The area's first rock 'n' roll band
In the mid 1950s we had our very own rock ‘n’ roll group called ‘The Rockets‘. The original line up comprised five members and they were Roy Church on guitar and vocals; Terry Carroll on Piano; Les Pittam on trumpet; David “Danny” Williams on Drums and Nick Dytham on double bass.
They arrived on the scene around the time of the release of “Rock Around The Clock” and played in many of the pubs and dance halls in the local area. At the side is a typical advert for one of their gigs.
Here are some recollections from locals who went to the dances where The Rockets played:
“At Ashton, the trains rattled the hall. The Rockets were coming so they’d done their best and tried to get the floor all polished, so it was slippy, you couldn’t dance because it was so wet, they complained about the floor and some chap had the bright idea of putting soap flakes down. Lux flakes. We were all choking: the band couldn’t play, everybody’s eyes were running, they had to sweep it all out and wait until it had settled.”
“The Rockets played The County Arms [in New Bradwell]. They did use to draw a big following in the finish, a lot of girls used to follow them….They played a lot of rock’n’roll stuff. Bill Haley and early Elvis Presley. In those days it was Pat Boone and Doris Day all singing, Perry Como and Sinatra. We all used to join in the smoothy ones. Girls sat down the sides, blokes at the top and blokes by the bar. The girls used to wait for a dance. You used to get the odd girl come and sort you out. I used to go out with a girl from Bletchley. I used to knock around with the Bletchley crowd. We used to do rock’n’roll. I couldn’t do anything until I’d had two or three pints. We could do it well together. We’d stop the crowd a few times in the canteen, standing round and clapping while we were doing it. When we got exhausted somebody else would come in and take over…”
There were sometimes fights at the dances between rival gangs, in particular between the Leighton Buzzard and Bletchley lads
“The best dances were the Boxing day dances at the Crauford [Arms in Wolverton] very well attended. There was generally a fight at most dances….Fights (were) provoked by someone not liking the look of someone else. Main rivalries were between the Leighton Boys and the Bletchley boys. There were always rumours that the Leighton boys were coming armed with razors and chains. Manily it turned out they had a knuckle duster or something but a lot of the time it was just fists.”
Even after the era of the Teddy Boy faded away Terry Carroll and his Rockets continued to play locally and their reputation was such that a musical was produced by Living Archive and performed at the Madcap Theatre back in 1994 telling their story.