20th Jan, 2022

MUSIC MATTERS - Celebrating 50 years of Coventry's Lieutenant Pigeon

Coventry Editorial 13th Jan, 2022

COVENTRY Music Museum curator Pete Chambers BEM writes for the Observer.

A real coup for the Coventry Music Museum

Fifty years ago, a sound was heard that rocked the music world, critics stumbled to ‘pigeonhole’ it, but it was truly unique.

Two ragtime pianos played in syncopation, with a very un-rock ‘n’ roll penny-whistle bridge mashed up with caveman like growled vocals that barely prevented the song being 100 per cent instrumental.

It jangled its merry way, but there was a subliminal darkness and melancholy to the whole thing.

Despite it being performed by a quartet that bizarrely included a mother and son in its line-up, for four amazing weeks at the back end of 1972 ‘Mouldy Old Dough’ by Coventry’s Lieutenant Pigeon held the top spot and created a fascinating legacy 50 years on with the record eventually selling 2million copies worldwide!

On February 19, The Coventry Music Museum will open its new exhibition ’50 Years of Mouldy Old Dough’ which will look at this extraordinary record and the people behind it. Highlights will include a reconstruction of the front room of 25 Kingsway where the record was recorded, a new and exclusive interview with Rob and Nigel, a chance to have a selfie with Lt Pigeon himself and a rather strange way of accessing some of the mind-blowing trivia connected to this song and its legacy.

I have wanted to showcase an exhibition for Lieutenant Pigeon at the museum for many years, now in its 50th year the time is right and it’s such a ‘coup’ (or should that be ‘coo’) to get Pigeon’s Nigel Fletcher and Rob Woodward onboard to make it official.

It will be a lot of fun and I hope people will be happy to learn about this song that was beyond ‘novelty’ by a band that was beyond ‘one hit wonder’ status.

Apart from the Pigeon displays in February, part of last year’s Ghost Town Exhibition is still on show at the museum.

Plus, new exhibits that celebrate 60 years of the Beatles’ first concert in Coventry, 60 years of ‘I Remember You’ from Frank Ifield and 15th anniversary of the Enemy’s ‘We’ll Live and Die’ are also new for 2022. Plus, you can still sit in the actual Ghost Town car here at the museum.

The museum based in the 2-Tone Village on Ball Hill, Coventry is open from 10am to 4pm Thursday to Saturday (last entry at 3.30pm) and Sunday from 10am to 3pm (last entry at 2.30pm)

Entry is £4 for adults, £1 for children and £2 for senior citizens and students.

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