He will always be known as our king of soul…the GI who arrived in Norfolk in the early 1960s and made it his home.

As we continue our A to Z journey through the 1950s and 60s meeting the musicians in the book The Anglian Beat, who many of us grew up listening and dancing to, we have reached the L.

Who does that stand for? Our very own Lucas of course, one of the greatest and best-loved singers on the local music scene.

Remember the Harlem Shuffle? His fantastic, all-action, stage act? And his signature tune, Walking The Dog?

He is featured in the bumper new book by Kingsley Harris for the East Anglian Music Archive which covers the early part of his professional music career.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1942, Bruce McPherson Lucas sang gospel songs in his local church with his family...but admitted later he didn’t enjoy it.

“Of all the people in my family, I think I was the worst singer,” he said.

In 1961 he joined the US Air Force and was posted to England stationed at Sculthorpe and Mildenhall.

“We’d have groups play at the bases; I just couldn’t believe the British appetite and passion for music,” he says.

“The musicians in the bands loved it all, and all that made me enthusiastic, especially because I loved soul. The local groups struggled with soul; it’s a style that is hard to teach. The feeling is within you,” added Lucas.

Eastern Daily Press: We rocked the nights away with the great Memphis Index. From the left: Tony Dee (Dann), Eddie

He would make Norfolk his home. In 1963 he joined the Norwich outfit The Emperors, one of the bands who had played at his base.

“Come and see Leaping Lord Lucas with The Emperors,” exclaimed one advert.

He met up with Geno Washington of The Ram Jam Band who recommended his friend to The Mike Cotton Sound and that led to recordings and tours with the likes of James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Gene Pitney.

“Gene was a great guy, well-mannered and had time for everyone. We became good friends,” he says.

Thanks Lucas. A great showman and singer.

We’ve reached L in our twist and jive across the 1950s and 60s.

Eastern Daily Press: Remember Mister Toad from the Gala Ballroom in Norwich? Philip Baldwin, Charlie Mayes, Stephen

Bands included:

The L SG, Hunstanton. An all-female skiffle group.

Les Electriques, Lowestoft. 60s band featuring many of the musical Parker family.

Les Hague & His Orch. Norwich. Les was a great guitarist operating in the city. They were the resident band at the dear old Gala Ballroom.

Lew Day & His Music. Norwich. Lew played with many outfits including Ken Stevens at the Samson & Hercules.


Eastern Daily Press: All suited up. The Millionaires (Coltishall). Morris Burlingham, Mick Miller, Malcolm Andrews and

The Mariners. Great Yarmouth. The band had been put together by Reg Flaxman and Geoff Kerrison and were regulars at The Ship Inn.

The MB3(4). Great Yarmouth. Formed in 1964 by John Parry, Charlie Marsden, Malcom Bartley and Alan Linford. The name represented Bartley’s initials, then Peter Pease joined and they became 4.

The MBJ Trio. Fakenham. Formed by the well-known and talented Jim Baldwin and Marcus Allum.

Memphis Index. Norwich. Our original rockers. What a great band who were regulars at our Golden Years gigs. So many members over the years since being formed in 1968. A class act.

The Millionaires. There were the Millionaires from Coltishall and The Millionaires from Great Yarmouth   

Eastern Daily Press: The Millionaires from Great Yarmouth. First seen at the Garibaldi’s Mod and Rock Group Comp. in

Mister Toad. Norwich. In January 1968 Mike & The Diamonds announced they were to become known as Mister Toad and became regulars at The Gala Ballroom supported resident DJ the much-loved Howard Platt.

*The Anglian Beat. An Account of the East Anglian Bands of the 50s and 60s complied by Kingsley Harris features more than 1100 local acts costs £30 and is available from City Books, Norwich, on eBay and Amazon or from info@musicfromtheeastzone.co.uk

Eastern Daily Press: Lowestoft based The Moonrakers played the Red Lion at Wangford at weekends. We have:  Dennis