Nero And The Gladiators

  • Mike O'Neill (Nero)
  • 'Boots' Slade
  • Colin Green
  • Laurie Jay
  • Nero (Mike O'Neill) had previously played keyboards as a member of the 'Cabin Boys', the backing group of Tommy Steele's less famous brother- Colin Hicks. He and bassist 'Boots' Slade had formed the Gladiators originally with Laurie Jay on drums and Colin Green on lead guitar. Green was then the lead with Billy Fury's backing musicians the 'Beat Boys' who would later become 'Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames'. It was this Gladiator's line up that recorded the classic guitar led instrumental, 'Entry Of The Gladiators'. The follow up- 'In The Hall Of The Mountain King', with its wonderful vocal intro- "Ah, say there Brutus, like, where is this king's pad?", featured the guitar work of Joe Moretti and drums of Tommy Brown, as did 'Bleak House'. Apart from these sessions, Joe also spent several months on the road in the band's ever changing personnel.

    Despite the minor success of the first singles, the original line-up didn't last long and Green moved off to take care of what he presumably saw as a more secure future with the 'Blue Flames' shortly after recording their third offering 'Czardas'. A lot of personnel changes followed and the group managed to record only one further single, 'Tovaritch' which no longer credited 'Nero' in the roll call.

    'Boots' Slade ultimately became a member of the Alan Price 'Set' and Mike O'Neil transferred his piano playing to the Ivy League, before joining 'Heads, Hands and Feet'.

    1950s & 1960s 45rpm UK Discography

    • Listings include UK 45 singles releases only
    • Collector's Items are shown In Red

    Decca F11329 1961 Entry Of The Gladiators/ Boots #37
    Decca F11367 1961 In The Hall Of The Mountain King/ The Trek To Rome #48
    Decca F11413 1961 Czardas/ That's A Long Time Ago  
    HMV POP1134 1963 Tovaritch/ Bleak House  

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