmarket Road, and the World's End at Mulbarton.
The Eyes were more progressive than many other bands. They were quality music-makers and had a short residency in Munich before deciding to call it a day. Their last gig was in Attleborough and organised by the one and only Les King.
Phil said in the early days they also played The Gala on St Stephen's and the Melody Rooms (now The Talk) but the Bedford was the most enjoyable. 'We were playing lots of James Brown and other soul numbers and I was playing the tenor sax as well as rhythm guitar,' he said. The Eyes have gone... but the memories live on.
At the same time as I was talking to Phil Wade I received a letter out of the blue from a David Dean in Leicester who asked me if I had any information about a group called... Eyes of Blond who came from Norwich and played in the Leicester area between 1965 and 1975... I was able to help!
Keep those memories of your favourite stars from the 1960s and 70s coming in. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to me at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.