King

The         in Aden, 1965

Bees

About the group

The King Bees were a rock band formed from then-serving RAF personnel. It was based at Headquarters Middle East Command (HQMEC) RAF Steamer Point, Aden (now in the Republic of Yemen).

Although originally formed in the latter half of 1964, the line-up for the band was fixed for most of 1965. 

The group was managed by Sgt Bob Parmenter (RAF PTI) – a labour of love and payment in kind (Tiger Tops!).

Bob was instrumental in arranging a very successful “Festival of Pops” which was held at Steamer Point and featured The King Bees and the other main bands in Aden, in the summer of 1965. The event was attended by hundreds of people……were you there that night?

The band played all over the Aden area at various times, including: Gold Mohur, The Camel Club, The Mermaid Club and Lido at Steamer Point, the Naval Club at the Harbour and some Khormaksar venues – and just about all points in between that were suitable for partying and dancing!

Another group performing then was the Belvederes. They were a good Shadows tribute band: Vox, Fender Strat., CopyCat Echo, Hank B foxtrot and horn rims - the lot! Other bands playing the Aden circuit were: The Royells; Group Four; The Tearaways, The Dudes and The Chosen Few. There were certainly others ... but we cannot remember their names.

Were you a member of one of the bands listed above, or a band we’ve forgotten? Let us know through our contacts area.

Andre Francis (Back, right)
  
Rhythm guitar, vocals

Johnny Fry (Below)
  
Drums

Dave Gratton (Front, right)
  
Vocals

Steve Hutchinson (Front, left)
  
Bass guitar, vocals

Ron Lamberton (Back, left)
  
Lead guitar, vocals

Bob Parmenter (Front, middle)
  
Manager

This film was entitled ‘Routine Adventure in Aden (1965) - Royal Air Force Nostalgia’. It was posted to YouTube by ‘Italianoboy UK’ in March 2013

Influences

At the time The King Bees were forming, many of the bands in Aden played what was primarily an instrumental repertoire.

When the group took to the road seriously, the Aden music scene had changed to reflect what was popular in the UK at the time – bands like the Stones, Beatles and Hollies.

But we also played material by the artists who had influenced these groups – Chuck Berry; Arthur Alexander; Buddy Holly; Roy Orbison; The Everly Brothers; Jimmy Reed.

Ron Lamberton (Left)
Andre Francis (Right)

Photographs

Performances

The Mermaid Club at RAF Steamer Point

The ‘Get With It’(GWI) Club at RAF Steamer Point

The Steamer Point Lido

RAF Khormaksar Airmen’s Club

Recording session

The Mermaid Club Reading Room at RAF Steamer Point. Unfortunately, the recordings made here have been lost.

Steve and Andre

Music

This music was recorded at our last performance in the Airmen’s Club, Steamer Point.

The recordings were obtained using a very primitive method ... a microphone on a chair at the side of the stage and connected to an AKAI reel-to-reel tape recorder (then, the state of the art). The quality is reasonable, given the circumstances, but not good by today's standards.

The King Bees at the Get With It (GWI) club

Dave Gratton had already been posted back to the UK, so the line-up for the final performance was:

       Andre (Vocals, Rhythm guitar), Ron (Lead guitar), Steve (Bass guitar), A N Other (Drums)

Music included here:

  Rock and Roll Music                          'Til There Was You                        Surprise surprise   

  You Can Make It If You Try                Turn Over a New Leaf                   Heart of Stone

  I Call Your Name                               It's Only Love                              Route 66

  Hide Your Love Away                         Slow Down

Responses

Responses to the website have been received from ex-servicemen who remember or played in bands in Aden.

Ron Lamberton (Left)
Andre Francis (Right)

Withdrawal from Aden. This film shows the official side of the final withdrawal of British troops from the colony of Aden, 128 years after the Aden Expedition. High Commissioner Sir Humphrey Trevelyan boarded an RAF aircraft at RAF Khormaksar after a short handover ceremony on 30 November 1967. The last troops to leave were the Royal Engineers.

Contact

Webmaster:    Andre Francis   

         EMail:    andre.francis1@gmail.com

     Website:    www.andrefrancis.com