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Screamin' Jay Hawkins who co-wrote the classic hit I Put A Spell On You appeared at the Ritz Ballroom on 10 April 1966
Graham Reay writes: I heard an ad recently for BBC4's broadcast of the 21 August Prom at the Royal Albert Hall featuring the music of the late Nina Simone.
The music they used was her version of "I Put A Spell On You". I'm pretty sure Miss Simone never visited Kings Heath, but Jalacy Hawkins from Cleveland, Ohio who wrote the song (with Herb Slotkin) did.
In 1956 the original recording of "I Put A Spell On You" was released in the USA under Jalacy's stage name - Screamin' Jay Hawkins. It arrived in the UK via the Fontana label two years later.
Screamin' Jay played the Marquee/Whisky a Go Go club at the corner of Navigation Street and Hill Street in Birmingham on 28 February 1965, months before Nina Simone's cover version scraped into the British top fifty.
The song did much better to promote his next visit - a version by Alan Price got to number nine in the charts in April 1966 while Jay was on tour here, including Birmingham dates at the Penthouse Club on Constitution Hill on 5 April and the Handsworth Plaza and King's Heath Ritz Ballroom on 10 April. Jay's backing group/support act on that tour was Herbie Goins and the Night-Timers, who were Parlophone recording artists.
Bryan Ferry revived "I Put A Spell On You" in 1993, his version reaching the top twenty.  
Screamin' Jay died in France in 2000. Later that year, Sonique took his most famous song back into the UK top ten. Herbie Goins, who hailed from Florida, died in Italy in 2015.
Listen to Sreamin' Jay's version of I Put A Spell On You here:-
Rolling Stones Mini Festival on Sunday 15 September Celebrates 56th Anniversary of Birmingham Debut

ABOVE: The Rolling Stones photographed at the Royal Albert Hall on 15 September 1963 the day after they made their Birmingham debut at the Ritz Ballroom.

TODAY! ROLLKING STONES FEST LINE-UP 3.10-3.25 Harmonica Bob & Oz 3.30-3.45 Tim Walkerdine 3.50-4.05 Acoustic Sunset 4.20-4.35 Matilda Pratt 4.40-4.55 Dog Walker 5.10-5.25 Acoustica 5.30-5.45 Mr Apollo The Stones Doors 7pm On Stage 7.45pm

On Sunday 15 September King's Heath Walk of Fame will celebrate the 56th Anniversary  of The Rolling Stones first ever appearance in Birmingham at the now sadly burnt down Ritz Ballroom.

Our Mini Festival starts with an Afternoon Session featuring top local musicians at Fletchers Bar from 3p.m. to 6 p.m and ends with one of Europe's leading tribute bands The Stones taking to the stage at  7.45 p.m. at the Hare & Hounds next door to the old ballroom.

Formed in London in 1962 by Brian Jones after he met up with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards who had been childhood friends, the Rolling Stones started out as a blues group taking their name from the title of a song by Muddy Waters. For the whole of 1962 they played exclusively in the London area. But all that changed on 7 June 1963 after they released their first single a cover of Chuck Berry's "Come On". Just a few months later on 14 September 1963 they played one of their first ever gigs outside London and their first ever in Birmingham at King's Heath's Ritz Ballroom. Joining Brian, Mick and Keith on the tiny stage were Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts. The day after they returned to London to play at the Great Pop Prom at the Royal Albert Hall! When they next returned to Birmingham they played the much larger Town Hall and Hippodrome before going on to become the world's greatest Rock and Roll Band in the world selling over 200 million albums.

From 3 to 6 pm a fantastic line-up of great local musicians will perform their interpretations of classic Rolling Stones songs at Fletchers Bar & Eatery. including Acoustica, Acoustic Sunset, Dog Walker, Matilda Pratt, Mr Apollo, Harmonica Bob & Oz, The Guest List and Tim Walkerdine with more to be announced.

Tickets for the afternoon session at Fletchers cost £5 in advance from the Kitchen Garden Cafe,

£5 + Booking Fee from www.wegottickets.com/event/476536

£6 on the door.

At 7 pm doors will then open for an evening concert by top tribute band The Stones starting at 7.45 pm who will bring to the stage at the  Hare & Hounds all the energy and excitement of a live Rolling Stones concert in a brilliant tribute to their music in a sensational climax to the One Day Mini Festival. The band regularly perform at festivals and major venues throughout Europe and have often been described as more of a reincarnation than a tribute band.

"The Rolling Stones recreated to absolute perfection" (Winding Wheel Theatre, Chesterfield)

"History repeating itself" (Playhouse, Whitley Bay)

Don't miss this unique event to commemorate the World's greatest Rock and Roll Band Birmingham Debut.

First 30 Tickets for the evening show by The Stones cost £6 + Booking Fee then £8 + Booking Fee from


Advance Ticket sales close at 1 p.m on Sunday 15 Sept.

Don't leave it to the last moment and pay more on the door! You really don't want to miss out on this special celebration of the day in 1963 that King's Heath first Got Stoned!!!

Please note that there is seating at Fletchers but tickets guarantee admission not a seat so come early if you want to be seated.

The evening concert will take place in Venue 2 at The Hare & Hounds which is upstairs and has some limited seating so again come early if you want a seat.
Exciting West Midlands Covers Band The Guest List play Fletchers on Sunday 7 July

Starting at 3 pm on Sunday 7 July King's Heath Walk of Fame are delighted to present The Guest List for the first time at  Fletchers Bar.

They are an exciting high energy covers band from Birmingham performing a blend of classic Rock Sing Alongs, Soul and Motown Groovers and Indie/Brit Pop Anthems guaranteed to keep those feet tapping and hips shaking from straight from the 50s throght to the 00s.

They are the full band version of The Wild Honey Pies duo who so impressed when they opened for Get Stoned in March.

Expect exciting and high energy covers of songs by the great 60's and 70's bands onwards from The Beatles, The Kinks and The Rolling Stones through to R.E.M that will make you want to get up, dance and sing along.

Another fantastic Sunday afternoon's entertainment is guaranteed. Advance Tickets cost £5 from Kitchen Garden Cafe or £5.50 from www.wegottickets.com/event/471315.

£6 on the door if any are left.

75 Years after D Day - remembering Normandy hero Bill Pinkney who played the Ritz Ballroom with The Original Drifters

Graham Reay writes:

75 years ago this month 18 year old Bill Pinkney from South Carolina was a GI in General Patton's army. He earned a Presidential Citation with 4 Bronze Service stars for heroism including Normandy, Saint-Lo, Bastogne and the Rhine. Later in the 1960's he played at the Ritz Ballroom and other clubs on the Regan circuit as part of The Original Drifters.

Although he was a War Hero he said in a 2004 interview "Never could I say I liked the military. I was in service in a segregated army. Overseas fighiting for your country and some of the white soldiers were telling people that we were animals".

Returning from the war Bill began to sing in gospel choirs where he met Clyde McPhatter and brothers Andrew and Gerhart Thrasher who became the original members of The Drifters. Their first and second records "Money Money" and "Such A Night" were big hits on the American rhythm and blues charts in 1953. Then Clyde got drafted and Bill and the brothers were sacked from the group. He needed work so he quickly registered the name "Bill Pinkney's Original Drifters" as a trademark.

British promoter Ray Tempest signed up The Original Drifters bringing them to the UK in January 1966. The line up was Bill Pinkney, Gerhart Thrasher, Bobby Hollis and  Bobbby Hendricks lead singer on The Drifters second UK single release "Drip Drop".

Joe and Mary Regan booked them to play at the Brum Kavern in Small Heath on 16 January. They must have gone down so well that they re-booked them for their summer tour playing at the two Plazas in Handsworth and Old Hill on 8 May and back in Handsworth coupled with King's Heath's Ritz Ballroom on 8 June. That makes them it is believed the only American act to play all four Regan venues.

The Regans booked two more shows from Roy Tempest in 1967. On 15 October Clyde McPhatter, The Drifters' original lead singer, appeared at the Handsworth Plaza and Kings Heath's Ritz Ballroom and on 22 November Bill Pinkney's Original Drifters played the same venues.

He would stay in the music business for the next 50 years, dying in a Florida hotel hours before he was due to go on Indepenence Day in 2007. In 2004 he said "I like the music music world so much. music has done more for for the country than any civil rights law ever could".

(Sources: Tour Dates from Ian Wallis's book "American rock'n'roll - the UK Tours 1957-72 Music Mentor Books York.2003.

Quotes from Bill Pinkney interview in Now Dig This magaazine number 255 June 2004.

Life story from Wikipedia)

Acclaimed Black Country Rock'n'Roll Band The Shambolics perform at Fletchers on Sunday 2nd June

ABOVE: The acclaimed Black Country band The Shambolics in Peaky Blinders outfits

Acclaimed Black country 7 piece band The Shambolics bring their own unique brand of rock'n'roll to Fletchers Bar for the first time on Sunday 2nd June from 3 pm to 6 pm.
Expect high energy covers of hits by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran and Wilson Pickett who all played at the old Ritz Ballroom opposite Fletchers plus lots more.

A phenomenal afternoon's entertainment is guaranteed as these audience reviews of recent performances demonstrate:-
"They are great guys, fantastic music and brilliant entertainment. They deserve to be a big success!"
"Cracking band ten outa ten!"
"High energy, fun loving, great tunes, they love it, you'll love it"
"These guys lift off the roof wherever they play. Absolutely fantastic bunch of guys. Would recommend a million percent"
"Absolutely fantastic! Great atmosphere every time I see them. They sure know how to get the crowd going. Professional, talented, fun, get everyone up dancing!"
Advance Tickets cost £5 from Kitchen Garden Cafe or £5.50 from
£6 on the door if any are left!

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