Elton John and Bluesology

Today, Elton John is one of rock music’s most revered artists but during the early-mid 1960s he struggled for recognition, learning his trade as Reg Dwight with West London R&B outfit, Bluesology.

Below, I have started to piece together a timeline on this band’s history, including the period after Reg Dwight/Elton John left in March 1968 to start his solo career.

In particular, I need to credit the invaluable work carried out by Keith Hayward, who has written the excellent book, Tin Pan Alley: The Rise of Elton John, for some of this material. He has been a huge help. I have also reference below sources that I have drawn on for live dates.

I would welcome any additions and corrections in the comment box below.

Bluesology was formed in 1962 after Reg Dwight and Stu Brown had played in Pinner, Middlesex group, the Corvettes. The original line up comprised:

Stu Brown – guitar/vocals

Reg Dwight – keyboards/vocals

Geoff Dyson – bass

Mick Inkpen – drums

 

Circa May 1965 – Reg Dwight’s ‘Come Back Baby’ recorded

6 May 1965 – Elms Club, Corbins Lane, South Harrow (every Thursday)

13 May 1965 – Elms Club, Corbins Lane, South Harrow (every Thursday)

20 May 1965 – Elms Club, Corbins Lane, South Harrow (every Thursday)

27 May 1965 – Elms Club, Corbins Lane, South Harrow (every Thursday)

(Source: Harrow Weekly Post – stopped advertising after above date)

 

 

June 1965: Dyson leaves to join Mockingbirds

+ Rex Bishop – bass

Circa June 1965 – ‘Times Are Getting Tougher Than Tough’ recorded

 

23 July 1965 – ‘Come Back Baby’ c/w ‘Times Are Getting Tougher Than Tough’ released (Source: http://www.45cat.com/artist/bluesology)

 

November 1965:

+ Pat Higgs – trumpet

+ Dave Murphy – saxophone

 

3-20 December 1965 – Major Lance tour with Bluesology (Source: Melody Maker)

3 December 1965 – Flamingo, Soho and In Place

4 December 1965 – Manchester

5 December 1965 – Nottingham

6 December 1965 – Rochester

7 December 1965 – Bird Cage, Portsmouth

8 December 1965 – Bromley Court Hotel, Bromley, Kent

9 December 1965 – Paddington (most likely Cue Club)

10 December 1965 – Durham (most likely the university)

11 December 1965 – Middlesbrough

14 December 1965 – Harlow

16 December 1965 – Cromwellian, South Kensington

16 December 1965 – Marquee, London with Alan Price Set (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

17 December 1965 – Stockport (most likely Tabernacle)

18 December 1965 – New All-Star Club, 9 Artillery Passage, London, E1

19 December 1965 – El Partido, Lewisham, London with Duke Lee

19 December 1965 – Flamingo, Soho

20 December 1965 – Cooks Ferry Inn, Edmonton (Source: Melody Maker)

 

5-19 January 1966 – Patti La Belle & The Bluebelles first tour with Bluesology (Source: Melody Maker)

5 January 1966 – Scotch of St James, Mayfair

6 January 1966 – Cue Club, Paddington

8 January 1966 – Oasis, Manchester with The Checkpoints

9 January 1966 – Flamingo, Soho

11 January 1966 – Cromwellian, South Kensington

14 January 1966 – All Star Club, Liverpool Street and Flamingo, Soho

15 January 1966 – Dungeon, Nottingham

15 January 1966 – Mojo, Sheffield (according to The Star, the billing also included Fontella Bass, The Stormville Shakers and The Just Us. Bluesology were credited as Bluesology Inc and Pattie La Belle was billed as Tattie Rebelle & Her Belles!)

16 January 1966 – Plaza, Birmingham (Handsworth?) (Source: Melody Maker)

 

February 1966 – Reg Dwight’s ‘Mr Frantic’ c/w ‘Every Day I Have The Blues’ released

February 1966 – Doris Troy tour with Bluesology

11 February 1966 – Cue Club, Paddington with Herbie Goins & The Nightimers

11 February 1966 – El Partido, Lewisham, London with Duke Lee (Source: Melody Maker)

12 February 1966 – Oasis, Manchester with Manchester’s Playboys (Source: http://www.manchesterbeat.com/features/gig_guides/gig_diary.php)

13 February 1966 – Flamingo, Soho with Chessmen

18 February 1966 – Club West Indies, Stonebridge, Middlesex with Caribbean Show Band

18 February 1966 – Golders Green Refectory, Golders Green

19 February 1966 – New All Star Club, Liverpool St with Captain First (Source: Melody Maker)

22 February 1966 – Marquee, London with Spencer Davis Group (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

 

March 1966 – Bluesology travels to Hamburg to play Top Ten Club with Linda Laine & The Sinners

 

12 April 1966 – Marquee, London with Manfred Mann

22 April 1966 – Marquee, London with Sands (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

 

Late April/early May 1966: Inkpen leaves

+ Paul Gale – drums

Late April/early May 1966: Bishop departs

+ Freddy Gandy – bass

 

3-circa 21 May 1966 – Patti La Belle & The Bluebelles second UK tour (Source: Melody Maker)

3 May 1966 – Birdland, London

4 May 1966 – Scotch of St James, Mayfair

5 May 1966 – Ram Jam, Brixton

6 May 1966 – Ricky Tick, Windsor, Berkshire

7 May 1966 – New All Star Club, Liverpool St (Source: Melody Maker)

8 May 1966 – Oasis, Manchester with Patti La Belle & The Bluebelles and Polecatz (Source: http://www.manchesterbeat.com/features/gig_guides/gig_diary.php)

9 May 1966 – Whisky A Go Go, London

13 May 1966 – Flamingo, Soho with The Gass (Source: Melody Maker)

14 May 1966 – Twisted Wheel, Manchester with Patti La Belle & The Bluebelles and Ram Jam Band (Source: http://manchestersoul.co.uk/TWheel/1966.html)

17 May 1966 – Marquee, London (Patti La Belle & Her Belles with The Clayton Squares) (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon) (probably with Bluesology backing Patti La Belle)

 17 May 1966 – Whisky A Go Go, London

21 May 1966 – Cue Club, Paddington (Source: Melody Maker)

 21 May 1966 – Rhodes Centre, Bishop Stortford, Hertfordshire (Patti La Belle & The Bluebelles with Bluesology and The Ultimates (Source: The Day Before Yesterday: Steve Ingless)

 

3-19 June – Ink Spots tour (Source: Melody Maker)

3 June 1966 – RAF West Ruislip, Middlesex

4 June 1966 – Douglas House, London

4 June 1966 – New All Star Club, Liverpool St with Admiral Ken Sound System

5 June 1966 – Plaza Ballrooms, Birmingham

7 June 1966 – Whisky A Go Go, London

10 June 1966 – Orchid Ballroom, Purley, Surrey

10 June 1966 – New All Star Club, Liverpool St with Admiral Ken Sound System (Source: Melody Maker)

11 June 1966 – Twisted Wheel, Manchester (Inkspots with Alan Bown Set) (Source: http://manchestersoul.co.uk/TWheel/1966.html)

12 June 1966 – Riverboat, Gainsborough

13 June 1966 – Douglas House, London

15 June 1966 – Riverboat, Gainsborough

16 June 1966 – Streatham Locarno, Streatham, London

17 June 1966 – Royal Tottenham, Tottenham, London

18 June 1966 – Marcam Hall, March, Cambridgeshire

18 June 1966 – Mojo Club, Sheffield (Source: Melody Maker)

Circa June 1966:

+ Neil Hubbard – guitar (joins around this time)

25 June 1966 – Marquee, London (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

 

8 July 1966 – Marquee, London with The VIPs

14 July 1966 – Marquee, London with The Move (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

 

6 August 1966 – Marquee, London with The Soul Agents

11 August 1966 – Marquee, London with The Move (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

29 August 1966 – Nottingham Blues Festival, Sherwood Rooms, Nottingham with Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jimmy James & The Vagabonds, Jimmy Cliff & The Shakedown Sound and Wynder K Frog (Source: Derby Evening Telegraph)

 

Mid-August-mid-September, Bluesology travels to St Tropez for a month (Papagayos).

26 September 1966 – Marquee, London with Jimmy James & The Vagagonds (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

 

7 October 1966 – Marquee, London with Gary Farr & The T-Bones

20 October 1966 – Marquee, London with The Move

29 October 1966 – Marquee, London with The Herd (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

29 October 1966 – Shoreline, Bognor Regis with Long John Baldry, The Action and David Bowie & The Buzz (Source: Bognor Regis Post)

 

5 November 1966 – Starlight Ballroom, Crawley, West Sussex with Deadly Nightshade (billed as Long John Baldry – not sure if they have linked up with Baldry yet?)  (Source: Crawley Advertiser)

12 November 1966 – Marquee, London with The Herd (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

Mid-November 1966: Neil Hubbard departs

Around mid-late November – Bluesology travel to Sweden for mini-tour???

Late November 1966: Paul Gale departs while the band is in Sweden

+ Pete Gavin – drums (ex-Soul Pushers)

 

11 December 1966 – Saville Theatre, London with Little Richard and Alan Price Set (Source: Melody Maker)

Around this time, Bluesology become Long John Baldry’s back-up band

+ Long John Baldry – vocals

+ Alan Walker – vocals (ex-Roadhogs)

30 December 1966 – Marquee, London (billed as Long John Baldry Show) with The Good-Goods (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

31 December 1966 – Blue Moon, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (billed as Long John Baldry featuring Alan Walker, Stuart Brown & Bluesology) (Source: Gloucestershire Echo, 1966)

 

15 January 1967 – Gyro Club, Troutbeck Hotel, IIlkley, West Yorkshire (billed as Long John Baldry with Bluesology) (Source: Yorkshire Evening Post)

31 January 1967 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead (billed as Long John Baldry) (Source: Decca Studios and Klooks Kleek: Dick Weindling and Marianne Colloms)

 

17 March 1967 – Marquee, London with The Long John Baldry Show and Timebox (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

3 April 1967 – Feathers, Ealing, Middlesex (billed as Long John Baldry & Bluesology) (Source: Melody Maker)

21 April 1967 – Marquee, London (billed as The Long John Baldry Show) with Timebox (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

22 April 1967 – Blue Moon, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (billed as Long John Baldry featuring Alan Walker) (Source: Gloucestershire Echo, 1967)

 

2 May 1967 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead (billed as Long John Baldry)

11 May 1967 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead (billed as Bluesology) (Source: Decca Studios and Klooks Kleek: Dick Weindling and Marianne Colloms)

Mid-May 1967: Pat Higgs and Dave Murphy both left immediately after this gig (Higgs also working with Hamilton & The Hamilton Movement during late 1966/early 1967)

+ Marsha Hunt – vocals

+ Elton Dean – saxophone (ex-Soul Pushers)

(Source: http://homepages.3-c.coop/facelift/facelift/elton%20dean.html)

+ Marc Charig – saxophone (ex-Sidewinders)

(Source: http://musiciansolympus.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/texmakins-bass.html)

21 May 1967 – Co-op, Warrington, Cheshire (billed as Long John Baldry Show) (Source: Manchester Evening Post, 1967)

 

1 June 1967 – Clouds, Derby ‘for Derby College Students’ Rag Week’ (billed as Long John Baldry Show with Bluesology and Pepper’s Machine) (Source: Derby Evening Telegraph)

9 June 1967 – Marquee, London (billed as The Long John Baldy Show) with C-Jam Blues (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

 

16 July 1967 – Starlite Ballroom, Greenford, Middlesex (billed as Long John Baldry Show)

28 July 1967 – Marquee, London (billed as The Long John Baldry Show) with The Workshop (Source: Melody Maker)

 

11 August 1967 – Bluesville ’67, Manor House, London (billed as Long John Baldry Show)

14 August 1967 – Marquee, London (billed as The Long John Baldry Show) with Jimmy Powell & The Dimensions (Source: Melody Maker)

20 August 1967 – Carlton Ballroom, Erdington, West Midlands (billed as Long John Baldry Show) (Source: Birmingham Evening Mail)

26 August 1967 – New All Star Club, Liverpool Street, London (Source: Melody Maker)

 

September 1967: Around this time Reg Dwight took part in Scottish tour with Simon Dupree

3 September 1967 – Beau Brummel Club, Nantwich, Cheshire (billed as Long John Baldry, Bluesology, Stewart A Brown, Marsha Hunt and The Scorpions) (Source: Northwich Chronicle)

10 September 1967 – Hotel Leofric, Coventry, West Midlands (billed as Long John Baldry Show with Stuart A Brown and Marsha Hunt and Deuce Coupe) (Source: Coventry Evening Telegraph)

12 September 1967 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead (billed as Long John Baldry)

15 September 1967 – Marquee, London (billed as The Long John Baldry Show) (Source: Melody Maker)

5 October 1967 – ‘Since I Lost My Baby’ c/w ‘Just A Little Bit’ released (Source: http://www.45cat.com/record/56195)

19 October 1967 – Marquee, London (billed as The Long John Baldry Show) with Timebox (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

Late October 1967: Stu Brown leaves around this time to record as solo artist

+ Caleb Quaye – lead guitar/vocals

 

23 November 1967 – Marquee, London (billed as The Long John Baldry Show) with The Nite People (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

14 December 1967 – Penthouse, Birmingham with Skip Bifferty (Source: Express & Star)

23 Februay 1968 – Clockwork Orange, Chester (billed as Long John Baldry and the Long John Baldry Show and Soul Finger) (Source: Northwich Chronicle)

 

March 1968: Reg Dwight and Caleb Quaye leave Bluesology

+ Bernie Holland – guitar (ex-Jam)

(Source: Georgie Fame – There’s Nothing Else To Do. Life and Music: Uli Twelker)

+ Jimmy Horowitz – keyboards (ex-Five Proud Walkers) (Source: http://www.marmalade-skies.co.uk/elmer.htm)

26 March 1968 – Mr Smith’s Club, Winsford, Cheshire (billed as Long John Baldry) with Look Twice (Source: Northwich Chronicle)

30 April 1968 – Marquee, London (billed as Long John Baldry (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

In late 1968 the group backed The Paper Dolls before splintering.

Copyright © Nick Warburton and Keith Hayward.  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 authors.

34 thoughts on “Elton John and Bluesology”

  1. That is an awesome post – thank you for sharing that about Elton John – one of my favorite musical artists of all time! T.C.

  2. Billed as Long John Baldry (source: Fabulous 208)
    2 January 1968 – Club Casino, South Shields
    5 January 1968 – Silver Blades, Streatham (TBC)
    7 January 1968 – Mr Smith’s Club, Manchester

    3 February 1968 – Manchester College
    14 February 1968 – Victoria Club, Liverpool

    22 March 1968 – Mecca, Basildon, Essex

    5 May 1968 – Garrick Club, Leigh
    6 May 1968 – Towers Club, Warrington
    7-11 May 1968 – Garrick Club, Leigh and Towers Club, Warrington
    25 May 1968 – Bosworth Park, Leicester

    1 June 1968 – York Race Course

    Record Mirror:

    On 26 January, immediately after his appearance at the MIDEM festival, he will start rehearsing his new backing group which has a six-piece line up. His next appearance will be at the Royal Lancaster Hotel.

  3. Two more gigs from Melody Maker. Very early Bluesology ones!

    13 April 1965 – 100 Club, Oxford Street, London with Bo Street Runners
    8 June 1965 – 100 Club, Oxford Street, London with Bo Street Runners

  4. The Birmingham Evening Mail has further information on the Doris Troy tour in February 1966.

    5 February 1966 – Club Cedar, Birmingham with Doris Troy and also one of the earliest gigs by The Move (billed as featuring Carl Wayne)

    20-21 February 1966 – Club Cedar, Birmingham with Doris Troy

    Interestingly for both gigs they were billed as Bluesology Incorporated

  5. Two further gigs from the North Norfolk News

    Both are the Royal Links Pavilion, Cromer, Norfolk

    18 February 1967 with Soul Concern (billed as Long John Baldry with Bluesology)

    17 June 1967 – Billed as Long John Baldry Show with Alan Walker, Stuart A Brown and Bluesology

  6. Few more to add.

    According to the Folkestone & Hythe Gazette, the Long John Baldry Show (Bluesology were his band), played at Leas Cliffe Hall in Folkestone on 2 September 1967

    Also, according to Coventry Evening Telegraph, Long John Baldry and His new group Bluesology played at the Hotel Leofric in the city on 1 January 1967

  7. A few more gigs from the Nottingham Evening Post:

    The 17/9/66 gig at the Britannia Rowing Club in Nottingham was with Broodley Hoo. NOTE: this was probably one of the first gigs after the St Tropez visit

    The following night – 18/9/1966, Bluesology played at Britannia Rowing Club with The Summer Set.

    On 12 March 1967, Long John Baldry Show featuring Stewart A Brown, Alan Walker with Bluesology played at Union Rowing Club in Nottingham.

    On 1 April 1967 (and billed as above in last entry), they played at Matlock Bath Pavilion.

  8. Few more to add:

    Birmingham Evening Mail lists Bluesology playing at the Co-op, The Rainbow Suite in the city centre with Raynor’s Secrets on 30 July 1966.

    The Portsmouth News lists the band performing at Thorngate Ballroom in Gosport on 8 December 1966.

    The Southern Evening Echo (Southampton paper) lists the group appearing at the Concorde in Southampton soon after on 27 December 1966.

    Final one: Somerset County Gazette advertises the Long John Baldry Show (with Bluesology) at Glastonbury Town Hall on 16 September 1967

  9. The Paper Dolls backed by Bluesology played at the Royal Links Pavilion, Cromer, Norfolk with Music Hath Charms and Barries Magazine on 16 November 1968

  10. Another one from the Wolverhampton newspaper, Express and Star:

    24 April 1967 at Broadway Club, Dudley Zoo (billed as John Baldry Show)

  11. A few more gigs from the Wolverhampton newspapers, Express and Star:

    12 June 1967 – Broadway Club, Dudley Zoo (billed as Long John Baldry Show, Bluesology: Stewart A Brown Alan Walker

    1 July 1967 – Wulfrun Halls, Wolverhampton with The Chequers and Boston (billed as Long John Baldry)

  12. Bit more detail on the Major Lance tour from December 1965 from Nottingham Evening Post. The gig on 5 December was at the Dungeon

    1. Will need to look into it but Wilson Pickett’s debut U.K. Tour was November 65. He returned in March 66

    2. Hi Nick

      Looked through my notes and I can confirm that Wilson Pickett played at the Mojo Club, Sheffield on 26 March 1966. He was backed on the UK tour by The Statesiders who had split from singer Jean. The source is the gig list that I was given by a band member so I don’t know if Bluesology were on the same bill, but this seems the most plausible occasion. They would have just come back from playing in Hamburg. Also, they wouldn’t have backed Pickett, they would have just been support, unless this was another date (1965 possibly). Pickett could also have toured UK in 1967 so I’d have to look into this in more detail. Hope that helps. Will email you the Statesiders dates

  13. Hi,
    My name is Steve Lucas, and I played bass and sang a couple of songs with Bluesology for about 3 months in the mid 60’s, precisely when now alludes me., although it may have been ’65 as I think he was then 18. I recall auditioning and also rehearsing at his Mums house in Pinner, his Mum also drove him to the gigs I seem to remember, I am from Crosby, Liverpool, originally having been involved in the Merseybeat scene, but at that time living in Watford. I can see no photographic or written evidence of that involvement, I don’t suppose anyone else recalls it?

    1. Hi Steve, thanks for the reply. I have seen a poster / advert for the Mojo Club with a picture of Wilson Pickett and a date of his appearance at the venue, but the date troubles me as it is for ‘Saturday March 14th’ the only year that March 14th is on a Saturday is 1964 … on the bottom of the poster is the year 1967 which is even more confusing. March 14th 1967 was a Tuesday. I thought maybe it could be MAY ? But May 14th 1967 was a Sunday. Anyways, thanks again. nick hairs
      my email is
      nickhairs25148@gmail.com
      if you email me i can send the advert in return

      1. Hi Nick,

        Yes I did, used to play the Ricky Tik clubs and then finish off at the Pink Flamingo at silly o’clock in the morning, did I know you?

        Regards,
        Steve.

  14. According to an advert in the Maidstone Gazette, The Long John Baldry Show with Marsha Hunt, Stuart Brown and Bluesology played at the G-Ranch Discotheque in Maidstone on 3 November 1967, which suggests that Stuart Brown a bit later than October as noted above

  15. The Hull Daily Mail has a missing gig for the band

    Spa Royal Hall, Bridlington on 8 April 1967 – billed as Long John Baldry and The Bluesology plus the Sons of Witch

  16. Few more missing gigs.

    1) The following are from Melody Maker:

    16 April 1967 – Starlite, Greenford, Middlesex (billed as Long John Baldry Show)
    12 May 1967 – Cavalier, Golders Green, London (billed as Long John Baldry Show)

    2) Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush Gazette says that Bluesology played at the White Hart in Southall in June 1966

    3) Two gigs from the Surrey Advertiser (Guildford)

    3 April 1966 – The Hive Club, Wooden Bridge Hotel, Guildford (Sunday night)
    20 December 1966 – Guildford Civic Hall with The Alan Price Set

  17. Nick,
    I just discovered Garage Hangover, and have really enjoyed reading through the recitation of Bluesology’s history! I have two questions I’m sure you can easily answer for me.
    (1) Even though I’ve been a huge fan of Elton’s since I was introduced to his music in 1972, I had never heard of Mr. Frantic, or it’s B-side, until today, surfing the Internet for kicks in honor of Elton‘s 71st birthday!
    I believe this is the URL for the recording I found/heard on Google that purports to be “Every Day I Have the Blues” by Reg Dwight/Bluesology, flip-side of “Mr. Frantic,” Feb 1966:
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8863w

    I can’t believe that would be Elton’s voice at that young age, being way too low and husky, even if he was imitating someone else… Do you know who is singing the lead here? …or if perhaps that is a recording of someone else, instead, like BB King or whomever, that someone mislabeled when they put it on YouTube?

    I’m no expert, but I CAN believe that the piano is Elton, and that the horns are Higgs & Murphy, because this would be almost a year before Baldry and Dean came into the picture…
    But I’m dying to know what I’m hearing there!

    (2) Also, in reading through your Bluesology history, I see the notation that Elton (Reg) and Caleb Quaye left the band in March 1968, but I see reference to two gigs after that which seem to refer to Bluesology, or more properly Long John Baldry.
    Do Elton & Caleb start a new band and play gigs with new bandmates under another name at that point, or do they begin right away just preparing to record the Empty Sky album? (I believe Elton and Bernie had begun writing the material that ended up on Empty Sky and the Elton John album somewhere around that time…?)

    I appreciate any information you can offer! Thanks for what you do on this website. It’s a true treasure trove!

    Scott
    ss14@gmx.us

  18. Hi Scott

    Mr Frantic was written by Reg Dwight and it is, indeed, sung by him. The b side is Stewart Brown singing. Bluesology continued after Reg left and played as backing to Baldry as well as gigs in their own right. Remember Reg was only the keyboard player in Bluesology and not the Elton John he became so Baldry just replaced him and Caleb (who only joined to help Reg prepare for the Elton career). It’s all in my book called Tim Pan Alley: The Rise of Elton John

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.