Remembering music-mad Stu
PUBLISHED: 18:12 26 July 2019 | UPDATED: 08:50 27 July 2019
Famous musicians come and go. They arrive in our region and then depart...but what about OUR talented music makers who spend most of their lives entertaining us? Derek James remembers the one and only Stu (Stewy) McIntosh. The singing drummer
He was the original Norfolk rocker who thousands of us loved listening to, watching and dancing to from the 1950s to just a few years ago.
One of the best known and best loved characters of the music scene for so long...and how we loved him on and off the stage.
His name was Stu (Stewy McIntosh) one of our best drummers and singers who played with so many different groups and bands. I am sad to say that Stu died recently but now his wife Anne has written a wonderful and moving tribute to a remarkable man.
He had a habit of morphing into Animal, the Muppet's drummer at night while during the day he was a hard man to beat on the golf course.
Over to Anne:
"Stu was the love of my life and living without this crazy, unique man is the hardest thing I have ever had to face.
"We met in 1969 at the Samson & Hercules and by 1971 had fallen madly in love. We were married in 1975.
"He began singing Johnnie Ray and Frankie Lane songs at the age of 14 at the Bakers Arms in Norwich. There was no stage so he stood on a table and was accompanied by the pub pianist. Imagine the confidence he had at such a young age. The token payment was an illegal half pint of beer.
"Music was then destined to be a great part of his life and he progressed from solo performance to join a skiffle group, the Alleycats with Terry Wickham and then on to rock 'n' roll with the Cadillacs and the Zodiacs. There was no shortage of venues in those days and they became well known throughout the county.
"They even ventured to London and the 3is coffee bar in Soho but there was not really enough money on offer at that time to persuade the young men to turn professional.
"After leaving school at 15 Stu served an engineering apprentice with stood him in good stead as he worked full time as a production engineer throughout his career as a semi-pro musician.
"He had amazing stamina, sometimes drumming five nights a week to give his family the good things in life and it enabled us to buy our first house in 1973. During all these years he was playing drums and singing mainly backing vocals.
"One of his favourite groups he joined in the early 70s was a four piece called Murphy. They covered lots of the rock and popular music of the time including Status Quo, T-Rex and Free. Many miles were covered in an old Transit van around Norfolk and beyond.
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"They eventually parted company and he joined the Roger Cooke Four, again as drummer but often duet-ting with their singer Liz Taylor, which much local success which led to a vinyl EP being recorded.
"Whilst all this music was happening he also found time for another great love of his life - golf.
"Having been taught at the age of 16 by his dad he was a member of Eaton Golf Club for more than 40 years with his name appearing on the honours board 16 times.
"One of his proudest wins was the Norfolk County Seniors Club when he was in his early 60s.
"Although born and bred in Norwich Stu always thought of himself as Scottish as both his parents were from Scotland. He played golf at Nairn many times, always declaring he felt at home there. He won trophies at that club too.
"I think his Scottish genes meant he was always thrifty and hated waste. Long before recycling and up cycling came into our language he would make do and mend anything and everything.
Very few things were thrown away in our household. We called him Mr Fixit.
"Obviously Stu loved live music and went to concerts whenever possible throughout his life. He particularly enjoyed big band, jazz and soul music in later life.
"But at heart this amazing man was always an old rocker and his original red and black drape jacket from the 1950s still hangs in the wardrobe.
"Stu was always just the right side of crazy; sometimes morphing into the character of Animal, the Muppets drummer. He had the T-shirt, socks and other unmentionables.
"He has left the building but his spirit lives on with wonderful memories," said Anne.
Thank you Anne. What a wonderful way to remember Stu.
I remember him as a regular and one of the brightest stars at the Evening News Golden Years gigs which ran for so many years, reunited dozens of beat bands from Norfolk and Suffolk and raised more than £150,000 for charity and good causes.
Whenever people asked Stu how old he was he replied: "70 and a bit."
Everybody seemed to know and love him and when Stu walked out on stage the noise from the fans almost took the roof off.
We will miss you Stu.