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The Purple Gang

CHRIS (JOE) BEARD (of Poynton) formed his band “The Purple Gang” in Stockport College Art Dept. in 1965 as a folk/blues jug band, calling itself “The Young Contemporaries Jug band”. Within 12 months they had gigged The Free Trade Hall and The Northern Festival of Folk, Jazz and Blues and secured a London recording contract. Their new USA manager, the legendary producer Joe Boyd, recorded them in the same week and studio as his new “find” The Pink Floyd. It was at this time they changed names to “Purple Gang ”as they recorded their seminal banned single “Granny Takes A Trip”. Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd gave Joe a tape of songs with two “possibles” for Purple Gang :- “Boon Tune” and “Jug band Blues”. Unfortunately Joe lost this now priceless tape! On hearing “Granny” at playback, Syd Barrett declared “They can have No2. to our No. 1….!”

The Gang played alongside many stars and legends with Jimi Hendrix joining them stageside on bass one night for a set (UFO club April 29 1967).As the “pirate” ship DJ`s supported the band (such as John Peel and many more) the then all- powerful BBC banned the single because of one word –“Trip”. All TV appearances ,tours and USA recording deals ,mysteriously vanished overnight.

A frustrated and upset band, rowed and split up, only coming together to record their first album “The Purple Gang Strikes” on Transatlantic Records in 1968.

1969 saw a reformation as a well- respected University Circuit support act to many stars and legends. Sacked BBC Radio 1 D.J. Dave Symonds became manager, but no record company deal was secured.

In 2000 Joe Beard reformed them with new members and as a postscript to his career, secured a No.1 Radio Chart hit in Budapest with a song about 1960`s Stockport, amazingly knocking Britney Spears off the top spot.

Read more on a book has been written called “Taking The Purple”…Granny Takes A Trip and all that”..out very soon!
Biography added : 3rd August 2020
by Chris Joe Beard