Living the rockstar lifestyle, gigging and partying with your best friends and hitting the road with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Shadows as your soundtrack.
But almost 50 years after they first took to the stage a group of pals from Dudley have reunited to celebrate a music milestone and a homecoming gig.
They formed their band The Strangers playing to packed out crowds at a host of Midlands venues, living the life of the swinging sixties.
Brumbeat was the word on the lips of many music aficionados trying to break the next big thing after the stunning success of the Fab Four.
But it was the Black Country band gigging seven days a week that were packing clubs to rival their peers from up and down the country. The Strangers were among a few to impress the club bosses, playing the biggest tracks of the days.
“It was an amazing time. If you could remember the sixties you weren’t really there,” said former lead singer Roy. “We loved it. We’d be playing seven nights a week with hardly any time to rehearse.” Songs like It’s All Over Now by The Rolling Stones, Roll Over Beethoven by Chuck Berry and She loves You by the Beatles were among their impressive repertoire.
The Strangers morphed out of two other bands of the time – The Crestas and The Marauders in the early 60s.
Their settled line-up included lead guitarist Alan Clee, now aged 68 and living in Coseley, drummer Mick Aston, 71, from Dudley, 70-year-old Roy ‘Dripper’ Kent on vocals, Tony Dalloway, 71, from Lower Gornal, on rhythm guitar and bassist Jake Elcock, 69, from Sedgley.
Tony said: “There was no better feeling than playing in a rock ‘n’ roll band in the 60s. Our wives might not agree because very often they stayed at home with the children, but for the lads up on stage it was magic.”
They became well known on the Regan Circuit, created by husband and wife Joe and Mary Regan, as a platform for the rapidly expanding scene.
It included playing at dance halls, pubs and clubs across the region to devoted fans night after night.
Some were the legendary venues of the day like the Plazas in Old Hill and Handsworth, The Adelphi Ballroom, in West Bromwich, and The Ritz at King’s Heath. But one of their most popular haunts was the Gladstone Liberal Club, known as Dudley Jazz Club, in New Street, in the town centre.
Clubs would often pay them around £10 to perform and the group said they were delighted just to be paid to play each night.
Nights would be spent playing sets at pubs finishing off at 10.30pm before packing their gear into a van ready to head to the next venue for a late gig until 2am.
“In those days there was so much work that everyone had some money, and when they finished work they knew they could go somewhere that night and watch a band,” said Alan.
“You would just go up to the clubs and ask for a booking and generally get one.” Alan said the band had also been helped in compiling their memoirs by friend and historian Brian Nicholls.
Alan, Jake and Roy will take to the stage together again with performers from other well known bands of the time, including the Montanas, this December. They will be joined by a special guest on keyboards, Chris Groucutt, son of the late Kelly Groucutt, who was bass player with ELO.
The show, which also features other live acts, takes place on December 7 at Brierley Hill Civic Hall. Tickets are £12. Call 01384 812812.