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John Holdcroft, from Upton by Chester (also known as Colonel Fudge), has shared some memories of the 1960's music scene in the city with the Chester Standard, featuring The Fab Four...

As a 16-year-old in the summer of 1962 in Chester, the world of music was a weekly helping of Juke Box Jury and Thank Your Lucky Stars.

The national pop scene was still dominated by American stars like Elvis, and there was Cliff Richard, Billy Fury and Marty Wilde who emulated them in Britain,including hairstyles, shoulder and lip postures.

Chester itself had a group called Rick E Darne and the Mexicans, who won a competition for being the most like Cliff, run by a nylon shirt company.

Some years later: John Holdcroft on his wedding day with wife Diane.

Some years later: John Holdcroft on his wedding day with wife Diane.

The lead singer was the son of the proprietor of a chip shop in Brook Street and the prize was a recording contract but the group had to become The Toplins.

My first experience of live music was a dance at Capenhurst school hall, where the music was provided by Spike and the Border Boys from Saltney, hence the 'border boys' title. Spike had the required hair loaded with Brylcreem and glasses that gave a reference to Buddy Holly or Hank Marvin.

The most likely way to hear pop music was a jukebox, and I learnt how to nurse a coke for long periods in order to hear what had been paid for by others. This occurred in the El Vista in Northgate Street Rows or The Wimpy bar in Bridge Street Row.

To obtain a record on this new 45rpm size, the strategy was to attend at Browns of Chester (now Debenhams, just), Hilda Catheralls in St Werburgh Street or Rushworth and Draper in Foregate Street.

You could request to hear a record and it would be played to you in playing booths for approval. You could get a version of the latest songs cheaper on the Embassy record label sold in Woolworths.

I tell you these observations to demonstrate the reason for my failure to make a request for a tune to be played by a group as they finished one number.

he River Park Ballroom, Chester.

he River Park Ballroom, Chester.

It was in August 1962 that I went to the River Park Ballroom with my friend and we gained entrance but the doorman stated we couldn't use the facilities upstairs, a bar. We agreed and paid two shillings and sixpence admission charge.

The group looked strange and my friend suggested they were probably students from the art college, with long hair combed flat and forward. They were loud but didn't have a lead singer, the two guitarists sang the lyrics to songs we didn't know.

At the end of one number the enquired "any request?" to which I shouted "Good Luck Charm", which was an Elvis hit at the time. "We don't do that one" said the lad with the rhythm guitar, and they played a song called Please Don't Ever Change by the Everly Brothers.

A couple of songs later the "any requests?" was repeated and I shouted "Come Outside" by Mike Sarne and Wendy Richards, which had been a number one.

The lad with the rhythm guitar looked from the stage and said in a camp voice "you're not my type" which brought laughter from the other onlookers around the stage. I felt colour heating my face when the lad with base guitar leant forward and said "ask us to play Hully Gully", which I did and they played as the last number of their performance.

A man in a black jacket and bow tie picked up the microphone and said: "Thank you The Beatles and good luck next week in London. They are going to London for a recording test, so we wish them all the best.

"Next week we have a great night for you, I know it's three and six but it is The Undertakers."

I never saw the Beatles live again and The Undertakers had recorded Mashed Potatoes, but the world was going to change and be exciting when you're 16.