Ilkley, '67: Spot the superstar-to-be!
Ilkley. Not exactly the capital of Rock 'n' Roll. But for one night in 1967, this genteel West Yorkshire spa town got everyone talking thanks to the legendary Jimi Hendrix's unforgettable gig at the posh Troutbeck Hotel! You've been sending in your memories of the night to help BBC Look North and the BBC West Yorkshire website mark a very special rock'n'roll anniversary! But first of all, why not relive those heady days of the..err...Spring of Love?!
It was March 12th 1967 that this surprising footnote to rock history took place. Jimi and his band The Experience had travelled to Ilkley after a poorly-attended date earlier that evening at Leeds' International Club. Even legends have to start somewhere, but whereas he'd been met with relative indifference in Leeds, Ilkley would be a different matter...
Troutbeck: Rock 'n' roll riot!
March 12th, 2007 - BBC Look North (BBC1, 1830) marks the anniversary:
Join fans Nadia and Christine (see below) as well as Stuart Frais, promoter of the original gig, as they revisit the venue which is now a nursing home. Archive footage of Jimi playing shows why this is an event worth remembering.
The Troutbeck Hotel was the venue for Hendrix's historic gig, and it was dangerously over-full before the band even took to the stage. Reports suggest up to 900 fans squeezed in, a mere 700 people more than the place could accommodate! Of course, this broke all the hotel's regulations and licences, but things were different in those days...
Hendrix: Ilklah Moor Baht 'at?
As the gig heated-up, Ilkley policeman Tom Chapman decided enough was enough and stopped the gig. One boy in blue versus nearly a thousand Blues fans was never going to end well - and Hendrix just kept on playing. What happens next is unclear - some say there was a 'riot', others say people just went on their way. For his part, Tom Chapman denies there was big trouble.
Whatever happened the night Jimi Hendrix came to Ilkley, it will remain in rock legend forever. Ilkley had seen nothing like it before, and it probably hasn't since! For a fleeting moment the town was at the beating heart of rock'n'roll - even if it was for one night only!
(For more on Hendrix's appearance in Leeds, click on the link on the top right of this page!)
WERE YOU AT JIMI'S ILKLEY GIG IN 1967? WHY NOT E-MAIL US WITH YOUR MEMORIES?
It's quite simple...
We'll publish your thoughts and memories on this page - and please keep on sending them in even if the 40th anniversary of the night has now passed:
THIS IS WHAT YOU'VE BEEN TELLING US SO FAR!
Yes. I was there and, boy, were there plenty more fans as well, I don't actually think there were 900 but it just felt like it. I was a teenager in Ilkley at that time and had become a weekend regular with my friends at the Troutbeck that year. There were five or six of us, myself, George Brown, Alan Clay, Stephen Feather, David Martin and David Hanson. George had already discovered Jimi Hendrix, introducing him to the rest of us and when we got to know he had been booked to appear at our local, we were on Cloud 9. We all duly agreed to be there, meeting in the bar first and on into the dance hall to listen to our hero. I thought I would drive up there and arrived to find no space to park and thought, "What is happening? There must be something else on as well." I did eventually park and on "entering" the foyer could not believe how many people were there. It was absolutely packed, but knowing the layout, managed to slip into the saloon bar to link up with my friends to plan our strategy. So packed was the venue that we agreed that it was everyone for themselves, some friends even said, 'Forget it we are staying here you will never get in.' But George was mad keen to try so off we went down a corridor where you were supposed to pay - forget that - so many into so little space meant just shuffle along next to the wall and we were in. Well I say we were in - there must have been 300 to 400 fans in a small dance hall and all I could see was the very top of Hendrix's head. By this time they may well have played something but I had not heard anything recognisable so congratulating myself on at least being there and ready for a great night they hit an opening chord and .....Sorry folks the police are closing this event down, everyone out! I certainly do not remember a riot but hundreds of disappointed fans very not happy. You can use your imagination as to how they left but I will forever remember being at a Hendrix's gig, hearing him play but what it was I will never know. Happy Times!
I was at the Troutbeck Hotel on the night Jimi Hendrix played along with my best friend Christine and another friend Jackie. I had never heard of him before then and we were at a loss for somewhere to go that Sunday night so we decided to hitchhike to Ilkley from Keighley as someone had told us there was a band on at the Troutbeck. I remember thinking he was the most ugliest bloke I had ever seen. The three of us were all mods and Christine was brilliant at sewing and used to make unusual outfits for herself and me. I remember this particular night Christine was wearing one of her creations a purple cat suit which had bell bottom trousers, low on the midriff, and there were holes cut out in the top and trimmed with silver lurex. We remember being in the dressing room with Jimi Hendrix when he looked Christine up and down and exclaimed "HEY PURPLE HAZE" to this day Christine is convinced that the song Purple Haze was inspired about her cat suit! Jackie went off with Jimi and we never saw her again that night. She never came home with us that's for sure. Both Christine and I are very surprised at the reports that say there were up to 900 fans at the Troutbeck that night as we remember there being more around 60 "if that". We remember being evacuated outside because there was some smoke and standing with Jimi and the rest of the band. When Jimi was playing on stage we remember him playing his guitar at the back of his head and then with his teeth, we had never seen anything like that before. We do not remember any riots breaking out (with less than 60 people it would be hard to imagine). I wish now that I should have got his autograph or something!!!
Wanted to go but didn't make it. But good to read about Susan and "The Little Fat Black Pussy Cat" in Bradford. I have not met up with anybody who remembers it. It was a great gig. We had a lot of good music venues at the time as well as a lot of pubs having good live bands. I have fond memories of the Boulavard on the A64. Three Coins, Albion Walk in, The Old Mecca, Star & Garter, Kirkstall etc etc. I could go on for hours. I played in bands myself then. I am now a DJ working on the original "Radio Caroline" as well as other small stations. Still enjoying the music & the people!
I remember the gig because the Troutbeck was our trio's resident job at this time. We didn't compete with Jimi though, we played every Saturday night for sedate dinner dances etc. I don't recall much damage being done as a result of the supposed riots; this was possibly a "good story" put about by the Gentlemen of the press. Re. Angie's recollection of Gene Vincent at Keighley, I remember his visit to Yeadon Town Hall (I think) where he appeared on stage dressed from head to foot in white leather including gauntlets whereupon a wag in the audience shouted "WHEER'S YER MOTORBIKE THEN"? Fortunately Gene could not understand broad Yorkshire, either that or he wasn't quite on this planet. However he proceded to play his guitar complete with leather gauntlets which proved to me that he was one of the early 'guitar holders' rather than a player. Speaking of overcrowding at The Troutbeck we played a gig also at Ilkley (Kings Hall) around about the same time where 1200 people were addmitted (maximum 400). This was an annual Christmas time bash organised?? by the Catholic Fathers.
Yeh, I remember the event but did you know that he also played at a blues club near Barnoldswick round about the same time?
I saw Gene Vincent at Keighley Cinema (was it called the Essoldo then?)in about 1964. He was fantastic, dressed all in black leather.
The Troutbeck held many gigs in the sixties I remember seeing Rod Stewart, Alan Price and Georgie Fame there. Also the Little Fat Black Pussy Cat Club in Bradford (situated under the steps to Sunbridge Road from Aldermanbury) held regular gigs where people like Alex Korner, Graham Bond and many others appeared on a regular basis.
You're correct! Jimi Hendrix definitely played at the Troutbeck. Unfortunately the police stopped the show as it was thought to be a fire hazard. We actually went with the band and the promoters, in fact I had one of Jimi's Polo mints! Wow! There were lots of other top bands played there, and Prince Charles used to say there. It was one of his retreats.