The Detours Did Find their Way to Fame

On a recent trip to the Hammersmith archive, the following pre-Who article was uncovered whilst Colin, Bernard and I were researching various newspapers on micro-film for future QPR articles. There, within a local Gazette dated 21st November 1963, was the headline: ‘The Detours are Finding Their Way to Fame’. Wonderful article and the rest, as they say, is history:

‘Are you getting fed-up with the Beatles ? Then try screaming for a home grown group: The Detours. I’m sure they would appreciate it.

Twenty-year-old Angela Dives of Gibbon Road, East Acton, is the girl to contact for information about the Detours. She is the President of their fan club (over 30 members and growing fast). And she has no doubts about the top-pop quality of her favourite group, though she wasn’t quite sure what made them so special.

“They have a good sense of humour,” she said after a little thought. “They laugh and crack jokes. And they can play very good harmonies.”

The Detours are apparently a versatile group, too. They all sing, they all play the harmonica, one of their guitarists plays the trumpet as well and the vocalist plays the trombone.

The founders of the group got their experience years ago in the dark days of Skiffle. Then they formed the Detours guitar group in the summer, 1961 – and went steadily from success to success. Now the group, originally a five-man organisation, consists of two guitarists, a drummer and a singer: Peter Townsend (19), John Entwistle (20), Doug Sandom (25) and Roger Daultry (21).

Roger, the vocalist, and John, the bass guitarist, were with the group when it was founded. The others have joined since. What happens when you join the Detours’ fan club, I asked ?

“We send you a photograph of the group and a letter of welcome,” said blonde Angela, who operates an accounting machine when she’s not dealing with the Detours fan mail. “And we’re planning to send out a news letter as well, though nothing has come of that yet.” Applications for membership are, I’m told, coming in fairly steadily. The average is three a day.

“And nearly all of them are from outside Acton,” said Angela jubilantly. “We have members in Tunbridge Wells in Kent, in East London – all over the place !”

That’s nice. But the time to start really celebrating will be when the fan mail starts pouring in from Liverpool.’

Doug Sandom later made way for Keith Moon of course. I’ve come across Doug Sandom twice at local tribute band gigs in recent years. His presence in the audience at the now defunct Greenwood pub in Northolt was heralded from the stage by ‘Who’s Who’ as it was later at Ruislip Football Club when the excellent ‘Small Shakers’ acknowledged him.

The Detours Acton 1963

Irish Jack very kindly sent me the above pic of the band which was taken at the White Hart in Acton in 1963 – my thanks to him for giving me permission to include it with this article.

Jack informed me that he managed to get back in touch with Angela Dives many years later. He also told me that she was a great help to him when he was compiling his book: ‘The Who Concert File’.

Steve Russell

9 thoughts on “The Detours Did Find their Way to Fame

  1. It’s amazing what ‘The Three Anoraks’ have discovered in our visits to the archives this being one of them. Several of our discoveries have changed QPR history and made the after visit drinks (and Meat Pies) a sacrifice worth making!
    It is brilliant to see these early ‘local band made good’ articles especially as the group became one of the biggest acts in the Rock World.

  2. Yes Steve that article was a great find in the archives. Pity we could not bring up that pic of Angela.

    Interesting snippet of info about Doug Sandom too.

  3. Great stuff,well done Steve,i’m sure i’ve said to you before my Dad used to be able to see John Entwistle practising in his bedroom while walking past his house opposite Old Actonians on the South Ealing/Acton border.
    There have been some fantastic books on the history of The Who, of particular interest is the list of all the venues they played at in West London, this find of yours is a great addition to that history.

  4. Great article and photo to match Steve.
    A local band with character and a rich history, where the music still lives on…
    says everything about them.

  5. Hi I noticed my dad Gabby Connolly in the pic, whilst looking for articles to show my son. He has loads of similar photo’s of his time as bass guitar and vocalist. He is still a mad QPR fan as are most of the family, and can still hold a tune!

    • Hello Gina,
      Steve Russell was kind enough to alert me to your post of January 20th. My apologies for taking so long to get back but I like a lot of other people have been laid low by the dreaded flu and bug that reared its ugly head in January. Could you ask your dad if he remembers me? I used to be at the White Hart in Acton High Street every Sunday night to see the Detours when the venue was run by Bob Druce. I have some great memories of seeing your dad sing the Country & Western numbers and I think he played a few times as a second vocalist with Colin Dawson at Boseleys in Shepherd’s Bush. I lived in Kelmscott Gardens just off the Askew Road. I think your dad went on to work as a breadman in the Greenford area. Please be sure to pass on my very best wishes to him, thanks. All the best to you and your family.

  6. Hi Gina. I’m a journalist writing a book about The Who in the 1960s, due to be published next year. I also grew up in West London. Have interviewed the band in the past and have now been speaking to old schoolfriends, roadies, producers, session musicians‚Ķ. I’ve been looking for Mr Gaby Connolly for some time. Do you think he’d talk to me for the book? Or would you be able to pass my message on? Please email me here
    and I’ll get back to you with all my info.

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