DEREK Lister, DJ at Bradford’s Gaumont and Majestic dance halls from 1960-65, pays tribute to singer Mike Sagar.

“I was sad to hear of the passing recently of another of Bradford’s jewels, Mike Sagar, who will be remembered by many Bradfordians and members of the many Bradford groups of the time in the 1960s plus.

Mike Sagar, good-looking, a good strong voice and a marvellous sense of humour, had all the qualities in the early days of rock’n’roll to line-up among the Cliffs, Adams, Kennys and the rest of the UK pop stars. However things weren’t to be, although his name is still recognisable to yesteryear’s teenagers and well into the 21st century, especially in his home town, Bradford.

Mike Sagar was born in 1940 in Bradford and attended St James’s School off Manchester Road. Passing his scholarship, he went on to Grange Boys’ Grammar School. Aged 16 he became an apprentice wool sorter for GR Heron Ltd in West Bowling. It was during these early years that Mike taught himself to play the rhythm guitar, although it was his vocals which soon brought him to the attention of the many new local groups coming onto the scene. Rock’n’roll music had now left skiffle behind and vocalists like Mike were in great demand.

In 1957, aged 17, he joined The Tennesseans, one of Bradford’s early successes. By 1960 he was with The Cresters and in October the group now known as Mike Sagar and the Cresters recorded Deep Feeling at EMI Studios in Abbey Lane, London. It was voted a ‘Hit’ on Juke Box Jury, but failed to live up to expectations, with theories still discussed today. His next record, also in 1961, was The Brothers Three, written by group member Richard Harding who based it on John Leyton’s Johnny Remember Me. Again, this record only had mediocre success. However Mike and the Cresters were proving popular, with many bookings throughout the UK. They turned professional in 1961.

Regrettably, Mike was diagnosed as polyps on his vocal cords which needed surgery and several months of recuperation. With Mike away, the group continued as The Cresters. In 1962, having recovered, Mike rejoined them, but not for long! It appears that an argument took place and Mike stormed out of their digs in Kilburn, thumbed a lift home to Bradford, and left the group.

Back home, Mike turned his hand to the building industry but he was soon back with The Cresters. From 1963, and well into the 60s, he also played with Mick and the Tornados, The Quiet Three, The Toledos and was the vocalist with Jinx. In the 1970s he formed a duo with Billy (Willie) Fenton and in 1979 he formed the group Dillinger who, with musician changes over the years remain popular.

Mike appeared at many venues with The Cresters, solo and with Richard Harding, the only two original members. Mike lived in Low Moor with his lovely wife, Tracey.

I knew Mike for over 60 years and never forgot that in 1966, when I was just married and living in Wilsden, it was Mike and Ian Bannister (also of The Cresters) who built a large stone fireplace in our cottage, as a wedding present.

He is sadly missed.”