DOZENS came to pay tribute to the late David Bowie on Saturday at the hall where he rocked East Lancashire in 1973.

They ranged from young children to the electrician who fixed the heating in his dressing room 44 years ago.

His music was played in tribute to the superstar and memories were shared and made.


More than 200 people turned up to launch a special series of events to mark his iconic performance in Blackburn when hundreds more came from far and wide to see him.

It was special moment in Blakey’s Bar at King George’s Hall for Ricky Smolenski, 60, who was a 17-year-old Blackburn Corporation electrician when Bowie’s Aladdin Sane tour touched down at the venue.

He said: “We helped out with the electrics for all the big acts.

“I came in and was asked to fix the heating in the band’s dressing room.

“Just after I had changed the fuse and got it working, in walked Bowie and the band.

“He shook me by the hand and said, ‘Fantastic. Thanks. It was freezing when we did the sound check this afternoon.’ “He was just a really nice, regular guy and I forgot to get an autograph. I got paid £5 overtime, the same as my weekly salary, to meet one of my heroes and see him play.”

At the other end of the age spectrum was seven-year-old Eli Orrell, there with mum Karen to see his teenage brother Thomas play Bowie and glam rock numbers with band Sky Valley Mistress.

With a face painted with the famous Aladdin Sane ‘lightning flash’, the Clitheroe youngster said: “I look a bit strange but I feel good. I’ve heard all about Bowie and heard his music thanks to my mum.”

Also on stage playing Bowie and other 70s songs was Teri Birtwistle, 23, from Darwen. Decorated with a lightning flash, she said: “I’m only just getting to know David Bowie and his music.

“It’s really good but very difficult to play. He was amazing.”

A series of events entitled ‘1973: The Year Bowie Came to Blackburn’ is being funded by the Heritage Lottery. and celebrates other major act that came to King George’s Hall including The Sweet, Slade, Steeleye Span, Status Quo, Mott the Hoople and Queen.

Project director Frankie Mullen said: “It’s been a really great night.

“This is about giving life to Blackburn’s music scene “It about getting young local bands to play and hopefully more big acts will come King George’s as they did in the 1970’s.”