Wembley Festival of Music

Sounds, October 28th, 1972

Wembley Festival of Music 1972 took place at Wembley Pool on weekend of 28th and 29th October 1972. The 'festival of music' was a benefit event organised by the Star's Organisation For Spastics  (a.k.a. Stars Organisation Supporting Children with Cerebral Palsy, now known as Scope) in association with the Daily Express. The supporting cast was made up of acts that were flavour of the month at the time.

Appearing on Saturday 28th were:

Vigrass & Osborne
Blackfoot Sue

In 1971, Paul Vigrass and Gary Osborne were signed by Elton John's original publisher, Dick James, to James' label: DJM Records. Best known for their original version of 'Forever Autumn'. Written as a jingle by Jeff Wayne, Vigrass & Osborne added the lyrics and, with Wayne and Chris Spedding, recorded and released it as a single in 1972. It was also included on the 1972 album, 'Queues'.

Twin brothers, Tom and David Farmer, with Eddie Golga and Alan Jones, all from Birmingham, formed Blackfoot Sue in 1970. August 1972, Blackfoot Sue released 'Standing in the Road' on the Jam label and it reached number 4 on the UK Singles Chart. Despite several albums this was their only hit.

Page 19 of the 9 x 7 inch 32 page Festival program tells us:
"Slade emerged from the Midlands and started penetrating the pop scene in a big way by mid 1971. After building up a following on the road, came the record "Get Down And Get With It" which entered the Top 50 charts. They haven't looked back since then - guided by Chas Chandler, one time member of The Animals group and manager of the late Jimi Hendrix. Hit singles rolled out, "Coz I Luv You" (No. 1), "Look Wot You Dun" (No. 2), "Take Me Bak 'Ome" (No. 1) and more recently "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" (No. 1). Their "Slade Alive" LP has been in the best sellers lists now for some thirty weeks. This year, they haven't stopped globe trotting. But they don't mind - there's nothing they like doing better than playing their music."
Headlining on the Saturday, Slade stormed through a blistering set and impressed the Sounds journalist in attendance who was moved to write this piece:
Special SOUNDS report from Wembley Pool:

THE EMPIRE POOL, Wembley, must be one of the most unsuitable places on earth to hold rock and roll concerts. Saturday was the fifth time I have been there to see bands, and although more enjoyable than others I still came away disappointed, the volume was loud enough to pin you to the wall in the entrance hall, with your ears bleeding, you tend to think more of your discomfort than what you are enjoying. There were an enormous number of Slade fans in the audience, and the crowd were with Slade before they even got on the stage.
Rightly so because not only are they renowned as master showmen and a very good band, but they lived up to their reputation. It was all there, the songs, the hard rhythm section. Noddy's ridiculously powerful voice, Dave Hill's guitar playing, the costumes, the glitter dust, the patter: Slade alive and Slade a - rocking, and it felt good to see the whole of the Empire Pool Wembley on their feet and stomping along. 
They started with 'Hear me calling', followed on to 'In Like A Shot From My Gun", "Darling Be Home Soon", a rock and roll medley, "Coz I Luv You", the new single called "Gudbuy T' Jane", which follows well in the vein of "Take Me Bak 'Ome" which they did next, then, "Get Down & Get With It", and finally as an encore " Mama Weer All Crazee Now". 
They were tight and brash, professional enough to weather anything, yet with enough of a rough edge to make them exciting musically as well as exciting as performers. And although the audience were going wild, stomping and clapping and pressing up against the barriers at the front of the stage, I didn't get that unsettling, unpleasant feeling I got from similar scenes at the same place when T Rex played. It all seemed much more straightforward and open. 
My feeling of disappointment at the end of the evening had nothing to do with the way Slade played ------ It had to do with ringing ears and a headache ------------ STEVE PEACOCK

Borrowed from SIE's amazing 'Thanks For The Memories' site

Appearing on Sunday 29th were:

Pink Fairies
New York Dolls
The Faces & Rod Stewart

After being sacked by Bolan, Steve Peregrin Took formed a prototype version of the Pink Fairies with Twink and Mick Farren, recently ousted from his own band, The Deviants. This band was named in honour of a drinking club of the same name the three had formed earlier that year, along with other leading lights of the underground scene. In 1970 Twink recruited the remaining Deviants, Paul Rudolph, Duncan Sanderson & Russell Hunter, for a new Pink Fairies line-up (minus Took & Farren). They released their second album 'What a Bunch of Sweeties' in 1972, which featured some contributions from Trevor Burton of The Move. On the album's release and with a promotional tour pending Rudolph departed and was briefly replaced by Mick Wayne for an unsuccessful tour.

David Johansen from American rock band the New York Dolls on stage at the Wembley Festival of Music at the Empire Pool, Wembley, in 1972. (Getty Images)

Just a week before the unfortunate death of their drummer, Billy Murcia, the New York Dolls with David Johansen, Johnny ThundersSylvain Sylvain and Arthur Kane, made their first attempt to make an impact on the Britain. Their three weeks in the UK supposedly going well and having been invited by Rod Stewart to open for the Faces, it's claimed that Lou Reed refused to allow them to open for him because he was afraid of being upstaged.
"...in October 1972 the Dolls crash-landed on to an unsuspecting British music scene, then preoccupied with the glam of Bowie, Bolan & Slade. 
"England absolutely hated the New York Dolls..."
Fate decreed the Dolls would play only five shows that visit, including the biggest of their career on 29th October at London's 8,000 capacity Wembley Empire Pool as part of the Wembley Festival of Music."
Mozipedia: The Encyclopaedia of Morrissey and the Smiths by Simon Goddard
I'm not convinced England hated The Dolls but they were definitely 'Marmite'.
"We all went to see Rod and The Faces in October 1972 when they played at the Wembley Empire Pool. The Faces were great, of course, from what I can remember, but the most memorable part of the entire evening was their choice of support act – The New York Dolls! 
The Dolls were at the height of their glam/depraved existence and arrived on the stage in feather boas, high heels and lots & lots of make-up. They were amazing – or at least I thought so. My friends thought they were awful and actually left the auditorium during their set. I sat there and soaked it all in not really knowing what was going on (the birth of punk?) but enjoying it greatly."

Page 17 of the program gives us a brief history of the Faces:
"After four and a half years as The Small Faces, they split up and had a year off from playing together.
Three of them got back together again - Ian McLagan (keyboards), Ronnie Lane (bass guitar), and Kenney Jones (drums). They met Ronnie Wood (lead guitar) and formed The Faces.
"I asked Rod Stewart - who was with us at the time - to join us." recalled Kenny Jones.  
"He was just what the group needed. He loved the group and the personalities. It was just like old pals. It all worked out from there."
The Faces conquered the States first with a three month tour in 1970. Then they came home to Britain, where they found they were equally loved.
They are currently working on a new album which will be released at the beginning of the New Year."

Rod Stewart performs with Faces at the Wembley Festival of Music, at the Empire Pool, Wembley, London, 29th October 1972. (Getty Images)

My thanks to Dave 'The Guardian' Graham and all at Slade In England archives and Thanks For The Memories. Thanks also to Michael Putland and Getty Images.

1 comment:

  1. Not all of England hated the Dolls, Morrissy! - I thought Jet Boy on the Whistle Test was a hoot!
    But, take a listen to Personality Crisis! It sounds just like Slade! - I regard this track as the pivotal moment, - when Glam Rock became Punk Rock, - the transition happened on this song, imho!