T I M E L I N E  -  1 9 6 0 s

 

May 24th 1946 Steven Upton born, Wrexham, Wales

 

October 1st 1947 Martin Robert Turner born, Torquay, Devon, England

 

February 19th 1950 Andrew Powell born, Stepney, London, England

 

August 2nd 1950 David Alan (Ted) Turner born, Yardley, Birmingham, England

 

August 27th 1953 Lawrence Mark Wisefield born, East London, England

 

1961 Wishbone Ash's founding member Martin Turner begins playing guitar at the age of fourteen on a "beat up old Spanish instrument" (later he moves to bass). Martin had already displayed a musical talent from a much earlier age, having sang in a church choir.

 

November 1963
Martin and his guitar playing brother Glenn Turner, together with drummer Phil Hesketh, form their first band, The Torinoes, who soon build up a respectable following in the West Country area, playing the music of the Shadows, Johnny Kidd, Chuck Berry, the Everley Bros, Little Richard, Ray Charles and Wayne Fontana. Martin holds down a day job at Webber and Stedham builders merchants in Torquay in addition to gigging regularly in the evenings.

 

October 2nd 1964
Martin Turner joins the Musicians Union, the cost of subscription being 16s/3d.

 

October 1965
The Torinoes change their name to the Empty Vessels. Phil Hesketh is eventually replaced by Adrian Smith.

 

July 16th 1966
At an Exeter cafe called Dirty Dot’s, the Turner brothers meet Steve Upton, a relatively well known figure on the West Country music scene who already had a wealth of touring experience behind him, having played with several bands - one of whom had even toured the German club circuit.  Martin and Glenn Turner invite Steve to join their band to replace the departing Adrian Smith, an offer Upton accepts.

 

July 20th 1966
Steve Upton rehearse with Martin and Glenn Turner for the first time.

 

July 23rd 1966
Martin, Glenn and Steve play their first gig together at the Paulk Arms, Torquay.

 

May 13th 1969
Martin and Glenn Turner, and Steve Upton move to London and turn fully professional, having already built up a reputation on the pub/dance hall circuit in the Torquay/ Exeter area.  By this stage the Empty Vessels have changed their name to Tanglewood. Tanglewood spend the next couple of months playing club gigs around London and trying to secure professional representation.

 

July 1969
Glenn Turner decides to return home to Torquay and Tanglewood play their final gig at the Country Club, Hampstead. It is here that Martin and Steve first met Miles Copeland III, an American expatriate brought up in Beirut by a Scottish mother and a southern American CIA agent father. Copeland offers to manage Martin and Steve and help them build a new group.   An ad is placed in “Melody Maker”, which reads: "LEAD GUITARIST: Positive thinking, creative and adaptable, for strongly backed group with great future."

One of the replies to the ad comes from Birmingham born guitarist David "Ted" Turner (born August 2nd 1950, no relation to Martin). Ted started playing guitar at the age of sixteen, but has little experience of playing in bands, except for a Birmingham blues band called King Biscuit. Another applicant is the more experienced Andy Powell (born East London February 19th 1950), who has played with several semi-pro soul bands since taking up guitar aged eight. Although not originally intending to recruit two guitarists - the original idea had been to add a keyboard player to the line-up - Martin and Steve, unable to decide between Andy and Ted, invite both guitarists to rehearsals to see how they play together. Ted and Andy's styles gel perfectly, the search for a keyboardsman is abandoned and both guitarists are asked to join the band, creating the famous twin lead guitar sound that would subsequently become the band's trademark.

 

September/October 1969
The new band spend several weeks writing and rehearsing at Miles Copeland’s home. A new name is also decided on - Wishbone Ash - the two words put together by Martin Turner from two separate lists of potential names compiled by the band.

 

November 10th 1969
Wishbone Ash perform their first gig in front of 500 people at Dunstable Civic Hall, supporting Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation, for which they are paid £5! The band continue to gig throughout 1969/70, including support slots for Slade, T-Rex, Taste, Caravan, Mott the Hoople and Smile (the latter featuring future members of Queen).