Come Dancing: BMU v. Mecca? Savile v. Ambrose? [1954 – 1956 Ilford Palais]

Cannot recommend enough that people read this article from this new blog – on Jimmy Savile, union-bashing, the Musicians’ Union, and Bert Ambrose, which also raises further questions relating to his underworld connections.

Bits of Books, Mostly Biographies

“Those of us from Ilford know Savile as the man who invented the disco. During the mid-50s he was manager of the Ilford Palais, then a dancehall which went on to become one of the area’s premier shitholes though it also featured in the video for The Kinks’ Come Dancing.

At the time, such places had live bands for people to dance to, with a DJ playing records in between as the band had a break.

One night the band turned up and demanded a pay rise or they wouldn’t play. Savile sacked them on the spot. As the crowds turned up he played records, continuously, on an early form of a twin turntable so there were no gaps.

The public danced – to Bill Haley or Elvis or whoever. It was immensely popular and much cheaper than hiring a band. So Savile made it a regular feature. The idea…

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