Mercury Music: Your Friday playlist with... Winter Gardens performers

PUBLISHED: 16:00 25 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:17 25 August 2017

The rhythm and blues group, the Animals, appeared at the Winter Gardens Pavilion.

The rhythm and blues group, the Animals, appeared at the Winter Gardens Pavilion.


The Winter Gardens revamp project is rapidly nearing completion - and to celebrate we are taking a look back through some of the famous musicians who performed in its pavilion, from Bowie to Pink Floyd. Here is this week's Friday playlist, with some amazing tracks once performed in the Weston-super-Mare venue.

Mercury reader David Andrews has researched some of the iconic Winter Gardens pavilion’s history to come up with this selection of songs, all of which were played live in the ballroom.

Acker Bilk – Stranger On The Shore

Originally titled Jenny but changed to tie in with a BBC TV series, it became a massive hit and Acker from Pensford became the first British artist to reach number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 Chart in 1962. Nice one, Acker.

The Animals – The House Of The Rising Sun

They played this great song in 1965. Eric Burdon and the Animals returned in 1967 (the summer of love). A very different band and best known for San Franciscan Nights and When I Was Young which was included in their set.

P.P Arnold – The First Cut is the Deepest

Cat Stevens wrote this great song and sold it to Pat for £30. By coincidence, both versions were played within a month – first by Cat in January 1968 and by Pat in February. Apparently this was Cat’s last gig of that part of his career as he became ill with tuberculosis.

Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade of Pale

What an absolute classic of a song, which sums up that part of the 1960s perfectly. Procol’s first appearance at Weston was in 1968.

Fleetwood Mac – Albatross

They played this on their first visit in 1968, which was their last UK date before a US tour. The Mercury reported that what started out as a dance turned into a concert and the ballroom suddenly became so packed you could not move. Fleetwood Mac returned in 1969 and 1971.

Pink Floyd – Green is the Colour

Pink Floyd returned in 1969, two days before they played the Royal Albert Hall. They were due to play in Plymouth but their equipment never turned up so Weston was the next gig. It is so easy to choose one of their long psychedelic tracks but this shows their gentle side perfectly.

Deep Purple – Black Night

October 25, 1969. Singer Ian Gillan introduced this song which he told the audience he wrote on the way down to Weston. The previous day they were in London recording some of the In Rock album and came up with this track as a possible single. Ritchie Blackmore was born in Weston and his parents lived in his grandparent’s house for a few years. His grandmother used to play the song Deep Purple on her piano.

Black Sabbath – N. I. B

The first album to be labelled Heavy Metal. The Mercury reporter timed their performance in Weston. They played for 90 minutes and as they had only recorded one album they played everything from it as well as what they had for their second album. Unfortunately for Weston they came up with the single Paranoid three days later.

David Bowie And The Spiders from Mars – Starman

Difficult to choose between this, Life On Mars, Ziggy, Changes or the song he gave to Mott the Hoople, All the Young Dudes, which they played a few weeks after David’s visit. I decided on Starman because it was the song which catapulted him to superstar. Four days after his appearance at Weston he was filmed for the following night’s appearance on Top Of The Pops, so that shows him exactly as he was at Weston.

Electric Light Orchestra – 10538 Overture

The first and one of their best songs. Slade were due to play a sold out gig in 1972 but they had to cancel. Ticket holders were given the choice of a refund or to keep the tickets for a rearranged date. The Electric Light Orchestra came instead (Roy Wood had already left), and were so popular they were re booked quickly. Heavy cello.

David added: “So many songs to choose from the hundreds of bands and artists which appeared here. Whatever happened to Saturday nights?”


* Alex Lipinski * James Willis-Boden * John Penrose * Anna Southwell * Nutty Noah * Hazy Days festival * Mark Thompson * John Crockford-Hawley * George Sampson * Luke Potter * Neville Coles *

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