The Attack 1966-1968

Welcome to another posting of a series of gig listings for 1960s bands. None of these lists is exhaustive and my idea is to add to them in the comments section below over time. They are here for future researchers to draw on.  I have also added a few interesting bits of information and will add images in time.

I’d like to encourage band members to get in touch to share memories, or for anyone to send corrections/clarifications to my email: 

Equally important, if you attended any of the gigs below or played in the support band, please do leave your memories below in the comments section for future historians to use. If you know of any missing gigs, please add them too, if possible, with the sources.


Singer Richard Shirman and bass player Gerry Henderson were working in Earl’s Court-based group, The Soul System with guitarist Bob Taylor.

Guitarist David O’List who was working with The Richard Henry Sensation met Henderson at work in Earl’s Court and was invited to a Soul System rehearsal around November 1966.

After joining The Soul System, O’List changed the name to The Attack, composed some new songs, changed the band’s set list and landed the group a record and agency contract. Taylor left soon after to join The Downliners Sect.

16 December 1966 – Hammersmith College, Hammersmith (Melody Maker)

The remaining trio recruited two musicians who had advertised in Melody Maker. Drummer Alan Whitehead had started out with Bexley, Kent group, The Loose Ends but left in September 1966 to work briefly with Cops ‘n’ Robbers.

Hammond organist Bob Hodges was with Walthamstow-based soul band, The New Jump Band and played his final gig with them on 16 December 1966.

Left to right: Richard Shirman, Bob Hodges, David O’List (front), Gerry Henderson and Alan Whitehead

Richard Shirman – lead vocals

David O’List – lead guitar

Bob Hodges – Hammond organ

Gerry Henderson – bass

Alan Whitehead – drums

In late December, The Attack recorded their debut single “Try It” c/w “We Don’t Know”, which was released on 27 January 1967. Whitehead, who had appeared in early promotional photos, had already secured a job with Marmalade and departed before any gigs were played.

Richard Shirman, Bob Hodges, Alan Whitehead, Gerry Henderson and David O’List

The Attack recruited a couple of drummers to fulfill live dates, starting with former Mark Leeman Five member Brian Davidson, who would reunite with David O’List a few months later in The Nice but briefly worked with Don Shinn’s band, Shinn in early 1967 first.

7 January 1967 – Club Carnaby, Loughbourgh, Leicestershire (Bob Hodges’ diary)

14 January 1967 – Victoria Ballroom, Chesterfield, Derbyshire (Bob Hodges’ diary)

15 January 1967 – King Mojo, Sheffield, South Yorkshire (Bob Hodges’ diary)

16 January 1967 – Hearbeat Club, Silver Blades Ice Rink, Birmingham, West Midlands (Bob Hodges’ diary)

21 January 1967 – Alexandra Hotel, Lancaster, Lancashire (Bob Hodges’ diary)

22 January 1967 – Locarno Ballroom, Burnley, Lancashire (Bob Hodges’ diary)

28 January 1967 – Pink Elephant Club, Aspull, Wigan, Greater Manchester (Bob Hodges’ diary)

28 January 1967 – Room at the Top, Wigan, Greater Manchester (all nighter) (Bob Hodges’ diary)

29 January 1967 – Casino Club, Wigan, Greater Manchester (Bob Hodges’ diary)

The original band pictured for Decca’s publicity with Alan Whitehead far left

3 February 1967 – PA at Witchdoctor Club, Catford, London (for Radio London) (Bob Hodges’ diary)

4 February 1967 – PA at Wimbledon Palais, Wimbledon, London with Tuesday’s Children (for Radio London) (Bob Hodges’ diary/Fabulous 208)

Around this time, Peter “Barney” Barnfield joined as full-time drummer. The new line-up was responsible for the band’s second single, “Hi Ho Silver Lining” c/w “Anymore Than I Do”, issued on 3 March 1967.  

10 February 1967 – Alexandra Hotel, Lancaster, Lancashire (Bob Hodges’ diary)

11 February 1967 – Imperial Ballroom, Nelson, Lancashire (Bob Hodges’ diary)

12 February 1967 – Peppermint Lounge, Liverpool (Bob Hodges’ diary)

13 February 1967 – Civic Call, Carnforth, Lancashire (Bob Hodges’ diary)

14 February 1967 – Majestic Ballroom, Darlington, County Durham (Bob Hodges’ diary)

16 February 1967 – Top Rank Suite, Hanley, Staffordshire (Bob Hodges’ diary)

18 February 1967 – Plaza Ballroom, Handsworth, West Midlands (Bob Hodges’ diary)

18 February 1967 – Plaza Ballroom, Oldhill, West Midlands (Bob Hodges’ diary)

19 February 1967 – George and Dragon, Tonbridge, Kent (Bob Hodges’ diary)

21 February 1967 – Lotus Ballroom, Forest Gate, London (Bob Hodges’ diary)

25 February 1967 – Floral Hall, Southport, Lancashire (Lancashire Evening Post/Bob Hodges’ diary)

The second line-up with Peter “Barney” Barnfield (centre)

3 March 1967 – Carlton Ballroom, Erdington, West Midlands (Bob Hodges’ diary)

3 March 1967 – Elbow Room, Aston, West Midlands (Bob Hodges’ diary)

4 March 1967 – Neeld Hall, Chippenham, Wiltshire (Bob Hodges’ diary)

10 March 1967 – Iron Curtain Club, St Mary’s Cray, near Orpington, London (Bob Hodges’ diary)

16 March 1967 – Ritz Ballroom, Skewen, Wales (Bob Hodges’ diary)

17 March 1967 – St. Benedict’s, Sketty, Swansea, Wales (Bob Hodges’ diary)

18 March 1967 – Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis, Dorset (Bob Hodges’ diary)

The band after Barney Barnfield joined

Richard Shirman left after the Lyme Regis gig on 18 March and the remaining quartet carried on until the 22 April gig in the West Midlands. In the meantime, Shirman put together a new Attack line-up behind the scenes.

Bob Hodges remembers the current version took on a singer with a name like G D’Amati, who fronted the band on the next three shows

25 March 1967 – Golden Torch, Tunstall, Staffordshire (Bob Hodges’ diary)

31 March 1967 – Locarno Ballroom, Sale, Greater Manchester (Bob Hodges’ diary)


8 April 1967 – East Ham Technical College, East Ham, London (Bob Hodges’ diary)

Bob Hodges remembers that for the final three dates, the lead singer was Pete Hodges (no relation), a singer from Birmingham who had previously worked with Jimmy Cliff & The New Generation among others

15 April 1967 – Nottingham College of Further Education, Clifton, Notts (Bob Hodges’ diary)

20 April 1967 – James Finnegan Hall, Redcar, North Yorkshire (Bob Hodges’ diary)

22 April 1967 – Club Ponderosa, Bearley Holiday Centre, Snitterfield, West Midlands (Coventry Evening Telegraph)

After this final gig, the musicians were told that Richard Shirman had formed a new band under the name The Attack and that their services were no longer needed. David O’List soon joined The Nice, who became P P Arnold’s backing band after she left The Blue Jays. Bob Hodges joined Tuesday’s Children later in the year

The Attack, left to right: Chris Allen, Richard Shirman, Kenny Harold, Geoff Richardson and George Watt. Photo from Phil Smee

In April, Shirman launched a new version of The Attack as follows:

Richard Shirman – lead vocals

Geoff Richardson – lead guitar

George Watt – Hammond organ

Kenny Harold – bass

Chris Allen – drums

This formation was responsible for the band’s third single, “Created By Clive” c/w “Colour of my Mind”.

6 May 1967 – Hull College of Commerce Students’ Union, Hull, Humberside (Hull Daily Mail)

2 June 1967 – Witchdoctor, Catford, London with The Trailblazers (South East London Mercury)

3 June 1967 – Floral Hall, Gorleston, Norfolk (Yarmouth Mercury)

17 June 1967 – Royal Lido Ballroom, Prestatyn, Wales with The Raynes (website:

Within days of the band’s third single being released on 23 June 1967, second lead guitarist John DuCann joined. George Watt and Kenny Harold left that summer. Geoff Richardson left soon after and later moved to the USA to play with The British Walkers while Chris Allen also departed.

By August, the group’s line-up comprised:

Richard Shirman – lead vocals

John DuCann – lead guitar

Jim Avery – bass

Plug Davies – drums

16 September 1967 – Waggon & Horses, Wall Heath, West Midlands (Express & Star)

This formation recorded The Attack’s fourth single, which was released on 12 January 1968.

Around this time, Plug Davies introduced his friend from Wales, Keith Hodge, who in turn recommended Roger Deane on bass.

Richard Shirman – lead vocals

John DuCann – lead guitar

Roger Deane – bass

Keith Hodge – drums

21 February 1968 – Speakeasy, W1, London (Fabulous 208/Mick Capewell’s Marmalade Skies)

27 February 1968 – Marquee, Wardour Street, Soho, London with The Move (Tony Bacon’s book: London Live)


11 March 1968 – Marquee, Wardour Street, Soho, London with The Nice (Tony Bacon’s book: London Live)

14 March 1968 – Middle Earth, Covent Garden, London with Family, Picadilly Line, Doc K’s Blues Band and Pete Brown’s Poetry (Melody Maker)

Melody Maker notes that The Attack played dates in Helsinki, Finland on 17-18 July 1968

Huge thanks to Bob Hodges for the use of his gig list and photos. Thanks also to David O’List for early insights. Thanks to Mike at Ugly Things and Phil Smee (for the photo of the third line-up by the River Thames).

Copyright © Nick Warburton.  All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any from or by any means, without prior permission from the author.


One thought on “The Attack 1966-1968”

  1. Just a few tiny additions

    Record Mirror, 13 May 1967, page 4 says Richard Shirman has reformed The Attack

    10-11 February 1968 – Travelled to the Netherlands for TV (Record Mirror)
    15 February 1968 – According to Record Mirror started two-week Swedish tour (unlikely with Speakeasy gigs above)

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