Aylesbury Vale music legend and Barron Knights member Butch Baker announces final performance

He will be sharing stories of life on the road from the 60s to the present day
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Aylesbury Vale resident, Butch Baker, a music legend and former co-founder of The Barron Knights, has announced his last public performance.

Wing Sports and Social Club will host an evening in conversation with the musician, now aged 82, on April 20 and 21.

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Butch's career has taken him around the world as a member of The Barron Knights and he will be sharing stories of life on the road from the 60s to the present day.

Join Butch Baker in conversation at Wing Sports & Social Club on April 20 and 21Join Butch Baker in conversation at Wing Sports & Social Club on April 20 and 21
Join Butch Baker in conversation at Wing Sports & Social Club on April 20 and 21

Promoters say the event offers a unique opportunity to listen to Butch in conversation with life-long friend Nick Smith and relive the Barron Knights’ story

Butch, an old Cedars School boy who now lives in Wing, said: “We’re doing two shows but it will be mixed emotions as it will be my last ever public performance.

"We’ll be going over 60 odd years so there’ll be a lot to talk about .People will be able to ask questions and we’ll have a screen showing old photographs and film of old Barron Knights’ shows, so it should be entertaining, but I’m terrified, he admitted.

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“It was Nick’s idea and I suppose we started to plan it around six weeks ago. It will be great to see some old and new faces and the event will also be raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.”

Butch, who’s real name is Leslie John Baker, officially retired in 2007 but has continued to work and occasionally perform with different bands including The Barron Knights before their farewell tour and last show at The Stables in Milton Keynes in 2022 .

He added: “Nowadays I’ve still got a guitar and meet up with a couple of blokes who were also in bands for jamming sessions in Leighton Buzzard every week. I also meet some old choir friends, it’s important to keep busy.”

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The Barron Knights originally formed in 1959 in Leighton Buzzard, as The Knights of the Round Table. They became The Barron Knights in October 1960 and started by touring and playing dance halls, becoming one of the few acts to tour with both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

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And although they produced records in their own right, it was their impressions of other bands that brought them the greatest success with Butch credited for sparking the band's comedy genius.

They first came to fame in 1964 with the number "Call Up the Groups". It parodied a number of the leading pop groups of the time including The Searchers, Freddie and the Dreamers, The Dave Clark Five, The Bachelors, The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles.

The song featured various artists singing about being conscripted, or "called up" into the British Army, although conscription had ended in 1960. The single went to number 3 in the UK Singles Chart. One of the songs ‘Bits and Pieces’ by the The Dave Clark Five was parodied as ‘Boots and Blisters’.

The Barron Knights have had many highlights during their musical career including performing on Sunday Night at the London Palladium and at Buckingham Palace.

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They also boast the biggest record of any band – with 300 appearances at the Palladium.

In an interview with the Leighton Buzzard Observer Butch explained how early in their careers he bought an LP of The Four Preps, a Californian band who had recorded an album in one take, talking to the audience, singing songs and telling stories, which inspired Peter Langford, co founder of The Barron Knights, to take a comedy stance.

Butch told the LBO earlier: "I wrote some lyrics on my mum's kitchen table, and changed [songs by] The Rolling Stones, Beatles, The Searchers, Dave Clark Five...and a couple of fellow band members sat down and fiddled around with them.

"When we were doing the dance halls the whole audience just stopped and gathered round the stage and shouted out, 'Do it again!'

"I thought, 'I think 'we've got something here!'"

Indeed they had – and the rest, as they say, is history.

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“I’ve been a lucky boy, we had a lot of success in the 60s and then a load of hit records in the 70s. Not bad for a boy from Pitstone.”

The Barron Knights continued to perform for a worldwide audience up to 2013 with a line-up featuring only Pete Langford from the original line-up. Fellow founding member Barron Antony retired on October 5, 1985, with Butch Baker retiring in January 2007, and being replaced by Len Crawley. The group’s original lead singer, Duke D'Mond, died on April 9, 2009.