The band name ‘The Tarantulas’ first manifested itself via doodles in an exercise book during lessons at Ilkley Secondary School. This was a couple of years before the band became a reality and, as was fashionable at the time, most guitar groups had to be fronted by an equally exotic named vocalist, in this instance the imaginary Tarantulas were saddled with the outlandish “Noon Tiber”, who thankfully never took human form and was confined indefinitely to the exercise book and the margins of history.
By the time bands were really established, and anything seemed possible, the name Tarantulas had shed its fantasy status and become the collective noun for five young Ilkley musicians peddling Shadows-style instrumentals. Almost immediately, with the advent of the Beatles, the need for a vocalist became paramount and mutual friend Brian Bailey fulfilled the role superbly. Pete Dickinson (Lead Guitar), Tony Idle (Rhythm Guitar), Stan Dobson (Rhythm Guitar), Clive Steele (Bass Guitar), Andrew Horton (Drums) and the aforementioned Brian Bailey on vocals.
The band’s inaugural gig was memorable, date-wise, as it coincided with John F. Kennedy’s assassination on 22nd November 1963. Regular bookings followed at the Blue Genes Club, Ilkley, where organizer Gene Hartley’s support proved invaluable.
The Stoney Lea Hotel, also in Ilkley, was a popular venue and (as well as headlining) the Tarantualas supported such top bands as ‘The Wheels’ from Belfast, ‘Rev. Black and the Rocking Vicars’, ‘The Four Pennies’ and ‘Earl Preston’s Realms’’ Other notable gigs throughout 1964 included Bradford Majestic, The Coffin Club, Top Twenty Club, Dungeon and Witchbarn. Mecca Ballrooms at Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield also featured heavily on the date sheets.
Tasting success at a ‘Battle of the Bands’ contest at Keighley Victoria Hall (where amongst others, they beat ‘The Grumbleweeds’), The Tarantulas were prompted to take o another bevy of bands in a prestigious Star Cinemas/Coca Cola ‘Beat Unlimited’ contest. Once again they won the final, which indirectly led to gigs on a wider scale, including the University circuit and the famous Cavern Club in Liverpool.
Having achieved a fame of sorts, the Tarantulas finally fragmented in 1965 when surviving members joined two talented guys from ‘The Ladykillers’ to form the soul band ‘Moldy Warp’.
Fundamental to all this was the vocal prowess of Brian Bailey, who soldiered on (latterly fronting ‘Five Dollar Shoes’ since its inception) until this year when , on 20th January 2013, he died suddenly, having gigged only 2 days previously. He is sadly missed by us all.
L to R Top row: Pete Dickinson, Tony Idle, Stan Dobson
L to R Bottom row: Clive Steele, Brian Bailey, Andrew Horton
The Tarantulas Christmas card
The Tarantulas late 1965
The Tarantulas 1964
Holiday Devon 1964
Stoney Lea 1963
Stoney Lea 1963
On the stage at the Kings Hall Ilkley for a promotional photograph
Two Futuramas don't make a Bison
Pete and Stan with the Earwig trophy which was won in "Best Yorkshire group contest" organised by Coca Cola, Star Cinema and Philips records at the Albert Cinema Brighouse on 29th April 1964.
They were part of the group The Tarantulas in the final and completed against: The Zondas, Clive and the Crestas, The Talismen, The Phantoms, The Ravons, The Gleneagles and The Astrals.
Their prize was an audition for Philips Records and a tour of Star Cinemas