Mothers (music venue)

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Former Mothers Club 02.JPG
The building in March 2013
Former names Carlton Ballroom
Address High Street
Location Erdington, Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Coordinates 52°31′24″N 1°50′25″W / 52.523195°N 1.840335°W / 52.523195; -1.840335Coordinates: 52°31′24″N 1°50′25″W / 52.523195°N 1.840335°W / 52.523195; -1.840335
  • John 'Spud' Taylor
  • Phil Myatt
Type music venue
Opened 9 August 1968 (1968-08-09)
Closed 3 January 1971 (1971-01-03)

Mothers (formerly the Carlton Ballroom) was a club in the Erdington district of Birmingham, West Midlands, during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Mothers opened above an old furniture store in Erdington High Street on 9 August 1968.[1] The club, run by John 'Spud' Taylor and promoter Phil Myatt, closed its doors on 3 January 1971. Between these times, more than 400 acts performed there, many of whom went on to greater success.[2]

Well known live recordings that took place in Mothers were the recordings that Pink Floyd released on Ummagumma, recorded on 27 April 1969,[2] and parts of "Facelift" by Soft Machine, released on Third, recorded 11 January 1970.

The Who performed Tommy and Traffic's world debut took place at Mothers along with fledgling heavy metal bands like Black Sabbath playing some of their earliest gigs there.[2]

Some of the other well known rock bands and artists to play Mothers include: Family, Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Eclection, Edgar Broughton Band, Free, Roy Harper, Blodwyn Pig, Strawbs, Quintessence, Steppenwolf, Deep Purple, The Deviants, Jethro Tull, Jon Hiseman's Colosseum, Skid Row (with Gary Moore), The Nice, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Elton John, King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, Soft Machine, The Chicago Transit Authority, Moby Grape, Canned Heat (there is a reference to the club in the sleeve notes of their 1969 compilation Canned Heat Cookbook) and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and Karakorum featuring Martin Chambers later with The Pretenders.[2]

While returning home to London from a performance at Mothers[3] on 12 May 1969, Fairport Convention's van crashed on the M1 motorway, killing drummer Martin Lamble, aged only nineteen, and Jeannie Franklyn, guitarist Richard Thompson's girlfriend. The rest of the band suffered injuries of varying severity.[4]

Mothers was voted number one rock venue in the world by America's Billboard magazine and John Peel, a regular DJ at the club, was quoted as saying: "People are amazed to hear that for a few years the best club in Britain was in Erdington."[2]

Roy Harper later told Brum Beat magazine:

That was the first club outside London that meant anything at all and that's why there's been this long association [of Harper] with Birmingham. I played there about six times between 1968 and 1970. I have always enjoyed playing here.[5]

On 13 July 2013 a Blue Plaque was unveiled at the former Mothers building


  1. ^ Brum Rocked On! by Laurie Hornsby, ISBN 0-9536951-5-8
  2. ^ a b c d e Duffy, Kevin. Mothers 1968-1971 - the home of good sounds. Birmingham, England: Birmingham City Council. ISBN 0-7093-0217-7. Archived from the original on June 9, 2008.
  3. ^ "Richard Thompson: Solitary Life". BBC. Retrieved 2012-09-14. Missing or empty |series= (help)
  4. ^ Sweers, Britta (2005). Electric Folk: The Changing Face of English Traditional Music. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195174786.
  5. ^ Mabbett, Andy (Jan–Feb 1995). "Just Like Starting Over". Brum Beat. Birmingham, England (168): 17. Archived from the original on 2013-02-13.

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