Another Nickel In The Machine – The Flamingo Club in Wardour Street and the fight between Johnny Edgecombe and ‘Lucky’ Gordon
It’s not widely known but Georgie Fame was slightly connected to the Profumo affair, the political scandal that led to the resignation of John Profumo the Secretary of State for War in October 1963 and ultimately the fall of the Conservative government, a year later, in 1964.
In 1962 Georgie Fame had started a three year residency at The Flamingo Club – famous for its weekend all-nighters where it stayed open ’til six in the morning on Friday and Saturday nights. It was situated at 33 Wardour Street, a building which also housed the Wag Club during the eighties and nineties, and is now the Irish-theme pub O’Neills.
The Flamingo Club which originally specialised in modern jazz was opened by Rik and John Gunnell in 1959. The club quickly became popular with West Indians and also black American soldiers that were still stationed in quite large numbers just outside London and who had few other places to socialise. Georgie Fame once recalled:
“there were only a handful of hip young white people that used to go to The Flamingo. When I first went there as a punter I was scared. Once I started to play there, it was no problem.”
Fame, who was born Clive Powell but was instructed to change his name as part of Larry Parnes’ stable (he was originally Billy Fury’s pianist), often employed black musicians, one of which was the strikingly named ‘Psycho’ Gordon – a Jamaican who come to the UK in the late 1940s.
Psycho Gordon often brought to The Flamingo Club his brother ‘Lucky Gordon’ a part-time jazz singer and drug dealer. Lucky had also been a boyfriend of the infamous Christine Keeler and it was at one of the hot and sweaty ‘all-nighter’ Flamingo sessions in October 1962 when Gordon bumped into another of Keeler’s black lovers – Johnny Edgecombe.
Gordon and Edgecombe started arguing and it soon developed into a vicious knife fight. The fracas ended with Edgecombe badly slicing the face of, this time a rather unlucky, ‘Lucky’ Gordon. No one knew, least of all the two protagonists, but the fight started a slow-burning fuse that eventually caused the explosion that became the most infamous political scandal of the twentieth century.
Gordon was treated for his wound at a local hospital but a few days later in a fit of jealousy, and rather unpleasantly, he posted the seventeen used stitches to Keeler and warned her that for each stitch he had sent she would also get two on her face in return.
Meanwhile a scared Edgecombe, along with Keeler, went into hiding from the police. Keeler even bought a Luger pistol in a bid to protect herself from the dangerous and still threatening Gordon.
On December 14th 1962 Keeler finished with Edgecombe, after finding him with another lover, saying that she would testify that it was he who had attacked Lucky Gordon at The Flamingo two months previously.
Keeler went to visit her friend Mandy Rice-Davies at Stephen Ward’s flat in Wimpole Mews with Johnny Edgecombe following her there in a taxi. When Keeler refused to speak to him he angrily shot seven bullets at the door of the flat. Frightened, the girls called Ward at his surgery and he in turn called the police who soon came and arrested Edgecombe.
Before Edgecombe’s trial, Keeler was whisked off to Spain, one assumes because somebody, somewhere, thought various people would be badly compromised if she was allowed to talk in the witness box. Conspicuous by Keeler’s absence Edgecombe was found not guilty, both for assaulting Lucky Gordon and the attempted murder of Keeler. He was, however, found guilty of possession of an illegal firearm, for which he got seven years and served five.
On April 1st 1963 Christine was fined for her non-appearance at court and Lucky Gordon was bundled away by the Metropolitan police, shouting “I love that girl!” Not long after Keeler bumped into Gordon back at The Flamingo Club and again he had to be dragged away from her by other West Indian friends of hers.
In June 1963 Gordon was given a three year prison sentence for supposedly assaulting Keeler and in the same month Stephen Ward was arrested for living off Christine’s immoral earnings.
By now the whole story involving Profumo and the Russian attache/spy Ivananov was emerging, drip by drip. The chain of events that started with the fight of Keeler’s jealous ex-lovers at The Flamingo Club eventually caused the infamous resignation of the Secretary of State for War John Profumo, the suicide of high society’s favourite pimp, portrait painter and osteopath Stephen Ward, and ultimately, it could be said, the fall of the Conservative government.
Stephen Ward unconscious after his suicide attempt. He died a few days later.
In December 1963, after a drunken tape-recorded confession that she had lied about Gordon assaulting her, Keeler pleaded guilty of perjury and conspiracy to obstruct justice at Lucky Gordon’s trial. Her barrister had pleaded to the judge before sentencing:
“Ward is dead, Profumo is disgraced. And now I know your lordship will resist the temptation to take what I might call society’s pound of flesh.”
It was to no avail and Christine Keeler was sentenced to nine months in jail which ended what her barrister termed, a little prematurely:
“the last chapter in this long saga that has been called the Keeler affair.”
29th October 1963
Just before Christine Keeler’s trial Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames recorded a live album entitled Rhythm and Blues at “The Flamingo” and it was released in early 1964. The following year Fame had a number one hit with his version of ‘Yeh Yeh’.
After the publicised trouble at The Flamingo, American service men were banned from visiting the club. However, drawn by the weekend all-nighters and the music policy of black American R ‘n’ B and jazz, The Flamingo Club was already becoming the favourite hang-out for London’s newest teenager cult, the Mods. But that’s a different story…
Skatalites – CHRISTINE KEELER
Georgie Fame – Night Train (recorded at The Flamingo)
Derrick Morgan – Fat Man
Derrick and Patsy – Hey Boy Hey Girl
Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland – Turn On Your Lovelight
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles – I Gotta Dance To Keep From Crying
Kim Weston – Looking For The Right Guy
John Lee Hooker – Tupelo
Brenda Holloway – I’ll Always Love You
Marvin Gaye – Pride and Joy
Buy some Georgie Fame stuff here:
92 Responses to “The Flamingo Club in Wardour Street and the fight between Johnny Edgecombe and ‘Lucky’ Gordon”
Mike Masterton says:
June 8, 2009 at 7:02 am
The good ol’ days…? the Flamingo Club certainly. Go Geogie Fame & Blue Flames…Hammond / Sax…et al
James Walsh says:
June 10, 2009 at 8:22 am
These are amazing photos. I remember this era very well and thought I had seen all the photos that were to be seen on the whole affair. Makes you wonder what other photos are out there.
June 10, 2009 at 1:04 pm
We bumped into Georgie Fame in our Sainsbury’s Local last – oh bugger, I’ve already done that one.
Julian Palacios says:
June 13, 2009 at 3:56 pm
Top marks, a terrific read. And the article pointed me to Lambert, Hendricks and Ross’s version of ‘Yeh Yeh’, which I’d never heard.
Any Major Dude says:
June 13, 2009 at 9:42 pm
A fascinating story well told. And what great pictures! Seems to me that whoever gave the Gordon brothers their nicknames got things the wrong way around.
Bill Luther says:
June 15, 2009 at 7:23 pm
Brilliant stuff! I’d long been under the (wrong!) impression that the stabbing was between some G.I’s. After that (or so I’ve read) the Flamingo Club was off limits to G.I’s, though that would not be true as they can clearly be heard (as pointed out by G.F. in an interview) in between numbers on the live Georgie Fame LP recorded there after the stabbing!
Jack That Cat Was Clean says:
June 16, 2009 at 10:56 am
Fantabulous story . More please .
more Georgie Fame, Falmingo club and mod years stories on
June 17, 2009 at 7:00 am
Excellent ‘post’. Photo’s, Text and music. reads very well. I recently adopted the Bobby Bland tune to kick off a 3 week Mod/ernist theme of music, (which you may enjoy), and dialogue from the early sixties on my musical diary, themusicologist that finished yesterday. Now that I have discovered your page I look forward to reading more.
belinda ackermann says:
June 28, 2009 at 8:24 am
another brilliant read THANKS
David Hepworth says:
June 28, 2009 at 6:01 pm
You no doubt know this already but the band pictured outside the Flamingo is Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band wih Zoot on the far right, standing next to his young guitarist Andy Summmers, later of the Police.
J.D. King says:
July 3, 2009 at 10:13 am
Great story! Good to know all the deets.
I was pre-teen Yank when the Profumo scandal was in the headlines. Racy stuff!
Rob Grondelle says:
August 26, 2009 at 11:43 am
Great story and very nice pictures! Although I do not see the correlation between the two avents besids both party’s knew Christine, it is a very good story.
August 26, 2009 at 11:58 am
The connection is that after a series of events following the fight at the Flamingo Club, Edgecombe came to Stephen Ward’s flat and started shooting a gun. The police came involved and the rest is history. The brother of one of the people involved in said fight played in Georgie Fame’s band at the Flamingo. So it all is connected.
Rob by Grondelle says:
August 30, 2009 at 10:55 am
I did not speak about the connection in the story, I mean that very clear and makes it a very good story. I’m talking abgout the two events, the shooting and the downfall of Profumo and later the PM. The event that led to Profumo’s downfall was that during his 3 weeks relationship with Christine, she as also seeing a Russian member/worker of the Ambassade, not that shooting in Wards’s house. Ward was the person who introduced her to Profumo, but Profumo is not linked to that shooting.
So I think that this is very good story and it’s telling us about that they were connected trough Keeler, but to say that this fight and shooting led to Profumo’s downfall is a bit far fetched.
September 13, 2009 at 7:03 am
Lucky Gordon went on to become Bob Marleys cook in the 1970s. Round about the time Bob was recordinh the KAYA album. 77-78.
October 7, 2009 at 2:28 pm
Just curious – what’s the significance of that list of songs at the end?
Really interesting article, btw.
Bernie 60’s Mod says:
October 9, 2009 at 10:13 am
Brilliant pictures of the Flamingo. Yes, very interesting.
The most exciting club of all. Atmosphere electric albeit often with a little fear.
A great era!!
Celia 60’s early teenager says:
January 16, 2010 at 11:46 pm
At15 years old introduced to Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames by older chef boyfriend – Roger Knowles of Sheffield. Later when in Nowich, U.K. saw Georgie & The Blue Flames perform there at St. Andrews Hall when the Flames were predominantly Black. They were great but not so great off stage as young entertainers that are ‘cool’ were tring too hard to be!!
Coincidentally, years later in early 70′s in Johannesburg, South Africa, I and my parents were invited by Rory Blackwell to a party. Fame’s fans and indeed he, will remember Rory well from the early days of his career. Georgie is still great in his genre’, one of the best! Wonder does he still perform and anyone know of my old flame – Roger Knowles?????
January 28, 2010 at 10:09 pm
I also remember an ex-GI called Gino Washington who used to perform there at the Flamingo. Quite friendly and talkative kind of guy, just as popular as Georgie Fame. He had a backing group called the Ram Jam Band.
john holland says:
February 3, 2010 at 5:04 pm
What a great read. I was there throughout the sixties mod era and I read this with great memories I wanted to be there when Georgie recorded his live LP but could never go in the week
Peter Bradford says:
March 10, 2010 at 5:57 pm
My friend, David, and I used to go to the Flamingo. That was where the Jazz Couriers played, co-led by Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott, before Ronnie opened his own place. We also saw Tony Kinsey(drums), Bill LeSage(vibes) and Joe Harriot(baritone sax).
We also went to the 2 I’s coffee bar.
March 12, 2010 at 9:48 pm
I use to go to the “WAG” club in the 80s which was the Flamingo in the 60s. I did not none the Flamingo club, had so much history. Great read.
Peter John says:
June 14, 2010 at 6:37 pm
Two things – Geno Washington and the Ram Jams were of course resident at the Ram Jam in Brixton, and isn’t that Rod Stewart standing on the far right in the picture of the great trouser-dropper Zoot Money at the Flamingo entrance?
Peter John says:
June 14, 2010 at 6:39 pm
Sorry that should of course have read ‘on the left’……Doh!
July 18, 2010 at 5:14 am
When can we read the ‘different story’, when the ‘faces’ took over the ‘mingo’??
I was a regular there for a couple of years ’64-’66ish. Standard weekend practice was to attend the allnighter on Friday, go for a wash and brush up at Waterloo Station, then off ‘shopping’ at Biba’s (the salesgirls were all aspiring models, and couldn’t care less whether you paid or not.)
Hang out all day in a large group of likeminded youngsters, then get washed and dressed (in plunder) at the station for the Saturday allnighter.
I seem to remember that at some stage the Flamingo started throwing out at 3 or 4 in the morning, when we moved on to ‘Tiles’ or another halfnighter that started late and stayed open until 5 or 6 Sunday morning.
On then to the tea stall at Waterloo, then down Petticoat Lane. On to one of the Royal Parks to smoke some ‘hash’, then perhaps cinema to laugh inappropriately.
Off home in the evening, to sleep until Tuesday.
Drugs (first Drinamyl, later Dexedrine) usually taken pharmacutically – just enough to stay awake – as ‘blocked’ = boring.
Peter Green asked me to go out with him in the Flamingo, and I refused because he was always there alone and was rather shy, so I thought him odd.
The thing is, they were surprisingly innocent days. I don’t remember the Flamingo selling alcohol, nor was there much sexual activity. We were just a mixed gender, mixed race, group of mates.
steve hester says:
July 24, 2010 at 11:14 am
The opening tack on my now scratchy copy of GF & the BFs – Night Train – still captures the excitement, anticipation and sense of belonging in the atmosphere of the Flamingo allnight sessons. Great photo of the band, especilly the guy at the back with the congas, who was our favourite. Like many of the mod groups (in 1963), we’d travel up west from the Essex burbs, and as in one of your comments, end up in Petticoat Lane on sunday mornng, though in our case via Mick’s all night cafe in Fleet Street. The only rival, at least as far as we were concerned, to the Flamingo was ‘La Discotheque’, a few doors south, where I met the love of my life, Vivienne Wellott (not seen for thirty years!). Great cultural history.
Bill Hart says:
October 2, 2010 at 10:32 pm
I am producing a new feature on Geogie Fame for the Lanky Beat web site. I would like your permission to use three pics.
1 GF and the Blue Flames
2 Album cover at The Flamingo
3 The front door shot
I would like to link with you site.
mark badger says:
October 21, 2010 at 9:34 pm
johnny edge passed away on september 26th -2010
and is to be cremated tommorrow on the occasion of his 78th birthday
he has a facebook page entitled ” johnny edgecombe tribute “
Alan Kemp.. says:
November 15, 2010 at 10:33 pm
Lucky Gordon had a son called Christopher, who i wnt to school with….Where is he, I want to make contact !!!
November 18, 2010 at 3:28 am
Nice to see the picture with a very young Rod Stewart outside the Flamingo entrance… what did happen to that guy?
Bill Hart says:
November 19, 2010 at 7:52 pm
Hi Robert Baker
I wonder if you can help out once again?
I am planning a Special Feature for Lanky Beat about the ‘birthplace of rock ‘n roll’. in it I would like to include pics of the 2 is coffee bar, The Maquee club and The 100 club.
I would appreciate toy kind assistance.
December 5, 2010 at 10:36 pm
It’s not Rod Stewart – it’s Stevie Marriott – on the left, talking……
steve prime says:
January 25, 2011 at 10:29 pm
What a great article and stirs so many “great” memories: friday ams saturday night all nighters: then onto the scene in Ham yard(home of the great Guy stephens) but could be a bit dodgy unless you knew the right people.The only way to get through the nights was with a little help fom Dexys/bombers(lucky we all lived close to MSD factory !!): I am right in thinking that the great Fame man also did a Sunday session- surely remember going in there afternoons. What about other great bands there- Herbie Goins, Graham Bond and Zoot’s big roll band(have a friend who plays drums occaisonally for him now). Great times
February 9, 2011 at 3:31 am
Picture a Tuesday morning at 5am – staff gone, all quiet/still. Much activity at 35/37 Wardour. I can vouch for that having worked there for a decade.
After 100+ years of entertainment @ one address, what else can you expect…
Cool blog/pix btw – keep on digging
February 24, 2011 at 11:48 am
Hi I went to the Flamigo Club,most week ends. With to girls from Fleet in Hampshire. Sue Pratt. And Sue O drisscoll we had some brill all nighters there. Recently found Sue Pratt on line. And now corespond on line. Brill girl very trendy mod in the sixties. Nice person to be with in the clubs. Loved her lots. Hope all that new me are still enjoying life Porky
John J says:
March 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm
Just stumbled on the site…WOW..I was a regular at the “Mingo” I was a Mod member…..it was a seventeen year olds dream…great music…women …drugs
open till six ….great weekends….Margate and Brighton were good too…
saw Georgie at the Jazz cafe a while “still got it!”….John J.
Harry Rogers says:
June 9, 2011 at 5:17 pm
Johnny Edgecombes Facebook page is as follows:- http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_173157546032198 just cut and paste into browser to get to it, it is called Johnny Edgecombe Memorial Group
June 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm
I remember seeing the Byrds play the flamingo around 1965 ?
Geno Washington was on also and the night ended with a huge fight which was not unusual,but it was for all that so much better than today
October 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm
Great story! I came to this link via anorakthing.blogspot.com
This Skatalites tune is way cool, a killer version of the Mel Torme song Comin’ Home Baby.
brian davies says:
October 9, 2011 at 2:04 pm
I WAS IN A BAND CALLED TONY SHEVETON AND THE SHEVELLS, WE USE TO PLAY THE ALL,NIGHTER WITH GEORGIE FAME AND THE BLUE FLAMES
AND BECAME GOOD FRIENDS WITH GEORGIE, WE WERE SIGNED TO THE
SAME MANAGEMENT AS GEORGIE, THE RIK GUNNELL AGENCY, WE USED TO PLAY SOME OF THE AMERICAN BASES THEN TRAVEL BACK TO LONDON
TO PLAY THE ALL NIGHTER WITH GEORGIE FAME AND THE BLUE FLAMES,
(BOOTSEY ON BASS,RED REES,ON DRUMS) AFTER LEAVING THE SHEVELLS
I JOINED THE RIOT SQUAD WHICH PLAYED THE SAME MUSIC AS GEORGIE
WE HAD MITCH MITCHELL ON DRUMS WITH THE BAND, GREAT DAYS,
Peter Y says:
October 10, 2011 at 11:36 pm
Brian those were the days eh!! and I miss them. I was a weekly regular at the Flamingo Club, and was there when Georgie Fame recorded the album “Rhythm & Blues at the Flamingo” live in the club. Yes I was a moddy with my TV175. I always went to the “all nighter”, and on bank holidays we all went on our scooters straight from the club in the morning to Brighton or Margate. Do you remember across the road 2 I’s cafe?. I had my collection of Georgie Fame albums nicked some time back including “Sound Venture with the Harry South Orchestra” where could I find some to replace them??
October 22, 2011 at 11:06 am
2 I’s “across the road” from The Flamingo? Your memory playing tricks? The 2I’s (in Old Compton Street) was across a few roads, and down a couple of blocks (including Shaftesbury Avenue)! I put it down to the pills!
Wayne Hennebury says:
November 2, 2011 at 1:47 am
Spent a lot of great times in the 60s on a Friday and Saturday night at the mingo’s all nighters. After leaving Toffs nightclub in Folkestone we would all go to the Acropolis coffee bar and all pack in to three or four cars full of us then drive about one hour plus up to Wardour street, get there about 1:30AM and not leave till 6:00 am got to listen and see some great music and artistes, then we would walk down to the Strand Caff and get breakfast. drive home then do it again Saturday night almost no sleep the whole weekend then it was school for me on Monday as back then everyone i hung out with was quite a lot older than me. GREAT TIMES and some of my best memories, ROLL BACK THE CLOCK
zara -australia says:
January 22, 2012 at 6:25 am
Spent time 64 to 67 there. Best music & dancing of my life.
Does anyone know what happened to Trevor Kerr (nickname Mr Blueberry Hill, from Jamaica ?)
Colin Smith says:
February 26, 2012 at 4:08 am
Back in ’64 I was a callow north country bumpkin with an affinity to the village pigeon club dance when one weekend a friend of mine from Sidcup persuaded me to hitchhike down to London for the weekend. He took me to the Flamingo and we saw Ronnie Jones and the Nighttimers and John Mayall (Zoot Money was in the audience). It was a totally different dimension. Obviously I knew nothing about the trade in uppers etc. but do remember the MC exhorting the audience to buy soft drinks at inflated prices – in fact at the end of one of Georgie Fame’s live at the Flamingo tracks there’s a reference to this. It was an amazing experience at that stage in my life and I was disappointed that it closed.
Jan Ivánek says:
February 29, 2012 at 1:28 pm
Please hand over my congratulation lady Christine: Christine Keeler was and continue to be beautiful. She is a famous model from England. In of his day become symbol sexual revolution. Of the day 22. February 2012 She celebrated 70 anniversary. I wish lady Christine much health and fair weather to the of other years. Have the honour her admirer and big fan. Jan Ivánek, 252 09 Hradištko 168, district Prague – west, Czech Republic
March 3, 2012 at 7:28 pm
Used to go to the Flamingo with co.musicians to dig the modern jazz in 1959. Tubby and Ronnie with Phil Seamen in the Jazz Couriers were the standing attraction, but heard many others from Bill le Sage of the Tony Kinsey Quartet to Shake Keane playing in a cha-cha-cha ensemble. One night many members of Ellington’s band came down after their show somewhere in town and a few sat in.
There was a cha-cha-cha craze at the time and on some evenings the place was filled with almost identical looking young men with college cuts dancing some kind of cha.cha.cha line dance with an equal number of girls opposite!
May 4, 2012 at 11:30 pm
During this Period I worked for Regent Shoes serving the girls from the windmill theatre and local maidens of the night
And Did the
Saturday all-night at the Flamingo Great times in the area
May 4, 2012 at 11:30 pm
During this Period I worked for Regent Shoes serving the girls from the windmill theatre and local maidens of the night
And Did the
Saturday all-night at the Flamingo Great times in the area
Alan Pearce says:
May 6, 2012 at 8:33 pm
I too was a regular at the Flamingo,Georgie fame, And yes James Brown, night train, papa got a brand new bag, ginormous Washington Etc, my pal at the time was Alan Papworth? What ever happened to him?
Meleesa Sullivan says:
May 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm
Whatever happened to John Gunnell? I know that Rik Gunnell died a few years back, but haven’t been able to find any information about John.
The Flamingo was a great club in the early sixties (before it went Mod). I began going to the Sunday afternoon sessions, then the all-nighters. Everyone had a good time, there was rarely any trouble and, yes, you could smell the pot in the air, but no-one got too rowdy. I remember some of the minor celebrities who played there on Sunday afternoons, such as Tony Sheridan and a Welsh group that had a hit record called “The Listz Twist”.
May 30, 2012 at 12:51 am
I used to frequent there, initially around 1956 when it was the Razz every Friday and Petie Rich used to run Sat+Suns. Never any trouble, no pot, just the odd stray slap (and ticle). Off to O’Neils for a pint of Fosters @£5.10 next weekend – long live rock and roll and god save the queen =).
rufus chalmers says:
June 24, 2012 at 7:52 pm
i was station,right out side london at the american airbase from 1962 until 1966,and the famous all nighters jazz club was defenitely our home away from home.Goergy fame was the man.the hippest white kid ,that played and sang “our music”.
Colin Richardson says:
August 16, 2012 at 10:27 pm
@ meleesa I worked for the Gunnells in 1966/7 at the agency. Used to hang out with Rik & John frequently… often experiencing some hair-raising events. I too have been trying to find out what John is doing. Last I heard he was looking after Miller Anderson and was living on the south coast. I tried emailing Miller…but got no reply.
Was sad to hear about Rik’s death…he was larger than life, though could be unpredictable. If you manage to get any leads, please let me know (and I will do the same). CR
Peter j Stringfellow says:
August 17, 2012 at 9:32 pm
In 1963 I use to go to the Famingo all nighters bur all ways fell asleep before 2am usually just as Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames came on stage ..I then open a club in Sheffield ( my 3rd by then ) which i called The Mojo …and started all nighters every Saturday ..I booked all the groups from the Gunnells ..Georgie of course..Long John Baldrey and The Hoochy Coochy Men ( with Rod Stewart as their 2nd singer ) ..Graham Bonds Organasation ..Tony Knight and The Chessmen. ..Chris Farlow and The Thunderbirds ..John Mayal and The Bluesbreakers..and The Ram Jam Band which eventually got Geno Washington as thier lead singer !!….and as the saying goes ..the rest is history !!!!!
Barbara Lodermeier says:
October 27, 2012 at 2:09 am
I also have Georgie Fame’s greatest hits album. And he did a song for the movie “Bonnie & Clyde” with Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. Great song. I love rock music, but something about jazz really called to me!
Barbara Lodermeier says:
October 27, 2012 at 2:13 am
I think I was born at the right time, but in the wrong place. I should have lived in London, England. Just got through reading Barry Miles book. Boy, I would have loved hanging out in that bookstore/art gallery (the Indica Bookstore, owned by John Dunbar, Marianne Faithfull’s then husband,and Peter Asher, brother of Jane, and of Peter and Gordon, and Barry Miles). Indica is where John Lennon met Yoko Ono! Those must have been some heady times!
jeffrey kruger says:
November 22, 2012 at 8:35 pm
article lovely BUT RICK GUNNEL NEVER DID START THE FLAMINGO NOR DID HE EVER HAVE ANY OWNERSHIP THE FOUNDER AND SOLE OWNER AT ALL TIMES DURING ITS 17 YARS HISTORY OF THE CLUB WAS MYSELF,JEFFREY KRUGER SO PLEASE CORRECT THIS TOTALLY WRONG STATEMENT AND MISCONCEPTION. GUNNEL WAS AT ALL TIMES AN EMPLOYEE OF THE CLUB
BUT I REPEAT NEVER E4VER AN OWNER IN WHOLE OR INPART
Colin Richardson says:
January 6, 2013 at 9:51 pm
Interested to see Peter Stringfellow’s comment above (who, it has to be noted, went on to greater things). In ’66/’67 I was a booker at Gunnell’s and well remember negotiating contracts with him on five of the seven bands he mentions. He was just as much a character back then, as now.
January 7, 2013 at 3:39 pm
The friend pictured with Christine Keeler on 25th April 1963 looks very much like Paula Hamilton-Marshall, at whose flat Keeler stayed during the Profumo furore. Paula was also given a jail term in the Lucky Gordon perjury case.
Fred Elwell says:
March 3, 2013 at 6:22 pm
I used to frequent the Flamingo in the fifties. It featured the greatest jazz musicians in the country. The LCC. wouldn’t allow them a drinking licence, so we had to go to the nearest pub for a drink! Great memories of Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott, Jimmy Skidmore, Benny Green, Joe Harriot, Dizzy Reece, Alan Ganley,
Tony Kinsey, Bill LeSage and all compered by the cool and smooth
Tony Hall. Great times.
Mike Burke says:
April 15, 2013 at 5:14 pm
I used to go the Flaming by myself when I was only 15. My mum told me not to accept cigarettes from anyone, and I remember turning dow a cig from a newly opened pack of Players!. The highlight of my Flaming nights was when Billie Holiday sang there. An unforgettable night!
Mike Burke says:
April 15, 2013 at 5:20 pm
I used to go the Flaming by myself when I was only 15. My mum told me not to accept cigarettes from anyone, and I remember turning dow a cig from a newly opened pack of Players!. The highlight of my Flamingo nights was when Billie Holiday sang there. An unforgettable night! That was when the Flamingo was in Leicester Square in the basement of the Mapleton Hotel. I think it was run by the Feldman family, Vic Feldman’s parents. Several years before Wardour Street, probably around 1955 or “56. Ronnie Scott, Johnny Dankworth, Tommy Whittle, Harry Klein and Vic Ash all were regular players…
Graham Lentz says:
June 6, 2013 at 9:37 pm
Fascinating to read the comments that have been posted.
I’m currently doing some research for a book and I would like to hear from anyone who went to The Flamingo during it’s 25 year run.
Very interested in hearing more from Mr Richardson, Mr Chalmers and Meleesa Sullivan.
Anymore ladies out there who would like to recount their experience of The Flamingo or mod? Please submit a comment if you’re interested.
Graham Lents says:
June 15, 2013 at 4:44 am
I can tell you things you might not have heard , I was the bass player with the welsh band little tony and the twisters .
Richardson girl says:
July 1, 2013 at 9:24 pm
Anyone remember Jamaican (light skin) coloured ‘Miguel Santos’ and Yvonne? Yvonne used to worked as a photographer at that time and took photo’s of Tubby Hayes a view times. It would be interesting to find some old friends of her as she later mved back to the Continent. Miguel (God rest his soul) was a ‘this and that man’. You know what i mean. They’re my parents but very much interested in the stories by others here online. Love the old photo’s and the comments. Wish i could’ve been there! XX
monique campbell says:
July 10, 2013 at 10:26 pm
hello, i was wondering if anyone could help me.
my partner is george gunnell rik and johnny (managers of the flamingo) gunnells nephew/grandson, i am trying to put together a sort of scrap book of his family history and obviously the flamingo is a very interesting part of it, however there is not much in the way of pictures or memorabilia available on line and due to bereavement/family disputes there are not many places to turn to for information. if anyone could help me with pictures or posters etc please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
August 10, 2013 at 8:29 pm
I was @ Cambridge ,63/65 & , with like minded mates, used to catch train to London- have a few beers & fall by Flamingo (Graham Bond: Zoot Money: Geno etc etc) . Caught train back @ ungodly hour & climb into college (gates locked @ Midnight). Happy days. Also frequented Stringfellow’s Mojo Club in Sheffield + Esquire. I may be old now but I got to see all the cool bands!
Colin Richardson says:
August 11, 2013 at 12:21 pm
@graham lentz Happy to chat further. Contact me through my blog:
http://www.colinrichardsonjazz.typepad.com (Hope that’s ok with the site admin)
pete gage says:
August 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm
I’m not the Pete Gage from Geno Washington’s Ran Jam Band. But I AM the Pete Gage from the Jet Harris Band and later, Dr Feelgood. Christine Keeler was finished by the time I started going up the West End in December 1963. (I was brought up in Chelsea). I used to attend the “all-nighters at the Flamingo in 1964 and 65, specifically to sit in front of the stage in the 3 or 4 rows of seats and watch and listen to Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds, Zoot Money and the Big Roll Band, and Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames, and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. I was totally absorbed by the atmosphere (I was 18/19 years old), and the unique sound that these bands created. I was also round the Scene Club every weekend, and I would flit between the 2 clubs all through the night. I also used to go to a cellar club, a few yards up Gerrard Street (from Wardour Street) on the left, about 5 or 6 in the morning for more music. It was always packed out. Can’t remember the name of this last place. Needless to say totally blocked on purple hearts. Those days etched in my memory. Moved on to the likes of Blaises, Scotch of St James by 66, then joined Jet Harris in ’67.
September 22, 2013 at 9:28 pm
To ALAN KEMP I know where your friend is. Please contact me thankyou.
Barb Lodermeier says:
September 26, 2013 at 5:43 am
Just got finished watching “Scandal” with Joanne Whalley and Bridget Fonda. Although I was 13 in 63 when the whole thing broke loose, I was on the edge of my seat, reading anything I could get my hands on about the scandal. Where are Mandy Rice Davies and Christine Keeler today?
October 6, 2013 at 9:55 pm
Nice to see this ‘thread’ rejuvé. @Barb Lodermeier check the Daily Mail for pix. Keep diggin’ y’all x
Colin Richardson says:
October 11, 2013 at 11:08 am
Going back to earlier posts re the photo outside the Flam. and clarify who’s who. The guy second from left (dark jacket/white trousers) is Clive Burrows (baritone sax in the Big Roll Band) who had just turned pro to join Zoot. The guy right at the back (cig in mouth) is Paul Williams (vocalist with the BRB). They were very popular in the clubs and colleges…especially Klook’s Kleek, in West Hampstead, where they recorded a live album (highly sought after collectable LP now). The Gunnell Brothers also ran a few other clubs around town..the Bag o’ Nails in Kingly St…Fat City (which opened and closed very quickly for some reason) and the Ram Jam in Brixton. They also occasionally put on ‘one-off’ concerts in London. They were great boxing fans and often took a whole table at charity fund-raisers held at the Hilton or Dorchester hotel, with a selection of friends/contacts/emplyees (me included), where copious amounts of food and alcohol were consumed, followed by cigars and a bit of wagering on the fights. The good times certainly rolled back then. Fond memories.
Clinton Bell says:
October 21, 2013 at 6:07 pm
My parents used to go to The Flamingo and The 2 Is just before I was born, so they’re a part of my family history.
I’m now involved in making a film about the Two Puddings in Stratford, which was also big at that time. I’m wondering if any of you also went there and, if so, do you have any memories you’d like to share?
Ken McColm says:
December 6, 2013 at 4:20 am
in the mid fifties my girl friend Jill, now my wife [still] went from Reading to many sessions of the jazz couriers at the Flamingo, little knowing that not too many years later I would be playing there myself on tenor sax for the UK Amboy Dukes, managed by the Gunnel’s
Jonathan Goslan says:
December 9, 2013 at 8:29 pm
I met Lucky Gordon in 2010 with my wife and baby in the queue at TK Maxx in Hammersmith. He told us who he was, showed us his passport, admired our baby and went in to some detail about all the stuff that happened. I must say he seemed a jolly nice chap!
January 16, 2014 at 7:42 pm
I had the bar and cloakroom at the The Discotheque and spent my youth there from 1959 to 1963. Went down hill after that. Sonny Boy Williamson etc etc
Bob Cabral says:
February 7, 2014 at 9:03 pm
I was in the US Air Force 1962-1965 and stationed in Saffron Walden and then Ipswich (RAF Bentwaters). My buddies and I spent a lot of time in London, especially the Flamingo. I am in the process of gathering information about the “renaissance” of rock in England 1962-1965 for a book. The more I did, the more I see, and the more I am able to relive those moments long ago. If anyone out there is doing something similar, let me know.
colin richardson says:
February 11, 2014 at 6:10 pm
@bob I was ‘in the thick of it’ (see earlier posts) from ’64 until late ’70s. Happy to chat about those days if you want.
Btw Do you remember the Billy Woods Band? They were an R&B outfit that regularly played the US bases. CR
March 30, 2014 at 3:08 pm
Saw lucky today still walking living alone with the members of the past.
Karl DJfun-k Hamilton says:
April 4, 2014 at 4:43 am
Hello, lucky is my family am trying to meet him can anyone help please?
kaven dedman says:
June 19, 2014 at 11:55 am
loved the allnighter sessions georgie fame zoot money john mayall the cheynes tall lenky lean Mick Fleetwood unloading his drums want a hand mate “no im good” dusty doris troy madeline bell… Wilson Pickett and this anoying guy behind me with pink hair backcombed white trench coat,I know it was packed but, roddy the moddy got up and screamed his lungs out with Wilson so i forgave him and scored some speed down the ally up some stairs around the corner coffee bar ?
georgies live album is still a gem…rik gunnel i think said fill them holes in its so cold mmmm wonder what he meant…
another time a big jamaican coming down the stairs pushed a knife at my throat and said give me your money, a west indian behind said leave him alone hes my brother ! All good times init
July 11, 2014 at 5:51 pm
Clinton Bell – I used to visit the Two Puddings occasionally, with my friend who often sang with the group. He was Bob McKinley [who I also went to the Flamingo with] he was from Wigan and sang with a group called The Long and The Short, sadly defunct at that point in time. I remember an extremely long horseshoe shaped bar, and a huge crowd
August 25, 2014 at 1:34 pm
I met Johnny, when I was 16, in the late 60′s at the Whiskey-a-Gogo club which he ran with Rik. There were some very heavy drinking sessions in the bandroom…the coke bottle….half poured away and topped up with whiskey!! I remember one particular night Johnny wanted to pull my knickers down in front of Kenny Ball and Johnny Dankworth. Needless to say, I refused….but he did many times later in private. Ahhhh….Great days, great memories! Sitting here now with a smile on my face!
Nick Stapleton says:
September 28, 2014 at 1:34 am
Does anyone remember a bouncer/minder that used to work the flamingo/wagg club called pat stapleton??? If so would love to hear from you was friends with jimmy houlihan and Gerry McCabe
October 23, 2014 at 5:09 pm
My friend and I used to go to the flamingo in the sixties most weekends or the Marquee. Saw Georgie Fame, Zoot Money, Chris farlow and so many more. We’d catch train fromLetchworth and stay all night, wait around in the cloakroom of Kings ~Cross where we’d have a nap, and then catch the earliest train home. We used to have such a great time. I always remember the narrow dark stairs to the club. Never had any trouble . I think I’ve still got an old ticket or pass somewhere. The Marquee was a bit more heavy mod jazz and smarter. The 100 club in Oxford Street was more trad jazz. All the boys wore suits and we girls dressed in our Biba or Mary Quant clothes and thought we were the ‘bees knees’.
dave jeffery says:
January 25, 2015 at 6:41 pm
my mates and I would often go the the rikky tik club in winsor amazing place then when they closed geno Washington or georgie fame would often go on to do a flamingo allnighter ,six of us in a mini would also go up .What great nights they were
dave jeffery says:
January 25, 2015 at 6:44 pm
if graham lentz wants to contact me for his book ,bit late now I guess, id be very happy to hear from him had you ever heard of the blue beat club small room upstairs somewhere but great music on juke prince buster etc
Tony Freer says:
February 27, 2015 at 3:30 pm
Would anyone have information on a band called REDD BLUDDS BLUESICIANS who I believe played the allnighters, especially info on leader DON WILSON.
. Also early details of Art Wood Combo from 1962 and 1963. Looking for possible photographs etc related to these bands. Thanks, Tony
Graham Lentz says:
March 19, 2015 at 11:19 pm
Dave Jeffrey. If you are on Facebook, please find my page and send a friend request.
CARINYO, HI HA UNA ESTRELLA DE ROCK A LA CUINA: GEORGIE FAME | Die bunte Kuh says:
April 2, 2015 at 5:47 pm
[…] EXTRA! La lluita de “Lucky” Gordon (germà del saxo dels Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames) i Johnny Egecombe per Christine Keeler també va passar al Flamingo! ** És la gran baralla de la secció! […]
Does anyone have any detailed information about Jimmy Houlihan in the period from 1960 to June 1964? I am working on a new book and tearing up the old rubbish about Ronan O’Rahilly and offshore radio. O’Rahilly was once described as a “decoy duck”, and I believe that Jimmy Houlihan was the minder of that decoy duck. Any trivia or leads will be welcomed. Thank you.