David Bowie and the Buzz performed at the ballroom in the Royal Links Pavilion in Cromer on Saturday 19 November 1966.
The band performed two sets, each lasting around 45 minutes, for which they were paid £40.
Bowie and the Buzz almost missed the first set, however, after their converted ambulance tour bus broke down just outside Cromer. They were forced to take a taxi back to London.
The band’s precarious financial situation – and their transport woes – contributed to the decision of guitarist Billy Gray to quit the Buzz after these shows. He was not replaced.
Apparently the vehicle had a soul of its own for, on November 19, it retaliated by breaking down three miles from the gig at Cromer. The repairs took three days.
The worsening economic situation then caused the loss of Billy Gray, who later formed a band with Richie Blackmore and went off to Italy to work. Billy, now a highly successful jingles writer and producer, looks back on the days with Bowie as an important part of his apprenticeship. “It was difficult to get to know him very well, but as a person I could not fault him,” he said. “I would have been very surprised if David had not become a star. He was single-minded, dedicated and worked very hard. He had an incredible bank of ideas and they were all valid.” Billy Gray was never replaced and the Buzz continued as a trio.
The Pitt Report
The Royal Links Pavilion was built in 1926, and housed a ballroom used by guests of the nearby Royal Links Hotel. After the hotel burnt down in 1949 the pavilion continued as a music venue, until 1978 when it too was destroyed by fire.
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Also on this day...
- 2015: Single release: ★ (Blackstar)
- 1965: Live: David Bowie and the Lower Third, Marquee Club, London
Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.