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You are in: Berkshire > History > Local History > Ricky Tick memories

Ricky Tick memories

Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and a Who's Who of 1960s musicians all started their careers at the Ricky Tick - the famous clubnights founded in Windsor. Do you have any memories or memorabilia?

The Rolling Stones

"They looked a bit like the Beverly Hillbillies, they were like shaggy dogs and their clothes were like things even Oxfam wouldn't sell."

John Mansfield fondly recollects the first time he laid eyes upon the Rolling Stones. The music promoter was looking for bands to put on at his newly-established Ricky Tick club, at the Star & Garter hotel in Windsor. He'd heard about the Stones and booked them to play on 14 December 1962.

"It was a privilege to be there because you could see mega-artists for 50p."

Things were a little cheaper back then...!

"By the time they'd finished their first number you could tell that they'd hit the girls' musical G spot because they were all just screaming wild. It was like hypnotic music because it was a fusion between Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry - it was all pulsating rhythms."

Of course The Rolling Stones are now a multi-million-album-selling band, packing out stadiums across the world. But they got their first big break in Windsor.

In fact, The Rolling Stones played for Ricky Tick at least 39 times during 1962 and 1964.

Ricky Tick posters

And it wasn't just the Stones for whom Ricky Tick was a launch pad. The club soon became a hotbed of musical talent.

Mods and rockers flocked to see the Animals, The Yardbirds, Georgie Fame, the Moody Blues, Van Morrison and Fleetwood Mac to name but a few.

"It was at the beginning of a new age for teenagers because there was a new type of music that was coming through," says John.

"Everybody I spoke to that went to the Ricky Tick said they had a magical time. It was a privilege to be there because you could see mega-artists for 50p."

In April 1964 the Ricky Tick in Windsor moved into a semi-derelict mansion called Clewer Mead, a sprawling demesne along the Thames with six flats containing no less than 58 rooms.

The rent was £16 a week and John, with his late business partner Philip Hayward, spent a fiver refurbishing the council-owned building. Using black paper for the walls, lighting was made out of ice-cream tins and furniture was made out of packing cases from the old Volkswagon depot in Slough.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

These were exciting times for the Ricky Tick. During its four-year reign John and Philip promoted in 27 towns, including Reading, Slough and Maidenhead. Fans packed out the clubs to see regulars such as Rod Stewart, Elton John, visiting American stars such as Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, Howling Wolf - oh, and a then unknown Jimi Hendrix.

"He was very humble there was nothing showbiz at all about him," John recalls. Jimi was paid £20 for a Ricky Tick gig in Hounslow.

"We were the first people to book Eric Clapton with The Cream," John continues. "We had John Mayall at the club (at the time Clapton was part of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers) with Jack Bruce on guitar - and Ginger Baker turned up and he did a few numbers with them so that may have been the first public performance of what was to be The Cream."

John Mayall

John Mayall

A very young Eric Clapton also played at a Ricky Tick-promoted night at the Reading ballroom, with a group called The Roosters.

John is now writing a tribute to the 60s club where rock history was made. He's looking for people with memories, photos, ticket stubs, posters - anything that can contribute to his book.

He certainly has lots of memories of his own.

"With the Stones," remembers John, "after their first gig we took them to a restaurant up by the castle because they were ravenously hungry.

"They were being a bit unruly and they kept throwing things at each other. There was a bookmaker Henry, his wife and twin daughters sat behind us and the Stones kept making licentious remarks.

Ricky Tick posters

"As we were leaving Keith Richards made some slightly crude remark to the girls. Henry stood up and with arms outstretched in front of his daughters he said: "I wouldn't let a daughter of mine go out with a Rolling Stone.""

Quite!

John also remembers, in January 1963, the unique way that Chrissie Shrimpton, soon to be Mick Jagger's girlfriend, reached the Stones on stage during a packed-out night.

"Chrssie climbed onto a table and clambered into the fishnets which were dangling from the ceiling. She proceeded to crawl towards the Stones, over the heads of fans who aided her by putting their hands in the air and paddling her towards the stage."

Could Chrissie be the first person to ever crowd surf at a gig?

John is working with former Melody Maker journalist Chris Welch and designer Jo Mirowski to write this book, delving into archives and tracking people down. John has already written more than 200 pages, telling the memories as seen through the eyes of the musicians, promoters and teenagers of the era.

The Ricky Tick club may be no more (for one, Clewer Mead was pulled down), but its memory lives on.

last updated: 31/03/2008 at 00:28
created: 06/11/2006

Have Your Say

You can also share your memories of the Ricky Tick clubs here:

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Deta Miller
Anyone remember the live recording session of Geno Washibgton at the Ram Jam club in Brixton in the sixties? Can anyone remember the year? I was surprise to see a documentary With Geno Washington and he did not even mention the Ricky Tick. I was hurt Cos he was a regular performer at the Tick.I'm always telling my children about the tick Just thought there must be something about the Ricky Tick and found this in my search. How happy I was to show my husband the comments of you all here, so he can see I did not just make up the story about the tick with the scooters the groups the groups, etc. Hey I feel as Peter Brian mentioned priviledge to be a part of the sixties era.The way it was then. Remember if we had to go out they would put a stamp on the back of our hands? Wow my Husband is Belgian but I am sure he could tell many stories about it because of how often i speak about the Tick, the Flamingo, the Ram Jam,I was even telling friends about These only yesterday.

Deta Miller
I remember the Ricky Tick club very well!!!In my teenage years this was the most exciting place to be. Only went to R. T. in Windsor twice, but every weekend we were at the Tick in Hounslow,a Large group of us from Slough would meet up to go there, "the Tick was the place to be". I even won a dance contest the first prize. It was a Zoot Mooney Lp which I still have. I remember Jimmy James aand the Vagabonds was the group playing that night and the Judge was Count prince Miller as he is now Known. You are so right about the groups that used to perform at the tick, I've seen so many but there are some that still bring back lots of fond memories, Like Ben E King, BB King, Jimi Hendricks,Oh and the black lights was special makes the teeth sparkling white we all used to laugh at the way our eyes would look though! (not very romantic on the eyes.)But we did not care. Oh those were the days.

simon bacon
Reading the comments below brings it all flooding back - Yes they were magical days. Zoot Money and his Big Roll Band was my hero with Andy Summers shimmying across the stage in a guitar solo and being told to "get on with boy" by Zoot ever anxious to crash back in with the old Hammond organ. Sometimes he'd end a number standing on the key board, head stooped against the ceiling. Nothing can take away those memories. I used to cadge a lift from one of the few guys at school who could get hold of a car . Hillingdon to Windsor about 10 miles ? Several people mentioned the smell of Clewer Mead a haunting mixture of exotic perfume, sweat and oddly libraries. The coffee bar, the boutique ! But don't forget The Scaffold - those brave poets, who all went on to be famous - going on between bands to be traditionally heckled off after 10 minutes or so. We all owe John and his partners a great debt of gratitude.

chris durtnall
JohnI was watching a TV show on Elton John and he happened to mention the Ricky Tick in Windsor.I now live in Canada and I had a flasnback to my youth in Windsor and the amazing times we spent at the tick.Friday night we were at the Hart and Garter drinking Lager and Saturday me and the boys drove our scotters to the club.I especialy remember Geno- Washington and the Ran jam band.I actualy held Jimi Hendrix guitar one night for him.I saw so many bands there what a privalage.I was there on the last night when everyone was wrecking the place that felt a bit off but everyone there knew it was the end of an era.I dont know if there is anything that I could give you to aid in your book but thanks for supplying the venue for such an amazing number of good times.Just as a footnote I believe it was your brother who taught me at Windsor College all those years ago.Is he still around.Good luck with the book cant wait to get a copy of it.Kindest RegardsChris

Steve Lucas
I played Bass with Tony Knights Chessmen during '66/67 at, as I remember, 3 or 4 Ricky Ticks venues in the Middlesex area - all in the same evening!- and finishing up at the Flamingo doing the 4 til 5, or 5 til 6 (am, obviously!) spot. I had not long moved from my home town of Liverpool to rejoin my parents whom had moved to Watford a couple of years earlier, I had played in Liverpool groups of that era, and I realised my ambition to explore the london music scene, which I was lucky enough to do with the Chessmen etc. I would often give Lol (Coxhill) a lift back to Watford, dropped him at the Busy Bee, from whence he would get a further lift back to his Aylesbury home. Long time ago now, happy days without much sleep!!

Pat Sills(nee Baldwin)
Just read all the great comments about the Ricky Tick.I lived in Dedworth,Hanover Way, and was able to walk down to it with my friend,Linda.I remember standing at the back of the hall on a Sunday night,next to the Who waiting for their turn on stage.Also recall meeting Sonny Boy Williamson,it was that easy then.Like others,a night at the 'Tick then hitch up to the Flamingo and 100 Club afterward,good,safe times.Just sorting out a few things,and have found some 'who's on' cards-one asking for people to audition to be a DJ on Disc-Nite!

iain pitwell
Iremember supporting hendrix,goldie n gingerbreads,duanne eddy,etc at ricky tick hounslow with the dae b four and with the all night workers does anyone else remember?great days!!!

Mick Mills
What about Goldie & The Gingerbreads, Georgie Fame was the Mod Band 7 on to the flamingo

Ed Hogbin
I remember the later incarnation of the Tick at Thames Hotel. Hich hiked from Wokingham (and back) to see Jimmy Hendrix, Cream and of course Geno. Would you let your 15 yr old kids do that. Also anyone remember the Queeens Stag Hounds Ascot where I saw Jethro Tull and Chicken Shack plus a local rarity Beaux Oddlot.

Tony Matthews
We must have been the luckiest generation for having such great access to so many legends! I lived in Bracknell and used to go to most of the places mentioned here - Windsor - the Star and Garter, the Thames and the old house at Clewer Mead....brilliant days with the Stones, Yardbirds, Animals, Zoot, Geno, Georgie, John Mayall, Mose Allison (remember that one?) and at the Thames we saw Pink Floyd, and Alexis Korner was often in with the fans....brilliant.Like several people have said, the look, feel and smell of the old house at Clewer Mead was unique and exciting, and we were all so happy with very little if any real problems, ever.Sadly those days will never come back but they really were the best of years!!

John Smith
I was a regular visitor to the Ricky Tick in Windsor, leaving my Lambretta parked outside. Saw some great bands including Georgie Fame (twice), Who (twice), Goldie and the Gingerbreads, The Ivy League. I was a great fan of the Animals but remember Ronnie Jones stealing the show. There was no hysterical screaming at the RT, we could really listen to the bands. An appearance by Them (fronted by Van Morrison) had a lukewarm reception because they weren't all that good. Also remember the Moody Blues appearing at about the time "Go Now" was at number one. The piano they were using was sadly out of tune. When they got to the piano solo bit, Denny Laine called to the other band members to stop playing. The pianist was left doing a solo, much in the style of Les Dawson !

Richard Bell
There was another venue just down the road from the Tick Leo's Jazz Club,Amazing acts and times Long John Baldrey, Screeming Lord Sutch to mention Two. ON the way home call in at the Wimpy Bar those were the days

Colin Williams
Wow! Just read some of the memories from the ' Tick'. It brings it all back, it was pitch black when you went in,just a bit of ultra violet here and there, you went pass the 'cloaks' area and the faces on the walls, then into the main area on the left.The girls were all dancing, covered with highlighted dust from the ultra violet lights, around their handbags!!Fantasic disco music on Stax, Atlantic and Motown.I remember the enormous stags head in the coffee lounge or was it the TV room?(as it was).There was hardly ever any trouble there, everybody just went to enjoy themselves. We used to ride our scooters there or even walk, as we were form the Windsor area.(Deworth).Who remembers Dedworth Green School? Can you believe I still have my Ricky Tick membership card and loads of cards advertising future artists, a bit sad really. Not!They were really great times and although I no longer live in Windsor,I still follow Georgie Fame, in fact I am seeing him in Southampton in October (08) with his sons.I know they say you should never go back, but a Ricky Tick Reunion Disco would be some party!!

patricia jefferson
4 girls from aylesbury, me sadie, penny and diane and a girl from aston clinton whose name i can't remember always hitched there on saturday night then onto the flamingo and later the scene club - quite a weekend. wemet some lads from Hoddesden. we danced on stage with gino washington, chatted to the Who and Rod (if only we had had a camera). great days. we were 15/16. one day an official got onto the stage saying that Sadie's parents and the police were here she may have been 14, we thought that was a hilarious joke till we got home the next day and it was true!

stefano
the yardbirds played stroll on in 1966

Bob Jones
I used to go to the Sunday afternoon Ricky Tick at the Olympia in Reading.Saw many of the acts mentioned elsewhere.Two distict memories are; regularly seeing the ANIMALS who would set up their own equipment on stage before playing and ERIC BURDEN announcing The House of the Rising Sun was due out as their next single in a weeks time. They then launched into it and it was quite something else. My other great recollection was waiting to see JERRY LEE LEWIS, YES JLL at READING .He was supported by The Nashville Teens (one hit wonder but talented band) who also backed JLL .After the teens opening spot we all just stood around listening to these strange way out records that were played each week ,THEN, through the dance hall strolled JERRY LEE LEWIS suited as was the norm for stars and a white trench coat draped over his shoulder.He climbed up on stage swung off the coat, sat down at the piano, right up at the stage edge,and blasted out all his songs.At the end and after an encore he gathered up his coat came off the stage and walked across the hall down the entrance lobby corridor and out to his large American car which shot off to another performance he was giving that evening in London.

Paul Gammons
I could have written exactly the same as Peter Brian below. Must have bumped into all you guys at some time in the past What larks we had. Gotta stop - lump in my throat choking me!

Nick Charalambous
Hi I'm chasing details of Ricky Ticks that was here in Carlton Australia in the late 70's? Just wondering whether you can help me with any details (photo's,wright ups, articals etc.Hopefully you can help.I belive the owners name was Shane Hanlon?Kind RegardsNick Charalambousnjnschara@bigpond.com

Carole Moody nee Lockyer
I and my girlfriends, usually 5 or 6 of us would either hitch a lift from Reading or take the train to the Mansion for a most incredible evening most weekends. The atmosphere was so hot and alive that consensation would drop from the ceiling on to us. There was an upstairs licensed bar if I remember but mostly soft drinks were served. We were between 15 and 17 years old then! I particularly remember Georgie Fame as an old favourite as well as John Mayell.

Rufes Stone.
I Hoop some Rolling Stones fans remember the Songs the Playing?,in these early Days.

Brian Foreman
Went to the Ricky Tick nearly every weekend, remember Peter and the crew from Kilburn used to turn up at the RT every weekend in his blue Transit Van then takes some of us up to the clubs in London. Great Times, Cheers Pete.People I remember from Bracknell:Wayne Randal, Glen Magill,Sue Pratt and Denise, Frank Merry and brother , Helena Sumner, Irene and Linda, Candles,Jeff. Larraine. Used to meet in a club near the train station in Bracknell.People from Windsor/Slough/Maidenhead.JJones,Mark & Dave Thompson,John Gardener,Barry Croker, Yan Van derkemp, Peter/Dave, Norman.,Ron Suds, Hughie.Those were the most memorable days of my life. The Ricky Tick was the best club in the country people from all over Britain came to see the bands and the atmosphere.Saw Little Stevie Wonder, Gino ,Zoot ,Herbie, John Mayall, Prety Things ,Yard Birds,Rolling Stones, many many more, shame kids of today dont have anything like the RICKI TICK.Boutique selling the 1st Ben Sherman shirts, the fantastic black walls painted with white images displayed with huge faces.The smell as you entered the club ?.Still can smell it.The times partying on a Sunday by the river waiting for the Tick to open.I am getting carried away now.

Paula Twist (nee' Gills)
I was so lucky to be part of the Ricky Tick era.We lived above the Police Station in Eton as my dad was the Police Sergent so I didnt have far to go. He used to say why dont you take your bed down there because I rarley missed a night when it was open. I would also go mid week even when it was quite empty. The atmosphere was amazing. We all used to dress in leather coats and my dad used to call me 'The black shadow' because of the dark eye-make I wore. When I tell my children about all the groups we saw they think its relly cool. I am a bit ashamed now that my friend Jacky and I used to stand in front of the Who and laugh at Pete Townsend. Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band sang happy birthday to me and I had to run all the way home so that my dad wouldnt go mad as it made me late.

Keith Baker
Which Ricky Tick was featured in the film "Blowup", with The Yardbirds playing?

carol evans
I used to to to the Star&Garter hotel five nights a week,and saw the Rolling Stones before they were famous.I am a lifelong fan and went to see 40 Licks tour and A Bigger Bang tour,BRILLIANT.Would love to read the book you are writing,brings back great memories.

Rod the Mod
All bar the Beatles played the Ricky Tick in the 1960's - If anyone has any posters I pay really good money for bands like the Who and Jimi Hendrix. I'll pay a thousand pounds for a 60's Who concert poster if anyone has one?

Peter Brian
I used to go to the Ricky Tick at Windsor in the mid-sixties and there was also one abve some shops in Hounslow High Street (not as good) Fond memories of Cream, John Mayall, Zoot Money, Geno Washington, Georgie Fame (he was there on closing night) If you want to meet somebody with much more intimate knowledge than me, there is a regular at the Trooper Pub in Windsor I met last September, I think his name is Kevin or Keith. I have moved away from the area and this was an occasional visit, we chatted about the old times and he said it made the hairs stand up on the back of his neck. We used to get a pass out to go the pub at the interval and it was the first time I saw an ultra-violet pen used on our hands. It was usually to crowded to dance there much but just to stand a few feet away from our heroes and sway was enough. I consider myself so fortunate to have been around in the 60's and being able to visit local venues and see the bands of that superbly revolutionary era. Rolling Stones in Slough, The Who in Camberley, the list is extensive.

Chris Barnett
The first act I saw at Windsor were the Graham Bond Organisation, with the then young, fresh-faced Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. I remember there was a mixing (?) room into which you could peek through a window, and on one (some?) blackboard(s) the people who appeared there had signed their names and left comments. What happened to them? If they survived, they would be collectors items now. I managed to squeeze in to see the Animals once. Of course the place was absolutely packed, it was a "name" band...and then Ronnie Jones and the Blue Jays stole the show. Ironically, I stumbled on the Ricky Tick by chance. John Mansfield's brother was at SGS the same time as me, so we would hear about what was going on.

Brian Carr
Hi yes i remember the ricky tick club. I used to go every weekend, with some friends from Fleet, and pick up a few friends from Braknell, ie Glen Migell, and little Eddie. Good times,see all the top groups off the day. Used to follow Geogie Fame from thier tom the Flamigo club. Brill times, and stay all weekend in London. Two girls that came with me were Sue Pratt,and sue Odriscol.What happened to them 33 years later. Anouther group was Zoot Monney?. Still follow Geogie Fame, he is at Wimborne in Dorset next week with his two Sons. Bring back the sixties. Please, please. My friends used to call me Porky. so if you remember me leave a message. Bye. Porky

Mike Bennett
Yardbirds, Pretty Things and the Stones at the Pearce Hall in Maidenhead, But saturday afternoons at the 'bridge watching Chelsea then over to the 'tick in the evening to see George or Geno tehn following George up to Tiles or the 'mingo and ending up at Burham Bowl - seeing the same faces at each place - yeah a real priviledge.

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