For three nights in June, 1985, Bradford’s St George’s Hall was the venue for a special trio of concerts.

Kiki Dee, Argent, Colin Blunstone, John Verity, Baby Tuckoo, The Cult, Slade the Leveller, Joolz, Wild Willi Beckett, Smokie, Black Lace and East of Java were among the artists who came to perform to raise money for the Bradford City Fire Disaster Appeal.

The finale on the third night featured some of those who, as The Crowd, had re-recorded You’ll Never Walk Alone, with Gerry Marsden, for the appeal. The record went to the top of the UK singles chart.

Other gigs were organised at Queen’s Hall and again at St George’s. Those taking part are listed in Bradford’s Noise Of The Valleys, an illustrated chronicle of rock and pop in Bradford from 1967 to 1987, compiled and written by local historians Gary Cavanagh and Matt Webster.

The book is the first of a projected triology that will bring the story up to present. Gary, born in Clayton and educated at Thornton Grammar School, says he is well on with volume two. The first book took him seven years to bring to fruition, aided by Matt Webster.

“I had to spend a lot of time in the Central Library going through back copies of the T&A’s Rock On section,” Gary said, and reeled off names of former T&A journalists who compiled that column or contributed to it – a bit of local history in itself.

There’s a T&A photograph in the book taken in 1970 of former feature writer Mike Priestley, standing among Fresh Garbage, a foursome from Bradford and Leeds who had just won the New Group Of 1970 contest and a cheque for £50. Three months later they were in London recording.

This book has antecedents: Derek Lister’s Bradford’s Rock’n’Roll was the starting point. Pete Frame’s Rock Family Trees was another influence – there are plenty of band family trees in this book. Gradually, the jigsaw of this part of modern Bradford took shape.

Gary said: “It’s a social history of that period, I suppose. People I interviewed said, ‘Oh, it should have been done before!’ I thought it was my duty as a local historian to do it. If you were in a band that did more than two gigs, you’re likely to be in the book.”

Check the index; there are eight pages of bands listed, from Allen Pound’s Get Rich to Branwell and the Bronte Beats, Harlequyn to Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction.

“The Sixties were vibrant in Bradford. There were a lot of clubs and a lot of bands. But apart from Kiki Dee, there were no bands that came out of a scene like Merseyside or London.

“The Eighties was the period for that, with New Model Army, Smokie, Skeletal Family and Southern Death Cult. In the later period you had Slammer, Excalibur, flying the flag for heavy metal.

“In the next book there will be Embrace, Tasmin Archer, Terrorvision, Poppy Factory,” Gary added.

This book is accompanied by a four-set CD of 83 songs from the period 1966 to 1987. Gary laboured for two years tracing the 21 tracks on the first CD which contain’s The Accent’s Red Sky At Night. The original 1967 single is now worth £500.

Other blasts from the past include Back To Bradford (Smokie), Stake Out (The Negatives), the live version of Moya (Southern Death Cult), Tetley Bittermen (Seething Wells), Give A Man A badge (Psycho Surgeons) and Carousel (Harlequyn).

The finale is, has to be, You’ll Never Walk Alone, by The Crowd. Who says Rock doesn’t have a heart?

  • Bradford’s Noise Of The Valleys 1967-87 (£19.99 from Bank House Books) and the CDs of the same name (£10) will be launched at Bradford’s 1 in 12 Club, Tetley Street, next Saturday, starting at 8pm. For more information, visit