Cliff Bowes and The Arrows

Info courtesy David Bowker

  • Cliff Bowes - vocals
  • Mick Rhodes - lead guitar
  • Joe Henshall - bass Guitar
  • Dave Bowker - rhythm guitar
  • Derek Chadwick (aka Bailey) - drums

Cliff Bowes was a Gene Vincent fan and a great performer who would wear gold suit and cowboy boots - check out the pic above circa 1961/62.

The band gigged around Stockport/ Alderley Edge/ Wilmslow /Macclesfield area and held down Sunday night residency at a country club in Prestbury. Cliff went for the upper scale gigs and liked to play for 'posh' people!

Sad to hear of the recent death of Joe Henshall. Cliff is also deceased..

Pictured left to right: Dave Bowker (14), Mick Rhodes, Cliff Bowes, Joe Henshall  At rear - Phil Henshaw (piano) - guest for the night Not pictured - Derek Chadwick, drums

This pic from Phil Henshaw (rhythm) pictured left. Don Rathbone (drums), ex - Hollies centre, Mick Rhodes (lead) back right; , the late Joe Henshall (bass) and the late Cliff Bowes bottom centre.  This was taken on Lindow Common ( a famous place in Wilmslow ) possibly 1965.

First gig - Wilmslow Sec Modern School Dance 1962 - Derek Chadwick (drums), David Bowker (Rhythm), Mick Rhodes (Guitar) Note: David has a borrowed rh Lucky 7 guitar


I remember being asked to play drums for Cliff and the Arrows at the Empress Club in Stockport one Saturday night in about 1963/4. Their regular 1st choice drummer Don Rathbone had been called up to accompany The Hollies , I don't remember why Derek Chadwick couldn't play , and they had clearly run out of options and came for me.

I was playing for The Bogstompers in and around Wilmslow at the time. I was about 16 and fairly innocent in the ways of the world.

We played our set and all went well , and then we were asked to accompany the stripper ! I haven't a clue what we played but we got through it ok , until the final few bars when the stripper ( as was the norm) whipped off her g-string to give the audience a quick flash. She then finished her act by giving an extravagant bow, no doubt to allow her top half to hang to best effect.

Remember I'm behind the drums, centre stage right behind the stripper, and as she bowed I got the full view from behind! I'd never seen anything like it! I nearly fell off my stool. I didn't eat another boiled ham sandwich for months !

Talk about being educated at the school of life.........!!! 

Stewart (Stu) Wilde - 18/1/13 

Cliff has recently become a cult figure - based on his ownership of a rare Hoyer Fantastic Bagpipe guitar - read on:

Great guitar website - well worth a look for guitar enthusiasts. Pics of the guitar near the bottom.

From BCN (Beat City Network)

Even more facts are coming to light regarding the Hoyer Fantastic Bagpipe guitar which used to belong to 60s rocker the late Cliff Bowes.

Dave Bowker of Denver tells us that the guitar was bought in the 1970s by its current owner Steve Renshaw from a second hand shop in Stockport, not on Ebay as incorrectly reported yesterday.

Steve recently contacted Dave whom he discovered while surfing the Manchester Beat website. Since then Phil Henshaw and Mike Rhodes of Wilmslow have been able to provide more info about the unusual guitar, one of only six of this type to be produced by the Hoyer company.

Apparently Cliff bought the instrument in 1957 and soon afterwards he was fuming when David Steel of Alderley Edge accidentally trod on the cable and ripped the pick-up off the guitar. Phil Henshaw was there to see it happen and says that Cliff "went purple" following the incident which happened while he was playing for the Cestrian Skiffrock Band.

The guitar was eventually mended and later Cliff sold it to another rocker Mike Rhodes who describes it as "a unique but difficult instrument to play."

In fact Mike sold it for £18 to 14-years old Charles Hulme who is now a professor at York University. Cliff has apparently spoken to Charles' wife so even more info maybe forthcoming for a later bulletin.


I was in the Cestrian Skiffrocks with Cliff Bowes when he bought the Hoyer Fantastic Bagpipes Guitar possibly from somewhere in Manchester I assume.

On the first gig at Alderley Edge Scouts' Hall a guy called David Steele trod on the lead and pulled the pickup out. Looking at Cliff was the first time I ever saw a guy go purple - incandescent is a word that springs to mind! This would be late 1956 or 57.

David Bowker (stage name David Booker) now in Denver, was in Cliff Bowes and The Arrows (as was I for a while). He remembers Cliff would come on stage with the guitar, then put it down and sing just with the mike. He thinks 6 more were made, not quite the same and these were for an exhibition, rather than to be played.

The guitar was not a great instrument to play. It's just as well, Cliff and I were not to become great axe men.

Mike Rhodes remembers that Arnold Hoyer made the guitar in Germany. Cliff sold it to Mike around 1966 for
about Ł20. Mike had it for some years and in 1971 he sold it to Charles Hulme of Alma Lane, Wilmslow (the same Lane where Mike lived).

Charles was about 14 then and at Wilmslow County High School at the guitar was sold for around Ł18. Mike has put me in touch with Charles, now a professor at York University. He had the guitar for a year or two and sold it to a second hand shop in Church Street, Wilmslow. The shop was formerly Jakord's car accessory shop and was situated opposite to where Waitrose now stands. Charles remembers that the name Cliff Bowes was stencilled in the case of the guitar. Charles was in a band at school but played bass guitar. Cliff was in silk screen printing so it was easy for him to stencil his name in the guitar case. Charles left Wilmslow when he was 18.

Phil Henshaw 



Cliff Bowes L-R, Dave Bowker ,Cliff Bowes, Mick Rhodes, Joe Henshall, Derek Chadwick (drums) is out to the right; off camera 


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