Top Ten Club (Belle Vue, Gorton)
Opened in May, 1962, the Top Ten Club was held in the New Elizabethan Ballroom, Belle Vue. Live acts appeared each week, with Jimmy Savile as resident DJ for most of the club's life, together with Dave Eager.
Top names were booked on a regular basis and I can remember seeing Stevie Wonder, the Drifters and Liverpool-act The Chants (later to become Vocal Perfection and then The Real Thing) in a three week period.
Other favourites included Root and Jenny Jackson - a Leeds based Ike and Tina Turner style act and Milton James and the Emerald World, who I believe were from Manchester.
I can still picture Milton pacing the large stage and talking about his good friend Otis Redding. Hey, Mr James, it worked for me - I believed you.
I can also recall seeing Ten Years After (who became huge in the UK and US) at the club on a ten pound gig.
Bands which appeared at Top Ten Club included:
- Herman's Hermits
- Stevie Wonder
- The McCoys
- Jimi Hendrix
- Rolling Stones
- The Hollies
- Plastic Penny (Nigel became drummer with Elton John)
- Ike and Tina Turner
- Moody Blues
- Ten Years After
- Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich
- Love Affair
- and all the other sixties bands.
I was there of course when Stevie Wonder appeared. The one great thing was after the show we found out that apparently he liked to "warm-down" and six of us including Jimmy Savile and Sam Mason the General Manager stayed behind whilst Stevie played and sang just for us few ... for a further hour!"
"I was also there that night but in a more modest role - I ran the coke bar upstairs. Dave actually came up and assisted me, as I was flat out. Something I have always remembered and is a sign of what a nice guy he is"
Paul Mlynarz - webmaster Manchesterbeat
My friend Kath and I started a team of dancers (go go girls) as asked to by Sam Mason (Manager of BV Top Ten Club). There were six of us and we were named the six belles!! We saw lots of top name bands, local bands and soon to be legends.
Jimmy Savile, Dave Eager and Dave Booth were the three djs, there was always a top name band, a middling one and a local one. there was also a female dj Jenny. Harvey was the manager, under Sam Mason who was a lovely man. When Sam retired, Dave took over - all I know about him was he was a drummer.
On the site you mention Dixies Dont's and The Chuckles. Paul who was lead singer with them was a close friend of ours and still in touch. Dave Eager, Paul, Kath and myself were often taken to the Empire Grill by Jimmy Saville for an after gig meal. My dad was amazed when the Rolls Royce came to collect us! Then Dave would come in his bubble car-ah those days.
There are lots more memories, such as taking Arthur Brown on the scenic railway after bandcall one sunday afternoon then back home for sunday roast! My poor parents never knew who was coming through the door next.
Kath and I also danced for the Moss Brothers circuit ie: the Princess Club, the Georgian and the Domino. We used to put a coat over our costumes and catch the 53 bus from the Domino to the Princess.
"I wonder if anyone remembers the night the power went off in the New Elizabethan Hall? It was a Top Ten Club night and Herman's Hermits were playing. Just a couple of numbers into the set the power went off. Later we heard it was because of a fire on the Scenic Railway. After we got used to the emergency lighting, the group started improvising with the drums being the only instruments still audible. They clearly wanted to stay on and enjoy themselves. It turned out to be a sing-a-long night with the fans joining in. One tune I remember was the intro to the TV show "Five a Clock Club" It was well over an hour before staff realised the power wasn't going to come back on and started to send us home early. It was probably the first time I didn't have to gamble on getting the last 53 back to Cheetham Hill!
There was one time I was so excited I couldn't wait for the weekend to begin. P.J. Proby was on at BV Top Ten Club. The place was packed out, if you can recall. Unfortunately it wasn't to be. I can't remember what the exact time was but the announcement came nonetheless: there had been a smash on the motorway and some members of the band were injured and killed. PJ was ok because he wasn't in the car crash.
The place was so silent you could here a pin drop. At such short notice they had got a band to stand in. I can remember thinking it's not going to come close whoever they are because everybody was disappointed to say the least. When they announced that Wynne Fontana & the Mindbenders would stand in I thought it's going to go down like...yeah, you've won the jackpot on the pools, but your wife's forgot to post the coupon. I couldn't have been more wrong. It turned out to be one of the best nights I have ever spent there.
I used to go with my best friend Kay Stringer every week - weeknights we spent at the Oasis or the Twisted Wheel. I saw so many big names at Belle Vue, Ike and Tina Turner and the Supremes and of course the Rolling Stones - I passed out and got carried to the back after waiting in line for most of the day to get in!! Manchester was certainly the best place to be in the '60s and the Top Ten Club was the highlight of our week.
Jimmy Savile was the DJ and had either his Rolls, E-Type Jag or bubble car parked outside. On stage would always be a framed black and white press photo, placed on a small coffee table, of him shaking hands with Elvis. Later on in the evening the revolving stage would reveal a top group: The Hollies, Wayne Fontana, Searchers etc. Dave Jackson
Dusty Springfield was obviously heading for stardom and totally outshone her two brothers!!! I'd love to remember the date because its one night I remember among many others spent at places like the Oasis, Twisted Wheel, Jungfrou, Plaza just too many to count. I also remember 'Diddy' Dave Hamilton a DJ at the Silver Blades ice rink in Cheetham Hill. The bands we saw live in the 60's was unbelievable and I don't think we fully appreciated it at the time!! I often tell my children & grandchildren about my teens and I'm sure they think I'm exaggerating!!
By the way, my brother Rod Ward played rhythm guitar with the 'Bo Kelly Legend' band which enjoyed moderate success in Germany. My husband Dave played drums for a while but left the group when they went professional as he didn't want to give up his engineering apprenticeship!
I have so many happy memories of those days and sad ones too. The loss of Kenny Williams who took over from Dave as drummer was a terrible blow, he had married a German girl and died in a tragic accident leaving 2 small children. Also the lead guitarist Gordon Lickfold who was one of the most talented musicians I ever heard also passed away before his time.
Its been good reminiscing and I appreciate all the efforts that have gone into creating this absorbing website!!!
Christine Robertson - 20/3/10
Not only was the Top Ten Club brilliant on Sunday nights (me and my school mate Pauline never missed it) but what about the selection of dancing available in the Elizabethan Hall on Saturday nights?
I recall you could walk through the various ballrooms and choose from the 1960s pop stuff through to ballroom dancing. It was magical!
Going back to the Top Ten Club - we saw many famous bands on that revolving stage including Long John Baldry and Rod Stewart whn he played in his band.
Such great memories..we were so lucky to have been there for the brilliant 60s !!
Pat Young - 29/3/10
Just found this page and what memories it has brought back for me.
I remember my friend (whose name was Margaret Holden at the time) - don't know what has happened to her since, she was crazy about Dave Eager and used to go and see him in the other club in Droylsden. She had her photo taken on the dance floor and her mum use to sell papers near the old Gorton Library that was in 1965 and I wish I could go back there again..
Jenny - 19/6/10
Does anyone remember The Mistries group? They were resedent at the club for a short time in 1964. The Rolling Stones borrowed their gear when theres did not arive , there was a big right up in the papers.
Ged McMahon - 27/6/10
I was only talking about the club the other day with my wife, I did a search & here I am! All the great groups of the time, one that sticks in my mind is Heinz with "Just Like Eddie" & the master himself Jimmy Saville,oh happy days.
Alec Eouzan - 18/7/10
Yeah certainly had great sunday nights at the Top Ten club with friends Linda and Pat , 61 now and they are still my friends. Remember going back stage and chatting to The Small Faces , thought we was the bees knees ha ha !
Linda Hoines - 23/8/10
Just watching a documentary about Jimi Hendrix. Brought back memories of his appearance at TTC and I found this site!!
His amazing appearance at TTC is burned into my memory as found it mesmerising. I didn't know much about that genre of music at the time but I was totally hooked after that concert and still can't believe I saw such a legend in such a small (compared to todays venues) venue and was right at the front, there weren't that many of us gathered to watch.
We were so very lucky to see all the acts that we did-it was MAGIC-great memories!!
Irene Marr - 27/9/10
I so remember the Top Ten Club. I saw so many acts - Rod Stuart with Long John Baldry, Freddie & The Dreamers, etc.
I went to see the Stones and lost a ring off my finger. As I was picking it up off the floor my friends thought I had fainted.
I was carried past the band by St.John Ambulance, put in a room full of other girls, given some water and then back out again.
I can also remember rollerskating at Ashton Palais on a saturday morning while The Hollies were singing live and waiting outside the old Queens Hotel in Piccadilly and following Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts round town and not a lot of people knew who they were. Also seeing The Animals at the Twisted Wheel as well.
I've forgotten what a great life I've had, thanks to your site for reminding me.
Kath - 28/9/10
The "Top Ten Club" was the place to go on a Sunday evening for myself and my mates. I had so many happy times there. It is the place I began dating my wife (then aged 16). I had met her once previously at a Student Nurses party in Audenshaw.
Whilst watching Dave Berry (The Crying Game) I placed my arms around her waist, she didn't move them away, I knew I was in with a chance. From then on I would meet her most Sundays if she wasn't on duty at the "Ashton General Hospital" now "Tameside General".
The acts I remember are "Gene Vincent" "The Honeycombs" "Millie" "The Barron Knights" "Marty Wilde" and so many more who I cannot recall but thoughly enjoyed.
I was a big "Rolling Stones" fan. I wanted so much to see them but couldn't afford to buy two tickets for the performance. I bought my now regular date a ticket and left her at the Belle Vue turnstile then made my way to the "Palm Court" to drown my sorrows with a friends who had also paid for a ticket for his girlfiend (also couldn't afford to buy 2 tickets). We were just into our second glass of Jubilee Stout, when in came the girls. They had to come out as it had become so manic with the crush, screaming and fainting of fans, it became too dangerous for them.
The only DJ I can remember is Jimmy Savile. He was so flash. He parked his Roller or "E" Type Jaguar (whichever he came in that particular week) outside the entrance to the New Elizabethan Hall for everyone to gawp at on their way into the dance hall. He must have been making some money in those days, when I could hardy afford the bus fare home from Dukinfield (after taking girlfriend home) to Ashton New Road, Beswick.
Nothing will let me forget the wonderful memories I have of the great times to be had in Belle Vue in the 60s.
In the Summer months we used to go early when it was still light nights to go onto the "Waltzer" the "Bobs" or the "Catapiller" to get the girls laughing before going dancing.
David Story - 14/11/10
I certainly remember the Top Ten Club, my mate Tony Jackman and Ii went every week from it opening , through to about 1968.
Saw the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart. Small Faces, Beach Boys ,just to name a few, but definitely the best venue in Manchester in its time, and living within walking distance was a bonus. and all those lovely young ladies to dance with.
Stewart Jones - 25/11/10
I remember the Top Ten club it was fab , remember seeing many bands there and Stevie Wonder. Do you remember the revolving stage with Jimmy and his orrrrr orrrr orrr as it revolved.
Ann - 7/2/11
Ho yes! I remember waiting for my membership card to arrive. I missed the first two or three weeks I was just 12 years old, but big for my age.
I can remember standing in line and handing in my membership card and being asked for my date of birth, I had put on the application a date that made me just 17 , not the minimum 16 that the Top Ten Club took . My heart pounded as the biggest bouncer I can ever remember seeing looked me in the eye and wished me happy birthday, I was in.
My mate Norman, was three or four places behind me, but I keep walking just in case he got stopped at the door but no, he got in as well, and then we looked around us, we soon found the soda fountain on the ground floor, and had Cooke over crushed ice, it was like being in a film set to us, We had only thought things like this existed in the USA, as the place filled up we walked on the dance floor and soon joined in doing, shaking all over , I don't know why but I can't remember the who played, that night.
I do remember running like mad to catch the last 125 bus to get home to Hollingsworth, poor Norman had another mile to walk back to walk to Hadfield, I knew that night I was going to go every week, but the cost was a big problem. I got 2/6 pocket money and the ticket had that week been 3/6 , the bus fairs and a coke, and cigs had put cost up to over a pound. I needed money! But the only part time work going around our way was only for over 14 year olds.
That week I applied for two paper rounds, and a part time job as a butcher's boy, after all I had passed as 17, so age was not going to be a bar to getting anything I wanted. To my amassment I got all the jobs, so it was let the good time roll, well on a Sunday night any way.
Then my dad told me that I could only keep staying out late on a Sunday night if I did better at school, So I used part of the money to pay the butcher wife, she was a teacher , to help me with the 3Rs , and soon I was moved up at school. From that first week I never missed a single Sunday at the top ten club for years and on some of the best nights we walked the 11 miles home. I was in the snack bar queue the night the power went off and when emergency lighting kicked in the all the food was gone!
We watched all the top acts of the time, up close, standing at the edge of the stage, and I meet and talked to Jimmy Saville off TV! And I can't remember paying over 5/-
I had some fab nights and meet some super friends at the club, I honestly think that the TTC changed my life - for the better.
Chris O'Brien (Cober) - 29/7/11
Four of us went most weeks, Ann Buckley, David Flaherty, John Harvey and myself,(met John 45yrs later on a cruise in the C/bean last year (OMG)in the 60's we danced the night away. Ann and I always had matching outfits we looked like twins. I will always remember being hypnotised by Alvin Stardust's blue eyes, when I was standing right at the front. The Isley Brothers records always remind me of that place.
We never saw any trouble neither everyone friendly, thank you Belle Vue for happy memories.
Elizabeth Cooper nee Harrison - 1/7/11
Myself and my mate Linda Fitzgerald went to the Top Ten Club every Sunday. We loved it! There was Jimmy Savile and Ray Teret. We used to go to work mesmerised back in the day. HAPPY DAYS.
Susan Cheadle nee Latham - 1/11/11
I used to work on the food and refreshment bar during the Top Ten Club. It was great to be able to hear the groups singing yeh the Hollies, Hermans Hermits,Rolling Stones etc.
I do remember a particular busy night and finally getting everthing cleaned up and put away and wanting to get home!
Jimmy saville came up looking for a cold drink and the manager made me go into the Cellar to bring up drinks for Jimmy and I think Simon Dee may of been with him.
Sadly for me having to work I was a young married mum with two kids I only got to go to the Top Ten Club once.
I loved that era.
Margaret White - 1/11/11
Went to the Top Ten Club from 1964 til 1968. Yes, I remember Jimi Hendrix playing there, but oh no! I didn't appreciate him at all as I was in to dancing.
Jimmy Saville playing the discs and me rocking and sliding to River Deep. Can anyone remember Jimmy playing a "disc" of the Beatles coughing, sneezing and burping?
I always went there by myself but was usually asked to dance by some guy.
The Drifters played there and Jimmy asked me if I wanted to meet them - I wasn't really interested but was taken through some double doors and ended up shaking hands with them.
Jimmy once arranged for the Hall to be specially opened for disabled young people and I offered to go and help. He ended up accompanying me to my mini van one night, it was parked on waste ground opposite the complex (no fears of vehicle theft then). He sat in the passenger seat - lovely I thought (not!) as I knew he was used to a better class of vehicle, but a short while later he had bought a mini van and then I think he passed it on to someone else!
I also went to the Jungfrau and Oasis and occasionally the Manchester University dance. I remember queuing outside in the cold wearing a ginger colour Wallis wool coat with a fox fur slung around my neck. That night Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce and Clapton were playing in the main hall and I think Grahame Bond in the smaller hall. We were packed like herrings in a box in the big hall.
Were the admission prices cheap then? or did they seem cheap to me ( I was a student on a full grant) and life wasn't hard.
Oh to be back then - wild dancing and being fancy free! Now a staid 65 year old with grandchildren.
Jos - 23/12/11
Seen so many "names" at The Top ten Club on a Sunday night. Started going there way back 1964 when I wasn't allowed in the bar. It was coffee in the balcony. My mate Brian and I were very into a guitar instrumental band called The Outlaws. These were the house band of the Joe Meek recording studios.They backed many hit records of the early 60's including John Leyton, Glenda Jackson, Mike Berry,and many more. This is documented (somewhat reasonably accurately - partly not) in the film "Telstar". The bass player,Chas Hodges became friends of ours, and whenever they played locally,we were backstage with Chas. When Billy Kuy, lead guitarist left, he was replaced by a newcomer - Rithchie Blackmore!
Brian and I got on with Ritchie really well. He drank coffee! On the occaisions that The Outlaws played at The Top Ten Club, and other Manchester venues, we were always welcomed backstage, and to any other goings on.
Brian and I reached official drinking age and used to go out with Chas in Manchester. Ritchie still wasn't a drinker back then. Ritchie left to join Heinz & The Wild Boys (we were still in touch,and allowed backstage). Then in 1969, we all know what he became capable of. Superstar guitarist.
We then lost touch with Ritchie,but did see him again after a Rainbow gig at The Apollo. During the late 60's/early 70's we saw Chas a few times-now playing with Cliff Bennet & The Rebel Rousers. Those were the days. We actually didn't realise then, the significance of it all. Through Chas, we got to meet The Kinks. The thing was, it was normal. Everyone was very friendly - no ego's at all. We took Chas to some of the really grotty dives in Manchester (anyone remember The Chanticlaire Club - that was a serious dump - but they seved rubbish beer late - for those days).
These were the days of The Top Ten Club,and other simillar venues. Bands that were going on to much bigger things played there. It was the "place to be", even if we didn't know it at the time.
Times change, music changes,venues change - but thers's still a very good live music scene around Manchester. There's the main concert venues. Apollo, MEN Arena (a very large,impersonal place for very big names), The Academy 1 to 3 and other smaller venues.
I live in Bolton,and thankfully, we have good live music scene around here. Alam Inn (predominantly heavy metal), Dog & Partridge (very eclectic live bands), Moses Gate (quality tribute bands), Hark To Towler (Quality tribues), Railway Inn (quality tributes). It's all here.
Whatever the era/year. Good music is timelsss.
Terry - 21/2/12
I remember being so nervous, as we were appearing at the Top Ten Club. We were support group called Jigsaw, my friend and I were the "little pieces" , we were the two dancers. Oh what great times! We made all our own costumes too. This is a great site for memories, I am now 63 with grandchildren and still go dancing at the gym!
Jean Kennedy - 22/4/12
I was just reminiscing with a friend in America I talk online with and looked this page up to explain more. It brought back so many memories from 1966 when my Dad first let me go to 1969 ish.
Many many happy times and lots of people I havent seen or heard from in a long time which I would love to hear from.
I was telling about The Who and The Animals and how many other wonderful groups that played and of course not forgetting the DJ's too.
Nice memories thanks.
Patricia Balls (was Bridge) - 9/6/12
Having just read all the comments above I can say I was privileged to have seen most of the acts, a few names were missed accidentally of course. Here's just a few, Sonny & Cher, Ike & Tina Turner, the Animals, Beach Boys, Glen Campbell when he was a member of the Beach Boys, Alan Price when he was the organist with the Animals, Elton John when he was just a backing musician with the Faces, the actual Small Faces, most of the motown groups & soloists, saw Stevie Wonder for the old ten bob note when he appeared there.
Great days, great music, great clothes - 20in centre vents, two tone suits, broguees, can't think how much it was to be member but for sure I signed up every year.
As the song goes "Bring on back the good times"
Roy Williams - 28/7/12
I have so many fantastic memories of the Top Ten Club back in the day. I saw tons of top acts, including Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix. I was also there when The Small Faces played and I went to the little boys' room at the side of the revolving stage and, to my great surprise, I ended up relieving myself next to all the guys, with Stevie Marriot standing right alongside me.
I also vividly remember one New Year's Eve special. I was seeing a girl from Denton and I ended up WALKING HER HOME. Honestly, we walked right up Hyde Road to Houghton Green and then I walked all the way back to Clayton, where I lived. I was also a member of the Twisted Wheel (in Whitworth Street), Rafters on Oxford Street, The Oasis on Lloyd Street, The Richmond Club in Heywood, The Popular Music Club, whose vice president was Jerry Dawson, then Editor of The Melody Maker, Placemate (which opened in the premises formerly housing the Twisted Wheel in Whitworth Street), The Blue Note Club in Gore Street, Beat City Mini Ballroom in Fountain Street and its sister club the Top Twenty Club on Market Street Droylsden, Mr Smith's in the centre of Manchester, Disco Takis on Oxford Road, Rowntrees (Sound and Spring Gardens) and others I can't remember. And guess what? I still have all my membership cards, Including The Top Ten from 1967/68!
Colin Galley - 18/9/12
I was in a group called The Phsycic who were resident at the top ten club on Sunday nights in the sixties, I remember we had a group of dancing girls performing with us on stage. Dave Eager was the DJ.
I remember one night being approached by a guy who asked my opinion of Amen Corner and particularly Andy Fairweather Low. Giving my honest opinion I said I thought the group were fantastic but could do with a better singer as he did'nt open his mouth enough and was therefore not good enough! I later realised the guy I was talking to was in fact the man himself. No wonder he walked away without looking back.
I remember having publicity photos taken in the miniature village outside, dont know where they ended up, we never saw any of them. Great venue.
Dave Brierley - 30/12/12
Think I saw the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band here in the 60s, don't see their name in the list of groups ... anybody else remember??
Janet Gregory - 25/1/13
The "Top Ten Club" was a great place to go, both dancing and playing in a band. We - "The Klyx" - played there, being invited by Jimmy Saville after seeing us at the "Top Twenty" in Droylsden .
We were backing a great band called "The Move" their hit "Night of Fear" was shooting up the hit parade, not surprising when you realised Roy Wood, Carl Wayne, Bev Bevan, Ace Kefford and Jeff Lynn was the band, the crowd went crazy.
A great idea was the revolving stage which meant hardly any time wasted in changing bands. Another venue was "Beat City" in Manchester, who remembers the all-nighters and walking around like zombies at 6am in the morning on their way home?
Jeff Bickerton - 17/3/13
The Top Ten Dance Club was in The New Elizabethan Ballroom at The Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, Hyde Road, Gorton, Manchester 12 and opened on Sunday, May 5, 1963 with Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers and Pete Maclaine and the Clan.
Advertised in The Manchester Evening News of Monday, April 29, 1963 as Belle Vue Top Ten Club Opens Sunday, May 5, 7- 11 p.m., only 3/- in the New Elizabethan Ballroom (Special Free Membership until June 2, 1963) Beat, Rock, Jive, Twist with Peter Jay & The Jaywalkers Pete Maclaine & The Clan Also Featuring Each Week Top International Dee-Jay Jimmy Saville Free L.P.'s - Free's E.P.'s Supper Coffee Bars. Soda Fountain. Apply Now For Membership. 16 years and over, to the secretary. Top Ten Club, Belle Vue.
The manager of the club was John Bullock (b. John D. J. Bullock, 1935) from Arbor Road, Burnage, Manchester 19. He had joined the Belle Vue in September 1959 as Assistant Business Development Manager, having been since 1955 an assistant manager with ABC Cinemas, Manchester. In May 1962 he was appointed Manager of The New Elizabethan Ballroom where he was promoted and ran the 'Top Ten Dance Club' along with famous DJ's and pop groups during that period.
One of the DJ's here was Jimmy Saville (b. James Wilson Vincent Savile, Sunday, October 31, 1926, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England d. Saturday, October 29, 2011, Roundhay, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England).
This venue was part of The New Elizabethan Ballroom at the Bell Vue Zoological Gardens, Hyde Road, Gorton, Manchester 12 (opened in 1836) and held shows mainly on Sunday.
In May 1963 The Belle Vue departed from the traditional dance format that had been popular and moved towards pop music. So on Sunday, May 5, 1963 The Top Ten Club was opened in The New Elizabethan Ballroom with Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers and Pete Maclaine and the Clan.
The club closed in 1968.
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