Rocking for the Ritz

Rock’n’roll event to honour iconic venue.

A great afternoon of rock’n’roll-inspired music organised by will take place at Fletchers Bar on Sunday 10th July. As well as commemorating the many famous musicians like Bill Haley, Gene Vincent and Jerry Lee Lewis who performed at the now burnt down Ritz Ballroom opposite Fletchers the session will also showcase Harry Jordan – an exciting new local talent.

When Jerry Lee Lewis first performed at the Ritz Ballroom his chauffeur had to be shown the way to King’s Heath from another Regan owned venue – The Plaza in Handsworth – by a fan travelling on his mate’s motor bike. When Gene Vincent played the Ritz Ballroom on 21st June 1963 he was supported by a band called The Outlaws featuring Ritchie Blackmore later of Deep Purple and Rainbow fame. Bill Haley is also known to have played at the Ritz as well as up and coming British acts including the young Joe Brown and Cliff Richard!

Keeping with this tradition but also recognising the role women like Sister Rosetta Thorpe played in the development of rock’n’roll, rising female star Harry Jordan who recently released her debut EP Blowin’ Up Your Jukebox to great critical acclaim and has just released a brilliant new single Bad Woman from her second EP Devil In A Push Up Bra will bring along her band to play mainly self-penned tracks influenced by rockabilly, skiffle and blues with witty lyrics about life and Birmingham.

Local residents Bob Prew and Ken Whittaker, who are joint organisers of the event, said “We are really delighted to be able to showcase such an exciting new talent as Harry Jordan while still celebrating King’s Heath’s amazing musical heritage. Most of the musicians who played the Ritz Ballroom in the 1950’s and 60’s were very young and at the start of their careers. We believe Harry could go on to have an equally successful career. Now’s the time to see her in a small intimate venue while you still can.”

Among others on the bill will be Harborne based rock’n’roll band SwiftBeat returning by popular demand to play some classic hits of the 50’s and 60’s. Advance tickets cost £4 from Kitchen Garden Cafe or £4.40 from Any remaining tickets will cost £5 on the door.