everything apparently, and I have only great ones of the
fabulous Friars." David Bowie,
February 28th 2014
TOM PETTY 1950 -2017
We’re just devastated about the
loss of Tom Petty.
He only played Friars Aylesbury
once on Saturday 18 June 1977, but to say it was special would
be an understatement. As was often the case, Friars presented
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at exactly the moment in their
career where they were at the tipping point. Two days before the
Friars gig they exploded on to the British scene with their
single ‘Anything That’s Rock’n’Roll’ on Top of the Pops.
Petty and the band came from
Florida and were heavily influenced by Dylan, The Byrds, Chuck
Berry and American 60’s music. This first UK tour came straight
after their support slot on the Nils Lofgren UK tour with Friars
being one of only a handful of UK gigs in June where the band
Stopps says "I remember this gig vividly. The
support band were Bob Geldof’s Boomtown Rats. I had to tell the
Rats that their sound check had to be cut short as the
Heartbreakers sound check had over-run and we had to let people
in to the main hall. Geldof stood at the back of the group
staring at me as if to say “Don’t you tell us what to do”. After
the Rats sound check the band produced these huge banners which
read ‘Rats eat Heartbreakers for breakfast’ which they fixed to
the balcony all around the venue. The Boomtown Rats were
‘competitive’. They stayed up for the Rats set but in the
intermission they were told to take them down by the
Heartbreakers tour manager.
The Boomtown Rats went down well
that night but when Tom Petty came on the Friars Aylesbury
audience went in to overdrive. I remember Tom doing ‘Strangered
in the Night’, ‘Breakdown’, ‘American Girl’, ‘Anything that’s
Rock’n’Roll’ and Chuck Berry’s ‘Jaguar and Thunderbird’.
Afterwards I was with him in the Friars dressing room. He was in
euphoric mood after the appreciative and wild reception he had
just had from the Friars audience. I remember him saying to me 'Wow..they
were ravenous.' ”
Tom Petty’s last show was at the
Hollywood Bowl only a week before he died. I’m reminded of the
words ‘Better to burn out than fade away’ and at just 66 so it
was with Tom. He somehow personified the spirit of rock’n’roll.
Later songs like ‘Learning to Fly’, ‘Running Down a Dream’, ‘I
Won’t Back Down’, ‘The Waiting’ and ‘Free Fallin’, will always
be with us. If any of those songs come on the radio most
people’s reaction is to turn up the volume to as loud as you can
get away with.
He was a true rock’n’roll legend
and we still can’t believe he’s gone.
We’ll miss him.
The Thin White
Book now available to purchase
At last it's
Thin White Book - A History of David Bowie and Friars Aylesbury
is now available here from the Friars Aylesbury online shop -
link above in menu or click this link.
If you are in
the Aylesbury area you can also purchase the book from Rocky &
Kook or Aylesbury Music, both in Temple Street, Aylesbury or
Audio/Vicious Squirrel in Kempson Close, Aylesbury
(Avoids P&P charges).
proceeds from the book will go to the Aylesbury Bowie Statue
fund. We still need to raise Ł65K to fully fund the project
so every amount helps. The book is written by the legendary
Kris Needs and also has contributions from Pete Frame,
It contains some amazing Friars Aylesbury photographs by
Michael Putland and Mick Rock as well as copies of the Bowie
Friars newsheets, tickets, posters and contracts. Mick
Rock’s famous fellatio shot with Bowie and Mick Ronson taken
at Friars Aylesbury on 15 July 1972 is included.
For those of
you who received copies of the book through the Kickstarter
reward packages, here is Kris Needs signing the books (in
the same room and on the same sofa that he designed the iconic Friars
including the Bowie ones)
Statue 'Earthly Messenger' will be unveiled under the arches
in Aylesbury Market Square in March 2018
There is also a dedicated website which will be updated over the
coming days and weeks