The Rockets
Elmer Goodbody


Musical History

The Early Years................

I was now 19 and allowed to go into a public house and so it came about that I visited the Maypole pub one Friday night and playing there was this bloke with an electric guitar. I was totally fascinated, it was a Hofner Club 60 and it looked fabulous. I remember him playing 'Guitar Boogie Shuffle' and I sat there with my mouth in my pint. I'd searched the papers to see if there were any groups playing and got to see a few even though there weren't many around in those days as skiffle had been 'the thing'. I also saw 'The Grasshoppers' at the Ritz Ballroom in Kings Heath with Brenda Bosworth and Mickey Bakewell singing, with Dave Carter on lead guitar. Mickey Bakewell was an excellent singer and the girls would gather round him and scream! He was my first rock and roll hero and influenced me greatly. The Ritz would book several groups to play their circuit and it was nothing to see 2 or 3 groups in one evening. Soon there were groups springing up daily.
I had a mate who had a piano and he taught me how to play the 3 major chords needed to play rock and roll in every key. I learnt how to boogie a bit and so started playing piano at the Maypole pub on a Saturday night. The guy with the Hofner guitar used to come and join in and to me it was heaven. Then when I'd finished somebody would pass the hat round and I would head off home with my trousers hanging 'round me arse' from the weight of all the pennies.
One night I was playing when this Teddy Boy came up to me and said that he was entering a competition to find the 'Elvis of the Midlands' and would I back him on the piano. To which I said "Yes please". He got to the final round which was held at a pub in School Road Warstock. We had learnt the song 'I go Ape', which included another chord that I had to learn! The night arrived and the place was packed with all his mates. There were lots of other acts on and we were due to appear last. So I sat through the night in anticipation, but my 'Elvis' never showed up. I reckon he must have either got the shakes or pulled a bird and decided not to come. The organiser asked me if I wanted to carry on and all his mates were cheering me to go on. So I got up and sang and yes, thanks to the lads, ended up winning. So there I was - a singing pianist - I'd got the bug!
I was working a regular Friday night, playing piano and collecting pennies, when in walked a bloke by the name of Cyril Viles who asked me if I was interested in joining a group. Of course I said "when do I start". I first met the group at the Arial Motorcycle Works in Selly Oak as Cyril worked there. There was Graham Bull (Drums), Max Griffiths (Lead Guitar), Horace Hunt (Rhythm Guitar) and Brian Cope (Double Bass) and yours truly on Piano and vocals. But only able to play the piano if the venue had one! Otherwise vocals only and sex machine (or so I thought back then). The name of this group was 'The Chequers'.

This group played a few gigs in and around town and members changed until the name change and line up became

Mike Sheridan & The Nightriders

Dave Pritchard (Rhythm Guitar), Roger Spencer (Drums), Brian Cope (Bass), Max Griffiths (Lead Guitar) and me. Max left and was replaced by big Alan Johnson.


This line-up managed to secure a recording contract with EMI through auditions held at the Moat House club in Birmingham with the late Norrie Paramor. It came as quite a surprise to me to have passed the audition with a song that we did tongue in cheek called 'Gone Fishing', with Roger as Satcho and me as Bing Crosby! I don't think we quite took it seriously enough, but Norrie obviously saw something else in us, especially as he turned down The M & B 5 (later to become the Moody Blues and several other famous names to be. I could hardly believe that we recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios, home of Cliff and The Shadows, The Hollies and of course The Beatles. We recorded 3 singles with this line-up and even though it didn't hit it big, 'Please Mr Postman' became a turntable hit and did a great job in securing our name in the Rock & Roll manuals.
It was 1963 when Brian Cope left to be replaced by Greg Masters of The Climbers. Then Big Al decided to knock it on the head. He held the auditions for his replacement and picked a young bloke by the name of Royston Wood. He was something else. Strange clothes, strange fact very strange! I didn't particularly want him in the band, but I was outvoted and must admit, glad I was as he proved to quite a talent, leading us into harmonies and some very different songs. We became a 'groups' group. We carried on and changed our name to 'Mike Sheridans Lot' releasing our 6th and final single in 1966, which was 'Don't Turn your Back On Me' - a Jackie DeShannon song. It was produced by Hurrican Smith who himself later had a hit, but I can't remember what it is called! He told us that we had a number one on our hands and we came out of Abbey Road thinking this will be it, but of course in truth it didn't get many plays. Just a few months later Roy decided he was leaving to form a brand new supergroup. I asked him the name of this group to which he replied "we're gonna be called 'The Move'". Well, I laughed, but really I was sad for Roy to be leaving. He left and the rest is history.........  


The times spent working with this group were unrepeatable as we played with many famous bands of the day such as The Beatles, Small Faces, The Who, Them, Spencer Davis Group, Little Richard, the great Gene Vincent and many, many more - far too many to list.
If only I'd kept the posters! We appeared on many TV shows to include The Five O'Clock Club,
Juke Box Jury, Thank Your Lucky Stars, and The Tinger & Tucker Club.


We spent many months constantly on the road in those days it was possible that we could be doing up to three gigs in one day, but had very little equipment to cart around, unlike these days. We did all the usual gigs - Germany etc. Our van was always covered in lipstick and telephone numbers and we couldn't wait to get outside after the gigs to read the new messages on the van to see who got the was usually Roy or Roger.


Front row - Roy Wood, Little Richard, Mike Sheridan

Back row - Greg Masters, Dave Pritchard, Roger Spencer

We auditioned a new lead player and started rehearsing with our 'find', who was the late Johnny Mann, from Carl Wayne's band 'The Vikings'. But it wasn't the same for me anymore and I guess as with most groups you reach a peak and its time to move on, which is what I did. I returned to an ordinary job as a milkman. This job gave me time to get a new band together and that's when 'Mike Sheridan's New Lot' hit the scene - Terry Wallace (Rhythm) Colin Timmins (Bass) Pete Oliver (Lead) and Joe Dignam (Drums). We gigged around town and I always remember a gig at the Carlton Club in Erdington - on the night the line up was Mike Sheridans New Lot plus support 'The Nightriders'. What a strange gig that was for me. The old boys had taken on a young guy called Jeff Lynne and boy was he good. I remember at the end of the night getting up with the 'old lot' and singing a couple of songs - very strange. Of course they went on to become 'The Idle Race' and I went on to be very pissed off that I'd left as I liked the bands new approach of all the members contributing equally on vocals. 


Roger Spencer recently came across this picture of the man who took over from Roy Wood - the late Johnny Mann.  This is the only picture that exists of this line up.  



Mike Sheridan & The Nightriders

Live at the Birmingham Locarno

During the late '70's - Line up Dave Carter (Lead Guitar/vocals), Keith Slater (Drums/vocals), Mike Sheridan (Guitar/lead vocals) and Noel Tadman (Bass Guitar/vocals.

Click here to visit Locarno




The Barmaids Aims - TV Show

Mike Sheridan & The Nightriders trio


In 1983 the line-up of the Nightriders was  -  Tony Kelsey (Lead Guitar/vocals)- pic left, Keith Slater (Drums/vocals) -pic right , and myself on vocals and Bass Guitar, just for a change.  In 1985 we secured a series on BBC TV with Malcolm Stent called 'The Barmaids Arms'.  It was a great little three piece and we were kept very, very busy playing all round the country.

We continued on the 60's theme and became known for being a harmony band.

t was during this time (15th March 1986) that I also had the opportunity to play guitar with The Applejacks at the Heartbeat concert at the NEC and then leading to several other bookings with the band.  This was a great honour for me as I have always been a fan of the Applejacks and 'Tell me When' is one of my favourite 60's songs

Keith and Tony then went on to do their own projects, Keith formed his folk band 'The Fastest Bat' which both Tony and I had a dabble in at some time! Tony continued with his session work and gigging with Alvin Stardust. Both have played in bands with me over the years and still do to this day.

Wait until the music track playing has finished and then click on the links below