The band then went onto Germany, October 1965, when Gary Unwin and Mick Douglas joined to replace Ted Harvey; they played at the Star Club just before Jimmy Hendrix arrived and made their first LP on Star Club records– “Snakes & Ladders”, mostly written by Brian, Gary and Mick. The band had great success whilst working in the Star Club. After the 1966 world cup the band members had a drinking session in a German club with Gordon Banks and other members of the Leicester City football team.
After leaving The Hi-
Malcolm joined up with Len Ford(lead guitar/vocals) and Frank Jackson (bass) in a band called The Chess Set doing numerous gigs and a residency at The White Swan, Crystal Palace. Malcolm met his wife Pat in 1970, who was doing part-
Malcolm was born in Thornton Heath on 21 October 1943 to Grace and Harry Wright; both his parents played musical instruments; his mother played the piano and his father played the banjo. He had a sister named Avril four years older than himself.
He went to Ingram School and left to join a microwave technology company, which was very futuristic, as an apprentice. Looking back he wished he kept this up but wouldn’t have given the band up for love nor money.
Malcolm went to school with Len Ford and Ian(Jim)Duncombe, where they played in a skiffle band. Brian Bennett joined the band after answering an advertisement and auditioned for the part as a pianist. Rehearsals were mainly held at Malcolm’s home. To get the best kit possible, a Ludwig, he saved long and hard. They did numerous gigs locally and some further afield, but their hearts were on the big time.
Eventually, they had a gig backing Kathy Kirby on her BBC 1 TV show with Ted Rogers as compere. They also backed Wendy Richards (Pauline Fowler from East Enders) who had a No1 hit with Mike Sarne, ‘Come Outside’, Rolf Harris, Heinz, Julie Rogers and many more. The programme hosted by David Jacobs called Juke Box Jury, where the panel gave new records the verdict of hit or miss. “Will yer or won’t yer”, was unfortunately given a miss. They also appeared on a BBC pop show 625 along with the Bachelors and other popular artists. The band played at venues in Torquay backing John Leyton, and Cheam Public Baths alongside Cliff Richard and The Drifters to name some.
The band eventually went abroad along with Malcolm Lenny, Brian Bennett and Ted Harvey. They stayed in Jersey for six months playing on an old boat called The Duchesse de Normandie known locally as ‘Sooty’ for blowing out thick black smoke, this sailed between Jersey and St.Malo. Many were the nights that Malcolm steered the boat as the captain on board was too drunk.
Before getting married and to earn extra money, Malcolm also played at the Aerodrome Hotel, Purley Way, Croydon with Len Ford and Frank Jackson doing dinner dance gigs. He played with numerous bands filling in for different drummers. When his children were very young he played at weekends at the Surrey Hills Hotel with Len Ford, Frank Jackson and Peter Randall, (who had previously been in a group The Blacksmiths with Len Ford) also for dinner dance sessions backing such celebrities as Roy Castle, Rolf Harris, and many more.
The last few gigs were for Pat’s 50th birthday and their 30th wedding anniversary (combined) in July 2002 which was held in their garden with band members Len Ford, Malcolm Lenny, Ted Harvey and Mick Douglas – this was a memorable occasion and will never be forgotten. They also played at Malcolm’s daughter’s wedding in July 2004 where he collapsed; a year later he suffered a stroke and died in July 2005 at the age of 61 years – may he rest in peace.
Many thanks to Pat Wright for putting together Malcolm’s profile.
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Malcom Wright’s old house in Thornton Heath 2012 where the band rehearsed for 5 years
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