Original Members: Danny Orlino
Bill Lyons: guitar
Joey Simpson: lead vocals
Tuck Lyons: guitar
Tom Moran: bass
Later Members: Nick Garrett: lead guitar
Charlie Cates: lead guitar
Bobby Pickford: drums

The London Beats formed in February, 1966, about three years after Coronado and the rest of the U.S. were rocked by the British Invasion. Inspired by the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Herman’s Hermits, Them, and especially the Rolling Stones, the members of the band collectively decided to emulate the look as well as the sound. Upon seeing a photo of the band in a news clipping from an article in the Coronado Journal, the late Nick Reynolds of the Kingston Trio once contended that they didn’t look scruffy enough, a kind of confirmation that the London Beats had achieved the deliberately “packaged” look of British pop acts of the time.

The music was something else. Because the founding band members sought to emulate Rolling Stones’ aggressive, R&B driven sound, the London Beats weren’t as slick as they looked, opting instead for an imposing lead vocalist and the vibrant sound of not one or two but three guitars plus bass and drums. The band began when Joey Simpson, Bill and Tuck Lyons, and Tom Moran got together with Danny Orlino and Howie Clark.

Shortly after the formation, Bob Pickford replaced Howie on drums and Danny Orlino left to be replaced by Nick Garrett as lead guitar. The band achieved moderate success in playing the usual high school dances, pool parties, and car shows around Southern California. Nick Garrett was later replaced by Charlie Cates on lead guitar.

During the summer of 1967, Jay Traylor replaced Charlie Cates and Glen Stock replaced Bill Lyons and the name changed to the Louisiana Fish and Poultry. By the summer of 1968, college and the draft had become a preoccupation and the members went their own directions.

Bill Lyons became a building contractor in Coronado. Joey Simpson went on to become a painting contractor and astrologer. Jay Traylor continued playing and attended Berkley College of Music (only to later pursue a successful career in real estate). Bob Pickford continued playing and is now a college professor. Tom Moran went on to college and medical school before settling in Coronado as an MD. Charlie Cates left for the Navy and returned to San Diego for a medical career. Glen Stock finished college at UCSD and then took a job with the government, only to pass away at an early age. Tuck Lyons finished SDSU and took a job in law enforcement.

This entry was posted in Clarion Rock, Current Issue. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to LONDON BEATS

  1. Gene Montoya says:

    I’m looking for Charlie Cates. He went to school in Oak Harbor, WA in the early 60’s, played guitar with Steve Herzog (folk music) and did some rock and roll before leaving around 1966.

  2. Leah Cates says:

    I’m his daughter. I’ll ask him to contact you.

    Leah Cates

  3. Greg Pardue says:

    I’m searching for Charlie Cates. He was one half of the band Forecast in San Diego. His brother is Steve, his daughters are Leah and Rita, his ex-wife is Becky and he used to work at UCSD. If anyone has info or knows him, please contact me or have him contact me.


Please Leave a Comment or Question

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *