Top 10 Gigs in Seventies Manchester that shaped my guitar style – by Billy Duffy from The Cult


Billy Duffy : photo Mick Peek

Billy Duffy : photo Mick Peek

Billy Duffy

’10 Gigs in Seventies Manchester that shaped my guitar style’.


Billy Duffy has just released his own signature model Gretsch White Falcon and you can find out more about it and what he’s up to at

1) Slade/Thin Lizzy/Suzi Quatro
Free Trade Hall Manchester
15th November 1972 (aged 11)
“This was my first ever gig and my dad took me and a mate from school. It was an early Seventies night of ‘Yob Rock’ and it bought out my inner boot boy! It introduced me to hooky melodic guitar and soon after I joined the Slade fan club. Thin Lizzy were a three piece unknown band from Ireland, it was just before they had a hit with ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ and they really impressed me too.”

2) The Who
Kings Hall, Belle Vue, Manchester
2nd November 1973 (aged 12)
“This was Keith Moon’s last tour with the band and worth ‘wagging’ time off school to queue up and buy tickets just to witness the master stage performer Pete Townsend do his guitar hero routine. At that time he was the ultimate, coolest onstage guitar player and it left a big impression on me in terms of commitment to stage performing. I was also fortunate to play some gigs with The Cult supporting The Who a few years ago, which was great.”

3) Hunter Ronson Group.
Free Trade Hall, Manchester
21st March 1975 (aged 13)
“After Mick Ronson stopped working with David Bowie in 1973 he had a brief stint as the guitarist in Mott the Hoople. I got tickets to see them at the Palace Theater in Manchester but the tour was cancelled. I was absolutely heartbroken, and I still have the pain today that I never saw them with Mick Ronson. 
Some time later he formed a band with Mott the Hoople singer Ian Hunter so I had to get tickets for their tour. I remember the gig really well because nobody showed up, the venue was almost empty and I was really shocked. It was the first gig I’d ever been to that wasn’t full. But it meant that it was only five rows deep at the front so I got really close to one of my all time guitar heroes.”

4) Queen
Free Trade Hall, Manchester
26th November 26 1975 (aged 14)
“This was on their Sheer Hear Attack tour and they opened up the show with “Now I’m Here” then later Brian May did a mind blowing virtuoso solo to ‘Brighton Rock’. It just made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It was all using the analogue technology of the time; ‘echoplex’ tape delays to orchestrate his own solo and it was amazing. He used Vox AC30s and played with a sixpence as a plectrum. It’s really hard to explain because it’s very unique what he did, very organic and it was amazing.”

5) Be Bop Deluxe
Free Trade Hall, Manchester
14th February 1976 (aged 14)
“Bill Nelson had previously been a teacher in Huddersfield and one of my teachers at school knew him. This made our teacher a legend to us because he actually knew someone famous. This also meant our little gang of South Manchester guitar kids developed a thing for Be Bop Deluxe. We felt like we owned them as they were quite obscure and not very popular as it was before they’d had a massive hit with ‘Maid in Heaven’. On the night Bill Nelson was just an amazing, amazing guitarist who played a semi-acoustic Gibson with a great tone.”

part 2 of Billy Duffy from the Cult top 10 gigs that shaped my life is here…



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9 comments on “Top 10 Gigs in Seventies Manchester that shaped my guitar style – by Billy Duffy from The Cult”

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  1. Dear Billy,
    It’s always fascinating to listen to other folks’ show-history…you definitely got lucky in a few instances!
    Mind you, the Who-pedant in me cannot let the missing ‘h’ in PT’s surname go, or the idea that that Quad’ tour was Mr. Moon’s last hurrah.
    Forgive my small-minded mitherings, hah-hah!

  2. You will find surely a whole lot of details like that to take into consideration. That’s a fantastic point to bring up. I present the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly you will discover questions like the one you bring up exactly where probably the most fundamental thing will probably be working in honest beneficial faith. I don?t know if most desirable practices have emerged about things like that, but I am positive that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

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  3. Sorry to be anal, but i went to the Queen gig…my 1st…it was The Night Of The Opera tour…Bohemian Rhapsody got to number 1 the day before…they was amazing…then they went shite…& punk emerged from the swamps like a B-movie creaure ..still got the Queen gig on bootleg cassette!!

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