Tribute to Delaney

Eric Delaney
Eric Delaney
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Blackpool musician and venue owner Stephen Pierre is holding a Tribute Memorial Party to the legendary British drummer and percussionist Eric Delaney who died last Friday aged 87.

Several of the musicians who are unable to travel to his funeral in London at St Martins In the Fields are expected to attend the event on Tuesday, August 2, said Stephen.

“Eric Delaney was an institution at the Tower Ballroom during the 1980’s,” he said. “His charisma and energy on stage influenced a lot of musicians to up their game.

Nearly 30 years ago I would watch in awe his percussion masterpiece Manhattan Spiritual from the Ballroom balcony seats. I still have his early 1980’s The Best Little Big Band In The Land and Skin Deep albums which featured musicians such as Blackpool saxophonist Jimmy Thompson and keyboard player the late Colin Hadley.

“It was always my view that Eric Delaney as the resident band leader at the Tower Ballroom at times had to restrict some of his showmanship due to the discipline associated with ballroom dancing but I will always remember his live rendition of the Star Wars theme as truly magical.”

Stephen says he last spoke to Eric earlier this year at the renowned Palm Tree jazz pub East London.

“He was pleased that I had re-invented The Galleon as he had ‘jammed’ at the original basement bar many times during his time living in the North West. His passing is the end of an era.”

Local musician Frank Flynn will be acting as musical director at The Galleon on August 2 and will be joined by a host of guest musicians such as Bill Barrow, Jimmy Thompson, Mike Taylor and guest vocalists including Sara Cheston .

There will be a complimentary buffet and a raffle to donate to charity.

Eric Delaney was born in Acton, London. Aged 16, he won the Best Swing Drummer award and later joined the Bert Ambrose Octet which featured George Shearing on piano. From 1947 to 1954 he appeared with the Geraldo Orchestra and filled his time with regular session work in recording studios and on film, TV and radio.

In 1954 he formed his own band and later signed with the new Pye Records label.

He made three Royal Variety Show appearances, the first in 1956.

As with many similar artists, his music became less popular after The Beatles arrived but he remained active touring in the UK, and for many years was a Blackpool regular.

As well as the drums he played xylophone, glockenspiel, timpani, military side drum, tubular bells, a variety of Chinese gongs and incorporated many everyday items such as brushes and whistles into his shows over the years.

He amazed UK TV audiences on Royal Command Performances and shows such as Sunday Night At The London Palladium by continuously rushing between up to a dozen or so tuned drums, floor standing tom toms and huge gongs.