PROMPTED by the Beatles for Sale tribute act who played the Paget Rooms earlier this month a local man has described his memories of starring in the town’s own Beatles tribute band.

Drummer Howard Henry Smith, 54,was Ringo in The Beatboys band of the early 1980s.

The band was formed in the garage of the group’s original drummer, the late Paul Duff, inspired by the discovery that fellow bandmate John Spear could sing like John Lennon.

Joining Paul and John in the band were Andrew Mules as George Harrison and Steven Shored as Paul McCartney.

Mr Smith said: “When Paul left the group I swiftly departed from rock ‘n’ roll band Ricky and the Ricochets to join The Beatboys as the new Ringo.

“I was initially impressed by their love of all the Beatles music, especially the old, gritty rock ‘n’ roll standards that the Beatles used to play in their Hamburg days before their global fame.”

“Many weeks were devoted to getting the Beatles sound just right, especially the vocals which became quite authentic.

“We then played regularly at the Paget Room ‘dances’, as organised by local legend Dave ‘Batman’ Goddard of The Sunsets with other groups such as The Mummies, Torture Reptiles and even the late Screaming Lord Sutch who nearly set me on fire with one of his stage explosions.

“I remember the Paget Rooms’ caretaker becoming terrified at the prospect of his curtains and building going up in flames.”

Eventually, the amount of work increased to the point that the band was playing up to eight times - not quite days - a week.

With manager Kevin Palmer finding them more work, they were eventually spotted by a BBC producer playing live at Butetown’s Dowlais Inn and subsequently performed on TV fuelling a boost in bookings as they hit the ‘big time’ before playing in Aldershot Army Camp Entertainment Gala and a tragic mis-booking at a heavy metal club in Hereford.

They often played in Cardiff Docks at venues such as the long-gone Paddle Steamer pub in Butetown as well as Penarth’s Ashgrove School for the Deaf.

The last time the band played together was in 1984, at their reunion gig at the original Gibbs, a tiny, basement jazz club in Cardiff.

Mr Smith then joined a Cardiff soul band before teaching drumming privately, lecturing in schools, doing TV and film work and judging ‘Battle of the Bands’ competitions.

“I am still a big fan of the Beatles,” said Mr Smith.

“But I feel that music lovers nowadays are being shortchanged by the lack of real talent in many modern bands.

“We need another ‘Beatles’ to raise the bar again.”