"The year would be 1974, I would be about 14 years old. The Civic
Hall in Wolverhampton was the local place to see top bands from all over
the world. Being young and rather impressionable I had been banned by my
parents from travelling to Birmingham, some 12 miles away, by train to
savour the delights of rock n roll so the local venue had to do. I was
far too young to gain entrance to licensed premises (ie night clubs that
sold booze and stayed open until 2.00am) so any band I wished to see
live had to play at the Civic or I wouldn't get (or be allowed) to see
I was a major Trapeze fan, and was at the time singularly
unimpressed by the "new" Deep Purple's "Burn" album, seeing it at that
time as a waste of not only Deep Purple's massive talents - but also
those of Glenn Hughes. For this reason I had made no attempt to get
tickets to see Purple as they passed through my hometown in 1974.
"Hot Wire" was the album Trapeze were promoting on that tour -they'd
bounced back since Glenn Hughes' departure with the recruitment of two
additional band members, Peter Wright on bass and Rob Kendrick on
guitar. The latter coming in to allow Mel Galley the luxury of
delivering lead vocals himself. Honorary "Trapezers" like Terry Rowley
and local newspaper writer John Ogden leant their assistance in the
recording process as usual as did some well known and unknown (to me at
least) session performers. Chris Mercer went on from this album, and no
doubt others, to record with some of the biggest names in rock music -
Bryan Ferry notably.
The album itself was full of real enthusiasm and some genuinely
great songs, but the spark was missing - that spark being the
extraordinary vocals of young Glenn Hughes.It was a slightly different
sound to the band with the rockier moments being rockier, and the
funkiest moment, the brilliant "Feel It Inside" being the funkiest tune
Trapeze had released to date. To digress a moment, I had always wondered
what this would've sounded like had Glenn Hughes sung it instead of the
limited if enthusiastic and soulful Mel Galley. An Friday evening in the
late 1990s gave me the answer. At the Robin Hood in Brierly Hill a four
piece Trapeze (Hughes, Galley, Holland and Erickson) with John Ogden
playing congas tore that song apart - truly magnificent!
Anyway back to the gig - me and a few similarly young and
enthusiastic kids were up at the front of the stage waiting for Trapeze
to play. They opened their set with "Back Street Love" which as on the
album they followed with "Take It On Down The Road" Memory here lets me
down, for I have no idea what songs they played until they got to "Way
Back To The Bone." As Mel Galley played the "der der duh duh" guitar
riff - he was also making those same gestures that David St Hubbins made
to Nigel Tufnel in the immortal "This Is Spinal Tap" movie. You know the
one, a calling to someone to join them on-stage.
From stage right (as we mere mortals in the audience watched) strode
Glenn Hughes! The cheer was deafening. The band ripped through "Way
Back" "Medusa" "Black Cloud" (I think) "Jury" (dead sure!) The band were
absolutely brilliant and whenever I've seen remarks attributed to Glenn
Hughes saying he'd never sung in a band without a bass ( ie circa Black
Sabbath time) I always think back to that glorious night at
Wolverhampton Civic Hall in 1974 and wonder - am I the only one who
remembers that night??
Well am I?? Does Glenn Hughes???
Does anyone besides me and my pals who periodically salute the finest
Trapeze line up, Hughes, Galley, Holland, Kendrick and Wright. I know
cos I was there!!