Line-up in Photo (Left to Right):
Clive Poulton (Vocals & Guitar) – Burns & Selmer Zodiac
Michael Lloyd (Guitar) – Hofner President & Blue Vox AC30 (very rare)
Barry Kelly (Drums) - Ludwig
David Kennedy (Vocals & Bass Guitar) – Burns Sonic Bass & Selmer Treble n'Bass/Goliath Speaker Cabinet Outfit
NB - Kris Robins was the band’s original vocalist and guitarist. He left the band in 1964, and was replaced by Clive Poulton. Kris has since rejoined the band and organises their web page (see below).
The "Ministers of Beat” was a group formed in September 1963, just at the time when Cliff & The Shadows had peaked in popularity and the “Beatles” and “Rolling Stones” were setting the new trend with beat music and rhythm & blues. This new era marked a distinctive change in the direction of popular music and the "Ministers of Beat" soon established themselves as one of the leading Surrey groups playing this style of music.
The name "Ministers of Beat" was inspired by John Profumo’s scandalous affaire with Christine Keeler, which was making front-page news at the time. Profumo was the Minister of War (a government title now long discontinued) and the group thought that a "Minister of Beat" would be a novel idea. Nobody could think of anything better so that was it, or the MOB for short.
The "Ministers of Beat" big break came in April 1964, following success in the Peter Foot Rhythm Group Contest. Peter was the local “Brian Epstein” and this yearly event proved very popular with up to 50 local groups in the Kingston area. This resulted in Peter Foot setting up a theatrical agency, with the "Ministers of Beat" being the first group to be signed up. The group was also given the opportunity to do a recording test at Abbey Road Studios; the day after the Beatles recorded “A Hard Days Night” there. As luck would have it the Liverpool group has slightly more success!
Although the "Ministers of Beat" were not destined for stardom, they found themselves specialising in society functions, playing at many of London’s major hotels and clubs, which is where they got their taste for “free” champagne! They also played locally at Leatherhead’s Chuck Wagon club, where they had to make do with Watney’s Red Barrel. Incidentally, a few years later, the club was taken over by Mark Bolan’s group “John’s Children”.
Sadly the "Ministers of Beat" disbanded in 1966, as a result of David Kennedy being offered a job in the USA to work on the NASA space programme, to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade (this he achieved, with the help of a few others!!).
David Kennedy has stayed in the USA and Kris Robins has moved to Tenerife, where he works as a professional entertainer. However, this has not prevented the "Ministers of Beat" from holding their yearly reunions, in both the UK and the USA, details of which can be seen on the "Ministers of Beat" web page on http://www.krisrobins.com . Any old friends of the band are invited to contact Kris, for details of these events.
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