£18.99 plus £3.95 p & p
Plug Inn Volume One
£20 plus £6 p & p (Large Book)
Plug Inn Volume Two
£20 plus £6 p & p (Large Book)
Book takes look at music scene - Mar 22 2007 - by Lyndsay Kohberg, Bootle Times
A NEW book relives the Merseyside music scene in the 1970s through the eyes of an instrument shop worker.
Bootle-born Tony Bolland has put together Plug Inn The Book (The Forgotten Years) which had its official launch at The Cavern Club.
In it, he draws on memories of working in the Plug Inn store in Wavertree at the tender age of 16 – a shop owned by the world famous Frank Hessy and where the Beatles bought their first instruments.
Throughout the years, Tony kept diaries of every day occurrences and the famous bands he met, including Sting and the Police.
He continued the diary when he went on to manage Frank Hessy’s store in Liverpool city centre, aged 21, meaning he had countless inside information to produce a book based on his experiences.
When Tony became ill three years ago and was forced to retire from his teaching job, he decided the time was right to produce his first book.
Tony explained: “I decided to write a book about 12 years ago about the music scene in the ‘70s as it had not been covered before and I had all this inside information, as well as photos and posters.
“I left it until I became ill three years ago with suspected bladder cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
“I had so much time on my hands having to retire through ill health from a college in Liverpool where I was running courses teaching music performance, DJ-ing and sound engineering.
“The book was launched at the Cavern in November last year and nine bands from the ‘70s reformed to celebrate the book and that era.
“All the tickets were sold out and 22 awards were given out to artists for their contribution to the Merseyside music industry, including Billy Kinsley from the Merseybeats and Liverpool Express.
“The book has had many rave reviews.”
Tony is now working on volume two and three of the book while studying for an MA in popular music at Liverpool University.
Get plugged in to tales of city’s greatest musicians
- By Kate Mansey Daily Post Staff
- Nov 17 2006
FORGOTTEN tales of some of Liverpool’s greatest musicians will be revealed today for the first time in a new book.
The Plug Inn: The Forgotten Years will be launched tonight at the Cavern Club, in Mathew Street, at a party attended by many of the bands it refers to.
It features anecdotes and a fascinating insight into The Plug Inn – a music store in Wavertree’s Picton Road where John Lennon and Paul McCartney bought their first instruments.
Bands mentioned in the book including Colonel Bagshot, Splinter, Rocking Horse and Last Train will perform at the launch.
The book’s author Tony Bolland started working at The Plug Inn when he was 16 and at the time, kept a diary and detailed notes of his day-to-day job.
During his time at the store, Mr Bolland saw many of his musical heroes walk through the doors, looking for guitars before performing concerts in Liverpool.
He recalls losing the power of speech when, as a teenager, his idol Paul McCartney phoned up to ask for guitar strings.
Mr Bolland, 49, of Croxteth Park, worked at the Picton Street shop before eventually starting up his own business.
He said: “There were many funny moments over the years and as a teenager I hoarded everything I could, including the letter The Plug Inn first sent me to tell me that I had got the job.
“I got to meet many of my heroes while working in the shop – I sold instruments to Peter Gabriel, Sting and The Police and Hot Chocolate, to name just a few.
“And there were also a few surprises. I remember coming across a file of people who still owed money to the shop and there was a file on John Lennon who owed £35 – years after The Beatles became international stars.
“I did speak to Paul McCartney when I was 16. He phoned up asking for a machine head for his base and I was in shock and awe. I had to get my colleague to help him and then he ended up getting backstage tickets to the Wings concert. I couldn’t believe it.” The book is a timeless collection of rock and roll stories which show another side to the bands that made the Merseybeat era.
Mr Bolland revealed he has plans to turn it into a mini drama series for television.
He said: “I decided to call it ‘the forgotten years’ because it shows the rise of Merseybeat bands after The Beatles.
“It also shows the huge variety of music out there. In some ways it’s like a telephone directory charting all the bands of the time.
“But it’s also quite comical with funny stories I remember from that time.
“I put up a sign at one point saying anyone who played Stairway To Heaven when they tried the guitars would be banned because that’s all everyone played when they picked up a guitar.”