LITTLE SHOP OF ROCKERS; Bid to Revive High Street's Music History

Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), April 15, 2012 | Go to article overview

LITTLE SHOP OF ROCKERS; Bid to Revive High Street's Music History


Byline: MIKE LOCKLEY

TRADERS behind a unique scheme to honour a Birmingham high street's links with rock giants such as Pink Floyd have pledged: it'll be more than just another brick in the mall.

They have put forward an pounds 80,000 bid to regenerate landmark buildings in Erdington's shopping heart and commemorate the role the area played in rock 'n' roll history.

Legendary club Mothers - now furniture store Walmsley's - was graced by such greats as Black Sabbath, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Free, Traffic and the Floyd in their late 60s days.

The club lasted only three years, from 1968, but was dubbed the UK's best rock venue by John Peel, who was resident DJ at the venue before becoming a sage of the airwaves.

Erdington Town Centre Partnership is trying to claw the cash from the High Street Innovation Fund, a pounds 1 million Government cash pot. Shopkeepers will find out if they are successful in six weeks' time.

Terry Guest, Erdington business improvement district manager, said: "There are 2,000 shopping centres going for it, but we think our bid will stand out because of its uniqueness."

The partnership wants a granite plinth bearing information on the street's rock heritage and hopes to stage themed events in the area. Members have also asked Birmingham Civic Society to place a commemorative blue plaque at the Mothers site.

"Visitors from as far afield as America visit the store, asking about Mothers," added Terry. "This area has played a major part in rock 'n' roll's family tree."

That is an understatement.

Erdington's thriving music scene began in the 1950s with the Carlton Ballroom. By the 1960s it had changed its name to the Carlton Club, attracting such up-and-coming bands as The Uglys, which featured a young Steve Gibbons. The band 'morphed' into The Idle Race, a group that included Jeff Lynne, who later found fame with ELO. …

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