The Tony Manton Set / Quartet (Oldham)

Line-up included 

  • Tony Manton - vocals/organ
  • Alan Warburton - lead
  • Tony Heath - drums
  • Terry Howard - bass


I first saw Tony Manton playing at the Queens Hotel, Manchester Rd, Hollinwood in 1957, this was at the time when skiffle groups started to buy electric guitars and amps and turn themselves into beat groups.

At the time Tony was accompanied by piano, double bass and drums with Tony on guitar and doing the vocals.

Tony was a first class musician having been taught piano from a early age by his mother, who I believe was a professional piano teacher and lived on Broadway, Chadderton.

In the late sixties Tony swapped his guitar for the electric organ and formed The Manton Set. Alan Warburton, late of Venn Tracey and the Diablos, joined the group as lead guitarist. Now Alan was a first class guitar player, unique in the fact that he tuned his guitar to the cord of E major, a thing that baffled other guitarist who saw him play.

Bert Ashton  

I knew the group well. I used to play a gig with Money at the Broadway Hotel on Broadway in I think it was Chadderton.

Tony and the Set were resident there either Fri or Sat nights. An extremely versatile outfit. Tony Heath was an excellent drummer with a highly individual style, he had this technique of using bass drum simultaneously with snare rimshots to drive some of the fast arrangements and the effect was quite impressive.

During the 1970s I put a studio band together to work on some of my original stuff, I used a lot of different musicians but Tony Heath and Terry Howard (who I worked with in the original Cymerons) were bass player and drummer of choice.

Later in the early 1990s Terry Howard and I, worked together again in the group LAZY TIGER, and at one particular gig some where in the Wirral area at a large caberet style club we met up with Tony Manton again. He was working as a comedian at this venue in addition to running his own hotel in Blackpool. 

Mike Lynch

I remember going on regular occasions to see Tony Manton at the Broadway pub and as you say it was in Chadderton.The landlord at the time was a great friend of mine as he did some pub relief for Whitbreads and I worked at the Plough at Werneth. Unfortunately I cant quite recall his name, age see.

The drummer you mentioned,Tony Heath played with Mervs Bardots in which my fiance in the 60s was one of the lead singers along with Tony Best.

We have just met up again recently along with other group members and had a good chinwag about the good old days. As you said Tony was a brilliant drummer, I can still remember keep having to go down to the music shop on Oxford Road to keep getting Alan and Tony new skins for their tambourines , and Tony Heath's drums as he was always bursting them.

Val Fletcher (Parkinson as was)

I used to enjoy seeing, hearing, watching The Tony Manton Set in what was the Globe Pub on Old Street in Ashton-under-Lyne, now the Wichwood Pub and still a great live music pub.

My favourite song ? The Moving Finger Writes. Anyone else remember them singing the song ?

Bill Whitworth

I was the pianist with the Tony Manton Quartet from 1956 until I left in 1962 .

We were the first Rock & Roll group to play in the Oldham pubs in 1957 - our first pub being the Woodman on Lord St, now demolished. We were a trio then as our bass player had unfortunately had his double bass repossessed.

We were Tony (lead guitar & vocals), Derek Howles (piano) and Mike Kelly (drums. We were then headhunted by Albert, the landlord from the Waterloo on Union St and this became our first residency, playing 3 nights a week.

We then added another guitarist, Pete Walker (later of LEROY & LINDA fame) and moved down the street to the Royal Oak Hotel,our next residency.

After this we moved to the Friendship at Mumps and by then we had built up quite a following. By then we had a new guitarist Dave Wolfenden, and we played in the upstairs lounge.On Saturday nights it was full before 8 o clock and we had some great nights there.

Two agents came in one night,and asked us if we could appear in the Cliff Richards Show at Scarborough for the season but we would have to go back with them the next day. Mike Kelly and I both had good jobs ,so we declined the offer.What did we miss!!!!!!!

We also appeared at many of the Clubs in the Oldham area,which was a hotbed of entertainment. We decided to audition for the Carroll Levis Stage show when it came to the Ardwick Hippodrome. We had no transport, so we had to take all our gear on the bus to Manchester.

The bass drum was squeezed under the stairs and I was just getting on with a large suitcase when the bus set off, the case sprung open and the drum equipment was scattered along Broadway.

After recovering it with the help of the busguard, we made the audition.There were hundreds there but we passed the audition and won our heat on the Tuesday night, going into the final on Saturday night.

The winner of the final was guaranteed a TV appearance, so we were up for it but were voted into second place after Caroll Levis disallowed our first applause due to people stamping their feet. Hope he didn't catch anything off his Clapometer!!!

As mentioned earlier, I left the group in 1962 due to marriage and a baby but Tony carried on for a long time before he changed direction and became a comedian called JASPER JONES, appearing in clubs throughout the North West.

I lost touch with him when he moved to Blackpool, and 2 years ago I received a phone call from Dave Wolfenden to tell me he had heard that Tony had died on holiday in Spain.

I was naturally upset about this, nd 2 months later I was in Roquetas De Mar in a bar when who should walk in but Tony. How's that for coincidence!! He is retired and now lives out there. Great times, great memories!!!

Derek Howles 

I was surprised to hear from Derek re the Manchesterbeat and groups in the 60s but it makes great reading, and brings back lots of happy memories.

Wen Derek left the group I carried on with Dave Wolfenden and his brother Pete, and Mick Swift on drums. Great times.

I also used Robin Macdonald, who went with The Dakotas, then Englebert Humperdink.

We changed the group a lot - we had Cliff Crosby on bass, then when he left we had a star, Phil Gregory, a very funny person and a good friend. Not forgetting a good pal, Tony Saville who used to work at Renos on Oxford Rd.

I'm sure many people will remember him. Sadly he died at a young age ... I still think about him.

We worked all big venues as well as small ones because we all liked playing. I also fronted with a group from Ashton with my drummer Tony Heath. The group were The Corvettes , an excellent band.

We finished working at the Broadway Hotel in New Moston, with Tony Heath, Alan Warberton and Terry Howard. I thought the band was excellent, but I would, wouldn't I? :-)

We all went separate ways but we all did ok. I went into comedy, Tony Heath backing many famous stars, Alan took up karate - I think he's now 4th dan, and Terry with a group I've forgotton but I suppose he's still rocking.

If I've forgotten anyone, it's age :-) Also if anyone would like to chat manchesterbeat have my email address. I'm now in Spain, but I return quite often to England and work, but I miss my group days.

Lots of great times and memories. Thanks to everyone involved ... I miss you all.

Tony Manton





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