The following record was of the same inspiration, it was a classical piece rearranged in rock: the Hall of the mountain king. This track was banned by the BBC because it was a classical piece of music.

In 1961 the Gladiators were on the same bill as Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran. This tour was a learning tour. They learned a lot by hearing and talking with Eddie Cochran.

Then they were also on the bill of the Rock across the channel Show and in early July 1961 they appeared at the Olympia Theatre in Paris. That same day and on the same bill Vince Taylor appeared for the first time in France and made such a show that he was immediately signed by Barclay, the big French record label.

In September Tony Harvey was asked by Bobbie Clarke to join the Play Boys in Paris. He was replaced by Micky Jones. In September 1963 Dick Rivers one of the French R & R singer was looking for a new band. Tony Harvey advised him to hire The Gladiators. They came to Paris and stayed till mid 1964. They backed Dick Rivers in the recording session and on stage. They got the chance to cut a record by Pathé Marconi. They played More, Wigwam, Jumpin and tram. This last number was penned by the four band’s members: Tommy, Ralph (Danks who replaced Micky Jones on lead), Alan (Bugby who replaced Boots Slade on bass) and Mike O Neal on piano They made a lot of good stuff backing Dick Rivers like What’d I say, Blue Bayou, There goes my heart…

Back in Britain in the summer 1964 the Gladiators disbanded. The times had changed, the vocal bands in the Mersey beat style were in. Ralph and Alan went back to Paris to join the new Vince Taylor’s backing band: the Bobbie Clarke Noise, where Bobbie was on drums and Johnny Taylor on rhythm.

Nowadays Mike O’ Neal is teaching music at the Royal School of music in London, and is still playing with another great Gladiators band. He regularly appears at the Pipeline Convention on Easter Sunday in London, the must for instrumental fans. In the line up there are some known faces like John Barber (former scorpions) and some young talents like Dave Gibson.

Ralph Danks is now a famous painter that has settled in Tokyo where he is a married with a nice Japanese woman. Tommy Brown passed away in the 80’s, Micky Jones went famous with Foreigners in the 70’s and 80’s Alan Bugby is back in Leicester where he is working in a factory. Boots Slade is working in London for Sky channel the TV company.


Discographie (60)

  1. Instrumental guitars vol2 (Magic records 5301572)
    More / Wigwam / Jumpin / Tram / Tovaritch / Bleak House.
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