Musical map of East Lancashire

This Is Lancashire: Marc Bolan Marc Bolan

AN EAST Lancashire roadmap of rock has been drawn up, charting the A-list acts who have staged concerts in the area.

Music experts have compiled the list after the Enjoy England Tourist Board produced a map of the country's musical heritage.

The tourist board's map highlights 113 musical locations, including Liverpool's Cavern Club, made famous by the Beatles, and the Bartons Arms' Birmingham, which hosted a young Ozzy Osbourne.

Now a similar list has been drawn up in East Lancashire.

A long list of acts including the Beatles, Robbie Williams and Stevie Wonder have played on stages in the East Lancashire as they started out on their careers.

The Imperial Ballroom, Nelson hosted The Beatles, T Rex, The Hollies and Cilla Black in the 1960s and King George's Hall, Blackburn, has seen Robbie Williams and Police star.

What famous bands and musicians have you seen playing in the area? Add your comments below.

The Sex Pistols and Bob Geldof's Boomtown Rats played Lodestar near Ribchester and Cliff Richard sang at the Burnley Empire.

And The Four Pennies, who had a number one with their song Juliet in 1964, were named after Penny Street, Blackburn.

Lead singer Lionel Morton, who changed his name from Walmesley, was born in Blackburn and drummer Alan Buck, is from Brierfield.

They bought all their equipment from Reidy's music shop in Blackburn.

Music promoter Ronnie Brown, who runs North Bar, Blackburn, said he remembers seeing David Bowie and Johnny Rotten in the 1970s.

He said: "It is just totally different now but there was a time that every week there was a big star playing in East Lancs.

"It was all through the 60s, 70s and even a bit of the 80s. There was just so much going on."

In the early 1990s he brought bands like the Manic Street Preachers and Inspiral Carpets to C'est La Vie in Blackburn.

Mr Brown added: "It's unusual to see a tour coming to 20 or 30 small towns now. It's all about playing big venues in big cities and it is the fans that miss out.

"Venues like King George's Hall and the Nelson Imp were fantastic places."

Former Darwen nightclub owner John Billington ran the venue above the old Co-op, which is now Iceland.

It saw performances from the Beatles and the Searchers among many other.

He said: "It's just changed a lot since those days but we saw a lot of top acts.

"We had five bars and a disco, it was a great place."

Do you have any old photos or video footage of big bands playing in East Lancashire? Why not email them to us?

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