|Jimmy Marsh (lead vocals)|
Martin Barre (lead guitar, saxophone)
Mick Ketley (keyboards, backing vocals)
Bryan Stevens (bass)
Chris Rodger (saxophone, trumpet)
Malcolm Tomlinson (drums, backing vocals)
October The group evolves out of Bognor Regis group, The Noblemen, which was formed in late 1964 to back South African singer Beau Brummell (aka Mike Bush). Bass player Bryan Stevens (b. 14 November 1943, Laha Datu, North Borneo) and keyboard player Mick Ketley (b. 1 October 1947, Balham, London) have been with the band from the outset. After splitting from Brummell in April 1966, the Noblemen undergo a significant change in personnel when most of the members leave in June. The following month, Stevens and Ketley reorganise The Noblemen bringing in a new singer, Jimmy Marsh (b. 9 April 1941, Carmarthen, Wales). Marsh first met Stevens and Ketley in mid-1964 at the Top Hat in Littlehampton when they were playing with The Detours and he was fronting The Del Mar Trio.
When The Noblemen’s drummer Bernie Smith opts to take up a more regular job, Marsh suggests his former colleague Malcolm Tomlinson (b. 16 June 1946, Isleworth, Middlesex) as his replacement. Tomlinson has worked with Marsh in The Del Mar Trio and James Deane and The London Cats. Before that, he was a member of Jeff Curtis and The Flames, the house band at the Ealing Club. Stevens advertises for a new sax player in the 23 July issue of Melody Maker, which hits the newsstands on 16 July. Former Moonrakers members, Chris Rodger (b. 16 October 1946, Solihull, Warwickshire) and Martin Barre (b. 17 November 1946, Kings Heath, Birmingham) respond to the advert after missing out on a job with Screaming Lord Sutch. On 22 July, Barre buys a saxophone at Sound City in London’s Shaftsbury Avenue for the audition three days later. Both Rodger and Barre are hired for the new line up as sax players, with Rodger doubling up on trumpet and Barre doubling up on lead guitar. In September, the new Noblemen line up moves up to London and shares a flat in Chelsea (and later Gloucester Road). They sign to the Roy Tempest Agency and start backing up visiting US soul acts.
|November (1-2) Having supported The Vibrations, Edwin Starr and Alvin Robinson as The Noblemen during September-October, the group adopts the more ‘Mod’ sounding name The Motivations (although they are sometimes still billed as The Noblemen, at least until early December). Under the new name, the band plays with Alvin Robinson at the Club Cedar in Birmingham for two nights. Soon after, The Motivations back Robinson at Newcastle University (the most likely date being 3 November).|
(4) Billed as The Noblemen, they begin backing The Coasters with a show at the King Mojo Club in Sheffield with Sonny Childe & The TNT.
(12) Having shortened the name to The Motivation, they perform at the Oasis club in Manchester with The Coasters and Hari Kari.
(13) The Coasters are billed playing at Tiles in London (most likely with The Motivation in support). Two days later, The Coasters appear at the Whisky A Go Go. It is around this time that Mike Ketley and Malcolm Tomlinson take up The Coasters’ offer to attend a party where Jimi Hendrix (who had previously played with The Coasters support band) is in attendance. The Jimi Hendrix Experience are launched to the UK press on 25th November.
(20) After playing at the Cavern in Liverpool with The Coasters the previous day (where they are billed as The Noblemen), The Motivation join the soul act for two shows in Greater Manchester, starting with the Domino Club in Openshaw and culminating with a second gig at the Princess Theatre in Chorlton. A riot takes place at the second venue after disturbances between The Coasters and the rowdy crowd.
(25) A hectic day in the band’s schedule. Billed as The Noblemen, they support The Coasters at the New Yorker Discotheque in Swindon, Wiltshire before heading north to play at St Bernadette’s Youth Club in Withington, Lancashire with The Shindigs, billed as The Motovation. Around this time, they also work with The Drifters who are touring the UK.
(26) The Motivation appear at the Starlight Room at the Boston Gliderdrome, Lincolnshire with The Coasters. Also on the bill are Ronnie Jones & The Blue Jays and Heart & Soul.
December Sometime during this period, The Motivation play at the 400 Club in Torquay with Chris Farlowe and The Thunderbirds.
January (1) No longer backing visiting US soul acts, The Motivation begin touring under their own name. On a tour intinierary, they are listed as appearing in Dereham, Norfolk (most likely at the Tavern Club).
March (4) After completing their February itinerary with shows at an Oxford College on 25 February and an appearance in Tunbridge Wells on 26 February, The Motivation return to London and perform at Tiles with C Jam Blues and Malcolm Magaron.
July (1) With Alexander fronting the band, the new look Motivation support Cream at the Upper Cut in Forest Gate, Essex.
Many thanks to Bryan Stevens, Mick Ketley, Jimmy Marsh, Malcolm Tomlinson, Denny Alexander, Dave Allen, Nigel Norman, Mick Capewell, Chris Bishop and Sylvia Stephen. Thank you Bryan for The Motivation gig listing for January/February 1967 and Ian Green for some additional dates.
Disclaimer: Concert adverts have been sourced from a number of music magazines and regional newspapers listed below. They have been reproduced fairly for research purposes and are not to be copied for any other use. Additional concert listings sourced from Melody Maker, Nottingham Evening Post, the Liverpool Echo, the Manchester Evening News, Birmingham Evening Mail, Bournemouth Evening Echo, Southern Evening Echo, Portsmouth Evening Argus, Sheffield Star, Coventry Evening Telegraph, Harrow Observer, Cornish Guardian, The Cornishman, the Lincolnshire Standard and Eastern Evening News.
Copyright © Nick Warburton, 2011. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any from or by any means, without prior permission from the author.
I have tried to ensure the accuracy of this article but I appreciate that there are likely to be errors and omissions. I would appreciate any feedback from anyone who can provide any additions or corrections. Email: Warchive@aol.com
The Blue Lagoon in Newquay, January 7, 1967
Royal Links Pavilion, January 21, 1967
with the Herd at the Marquee, February 6, 1967
Tiles, March 4, 1967
Opening for Cream at the Upper Cut, July 1, 1967