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   The ROCK'ITS - 1958

The ROCK'ITS - 1958

All text by Roy Ashworth and Brian McIntosh

Rock'n'Roll Band The ROCK'ITS - 1958

Photo above supplied by Roy Ashworth

Photo above - From left to right:
Roy Ashworth (guitar), Christopher Forster (on the drum), Brian McIntosh (lead singer & guitar), Rob Hill (on the tea chest bass.....where is Rob now??), and Bryan Tattersall (guitar.....Bryan became a professional musician, but sad to say he died of liver cancer in the late 1970s)

Rock'n'Roll Band The ROCK'ITS - 1958

Photo above supplied by Keith Aikin

The ROCK'ITS was mainly a Rhodes House group as far as membership goes, but we performed in front of the whole school at least once. The top picture above shows us practicing on the dais of the Rhodes/Nicholson dining hall. The picture above was taken at the Prefects/School Dance in the gym in 1958. (The girl seated at lower left is Heather Walker, daughter of maths master, 'Amoeba'.) In addition, the ROCK’ITS shared the stage at a school talent concert that same year with an ad-hoc group from Scott House whose specialty was choral doo-wop with unison dance steps. Lyn Turner and baritone Barry (Ranjit) Rowe were part of the group, possibly with Billy Drummond as well.

While our group from Rhodes was the first to play rock n' roll, the honor for first skiffle must go to an earlier group from Clive House led by a day boy (whose name I forget) who was an accomplished guitarist and singer. In 1956 or 1957, they played Lonnie Donegan skiffle hits to an enthusiastic Saturday crowd at the Mitchell Park Agricultural Show, and raised quite a bit of money for charity. A very Scottish boy called Kelly Dow played the teabox base, but all I can remember of the leader is that his first name may have been Murray. I hope other alumni can supply the missing names.

During the same time, of course there was Roger Whitaker (now very famous!!), but he was a solo act who performed only once at school – in the Assembly Hall at the Chapel fund-raising fete in 1958.

  • Brod Purdy (Rhodes 1958-1961) e-mailed on 10 Dec 2003:
    I do not know if either Roy Ashworth or Brian McIntosh will ever know.....but they used to practise in the boot room in the house after inter dorm lights out. We all were serenaded to sleep (??) by raucous renditions of 'It takes a lonely man', 'Pick a bale of cotton' and other skiffle / country greats. As a closet, and unequipped guitarist, I used to listen to these practices...and have actually enjoyed that music ever since! So they cannot have been all that bad!
    Sorry to hear about Bryan Tattersall. He was a very accomplished guitarist, if I remember correctly.
    Funny old world, but a couple of years later a couple of us tried, very unsuccessfully, to emulate the 'Rockits' in the same boot-room. What did I play? The tea chest bass! Made a change from the brass version!
    I cannot identify the drummer in the 'Rockits', but I'll give it some thought.
    Of course there was another Rhodes House alumni who actually penetrated the charts in the UK in about 1965. One half of the (I think) Rick and Sandy duo whom I remember watching on the old 'Thank Your Lucky Stars' ITV programme. The duo? Rick Tyekiff and Sandy Roberton. But I cannot remember the name of the number!