Mel and the boys celebrate 40 years on the road

It's party time as Second Opinion hold a charity gig in Dereham to celebrate 40 years of fun - and great music.

The backbone of Norfolk rock 'n' roll – Mel Holman's Second Opinion – are celebrating their ruby anniversary with a charity gig to mark 40 years on the road.

Bands come and bands go, but Second Opinion have survived and are still a class act – having entertained generations of music lovers over the decades.

Now it's party time and this is your invitation to join them for a knees-up to remember at Dereham Memorial Hall on Saturday, September 15.

Mel would like to see old and new friends as Second Opinion are joined by a dozen or so former members over the years.

Also playing will be Bump'n inta Lamposts and Bleaky and The Meerkats.

All money raised will go to the intensive care unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Most Read

It was back in 1972 when Mel Holman decided he had spent enough time in The Mick Hayes Sound and other people's bands.

'I wanted to play the type of 50s and 60s music I enjoyed before I got too old,' he said.

Mel got in touch with his good friend, the late, great Bobby Secker, of Memphis Index fame, for some advice on how to get a band together.

Along came musicians Steve Fenn from Gorleston, Stuart Henman from Long Stratton, Mike Powley who lived at Beetley and John Grey from Carbrooke.

Before long the boys were up and running. Second Opinion Rock was born until showbiz agent Phil Bevis advised them to drop the Rock bit.

The first gig was on September 13, 1972, at the Royal Hotel, Mundesley – Second Opinion had arrived.

As with most bands, members changed all the time and by the end of the year Robbie Goodyear, Ian Gillon and Ted Starkings had joined.

The boys graduated from the pub scene into clubland and were the star attraction at the Legs Club when it opened in Norwich, run by Nick Galpin, and they were also regulars at the Gala at the top of St Stephens.

They were also joined by guitarist Ronnie Broughton, ex-Berry and the Treetops.

'In 1974, we had our biggest gig, supporting Bill Haley and The Comets on what turned out to be his last ever British tour,' said Mel.

In the same year the band passed an audition to appear on Opportunity Knocks with Hughie Green and were about to travel to Birmingham to record the show when they received a letter from the TV company saying the programme had been axed.

The group was kept busy performing at the RAF and USAF bases and great venues such as West Runton Pavilion. A few years later they recorded a single King of the Raceway, which was played every time a winner was paraded around Swaffham stock car track.

Second Opinion continued gigging and recording throughout the 80s and in 1997 celebrated their silver anniversary. Tragedy struck the following year when their first lead guitarist Ted Starkings died.

Various musicians arrived as the band continued to work at holidays camps in the summer and gigging across East Anglia in the winter.

By 2004, they were only accepting bookings within a 50-mile radius to cut down on the amount of travelling and Ian Richardson became the road manager and sound engineer looking after the boys.

Second Opinion today comprises of John Butler, Colin Burrage, Agustin Ortega, Donnie Pegg and Mel Holman.

You need to buy your tickets in advance for the party at Dereham Memorial Hall on Saturday, September 15. They cost �7.50. Call Eric Perfect on 01362 695814, Eddie Richards on 01362 820911, Peter Plant on 01953 880403 or Mel Holman on 01493 701170.