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Malcolm Wright R.I.P - Drummer 1957-1969

The band then went onto Germany, October 1965, when Gary Unwin and Mick Douglas joined to replace Ted Harvey; they played at the Star Club just before Jimmy Hendrix arrived and made their first LP on Star Club records– Snakes & Ladders, mostly written by Brian, Gary and Mick.  The band had great success whilst working in the Star Club. After the 1966 world cup the band members had a drinking session in a German club with Gordon Banks and other members of the Leicester City football team.

After leaving The Hi-Fi’s on the 15th April 1967, he returned home, which was now Southsea in Hampshire. His mother had divorced and moved down there with his gran to be near his uncle Tom. He had a break for a few months and returned to Crystal Palace renting his very own flat.  He got a job as a panel beater and also worked for Len Ford’s dad doing suspended ceilings and woodwork jobs.

Malcolm joined up with Len Ford(lead guitar/vocals) and Frank Jackson (bass) in a band called The Chess Set doing numerous gigs and a residency at The White Swan, Crystal Palace.  Malcolm met his wife Pat in 1970, who was doing part-time work as a barmaid there and working full time for RCA Records . In January 1971 Malcolm returned to Germany for six weeks along with Mick Douglas, in a band called The Bonzo Do Da Band.  Malcolm and Pat got married in July 1972 when he played at his own wedding reception alongside Len Ford, Frank Jackson, Malcolm Lenny and Don Reedman who stood in to play drums whilst Malcolm did his duty to dance with his bride. They have two children – Nick who plays the drums, he started at 15 years old, never had any lessons from his dad, he just got behind a kit and off he went (he still has his dad’s original Ludwig kit) and his daughter Claire, mother of two children Chloe and Jack.  Malcolm then worked for a record wholesaler, which also ventured into the jeans retail market. When it folded they dealt with mail order records/classical and world record club box sets. When this eventually ended they went into the frozen food retail trade. Eventually he went out on his own doing decorating and refurbishments.

Malcolm was born in Thornton Heath on 21 October 1943 to Grace and Harry Wright; both his parents played musical instruments; his mother played the piano and his father played the banjo.  He had a sister named Avril four years older than himself.  

He went to Ingram School and left to join a microwave technology company, which was very futuristic, as an apprentice.  Looking back he wished he kept this up but wouldn’t have given the band up for love nor money.

Malcolm went to school with Len Ford and Ian(Jim)Duncombe, where they played in a skiffle band.  Brian Bennett joined the band after answering an advertisement and auditioned for the part as a pianist. Rehearsals were mainly held at Malcolm’s home. To get the best kit possible, a Ludwig, he saved long and hard. They did numerous gigs locally and some further afield, but their hearts were on the big time.  

Eventually, they had a gig backing Kathy Kirby on her BBC 1 TV show with Ted Rogers as compere. They also backed Wendy Richards (Pauline Fowler from East Enders) who had a No1 hit with Mike Sarne, ‘Come Outside’, Rolf Harris, Heinz, Julie Rogers and many more.  The programme hosted by David Jacobs called Juke Box Jury, where the panel gave new records the verdict of hit or miss. Will yer or won’t yer”, was unfortunately given a miss. They also appeared on a BBC pop show 625 along with the Bachelors and other popular artists. The band played at venues in Torquay backing John Leyton, and Cheam Public Baths alongside Cliff Richard and The Drifters to name some.

The band eventually went abroad along with Malcolm Lenny, Brian Bennett and Ted Harvey. They stayed in Jersey for six months playing on an old boat called The Duchesse de Normandie known locally as ‘Sooty’ for blowing out thick black smoke, this sailed between Jersey and St.Malo.  Many were the nights that Malcolm steered the boat as the captain on board was too drunk.  

Before getting married and to earn extra money, Malcolm also played at the Aerodrome Hotel, Purley Way, Croydon with Len Ford and Frank Jackson doing dinner dance gigs. He played with numerous bands filling in for different drummers. When his children were very young he played at weekends at the Surrey Hills Hotel with Len Ford, Frank Jackson and Peter Randall, (who had previously been in a group The Blacksmiths with Len Ford) also for dinner dance sessions backing such celebrities  as Roy Castle, Rolf Harris, and many more.  

The last few gigs were for Pat’s 50th birthday and their 30th wedding anniversary (combined) in July 2002 which was held in their garden with band members Len Ford, Malcolm Lenny, Ted Harvey and Mick Douglas – this was a memorable occasion and will never be forgotten.  They also played at Malcolm’s daughter’s wedding in July 2004 where he collapsed; a year later he suffered a stroke and died in July 2005 at the age of 61 years – may he rest in peace.


Many thanks to Pat Wright for putting together Malcolm’s profile.

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Len Ford's Memories of Malcolm Malcolm Lenny's Memories of Malcolm

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Malcom Wright’s old house in Thornton Heath 2012 where the band rehearsed for 5 years

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