The Heatbeats 

see also Nazareth and The Puritans

Line-up included 

  • Stevie Whalley - guitar/vocals
  • Brian Tither - rhythm guitar
  • Bob Butterworth - drums
  • John Oulton - drums
  • John Flitcroft - bass
  • Bob O'Niel


The first band I played with were called THE HEARTBEATS which later morphed into THE PURITANS and the last incarnation became NAZARETH (long before the other band of that name!)

The line up of THE HEARTBEATS / PURITANS Stevie Whalley Guitar/Vocal, Brian Tither Rhythm Guitar, Bob Butterworth Drums, John Oulton Drums ( Two Drummers! ) John Flitcroft Bass.

The band morphed into Nazareth. I went on to work with GREASY BEAR and many name acts and strangely took over from Noddy Holder with SLADE for 16 years (longer than Nod!). I`m currently signed to Spectra Records U.S.A. and have an Album TRAVELLIN`SOUL on that Label.

I also now front Manchester Band SAD CAFE.

Manchester Beat ... your Mojo is also truly strong!

Steve Whalley - 1/5/13

The Puritans were actually co-managed by the owner of The Oasis Tony Stuart at that time. In fact Tony organised a competition to find a new name for the then Heartbeats with a prize of, I think, £100 - a lot of dough then.

Someone entered the name The Puritans which Tony liked and my Mum, a dressmaker was commissioned to make us new stage clothes, in the 17th Century style. I then had to go into various ladies underwear stockists to procure 5 pairs of white stockings to complete the design ... not easy!

Tony then promoted us as the youngest Group in Britain and we opened for many of the main acts at The Oasis, plus his other club Warmington Country Grange. 

The sea change came, about mid sixties I guess and the musical landscape began to alter radically. Bob O'Niel was drafted in and from the offset we shared a great affinity and so Nazareth came about as a result of the emergence of archivists like john Peel who was playing stuff by The Band and I guess the name Nazareth was a hats off to the lyric in `The Weight` - "I pulled into Nazareth” but the main thrust of our show was more Stevie Winwood `Traffic`, Spooky Tooth etc.

We played every year for Manchester Rag Ball first on the back of a float in the parade and later at the Gig supporting Pink Floyd, Fairport Convention, the Nice, Chicken Shack, Terry Reid and many other emerging acts of that era.

In the next exciting episode if you like I can bring this forward to the most inspiring time I had living with the great Roger Eagle, playing many shows at The Magic Village and joining the fantastic cult band Greasy Bear!

Paul!...your Mojo is truly strong!...I have spoken.

Steve Whalley - 6/5/13


Stevie Whalley here, found some great pics of the original Heartbeats from Stalybridge!

The picture above was taken on Stalybridge Tran Station Circa 1963-64. The line up Left to right: John Flitcroft bass, Brian Tither ryhthm guitar, star struck British rail guard!, Bob Butterworth drums, John Oulton percussion, Rob Woodward Vocal, Stevie Whalley Lead Guitar/Vocal.

The gear you see is: Burns bass, Fenton Wiel Bass amp, Sonar drums, Priceless Tan Vox AC 30! and beautiful, matching eko smi accoustic guitars! This Band kicked ass! Hope you`ll include this and there are more to come.

The Heartbeats Mojo...Truly Strong! I have spoken.

Steve Whalley - 28/7/13



I saw the Puritans and their later incarnation Nazareth many times at The Talbot in Stalybridge. A bit of a bear pit was The Talbot but it never bothered these guys who always turned it into a rockin' thumpin' bear pit!

Allan Jones - 3/2/14
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