Beatlemania!

 
Gloucestershire's links with fame stretch much further than film and cinema. The county has also been a mecca for famous musicians since the 1960s. Notably, Brian Jones of Rolling Stone fame spent most of his childhood in Cheltenham, while the Beatles also played at the town's Odeon in 1964. Gloucestershire On Screen is sourcing photos of famous musicians who have either lived or played in the county, so if you can help, please contact us.
 
Other famous musicians from Cheltenham include punk rockers 4ft Fingers, opera and concert soprano Felicity Lott and Jaz Coleman (the lead singer of Killing Joke). In Gloucester, the list is equally as impressive, with Nathan Sykes (lead singer of The Wanted) and jazz vocailst Tina May both being born and bred in the city.
 
 
At 8pm on Friday 1st November, 1963, The Beatles kicked off their first headlining tour of England at Cheltenham’s Odeon Theatre, supported by Peter Jay & the Jaywalkers, the Brook Brothers, and the Vernon Girls. Some rabid fans line up for more than two days to snag tickets. The following day a report in the Daily Mirror newspaper carried the headline: "Beatlemania! It's happening everywhere.. even in sedate Cheltenham". This is believed to be the first use of the word in print; by the end of the year it would be widely used. This was The Beatles' only concert in Cheltenham.
 
The Odeon in Cheltenham also played host to a plethora of other star musicians: Cliff Richard and the Shadows, Joe Brown and the Bruvvers, The Rolling Stones, Rolf Harris, Helen Shapiro, Billy Fury, Dusty Springfield and Herman’s Hermits among them.
 
Jaz Coleman is a musician, composer, singer-songwriter and record producer. He is notable for his vocal contributions to the band Killing Joke. Coleman was born in Cheltenham to an English father and an Anglo-Indian mother who are both school teachers. He studied piano and violin under Eric Coleridge, head of music for Cheltenham College.  In 1973, Jaz was awarded the Rex Watson Cup at the Cheltenham International Festival of Music.
 
 
 
Born in Cheltenham in 1947, Feclity Lott is a world-famous international opera singer. In 1993 Dame Felicity accepted an invitation to become the President of Cheltenham Choral Society, where her cousin is a member. In 1999 she sang the soprano part in the Society’s world premiere performance of the Requiem in honour of Morgan Islwyn Jones, the choir's founder.
 
 
 
 
 
Gustav Holst, composer of The Planets, was born on 21 September 1874, at 4 Pittville Terrace (named today Clarence Road) in Cheltenham. The house was opened as a museum devoted to Holst's life and times in 1974. Holst's father, Adolph von Holst, was organist and choirmaster at All Saints' Church in Pitville, Cheltenham. His wife's death, Adolph von Holst moved with his sons to 1 Vittoria Walk. He was educated at Cheltenham Grammar School for Boys.


 



Famed experimental composer Cornelius Cardew was born in Winchcombe on 7 May 1936 (died 13 December 1981). He was the founder member of the Scratch Orchestra, an experimental performing ensemble.




 



Born 30 March 1961, Jazz Vocalist Tina May performed with the Gloucestershire Youth Orchestra during her childhood. She lived in Frampton and attended Stroud High School.
 
 
 
 


Robb Huxley was a singer with The Tornados, a 1960s English pop group, famous for their hit, Telstar. Robb was born December 4, 1945 in Gloucester. After leaving Sir Thomas Rich’s Grammar School in 1962 he joined a local band The Vendettas in 1963 as vocalist.
 
 
 
 
Nathan Sykes, lead singer with The Wanted, attended Barnwood C of E Primary School in the late 1990s, then received a scholarship for studying at Sylvia Young Theatre School in London, before returning to Ribston Hall High School in Gloucester.
 
 
 
 



Herbert Norman Howells was a famous composer and organist. He was born in Lydney on 17 October 1892 (died 23 February 1983). He studied first with Herbert Brewer at Gloucester Cathedral, as an articled pupil alongside Ivor Novello and Ivor Gurney, the celebrated English songwriter and poet, with whom he became great friends.
 
 
 
 
 

Pigbag were formed in Cheltenham in late 1980 by Chris Hamlin, a fashion student at Cheltenham Art College. Hamlin recruited multi-instrumentalist Roger Freeman, an old friend from his hometown of Birmingham, along with Chris Lee on trumpet and James Johnstone, a guitarist, record shop assistant and newcomer to the alto sax, for initial jam sessions which would eventually evolve into Pigbag. The group would jam in parks and various other places, but their usual practice space was Hamlin's house, Beech House, which still stands on the corner of St James's Square and St George's Place in Cheltenham




Perhaps one of Cheltenham's most famous residents was Brian Jones of Rolling Stones fame.
Lewis Brian Hopkin-Jones was born in  The Park Nursing Home in Cheltenham, England on Saturday, 28 February, 1942. He first lived at 'Rosemead', on Eldorado Road, near Cheltenham train station. A blue plague now lies on the front door. Brian started school in 1947, attending Dean Close Public School near his home at 335 Hatherley Road in Cheltenham. He later attended Pates Grammar School in 1953. Following his death, Jones was buried in his home town of Cheltenham on July 10th, 1969. The funeral service was held at St Mary’s Parish Church and he was buried in Cheltenham Cemetery. Every year, hundreds of visitors come to the Cemetery to mark the anniversary of his death.

Below: The headstone at Cheltenham Crematorium and Eldorado Road, Cheltenham

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