The Midnighters (Liverpool/Preston)



Reg Welsh (Preston) - lead guitar

Keef Hartly (Preston) - drums

Tony Bell (London) - bass

Roger James (?) - keyboards

Pete Shelton (Manchester) - rhythm/vocals

The Midnighters had just left Freddie Starr towards the middle of 64. I joined as rhythm guitar and singer. I only stayed a couple of weeks as America beckoned with another band, The Clan.

Pete Shelton - 20/6/10 

The Midnighters who had formed in November 1962 in Liverpool, had fallen apart in April 1964 when their lead singer Freddie Starr (b. Frederick Leslie Fowell, Saturday, January 9, 1943, Huyton, Liverpool, Lancashire, UK) got a part in a Lionel Bart musical 'Maggie May,' which was to be staged in London from July 1964, but for some reason it was given to someone else.

The Final line-up of Freddie Starr and the Midnighters from August 1963 was Starr on lead vocals, Reg Welch on lead guitar (b. Reginald Welch d. March 2006) (ex-Preston bands The Rebels from 1959, The Dominators, Summer 1962 - Early 1963), John Brierley on bass (b. Wednesday, March 17, 1943, Cambridge Street, Plungington, North West Preston, Lancashire, UK) (ex-The Thunderbeats, David John and the Mood, Winter 1963 - Early 1964), Keef Hartley on drums (b. Keith Hartley, Saturday, April 8, 1944, Cambridge Street, Plungington, North West Preston, Lancashire, UK d. Saturday, November 26, 2011, The Royal Preston Hospital, Fulwood, North Preston, Lancashire, UK) (ex-The Z-Men, Summer 1962, The Thunderbeats, Earl - June 1963) and Roger James on piano. 

Freddie Starr and the Midnighters had grown out of a band called Gus Travis and the Midnighters (May - Nov 1962), which had grown out of Gus Travis and the Thunderclaps formed in 1959 at Bridgets Youth Club in West Kirby, Cheshire, with a line-up of Gus Travis on lead vocals (b. Graham Bull, Friday, December 13, 1940, West Kirby, Cheshire, UK), Dave Carden on lead guitar (b. David Carden), Ian McQuair on rhythm guitar, Alan Watts on piano, Clive Watkins on bass and Ian Douglas on drums. Watkins and Douglas were later replaced by bassist Bill Bingham and drummer Pete Williams (b. Peter Williams) respectively. 

In May 1962 the band changed their name to Gus Travis and Midnighters, named after American hit-makers Hank Ballard and the Midnighters. In came new bassist Brian Woods (ex-Hoylake's Morrockans) and drummer John Cochrane (b. Thursday, August 24, 1939, Wallasey, Cheshire, UK) (ex-Wallasey based Wurp and his Werbles, Mar 1960 - Feb 1961). 

In November 1962 Starr joined the band as second lead vocalist and to provide comic relief, but within weeks he had taken over the group, which became Freddie Starr and the Midnighters. In April 1963 Travis, Watts, Cochrane and McQuair left, with Travis forming Gus Travis and the Dymonds (from Jan 1963) and Gus Travis and the Rainchecks (May 1963 - Jan 1964). In came Ian Broad on drums, Johnny Kelman on rhythm guitar (b. John Kelman, 1944, Liverpool, Lancashire, UK). 

The band also went to record with famous producer Joe Meek (b. Robert Joseph Meek, Friday, April 5, 1929, 1 Market Street, Newent, Gloucestershire, UK d. Friday, February 3, 1967, 304 Holloway Road, Holloway, North West London, UK) and recorded three singles at his famous studios at 304 Holloway Road. They also recorded an album ''This Is Liverpool Beat'' only released in Germany.

In May 1963 Freddie Starr and the Midnighters released their first single ''Who Told You'' ''Peter Gunn Locomotion'' on Decca F 11663.

In August 1963 saw the final line-up the band, when James, Welch and Brierley joined the group. Carden left joining Derry Wilkie and the Pressmen (from Aug 1963), The Flamingoes (Jan - Apr 1964) and Freddie Starr and the Flamingoes (May - Oct 1964), while Woods moved to London to join Heinz and the Wild Boys (Apr - Dec 1964) and Johnny Kelman joined The Four Just Men (from Jan 1963). 

In October 1963 Freddie Starr and the Midnighters went to play at the famous Star Club at 39 Grobe Freiheit off The Reeperbahn in St Pauli, Hamburg, Germany. It was while they were there that Broad left the band in November 1963 and joined Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, while The Hurricanes drummer Keef Hartley joined The Midnighters. When Keef Hartley joined the group, for some reason they changed the bands name to Freddie Starr and the Starr Boys. 

In November 1963 Freddie Starr and the Midnighters released their second single ''It's Shaking Time'' and ''Baby Blue'' in Decca F 11786.

In April 1964 Starr left to join The Flamingos, who became Freddie Starr and the Flamingoes (May - Oct 1964) and then joined The Delmont Four (formed 1963), who became Freddie Starr and the Delmonts (Jul 1965 - Dec 1969).

With Starr gone The Midnighters added Tony Bell on bass and Pete Shelton on rhythm guitar, vocals (b. Peter Shelton), who only lasted a couple of weeks before he joined The Clan. This line-up of the group did not last long and split in Summer 1964, with drummer Hartley and pianist, vocalist James forming The Ice Blues R & B Band with Bob Garner on bass, vocals (b. Robert Anthony Garner, Wednesday, May 15, 1946, Warrington, Lancashire, UK) and Dave McShane on sax (b. David McShane). This group lasted until December 1964, when the band split up and Hartley joined London group The Artwoods. He read an advert in The Melody Maker: 'Drummer wanted for a Rhythm and Blues band' and joined the group led by lead vocalist Art Wood (b. Arthur Wood, Tuesday, July 6, 1937, 8 Whitehorn Avenue, Yiewsley, Middlesex, UK d. Friday, November 3, 2006, London, UK, from prostate cancer), older brother of Rolling Stones' lead guitarist Ronnie Wood (b. Ronald David Wood, Sunday, June 1, 1947, Hillingdon Hospital, Hillingdon, Middlesex, UK). 


UK 45's 

May 1963 Who Told You/Peter Gunn Locomotion Decca F 11663 

November 1963 It's Shaking Time/Baby Blue Decca F 11786 

John H. Warburg - 15/4/15





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