Dream Machine


  • Barbara - Vocals
  • Marie  - Vocals
  • Billy Oliver - Lead guitar
  • Mike Morris - Drums
  • Doug Gill - Bass

After seeing an advert in a local newspaper in 1976, Barbara Commons and her sister Marie Commons left an all-girl group called ‘Antique’ to audition for a newly formed group. They attended the audition and were met by 3 lads who were looking for a couple of girls to front their new band, DREAM MACHINE.

The 3 lads had been friends for a long time, they were Mike Morris, Dougie Gill and Billy Oliver, all of whom prior to this audition had been in a number of bands, including ‘The Abstracts’, ‘Cabby’ & ‘Essence’ (1962 to 1975).

The lads were excellent musicians but also they very good singers who were influenced by what was going around that time in the music industry, such as Abba and other bands who had female lead singers. They had decided to create a band with 2 girls fronting them. They knew from experience that to succeed they would have to be a well-rehearsed, tightknit band.

The girls were taken on and DREAM MACHINE was formed, they practiced at local venues and when they worked as one they went out on the road. Each time they played they got rave reviews and became more and more successful as they played large Cabaret clubs up and down the country gaining a lot of popularity on the way. They were a very polished outfit with great harmonies covering all the current songs of that decade and everything was going really well, there was even the suggestion of a record contract but one day in March 1979 suddenly brought everything to a grinding halt.

They had just played a club in Yorkshire and were also booked to play there the next day but the club insisted that they did not want any of the group’s equipment left on the premises overnight due to insurance reasons. They had no choice but to pack it all back into the van but because they were staying in the area overnight they left all the equipment in the van.

That night decided the fate of the group when the van was broken into and all the equipment was stolen. This led them cancelling all future bookings as they could not see how they could replace all their equipment valued at over £4.000 which would have been a serious amount of money back in 1979. After a lot of consideration it was finally decided that there was no way round calling it a day.
A couple of years later, Billy came back on the scene as a single act for most of the 80's and in 1992 he joined Manchester's first ever rock and roll group called the Emperors of Rhythm who had just reformed. He then called it a day in the mid 90's until 2004 when Mike Morris's son, Andrew, who followed his dad’s footsteps and is also a drummer, pulled him out of retirement for a brief time by forming an excellent group called ‘The BoDandy's’.


Mike moved immediately into residency drumming, backing different acts until retiring himself by the mid 90's. He also briefly joined a group in 1982 called ‘The Roly Martin Sound’. Mike’s son, Andrew, is currently the drummer with ‘The Emperors of Rhythm’.

As for Dougie Gill, he went on to briefly play with a group called ‘Capricorn’ and then finally hung his Bass up by the early/mid 80's. By the end of that decade he decided to re-invent himself as a vocalist and still does gigs today. His son found fame as a drummer in the late 80 with the ‘Inspiral Carpets’.

The girls didn’t sing with a band again, however Marie now sings and acts with local armature dramatic groups and Barbara's daughter 'Laura' is currently working the local clubs and pubs under the name ‘Laura Mac’, plus Laura also sings with a successful Abba tribute called ‘The Abbarettes’.

Damien and Barbara McLaughlin - 27/11/14
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