FRANK HEALY looks back at some of the acts he saw at Bradford concert venue St George’s Hall in the 1950s.

TODAY I bought a twin CD of the Count Basie band from a charity stall.

As usual that got me thinking. I remember seeing and meeting him personally when he appeared at St George’s Hall on a tour of Britain in 1957. Artists and their fans were different back then - they used to invite us backstage after the show.

For some people in those days, Sunday was a night in front of the telly, with Sunday Night at the London Palladium.

But for us “Cool Cats” it was often a night at St George’s Hall being entertained by acts such as The Biggest Little Band In The World (The Ivor And Basil Kirchin Band), Chris Barber and Lonnie Donegan, who shot to fame when Skiffle arrived, Jack Parnell, who in 1956 was appointed as the musical director for ATV and was the “real” conductor for The Muppet Show orchestra for the series entire run. As Michael Caine might say, ‘Not a lot of people know that’.

Another act at St George's Hall was Humphrey Lyttelton, who for many years hosted the comedy panel game I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue on BBC Radio 4, (I also went to his club at 100 Oxford Street when I visited London in 1957).

Then there was ‘Mr Drumming Man’ himself, Eric Delaney, his signature tune was Pennies from Heaven. In the 1990s he turned up at the garage where I was Service Manager - I was the only one who had ever heard of him and I spent an enjoyable hour talking jazz with him whilst we fixed his truck .

Besides Count Basie, we enjoyed many of the bands and singers we had only ever heard on records - Modern Jazz Quartet Jack Teagarden, Sarah Vaughan and many, many more.

My personal favourite was Johnny Dankworth. I still have some of his records on 78 rpm. Years later I bought the entire collection I used to save up my money for on CD for just a few pounds, and they still feature on my playlist in the car.

On the subject of money, the costs of seeing bands play live in those days was easily affordable, unlike these days. I think the most I ever paid was still less than £5.

I was never really a fan of the Beatles or Cliff Richard but in later years I became a fan - is that the right word? - of Heavy Metal when I was appointed ‘roadie’ for my grandson and his mates when they formed their band.

* For more about acts that have appeared at St George's Hall over the years go to

* What memories do you have of seeing bands, singers, orchestras and other shows at St George's Hall over the years? Share your stories and photos with the T&A by emailing or