Artists like Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Chuck Berry and Little Richard heralded the arrival of a new sound in music that appealed to young people in post-war Britain.

Music came to define the rollercoaster, short life of Huddersfield-born Reg Calvert (1928-1966) who grew up in a musical family.

After hearing Haley’s Rock Around the Clock Reg's dream was to bring this music to Britain.

He came to Southampton after leaving the Army in 1950, when he, his wife Dorothy and two girls lived for three years in an old bus converted to a caravan on a farm in Hedge End.

His first job was as a hairdresser in Woolston for £4 a week. Reg played piano at the Station Hotel for 50p a night on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. He was a compere for big bands, worked at Coles fairgrounds and was also a TV engineer in Romsey.

Daily Echo: Outside their premises in Portland Terrace. Now demolished and a multi storey car park is there now

Reg made popcorn and ran a sweet shop in Northam. He also had a record shop and club in St Mary Street, called The Bandbox. It was here that Rory Blackwell attempted to play drums for 100 hours, with only comfort breaks. Rory managed 84 hours and this World Drumming Record stood for a long time.

The Bandbox became the well remembered Henrys Record Shop.

His wife had a print shop, Hartex Agency, on the ground floor where they later lived in 44, Portland Terrace. It printed advertising leaflets, flyers and posters. They also rented next door which was used to store band equipment.

He became a music promoter organising many rock ‘n’ roll shows, billed as Teen Beat dances or Teenagers Party Nights, around the Midlands and South.

Daily Echo: The initial Radio One DJ's in September 1967. Many had come from pirate radio stations

At the peak, the Calverts ran 28 dance halls across England and had acts such as the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks and the Hollies play their venues.

Gigs were organised locally at Crosfield Hall, Romsey, Eastleigh Town Hall or the Lido Ballroom, Winchester on Thursday evenings, and the Banister Ballroom, Southampton.

The Empire Hall, Totton was a Tuesday night venue and Southampton’s Royal Pier hosted acts on a Saturday night.

A popular place for musicians to relax was the Checkpoint Cafe downstairs in a cellar adjacent to the Bargate.

Daily Echo: The Bandbox in St Mary Street

Reg became manager of The Fortunes, Screaming Lord Sutch, Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours, and locally the Nevitt Brothers who at first he paid £1 per gig. The brothers did a summer season at the Butlins Ocean Hotel in Brighton with a young Redcoat named Jimmy Tarbuck.

As a former hairdresser Reg Calvert is said to have got Heinz Burt from Eastleigh to bleach his hair blond. Heinz went on to have a number one record with Telstar by The Tornadoes and is buried in Eastleigh Cemetery.

After leaving Southampton, Reg even set up a School of Rock ‘n’ Roll at Clifton Hall, near Rugby in Warwickshire to develop his acts such as the Rockin’ Berries.

Reg Calvert got David “Screaming” Lord Sutch, as a publicity stunt, to stand as an MP in 1963 following the Profumo Scandal. Dorothy wrote his manifesto. Sutch went on to stand a record number of 40 times for parliament mainly with the Monster Raving Loony Party.

Daily Echo: Promotional shot during the pirate Radio City days. They broadcast on 299 on the Medium Wave radio

After hearing Radio Caroline, Reg became owner of offshore pirate station Radio City, originally called Radio Sutch. It started broadcasting in May 1964 from an old Second World War fort in the Thames Estuary.

He was shot at point blank and killed on June 21, 1966, by Retired Major Ronald Smedley, a business associate. Reg had gone to Smedley’s house over disputed business debts.

Smedley said he feared for the life of his housekeeper and was acquitted on grounds of self defence.

Partly in response to the death of Calvert, the British government passed the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act 1967, which made offshore broadcasting a criminal offence as of August 15, 1967. The BBC introduced Radio 1 on September 30, 1967, to bring pop music to the nation.

Daily Echo: SeeSouthampton logo. Image: Echo

Martin Brisland is a tour guide with

Sources: David St John of and Susan (Calvert) Moore.