Wigan borough rock 'n' roll guitarist who wowed audiences around the world with The Beat Boys dies at 87
Tributes have been paid to a well-known musician who shared the stage with Georgie Fame and the Rolling Stones, after his death at the age of 87.
Ronnie Carr played bass guitar with The Beat Boys, a Leigh-based rock n’ roll, pop and skiffle band popular with audiences during the 1960s.
The group supported the Rolling Stones at Wigan Empire in 1963 – with Ronnie saying The Beat Boys “blew them off the stage” – as well as recording with Decca and accompanying top American artists on their tours.
They reunited in the early 2000s for several charity shows, helping to raise money for Dr Naqvi’s Heart Beat Appeal for improved cardiac care in the borough and Wigan and Leigh Hospice – which saw Ronnie win the 2008 Wigan Citizen of the Year award.
Ronnie dedicated his life to music and his son Paul Carr followed in his footsteps, performing around the world in Status Quo tribute band State of Quo.
Paul said: “In his late teens, when he met my mum June – his first wife – they were champion dancers. They used to go jiving and ballroom dancing and won lots of awards.
“It was just natural for him to get into music. He had never played before, he was self-taught.”
Ronnie’s first performance was at Leigh Miners Welfare Club in 1956 and he then formed a skiffle group called The Dominoes, which featured Clive Powell, who later became Georgie Fame.
The Dominoes performed at venues including Leigh Casino Ballroom and counted opera singer Thomas Burke, from Leigh, among their fans.
Clive left the band in 1959 and the following year it became The Beat Boys, with the group performing in Leigh and further afield.
In 1963 they signed a contract and their record was released by Decca and that November they supported the Rolling Stones.
The Beat Boys became known as a backing band in the mid-1960s and supported American acts, including Screamin’ Jay Hawkins on his UK tour in 1965, watched by a young Ozzy Osbourne.
The band stopped touring in 1966 and after a year-long residency in Wigan, they took a break from performing.
Despite their heyday being nearly 60 years ago, fans still enjoy the music and they were even honoured on the wall of fame at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.
Aside from music, Ronnie did various jobs over the years, including going down the pit and working as a milkman.
He had been married to Doris since 1984 and had three sons, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Paul said: “He was always interested in what we were interested in. He was a top dad.
"As a dad, he was my hero, like everybody’s dad I suppose. I was so proud of his history and doing what he did.
"I know he was proud of me as well, of all of us. I think he was particularly pleased I got into music like he did.”
Ronnie died on Monday, August 29.
A funeral will be held at 3pm on Friday, September 16 at Christ Church Pennington, with a eulogy by his bandmate George Twist, who was once Mayor of Westhoughton.
There will be a service at Howe Bridge Crematorium at 4pm, followed by a wake at Leigh Miners Welfare Club.