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The story of Trapeze

Louder Sound publishes online a Classic Rock 2018 feature on the band that gave Glenn Hughes to the world — Trapeze.

Fronted by the future Voice Of Rock, Trapeze were soon on board the Express To Success. But then Deep Purple came calling and walked off with the golden-throated goose

Growing up in the mid-60s in Cannock in the West Midlands, Glenn Hughes had three heroes. The first two were those of many other kids: George Harrison and Eric Clapton. The third was a teenage guitarist three years ahead of Hughes at school, name of Mel Galley.

It was Galley’s example that convinced Hughes to ditch trombone lessons and pick up the guitar. And when at 17 he was offered the chance to join Galley in a local covers band, Finders Keepers, he leapt at it, switching to bass guitar so as to be able to fill the vacant role. The band enjoyed a measure of success on the Midlands club circuit. But as the 60s came to a close, audiences looked for things more original and challenging.

In 1969 their enterprising manager, Tony Perry, decided to take away Hughes, Galley and drummer Dave Holland, and pair them with a couple of older hands from another covers band he looked after, The Montanas. Teaming up with singer/trumpet player John Jones and keyboard player Terry Rowley, they became Trapeze.

Continue reading in Louder Sound.

16 Comments to “The story of Trapeze”:

  1. 1
    Gregster says:

    ROTFLMAO !!!

    I could think of many words & phrases to describe GH, but manners & respect for others must take heed here, especially since history speaks / shreaks for itself with the “DP (overseas) Live Series Mk-III releases, & all query becomes resolved…

    But this headline phrase takes-the-cake…

    qt.”But then Deep Purple came calling and walked off with the golden-throated goose”…

    Cough, cough…I’m not sure about golden-eggs being laid, but there was a lot of shyte left behind where-ever this goose nested lol !

    Peace !

  2. 2
    stoffer says:

    We just saw Glenn Hughes perform 1 week ago today! I was apprehensive to say the least. I had only seen him live on the Burn tour in ’74 but the recordings with his out of control screaming and whooping were still in my head! Let’s just say there was NONE of that, he and his band were fantastic!! They did only Purple material playing most of the Burn LP a couple from Stormbringer & CTTB and Highway Star. Glenn interacted with the crowd all night (much more than DP). GH mentioned Trapeze a couple of times to great reactions from the crowd to which he was seemingly surprised. After this Burn anniversary tour he said he’s closing this chapter of DP and going back to writing new music. Glenn’s playing and singing were OUTSTANDING as well as the band, incredible show for sure. Getting Tighter was just so spot on and they came back for the encores of Burn and HStar during which he passed his bass playing off to I’m assuming a roadie and just did the vocals! Go see them if you can you will not be sorry!!!

  3. 3
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I love the way Nick phrased that “the band that gave Glenn Hughes to the world”.

    And no, Gregster, you will ABSOLUTELY NOT add one your snide remarks to that! :mrgreen:

    Alas!, Trapeze, the unsung Brummi3 heroes. “Whimsical” is a good way of describing them in their early, pre-trio fledgling state. They were that brand of Baroque late 60ies UK pop (with the Moody Blues being audibly their role models). But their stuff had undeniable charm even though it is very much of its time. Considering that he was only a kid then, Glenn’s voice already made you listen up:


    Herr Hughes, you’ve got to hand it to him, always got himself heard, whether it was with Trapeze’s first single where he upstaged the more conventional 60ies pop voice of John Jones when he joined in on the chorus parts (at 01:00)


    or in the magnificent coda of Pat Travers’ Stevie (at 05:12)


    There’s a reason why Glenn was so much in demand as a session singer, he really elevates any chorus, here at 02:54 for instance (but you really hear him contributing throughout the song):


    That one-off Crüe album with Corabi is vastly underrated.

    Finally, the more I read about Dave Holland’s drum pupil molestation conviction, the more I have my doubts.


  4. 4
    DeeperPurps says:

    Glenn Hughes is a stellar musician – as a songwriter, bass player and singer. His exuberant whoops and hollers in Mark III Purple can be written off as over-enthusiasm by a possibly chemically-enhanced youngster. That those great talent scouts Blackmore, Lord and Paice saw something special in Glenn early on cannot be denied. And through the years since then, his catalogue of performances with notable musicians (read: Gary Moore, Tony Iommi, et al) are all top drawer. Hughes is one of the greatest members of the Purple family.

  5. 5
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Alas!, Herr Gregster, resident chief propagandist of the Anti-Hughes-League could not pass this thread without leaving his mark 🦨, I just knew it …🤦🏻

    But thankfully, Stoffer, manfully overcame his own trepidation and is now one of the converted, amen.🙏

    I’m receiving/refreshing my “Hughesy” (as Jon would call him) rites in spring when I’m lined up to see him at two German dates – really looking forward to those. I’d really like to ask him then what the secret behind his ditching the bass for Highway Star every time is … 🤔

  6. 6
    Rock Voorne says:


    I have thought for many years the story about Dave Holland to be true.
    It seemed his peers ghosted him thinking as well it was true.

  7. 7
    Gregster says:

    LOL !!!

    Stoffer said qt.”I had only seen him live on the Burn tour in ’74 but the recordings with his out of control screaming and whooping were still in my head”! …


    Leiber Uwe said qt.”Gregster, you will ABSOLUTELY NOT add one your snide remarks to that”!

    qt.”What do I need, what do I need, what do I need “???!!!….”Whoop, whoop, whoop…!!!Two, Two, Two”…”I don’t want to see any fat people sittin’ down”…!!!”I wanna see everybody’s asses shakin’to the left”…!!!” I wanna see everybody’s asses shakin’ to the right”…!!!”Whooop….Whoooop”…!!!

    0… < ( This is the egg GH left most of us )…

    He could sing & play well for sure, but this goose over-cooked himself beyond well-done…

    Peace !

  8. 8
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “He could sing & play well for sure, but this goose over-cooked himself beyond well-done …”

    Well, I’m happy to hear at least that teen-weeny admission from you, Honorable Gregster! Sure, little Glenn sometimes got a bit carried away vocally and with his announcements (though the “asses shaking to the right and left” is perfectly ok stage rap speak) with half of Colombia’s vegetation up his nose, but he was actually a very reliable bassist who never missed a beat (his general style just left more space and set more dynamic highlights than Roger’s smooth carpet of notes) and had a keen musical ear for what Little Ian was playing. And if you listen closely, it is actually DC who was more often off-key live in Mk III days than Glenn. I know that Glenn’s vocal tone grates with some people (my wife for instance, who calls his falsetto “steely”, similar to Tina Turner’s voice of which she is not a great fan either) + his constant melismas (by now de rigueur with nearly all female artists), but he actually has excellent natural pitch.

    And to put everything into perspective: Ritchie’s frequent mood swings and mannerisms tarnished quite a few Mk III performances too. When Glenn started to refuse to go on stage for encores with Mk IV, I believe he had picked up some bad habits from the Strat-wielding Professor Severus Snape of prior line-ups!

  9. 9
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Way to go DeeperPurps @4, we two keep the Hughes flag flying high in the face of insurmountable Gregsterian naysayerish odds!


    Let the man sing!


    And play bass!


  10. 10
    Gregster says:


    Uwe said qt…”And to put everything into perspective: Ritchie’s frequent mood swings and mannerisms tarnished quite a few Mk III performances too. When Glenn started to refuse to go on stage for encores with Mk IV, I believe he had picked up some bad habits from the Strat-wielding Professor Severus Snape of prior line-ups” !

    Yes, RB had some “issues” for sure, that likely have mellowed a little in today’s world perhaps. I suggest that RB was frustrated by many issues that he couldn’t resolve, since the were out-of-his-hands, & yet he allowed these things to directly affect him & his moods.

    IP sums RB perfectly, when he sates qt.” RB can be the easiest person in the world to get-on with, but if he wakes-up in the morning with an issue that stays with him all day, we’ve ( the band ) got a problem”…

    GH served DP within the capacity that shaped his wasted future…The drugs messed-up everything for him for decades, & he didn’t even know…Imagine what he could have become, & what he could have achieved with the bands he was involved with ???

    What a waste, & we’ll never know, because it wasn’t meant to be ! There are far better people & musicians out there.

    Some folks see him in a brighter light, but I see him as a bomb that exploded from one band to the next, dissolving them as he plodded along… But surprisingly, opportunity kept knocking on his door, & miraculously, he managed to clean-himself-up once his life had mostly passed-him-by, & even more surprising is the fact that he’s still alive.

    He treated Tommy very-well, & wanted to party with him regardless of whether he got the job with DP or not, so that makes some concession in my eyes, but none-the-less, it also spelt the doom of Mk-IV before it even had a chance to take-over the world of music, which it would have given a few more years imo. Mk-IV was sublime, but torpedoed before it had a chance to bloom.

    No golden eggs it seems were delivered, just one over-cooked goose.

    Peace !

  11. 11
    Uwe Hornung says:

    If your point, lieber Gregster, is that Glenn did not fulfill his potential post DP, then I’m perfectly with you. He did not join another band of similar stature for any longer time period, never cracked the popular market as a solo artist, never entered the singles charts (except when he sang on the KLF’s What Time Is Love) and unlike DC – who started from the same (if not weaker) position (sans the addiction demons though) failed to free himself from the DP shadow with an own band such as Whitesnake which by the late 80ies had eclipsed DC’s DP heritage in the US, hairy Whitesnake’s main market.

    I guess the time for Glenn to build a lasting post-Purple career would have been the late 70ies/80ies – that was of course exactly the time period in his life where he was in a cocaine addiction haze and one project after another floundered. By the time he got to his feet, Nirvana had happened and it was increasingly difficult for a rocker his age to gain commercial traction.

    It’s too late now, Glenn is forever caught in an “ex-DP time warp”, serving the fringe market of DP family fans. I’d wager the guess that at his gigs today there is not a single person who is there for his solo work only (and only got to know him via that) and not because of his Trapeze/DP pedigree.

  12. 12
    Gregster says:


    GH was also very-much hit & miss, in that he wanted to be a front-man when relegated a bassist & back-up singer role (DpPrpl), & yet floundered perhaps when the role was his to take ( Blck Sbbth).

    He certainly had opportunities offered / given to him where he could have made himself a staple name. And even if you have a name / credentials to sell yourself with, there’s always the young-ones wanting to break-in to the scene for their chance, as time moves on.

    No doubt he knew & partied with all the “big names” in the game, & that may have helped him stay in the game all these years…

    At least he’s not remembered as Deep Purple’s “Syd Barrett”, & we hope people don’t turn him into such…Fingers crossed he keeps doing what he does for as long as he can, as he is satisfying a Mk-III itch that many seem to appreciate, & that’s a good thing.

    Peace !

  13. 13
    Rock Voorne says:

    @ 11

    Before 94 I never had witnessed GH live or seeing bands perform MK 4 stuff live.
    Only a Dutch cover band on a festival in Hellevoetsluis, I think 1981 was the year, did an attempt at The Dealer, and the Rover from Led Zeppelin
    It seemed almost nobody in the audience seemed familiair with these tracks.

    I was 4 years on my way into music and had not experienced most of the Deep Purple family output as well.

    GH did a great show, he used foul language all the time, hey I thought he was reborn X ian, clearly having fun he could do a whole set because the Headliners frontman from The Damned(sic)was ill.

    For some tours I welcomed every rendition of a DP track, Trapeze, Hughes/Thrall etc.

    Though not liking all material he made so many great songs, incl the sessionworks, I d not have mind him doing a very eclectic evening without the known classics.

    I dont know if it, by now, will draw an audience.

    I saw years in which he “only” dedicated a part of the concert to oldies.

    Yet its a pity he felt, despite his earlier outings on it, he felt he had to do them, these oldies.

    Its weird getting bored while he is doing great shows.

    Fortunately he always found ways to make it sound fresh, although sometimes a bit too loud or shrieky 🙂

  14. 14
    Albania says:

    Glen Hughes is a great singer and bass player. His playing on You Can’t Do It Right still gives me goosebumps to this day.
    I saw him live for the very first time on April 24, 2019, at the Wall Street Theater, Norwalk, CT. He was excellent.
    Covid had already started to become a concern in the US leading up to Glen’s show. There was an uneasy feeling in the air.
    As it was the case with many other shows throughout the country, people were not very keen to turn up for live events.
    The Wall Street Theater is a wonderful/intimate venue. In fact, post Covid, Buddy Guy, Yngwie Malamsteen, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd played there and they all delivered great shows.
    With Covid lurking in the air leading up to Glen’s show, I feel like he was robbed of the turnout that he deserved and which would have easily packed the venue.
    Nonetheless, Glen was a true professional. He did not make any excuses and delivered an amazing performance of MKIII DP material (plus Highway Star).
    The band was on fire, and Glen definitely gave everyone in attendance their money’s worth.

  15. 15
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Look what I found, a 16-year-old Glenn pre-Trapeze with the Finders Keepers from Wolverhampton:


    http://www.brumbeat.net/fks03.jpg (with Dave Holland lower left and Mel Galley upper right who were also in a late incarnation of the Finders Keepers before morphing into Trapeze)


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXmUBMiYp3Q (you can hear Glenn’s backing vocals distinctly from 01:11 onward)

    Yes my brethren, on Sadie (The Cleaning Lady) you hear the future Deep Purple bassist, the future Judas Priest drummer and the future Whitesnake guitarist taking their first tentative steps at no-holds-barred PROTO-METAL! 🤣

  16. 16
    Frater Amorifer says:

    Rock #6, don’t be so quick to accept the accusations against Dave Holland. While I don’t claim to know the facts, I do know that there are many people in the world who, for reasons known only to themselves, knowingly and deliberately make false accusations. His peers ghosting him could easily be from their own fear of being falsely accused, rather than them believing him to be guilty.

    Beware of false judgement, for it is a destroyer of Light.

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