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1976 (Feb) Buzzcocks: The band formed, officially, in February 1976; McNeish assumed the stage name Pete Shelley and Trafford named himself Howard Devoto.


1976 (Feb) After reading an NME review of the Sex Pistols' first performance, Shelley and Devoto travelled to London together to see the Sex Pistols in February 1976.


1976 (1 Apr) Buzzcocks played their first gig at the Bolton Institute of Technology on April 1 1976.


1976 (1 Apr) Buzzcocks:  They performed live for the first time on 1 April 1976 at their college. Garth Davies played bass guitar and Mick Singleton played drums. Singleton also played in local band Black Cat Bone.


1976 (4 Jun) The Sex Pistols gig was supposed to have been played at the Bolton Institute of Technology, now the University of Bolton.                                                                   Shelley and Devoto had arranged the gig but when college bosses heard about the antics of the Pistols, they quickly cancelled the concert.                                                     The pair were forced to scrabble around to find somewhere to host the gig, and eventually came up with the Free Trade Hall in Manchester.                                                             The idea was that Shelley and Devoto's band, Buzzcocks, would be the support band at the gig, which was set for June 4, 1976.


1976 (4 Jun) The Sex Pistols play their first Manchester gig - at Lesser Free Trade Hall, 4 June 1976.                                   Progressive heavy metal rock band called Solstice were the support band.                                                              The band, comprised of Dave Campbell, of Horwich, Geoff Wild, of Bolton, Paul Taylor, of Worsley, Paul Flintoff, of Walkden and Harry Box, of Bolton                                       Morrissey was there, who went on to form the Smiths. We know that the lads who went on to form the Buzzcocks were there because they organised the gig. We know that two lads from Lower Broughton were there who went out the next day and bought guitars at Mazel Radio which used to be on Piccadilly Station Approach, they formed a band called Joy Division; We know that Mark E Smith was there who went on to form The Fall; we know that Paul Morley was there who went on to become a writer and wrote about the scene for the NME etc.                                                                      In the audience were future members of the Buzzcocks Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley (who organized the gig and opened for the Pistols); a nascent version of Joy Division; the two founders of Factory Records Martin Hannet and Tony Wilson; Mark E. Smith of The Fall, Mick Hucknall of Frantic Elevators and much later Simply Red; and a one Steven Patrick Morrissey, who would form The Smiths.                                 The Sex Pistols played 13 songs in their set, including covers of Dave Berry’s "Don’t Give Me No Lip Child," Paul Revere and the Raiders “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone”, the Small Faces “What’cha Gonna Do About It,” The Stooges’ “No Fun”, and The Who’s “Substitute.” When asked for an encore, they played “No Fun” again. “Pretty Vacant,” “Problems,” "New York," “No Feelings” are all here in their raw form.                  The Sex Pistols would return three weeks later to play the Hall again, playing to hundreds this time and solidifying the dawn of the punk era.

Two students at the Bolton Institute of Technology were responsible for bringing the Sex Pistols to Manchester.

After reading a review of a chaotic gig by the group in London, Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto made it their mission to travel to London and find the Sex Pistols.

They sought out the band's manager, Malcolm McLaren, and arranged for Johnny Rotten and co to travel north to play a gig.

And music history would have been much different if things had gone to plan, because the gig was supposed to have been played at the Bolton Institute of Technology, now the University of Bolton.

Shelley and Devoto had arranged the gig but when college bosses heard about the antics of the Pistols, they quickly cancelled the concert.

The pair were forced to scrabble around to find somewhere to host the gig, and eventually came up with the Free Trade Hall in Manchester.

The idea was that Shelley and Devoto's band, Buzzcocks, would be the support band at the gig, which was set for June 4, 1976.

Buzzcocks played their first gig at the Bolton Institute of Technology on April 1 that year, but were not very good, by all accounts, and decided they were not going to be ready to open for the Pistols.

At this point, bassist Steve Diggle and drummer John Maher had not joined the band.

Ready to step into the breach were another Bolton band, Solstice. They were about as far removed from punk rock as you could be, grounded in the prevailing prog rock of the 70s.

The band, comprised of Dave Campbell, of Horwich, Geoff Wild, of Bolton, Paul Taylor, of Worsley, Paul Flintoff, of Walkden and Harry Box, of Bolton, has been shrouded in mystery ever since.

Their name was not included on the ticket, with Buzzcocks being afforded that honour despite pulling out. After playing at the Free Trade Hall, the band, who were no fans of punk, decided instead to move into the cabaret scene and the pubs and clubs of the North West.

According to the Bolton Evening News of March 30, 1977, Solstice was by then "making its own mark on the rock scene".

The report said: "On Tuesday, the band have a home gig performing for more than 400 people at Rivington Barn but most of the time they've been playing for next to nothing to get themselves known.

"The hard path to fame has taken them mainly to working men's clubs all over the North but quite often making an appearance lower down the bill to some of the bigger names."

Performing a range of their own tracks and cover versions, Solstice were to play to a much smaller crowd at the Free Trade Hall. But the impact of the concert was much bigger than its attendance.

Author David Nolan has written an updated version of his book, I Swear I Was There: The Gig That Changed the World, in time for the 40th anniversary of the gig.

He eventually tracked down members of long since disbanded Solstice for the first version of his book, published ten years ago for the 30th anniversary, and found some had left the country.

David said: "They were more of a hippy band, but they were the only band Howard Devoto could think of, as he worked with one of them at Beehive Mill for a summer job.

"They went on stage and thought they had played a good gig, but after watching the Sex Pistols they realised music was changing, and they were not part of punk."

The gig has also become the stuff of legend because of those who claimed to be there, and how it inspired those in attendance to form their own bands.

In his research, David found that just 28 tickets had been sold for the concert, but many more over the years have sworn they were there.

He did not attend the gig, but David's inspiration for the book came as a trainee journalist aged 16, when he did not believe a colleague who said he had been at the gig, until he brought in his ticket stub.

Among those said to have been at the Free Trade Hall that fateful night were future Smiths frontman Morrissey, the band Joy Division, The Fall frontman Mark E Smith, Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall and Granada TV presenter and Factory Records owner Tony Wilson.

The scene has since been immortalised in the film 24 Hour Party People, in which Steve Coogan portrays Wilson.

However, in reality David says that the idea that one concert changed everything so drastically represents a manipulation of the truth.

He said: "Sex Pistols played in Manchester four times that year, and I have spoken to several people at the first gig who say Tony Wilson wasn't there, that he was at the second gig.

"As a journalist, Tony knew the power of a good story and he helped to invent it."

So, if you believe the hype, one gig helped to change the future of music and Manchester music in particular, with The Smiths, The Fall, Joy Division, Simply Red and Factory Records all inspired by the Sex Pistols, with the help of two Bolton students who made it all happen.

They didn't do too badly for themselves either, with Buzzcocks scoring a number 12 hit with Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've) in 1978, and Devoto forming his own influential rock band Magazine.


1976 (Jun) Shelley and Devoto were impressed by what they saw and arranged for the Sex Pistols to come and perform at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester, in June 1976. Buzzcocks intended to play at this concert, but the other musicians dropped out, and Shelley and Devoto were unable to recruit other musicians in time for the gig.


1976 (Jul) Buzzcocks: Once they had recruited bass guitarist Steve Diggle and drummer John Maher, they made their debut opening for the Sex Pistols' second Manchester concert in July 1976.


1976 (8 Dec) Motörhead at Bolton Institute of Technology, Bolton, England.

1976 Heaton Grange Chorley New Road, Heaton, Bolton became a maternity home until it was eventually demolished in 1976.

1976 Railway Mechanic’s Institute burnt down in Horwich.


1976   It was in 1976 that Bury  & Elton Amateur Swimming Club’s new home of the Castle Leisure Centre was built and  has been their new base.


1976 Buzzcocks are an English punk rock band formed in Bolton, England in 1976 by singer-songwriter-guitarist Pete Shelley and singer-songwriter Howard Devoto. They are regarded as a seminal influence on the Manchester music scene, the independent record label movement, punk rock, power pop, and pop punk. They achieved commercial success with singles that fused pop craftsmanship with rapid-fire punk energy.                                                                          Devoto and Shelley chose the name "Buzzcocks" after reading the headline, "It's the Buzz, Cock!", in a review of the TV series Rock Follies in Time Out magazine. The "buzz" is the excitement of playing on stage; "cock" is northern English slang meaning "friend". They thought it captured the excitement of the nascent punk scene, as well as having humorous sexual connotations.


1976–1980 Willie Morgan (Bolton Wanderers) scored 10 goals in 154 appearances.


1976–1980 Jim McDonagh (Bolton Wanderers) made 161 appearances.


1977 (5 Mar) Boxing: Leon Spinks KOs Peter Freeman.


1977 (Apr) British Aerospace was created in April 1977 by the merger of the British Aircraft Corporation, Hawker Siddeley Aviation, Hawker Siddeley Dynamics and Scottish Aviation.


1977 (21 May) The 1977 FA Cup Final was the final match of the 1976–77 FA Cup, the 96th season of England's premier cup football competition. The match was played on 21 May 1977 at Wembley Stadium, London, and it was contested by Manchester United and Liverpool. United won the game 2–1. All three goals came in a five-minute period early in the second half. Stuart Pearson opened the scoring when he latched onto a long ball forward and drove a hard shot past Ray Clemence. Liverpool equalised through Jimmy Case soon after, as he turned and hooked a right foot half-volley into the top corner, giving Stepney no chance. However, just three minutes later, United regained the lead when Lou Macari's shot deflected off teammate Jimmy Greenhoff's chest and looped into the net past Clemence and Phil Neal on the line. Having already won the league title and then going on to win the European Cup four days later, United's victory prevented Liverpool from winning an unprecedented Treble – Manchester United became the first club to achieve this feat 22 years later. Referee Bob Matthewson (Bolton)


1977 (17 Jun) “The Deep” released.                                     Robert Shaw played Romer Treece.


1977 (1 Oct) Capitol Cinema Churchgate closed – A Star Is Born


1977 (1 Oct) The ABC was closed on 1st October 1977 with Barbra Streisand in "A Star Is Born".


1977 (25 Oct) Chris Thompson  made his debut for Bolton Wanderers  on 25 October 1977 in a League Cup match against Peterborough United.


1977 (Oct) Capitol closed as a cinema October 1977


1977 Chris Thompson signed professional forms with Wanderers in 1977 and made his senior debut later that year in a League Cup tie against Peterborough.


1977 Halliwell’s Film Guide first published


1977 Fortalice is a Bolton based charitable organisation opened in 1977 to assist woman and children who are affected by domestic abuse.


1977 The bleach works, once owned by Thomas Ridgway Bridson (Mayor of Bolton 1847-1848), in Chorley Street was demolished  

Two painted cast iron elephant and castles – the heraldic crest of Bolton – that originally stood on the gateposts now surmount the Marks and Spencer Charity Canopy in Victoria Square


1977-1978 Sam Allardyce (born 1954) helped Bolton Wanderers to win the Second Division title in 1977–78.


1977-1978 After narrowly missing out on promotion for the last two seasons, Bolton Wanderers finally ended their lengthy absence from the First Division by clinching the Second Division title.


1977-1978 An ever-present during the Second Division Championship-winning side of 1977–78, Jim McDonagh set a club record of conceding only 33 goals in a 42-match season. For the following two seasons in the top flight he was also an ever-present and did well enough for Everton to sign him for £250,000 when Bolton were relegated in 1979–80.


1977–1979 Frank Worthington (Bolton Wanderers) scored 35 goals in 84 appearances.


1977–1981 Terry Poole (Bolton Wanderers) made 29 appearances.


1977–1983 Chris Thompson (Bolton Wanderers) scored 18 goals in 73 appearances.  


1978 (9 Apr) Slade played Blighty's, Farnworth, Bolton, UK (with Paper Plane)


1978 (Apr) Peter Thomson retired in April 1978 after having played 132 matches for Bolton who were promoted that season to the top-flight.


1978 (24 Jul) Barry Goldin, BriSCA Formula 2 Stock Cars racing driver, who races under number 401, born in Bolton, Greater Manchester.

18th August 1978: The Bolton Wanderers team group ( manager Ian Greaves, Terry Poole, Peter Nicholson, Sam Alleridge, Alan Gowling, Jim McDonagh, Mike Walsh, assistant manager Frank Worthington, physiotherapist Jim Headridge,  Ray Train, Neil Whatmore, Roy Greaves, Peter Reid, John Ritson, Tony Dunne.


1978 (25 Sep) Ricardo Wayne Gardner, commonly known as Bibi, is a retired Jamaican footballer, born.


1978 (2 Oct) Joy Division at Bolton Institute of Technology, Bolton, England.


1978 (13 Oct) Bill Yates, 75, who kept goal six times in the league for Bolton Wanderers and 47 times for Watford during the interwar years, died.


1978 (14 Nov) Charlie Flood, 82, who scored 68 league goals as a forward during the 1920s for Hull City, Bolton Wanderers, Nottingham Forest, York City and Swindon Town, died.


1978 (Nov) In November 1978 Neil McNab was transferred to Bolton Wanderers for a fee of £250,000, making 35 appearances and scoring 4 goals, before Brighton and Hove Albion acquired his services for the fee of £220,000 in February 1980.


1978 (4 Dec) Michael Barrington Ricketts, English former football player, born.


1978 (Dec) In December 1978, Crompton’s Mule restaurant opened in a former grain store and garage on Spa Road.


1978 In 1978 Mike Walsh led Bolton Wanderers to the top flight as champions of the old second division, after narrowly missing promotion the season before.


1978 Ambulance Station moved from Cheadle Square


1978 Ruth Higham, a former Page 3 girl from Harwood near Bolton, England, born.                                                       She has modelled for the Daily Star and The Sun since 1998.

She attended C of E Canon Slade CE High School in Bradshaw


1978 While making repairs to Bolton Town Hall, Fred Dibnah was filmed by a regional BBC news crew.


1978 Nat Lofthouse became the Bolton's executive manager


1978 Little Bolton Town Hall was converted into a museum.


1978-1979 Frank Worthington (Bolton Wanderers) Football League First Division leading goal scorer: 1978–79


1978-1979 Frank Worthington scored 24 league goals for Wanderers that season and finished ahead of Liverpool’s Kenny Dalglish as top scorer in Division One to win the Golden Boot.


1978–1980 Neil McNab (Bolton Wanderers) scored 4 goals in  35 appearances.


1978–1982 Alan Gowling Bolton Wanderers scored 28 goals in 149 appearances


1979 (Jan) Horwich Masonic Lodge moved to Ridgmont House.


1979 (19 Feb) Andrew Buchan, English stage and television actor, born in Stockport, Greater Manchester.                         Brought up in the suburb of Lostock in Bolton, he attended the nearby Rivington and Blackrod High School in Horwich. He has worked as a concierge at the De Vere Whites hotel in Reebok Stadium.


1979 (Mar) Tadeusz Novak (born 1948) was the first foreign player to sign for Bolton in the post war era when moving from Legia Warsaw in March 1979 but he failed to settle away from his homeland and moved on from Burnden Park in 1981.


 1979 (Mar) Bolton Wanderers signed Tadeusz Novak (born 1948) from Legia Warsaw (Poland), March 1979, for ??50,000.


1979 (12 Apr) Paul Nicholls, actor, born Paul Greenhalgh in Bolton the son of Paul and Julie Greenhalgh.

 He attended Church Road County Primary School (Bolton) and Smithills Dean Secondary School and learnt his trade at the Bolton Little Theatre.


1979 (Apr) Frank Worthington (Bolton Wanderers) – His celebrated strike against Ipswich Town in April, 1979 – a Division One match broadcast on Granada Television, which Ian Greaves’ Whites actually lost 3-2.

The legendary striker drilled the ball past goalkeeper Paul Cooper after bamboozling the Ipswich defence with his amazing ball-juggling skills.


1979 (15 May) Cyrille Regis & Laurie Cunningham XI beat West Bromwich Albion XI 3-2 in the Len Cantello Testimonial Match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, Sandwell, England.


1979 (May) The Len Cantello Testimonial Match, (West Bromwich Albion XI v Cyrille Regis & Laurie Cunningham XI), was a testimonial football match that took place in May 1979 to celebrate West Bromwich Albion player Len Cantello, who played for the club over 300 times between 1968 and 1979. The teams were selected based on the colour of the players' skin. The West Bromwich Albion XI was composed of white players while the Cyrille Regis & Laurie Cunningham XI was composed of black players


1979 (Summer) Len Cantello (born 1951) signed for Bolton Wanderers in the summer of 1979 for a fee of £350,000

1979 (Oct) GMT opens Bolton Garage (Crook Street), designed to hold 220 buses (October).


1979 (15 Nov) William Farrimond (1903 – 1979), English cricketer, died in Westhoughton, Lancashire. 


1979 (19 Dec) Allan Ellis Clarke died at Smithills, Bolton

Mayor of Bolton 1972-1973.

1979 In 1979, Tadeusz Zdzisław Nowak (born 1948) signed for Bolton Wanderers in the English top flight, with the club paying Legia Warsaw 50,000 pounds and (3 tractors?).


1979 Halliwell’s Teleguide first published.


1979 The Queen’s Cinema   showed Asian films until its final closure in 1979.


1979 Fred Dibnah demolished a chimney in Rochdale.

Standing only yards away from the base of the chimney as it began to collapse, his retreat to safety and subsequent boyish outburst of  “ Did you like that?” endeared him to viewers


1979 Fred Dibnah, Steeplejack won the BAFTA award for Best Documentary


1979 In 1979, Len Cantello (born 1951) moved to Bolton Wanderers, spending three years with them.


By 1979 only eight mills remained.


1979-1980 Chris Thompson: His first league appearance for the club came during the 1979–80 season, appearing as a substitute in a 3–1 defeat against Coventry City.


1979-1980 Chris Thompson made 15 First Division appearances in the 1979-80 season in which Wanderers were relegated and went on to make 81 appearances for the club, scoring 20 goals

1979–1982 Len Cantello Bolton Wanderers scored 3 goals in 90 appearances.

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