Blades (Blackpool)

Lineup #1 included

  • Ian Anderson - lead vocals, six-string Spanish guitar 
  • Jeffrey Hammond - bass 
  • John Evans - drums 
  • Harry Hartley - harmonica 

Lineup #2 included

  • Ian Anderson - lead vocals 
  • Jeffrey Hammond - bass 
  • John Evans - drums
  • Michael Stephens - six-string guitar 
  • Harry Hartley - harmonica 

Lineup #3 included

  • Ian Anderson - lead vocals 
  • Jeffrey Hammond - bass 
  • John Evans - organ
  • Michael Stephens - six-string guitar 
  • Paul Jackman - drums 

Lineup #4 included

  • Ian Anderson  - lead vocals 
  • Jeffrey Hammond - bass 
  • John Evans - organ
  • Michael Stephens - six-string guitar 
  • Barry Barlow - drums 

Lineup #5 included 

  • Ian Anderson - lead vocals 
  • Jeffrey Hammond - bass 
  • John Evans - organ
  • Ernie Robinson - six-string guitar 
  • Barry Barlow - drums 
  • Martin 'Marvo' Skyrme - tenor sax
  • Jim Dolan - trumpet, baritone sax 

 

 

The Blades formed in Flate1963 in Blackpool with a line-up of Ian Anderson on lead vocals, six-string guitar (b. Ian Scott Anderson, Tuesday, August 10, 1947, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, UK), Jeffrey Hammond on bass (b. Wednesday, July 30, 1947, Blackpool, Lancashire, UK) and John Evans on drums (b. John Spencer Evans, March 28, 1948, Warley Road, North Shore, Blackpool, Lancashire, UK). 

When Ian Anderson was 4 in 1951 he and his family moved from Dunfermline to the Scottish capital Edinburgh and at 6 in 1953 he went to Roseburn Primary School in Edinburgh. At age 11 in 1958 Anderson persuaded his father to spend ?5 and purchase a Spainish guitar at an Edinburgh music shop. In 1958 the Anderson family moved to Devonshire Road in Lytham St Annes near Blackpool in Lancashire and Ian Anderson attended Blackpool Grammar School for Boys. 

In September 1963 with the opening of the 6th form at Blackpool Grammar, Anderson approached Jeffrey Hammond, who like Anderson was 16 and told him he looked like a musician. Obivously, this ment that he wanted to start a band and Hammond readily expressed his interest in forming a group. Hammond chose the bass as it looked the easiest instrument to play and Anderson played guitar. While at school his interest in the guitar was renewed and he he purchased a Burns Black Bison and a Burns 30-watt applifer. They also need a drummer and they soon found a guy that filled the bill, another school friend in 15 year-old John Evans. 

Evans original instrument was piano, which he learned from his mother who was a piano instructor. He later had a few lessons on the drums, inspired by the 'Beat Boom.' Evans aslo turned Anderson on The Beatles first album''Please Please Me,'' while both were still at Blackpool Grammar. 

The Blades took their name from a London club where James Band (007) played a bridge game in Ian Fleming 's 1955 novel ''Moonraker.'' Ian Anderson promptly became the vocalist in the band as no one thought of themselves as a singer. Evans had already offered the band a rehearsal place in Warley Road in his mother's garage, but there was one stipulation, they had to acquire another drummer, so that Evans' could move back to playing the organ, as his hands were traumatized from his primative drumming. 

The three-piece band was also joined occasional by harmonica player Harry Hartley, an older friend of Anderson's. They all practised the Blues. Anderson, Hammond and Evans had equired rare American R & B records by pooling their money resoures. The three guys also went around the Blackpool's club scene and found one of the hottest bands in the Blackpool area, The Atlantics who attracted the attention of the girls. This inspired the guys to form a band, The Blades. 

The Blades played their first gig Late 1963 at The Holy Family Youth Club in Links Road?, Blackpool, around the corner from Evans' house in Warley Road. The group also on a weekly basis played front rooms and church based youth clubs - modeled on a Johnny Kidd and the Pirates type of pop group. 

At some point bassist Michael Stephens left another Blackpool group called Johnny Breeze and the Atlantics to defect to The Blades, to play six-string guitar and was replaced in The Atlantics by bassist Brian Hood. Anderson felt his guitar playing abilities were inadequte for The Blades and so it was fortuitous that Stephens joined. 

In late 1963 Hartley quit The Blades. The band also acquired a drummer in art student and fellow R & B band fan Paul Jackman, who had a short trial run. The problem was when he played live, his playing ability was deemed unsatisfactory. 

In Early 1964 in the local newspaper The Blackpool Evening Gazzette, The Blades advertised for a drummer that would take the band to the next level. Two people answered the advert, one was 14 year-old drummer Barrie Barlow (b. Saturday, September 10, 1949, Birmingham, Warwickshire, UK), the other was a guy more interested in how much money he was going to get, so Barlow got the job and that meant that Evans could now concentrate on playing organ and preserve his aching hands. 

Barlow was in spired to play drums by The Beatles, had some experience playing drums in a school band and had also played football with an Aston Villa boys team. At 14 he had left school and moved to King Street, Blackpool to live with his estranged father, who was employed there. 

In 1965 The Blades became influenced by organ dominated artists like Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, Brian Auger and the Trinity and The Graham Bond Organisation. The Blades were also influenced by The Organisation's album ''The Sound Of '65'' and they made sure to learn the whole album, because three-quarters of the LP was immediately added to their set. In Late 1965 the group also added Jim Dolan on trumpet, baritone sax (b. James Dolan) and Martin 'Marvo' Skyrme on tenor sax. They were added to The Blades to bolster their sound and to match the line-ups of these Jazz-influenced bands. Stephens left the band at this point because he was unable to make the musical transition and was replaced by lead guitarist Ernie Robinson (b. Ernest Robinson). 

In 1965 Anderson met Ian 'Lemmy' Willis (b. Ian Fraser Kilmister, Monday, December 24, 1945, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, UK) the new bassist with another hot Blackpool band The Rocking Vickers (previously known as Reverend Black and The Rocking Vickers), who wanted to get rid of his White Fender Stratocaster and so Anderson traded in his Burns guitar to get the £30 required to complete the transaction. During 1967 he sold it as he could not afford to buy strings for it. 

The Blades also changed their name to The John Evan Band in Late 1965. Evans also dropped the 's' from his name at the suggestion of Jeffrey Hammond because he felt it sounded better. Michael Stephens was not ready to make the musical transition, so left the group and was replaced in Early 1966 by The Atlantics' Chris Riley (b. Christopher Riley, Blackpool, Lancashire, UK). 


Some Blades concerts: 

Late 1963: The Holy Family Youth Club, Blackpool, Lancashire, UK, début gig 

Saturday, February 13, 1965: The Bispham Tennis Club, Blackpool, Lancashire, UK