Revealed: Harrogate music legend's early years

Flashback to nearly 60 years ago - Harrogate music legend Stuart Colman in his first rock band at Harrogate Grammar School.
Flashback to nearly 60 years ago - Harrogate music legend Stuart Colman in his first rock band at Harrogate Grammar School.

The music industry has been in mourning for one of its greats - legendary producer, musician and broadcaster Stuart Colman, who died last week after a lifetime of hit productions and hailed from Harrogate.

Among those paying tribute has been Harrogate musician Bob Mason, who played guitar in Harrogate band Ricky Fenton and the Apaches when they supported The Beatles at Harrogate's Royal Hall in 1963 and was there at the birth of Stuart's music career as a schoolboy friend at Harrogate Grammar School in pre-Beatles Britain.

Stuart Colman

Stuart Colman

Bob Mason said: "I met Stuart when we were five-years-old at Grove Road infants and then we both attended the main school there.
"I remember in the music lessons. Stuart was very good and was usually given the snare drum, while I had to make do with a triangle or tambourine!
"We had a few years apart when I attended Woodlands School but met up again aged 11 at Harrogate Grammar.

"From the age of about 13 we both hung about in the same gang and like all teenagers in the late 50’s we were mad about rockn &roll. so much so, by that time I was learning guitar and Stuart had managed to put together a basic drum kit that his dad (Walter- a famous Harrogate musician (pianist) scrounged up from somewhere!
"Three or four others now joined us and we played some school gigs and also the infamous “Bilton hop”(it's a dental surgery now) taking our basic gear on the bus or a hand cart.

"A few years passed and Stuart got a job near Coventry in a technical design dept. we met up in Harrogate and on one occasion he showed me a Hofner bass that he was learning and was joining a group called the Beat Preachers and going pro. next thing he joined Pinkertons Assorted Colours (later Flying Machine) and then became a DJ on radio one with his own rock n roll hour on a Saturday.
"Next his skills took over as a record producer and he had much success with Shakin’ Stevens, Phil Everly, Albert Lee etc.

"Next he moved to America and produced many country-rock hits with famous stars. his next-door neighbour in Nashville was Duane Eddy (another hero of mine in the early days) who was a godparent to at least one of his kids.

"When he was back in the UK a few years ago, Denise and I met up with Stuart and Annie and I got an introduction to Duane at one of his concerts.
"We had always kept in touch and met up a few times every year- the last time i saw him was late last year and he was having a few health probs and at the start of 2018 said that we will meet up later this year when he and Annie were in Yorkshire again.
"This sadly was not to be and the music world has now lost another ‘great guy’.