Monday, April 23, 2012

Music Monday: The Who in South London

The Who were really a West London band, but one of the most influential English bands of the 1960s and 1970s established themselves on the South London gig circuit and at their 70s peak played two iconic gigs at Charlton football ground.

Early Who

The band started out as The Detours, and one of their first regular gigs was at the Paradise Club in Peckham (3 Consort Road). They played at least five gigs on Friday nights there in the summer of 1962, with bassist John Entwistle recalling 'The first time we turned up to play, there was hardly anybody there, just some girls. Around 10 o'clock, their boyfriends all turned up with bloody noses and black eyes. It turns out they'd been at another club and started a brawl. What we didn't know is that the other club would come by the following week and it would be our turn to get our gear trashed'

On Friday 13 September 1963 they played for the first time at the Glenlyn Ballrom in Forest Hill (15 Perry Vale).  On 3 January 1964, the Detours supported the Rolling Stones at the Glenlyn, and a few weeks later (24th January) they supported The Hollies at the same venue. Then on 14 February they supported Carter Lewis and the Southerners there.

At this point they changed their name to The Who, and on Monday 16 March they started playing a regular Monday night residency at the Glenlyn. Over the next few months they played at least 15 more gigs at the Glenyln, including most Monday nights and some Fridays too. As they became more famous they returned to the Glenlyn - playing there for instance  in January 1966. So they must have played in Forest Hill at least twenty times.

(source for most of the above: 'Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere: The Complete Chronicle of the Who 1958-1978' by Andrew Neill and Matthew Kent).


By the early 1970s, The Who were one of the biggest bands in the world. In 1972, drummer Keith Moon compered a gig at Crystal Palace Bowl featuring The Beach Boys among others.

Keith Moon at Crystal Palace 1972

Then the band headlined two huge gigs at The Valley, home of course of Charlton Athletic FC. The first took place on 18 May 1974, with The Who headlining an event that also featured Lou Reed, Humble Pie, Bad Company, Lindisfarne, Maggie Bell and Montrose. Around 50,000 people attended.

The crowd at the Valley in 1974 - photo by Chris Keegan from UK Rock Festivals

Two years later, on 31 May 1976, they returned - this time with support acts including the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Little Feat, Streetwalkers and The Outlaws. This was part of their Who Put the Boot In tour, which also featured gigs at Celtic and Swansea football grounds.

There's loads more about the Charlton gigs at the excellent UK Rock Festivals site, including photos, set lists and memories - see here for 1974 and here for 1976.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

We used to go to the Glenlyn ballrooms in Forest hill to see the Detours (later the Who) and the rolling stones, entrance fee was only half a crown 12 and a half pence sweet memories