JUNE 1968 and AFTER

This section includes articles and interviews specifically about Timebox from various publications.  Articles are reproduced faithfully, with only obvious typos changed. 

TIMEBOX: THIS WEEK'S BEST DISC (from Disc and Music Echo, June 1, 1968)

BEGGIN' (Deram) -- In a week of rather mediocre boring records this one stands out as certainly one of the very best, if not THE best record.

Timebox, who are highly rated by everyone who has seen them on the club circuit, re-vamp the Four Seasons song with a fantastic frantic quality.  All bongos and vibes and some clever but not too obvious strings sweeping away.  It doesn't let up for a moment and Michael Aldred has every right to be very very pleased with the production and net result.  If it's not a hit there's something very very wrong and it's going to be all your fault!
          OUT TOMORROW

DISC NEWS IN BRIEF (from Disc and Music Echo, June 1, 1968)

TIMEBOX whose new single "Beggin’" is released this Friday, will tour France for six days from July 5 – and record a special live LP for the French market.

"Beggin’" is released in six Continental countries on June 14 – Holland, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Luxembourg.

TIME BOX RETURN   (from Melody Maker, June 1, 1968) *

Time Box, whose recent trip to Paris was ruined by the student riots, return to the French capital on July 5 for a TV and three radio dates.

Negotiations are also underway from the group to do three days at the Golf Druet club, where they would record a live album for the French market.

The group's single, "Beggin'," is released tomorrow (Friday).

On July 10, the group starts a jet-stop tour doing TV and radio for two days each in Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.

STRINGS (from Melody Maker, June 1, 1968) *

TIMEBOX:  "Beggin'" (Deram).  Excellent group featuring Mike Patto on vocals and augmented for the occasion with strings.

Great production by Michael Aldred and with a driving, dramatic tune, seems destined to hit.

Listen for the conga drums and vibes which add taste and depth to the overall sound.

TIMEBOX ARRESTED (source unknown, circa June, 1968) **

BRITISH group the Timebox was arrested in Paris at the weekend during student riots.

The group, in Paris for a three-day promotional trip, was on its way to TV studios on Saturday when its van was overturned and over £1000 worth of equipment was smashed.  A struggle between the group and demonstrating students followed and the Timebox were taken to prison for 24 hours.

     (from Top Pops, circa late June, 1968) *

 TIMEBOX are a group’s group. That is to say, their stage act is admired by many pop artistes themselves, the hardest critics of all to please. So far, chart success has eluded them but their latest disc, the Four Seasons’ number "Beggin’" is hovering just under the top thirty.

Timebox started at an art college in Southport three years ago when Peter Halsall (vibes), Clive Griffiths (bass) and Chris Holmes (organ) decided to swap their sketch books for song sheets.

They tried several vocalists, all of whom proved unsuitable, until John Gee, manager of London’s famous Marquee Club, recommended Mike Patto, a fiery singer from Norwich. The group’s previous drummer contracted T.B. and had to leave. One of the managers stepped in until they found John Halsey through an advertisement in a musical paper.

That was a year ago, and since then the group has remained unchanged, rapidly becoming the hottest property on the London club scene.

Now, as they are about to extend their audiences to ballrooms and clubs over the country, John told me how it feels to have some of the top pop names in the land among your fans.

"Of course it is very flattering," he admitted, "and it brings out the best in you when you look at the audience and see a host of famous people out there. But you can’t go on forever just playing to groups in clubs. That’s why we have changed our minds about not going out over the country until we had a hit.

"We are known for our stage act so we might as well let as many people as possible see it."

"But there’s no substitute for a hit record. It is still the only way to the real big time."

The Timebox, who took their name from a slang jazz term meaning prison, are set to return to Paris soon where their van and gear was turned over in the streets during the riots a few weeks back.

This time they are thinking about taking a translator along to convince the gendarmes they are not revolting students.

Unless the group end up in the most famous timebox of all, the Bastille, they should be back taking this country by storm very soon.

     (from Record Mirror, August 17, 1968) *

Just about one year ago a group was born. Christened Timebox.  One of their first appearances together was at last year's Windsor Jazz Festival -- and last weekend, almost 12 months later, they appeared at the 1968 successor to that annual event, the Kempton Park festival.

A year ago...unknown.  Now they have a chart record that seems to be selling even more than its chart position would have us believe.

"It's very strange, " said the man from Decca, Timebox's record company, "but last week the disc sold more than in any previous week -- and went down ten places in the charts."

The mind boggles at the workings of the charts.  Despite that, the record is selling on its own merits.  Timebox is not a group that's had a big build-up, or a lot of publicity.  They've just spent a year collecting a solid fan following -- one of their more solid fans being RM's Peter Jones who, ten months ago, said -- in a story headed "Big time for the Timebox":  " the Timebox, they could happen very big."

Now they're beginning to happen.

"Our record "Beggin'" isn't really representative of what we do on stage," said Timebox's Mike Patto.  "It's a bit more commercial than most of our numbers.  But the thing is that we have to make a name for ourselves before we can really do what we want to do -- when we made "Beggin'" we wanted to make a commercial sound, a chart record.  It's important to have one eye on the charts -- I think we have our own sound, yes, but we have to compromise a bit so that people will listen.  Otherwise, we'd just be playing for ourselves -- once we've made a name for ourselves we can start to concentrate on our own thing, and perhaps be less intentionally commercial."

Like a lot of name groups, the Timebox had a residency at London's Marquee -- a club that has made its mark as breeding ground for groups who rely on musical ability to make their mark in pop music.

"We shouldn't have given the residency up when we did," said vibes player Peter Halsall.  "We really enjoyed playing there and we had started to build up a good following.  I think we ought to go back there for another season.  A group can learn a lot through playing the Marquee -- the conditions are good, and the atmosphere is good.  When you start off a residency there it's very difficult -- but it doesn't take too long to settle down.  Once the audience decides it likes you it shows its appreciation and there's a great atmosphere -- we used to work out a lot of great ideas when we were playing on the Marquee stage.  Because the audience likes what you're doing, it gives a group incentive to try even harder -- it's the encouragement of the audiences at that club that has really helped the groups who have started off there and then made a name for themselves."

"Recently though," added Clive Griffiths, "we've been doing a lot of gigs that have been as enjoyable as the Marquee.  As a residency, the Marquee's great -- but we enjoy gigging around as well.  A lot of groups complain about having to work in different clubs in different parts of the country every night -- but I think it all depends upon the way you approach it.  If it's a matter of having to rush from gig to gig, and only stopping off at the transport cafes along the way, then there's not much fun.  But we like to take our time -- for example the other day we were driving to a booking somewhere up North, and there was plenty of time, so we stopped off on the way and went fishing.  It was great -- and it also meant that when we eventually reached the club we were in a good mood and could work well."

That's the nice thing about Timebox -- they're serious about their music, and want to be successful.  But without the hustle of having to rush headlong into the chart-world to do it.  Even with "Beggin'" in the charts they're prepared to take things at their own pace -- and if the record goes higher it will be Timebox audiences and Timebox fans that put it there.             D.B. 

     (excerpt from article in Melody Maker, August 17, 1968)

Music triumphed -- despite accidents, rockers, rain and neighbors -- at the Eighth National Jazz Blues and Rock Festival...

Mercifully the downpour stopped just before the show was due to start on Friday night with Taste and Timebox, who warmed up the crowds despite the traditional cry of "Get off" from a small army of rockers in town for their idol Jerry Lee Lewis...

Note:  Refers to the August 9, 1968 performance of Timebox at the festival, held that year at Kempton Park Race Course, Sunbury.

TIME BOX MUSIC  (from Melody Maker, August 24, 1968)  

SINGER MIKE PATTO and Pete Halsall (vibes, gtr) of the Time Box have been asked to write the music for a new film, Night Club, for American producer Stanley Feltham.  

The group will also be featured doing two numbers in the film.

     (Excerpt from article in Disc and Music Echo, August 31, 1968)

A look at the records that had everything going for them…that should have made the top twenty...that every one raved about but no one bought enough of to put them in the charts.

THE POP music business is a funny old life. In your own small world you become so wrapped up in music and records that you perhaps forget what might be happening in the big outside world.

So when a favourite record of the moment, a new sound that sticks out from the mountain of rubbish that regularly floods through the letter box, fails to zoom up the chart overnight, you become sad and disillusioned and wonder what the world‘s coming to.

There have been a few of those records around recently, and the strange thing is that although the journalist, who by his very job is always weeks ahead of the normal listener, tends to lose heart, the artists remain cool, calm and confident.

Section omitted about Vanity Fare’s "I Live For the Sun"ends with, "I guess you could say the public were eventually brainwashed into buying it!!"

THE same comment may be true of "Beggin" by the super talented Time Box. Again, released ages ago on May 30, this revamped Four Seasons song was pounced on by critics and DJs alike and played and praised to the heavens.

"Fantastic, frantic quality," said Penny Valentine. "If it‘s not a hit there‘s something very very wrong and it‘s going to be all your fault!"

Are you blushing?! "Beggin" was never the hit we all thought, but the Time Box are not disappointed.


Says drummer John Halsey: "Even if it never sells another copy – and it was selling more after ten weeks than it was after two weeks – we’ll all be well satisfied. ‘Beggin’’ has made a hell of a lot of difference to our booking sheet, and the reaction from radio and the press has helped our name as much as if it had been a mammoth hit.

"Funny thing is, it was just one of several stage numbers we put on record, and before it was released no one used to like the number at bookings. Now, of course, they all rave about it! Funny people, audiences!"

So, even if Time Box cannot explain why "Beggin’" was not the hit expected, nor why it has sold consistently over such a long period, they are well satisfied with the net result...

TIMEBOX  (source unknown, circa late August, 1968)

TIMEBOX are to record a new single under the direction of Michael Aldred on September 24 for early October release. On September 4, 5, and 6 they will be recording material for their new LP. All twelve tracks are to be original numbers and will be recorded in French and English for simultaneous release in this country and in France.

The group go to Italy on October 23 for seven days of television and club appearances in Milan, San Remo, Genoa, and Rome. On November 28 they go to Barcelona for a Spanish television show.

TIMEBOX NEXT (from Disc, September 1, 1968)

TIMEBOX record their follow-up single to "Beggin'" next week.  They will also do a special album in French for the Continent.

Group goes to France for a promotional visit from November 8 for eight days.

They appear on "The Dave Cash Show" (October 5-11) and "Pete's People" (13).

     (from Jackie, September 14, 1968)

See the pin-up of the Timebox on Page 17?  I've been a great fan ever since 'Beggin'' and it seems I'm not the only one. . .No, I know there are a lot of British fans, but the folk I'm talking about are all those teenyboppers behind the Iron Curtain.


Seems that their record went down a bomb there, and plans are being made for a tour, possibly in October.  Hope they don't decide to keep them!     

'BEGGIN'' BOOSTS TIMEBOX! (from Valentine, September 21, 1968) *

TIME BOX TV DATES (from Melody Maker, October 12, 1968) *

TIME BOX fly to Germany on October 23 for two TV dates, the first of a number of Continental bookings.

From November 8 to 16 they go to Paris for TV, radio and club appearances.

Their trip to Sweden to appear at the Vargar Stadium, Malmo, on Boxing Day, has now been extended for four days to take in concerts in Stockholm and Gothenberg.  The group goes to Israel in January for a cabaret season in Tel Aviv.

Their next single will be released on November 15.

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS (unknown publication, circa December 1968)


At Christmas parties will be swinging, drinks will be flowing, smokes will be going up in flames (no matter about those health warnings), and records will be grooving. Everyone has a favourite LP. One whose grooves are beginning to wear paper thin. So what sort of records will the stars be playing this Christmas?  In fact, we put the question to them individually: If you had to choose one album our of your collection, which would it be?

Mike Patto (of Time Box): "Brilliant Corners" by Thelonious Monk. I’m very interested in modern jazz and I’ve always admired Monk’s piano playing.

Note: This is an excerpt -- the article also had responses from Joe Cocker, Arthur Brown, Tony Hicks, and Barry Ryan.

     (from Melody Maker, December 21, 1968) *

TIME BOX, rated one of the best young groups who haven't had a hit record, could change that situation fairly soon with their new single, "Girl, Don't Make Me Wait," which is getting the kind of radio plugging that creates hits.

Their earlier single, "Beggin'" looked like a hit but never actually made the Pop 30.  "But it did us a tremendous amount of good in prestige and in bread from gigs," said singer Mike Patto.

Time Box are a five-piece group with Mike as vocalist, The rest of the band is Peter Halsall (vbs, gtr), Clive Griffiths (bass gtr, 'cello), Chris Holmes (organ) and John Halsey (drs).  Their music is varied, ranging from a hard fast music through a sort of Byrds rock style to softer, more gentle numbers featuring the vibes playing of Peter Halsall.


"As I am the singer, I think I can stand back a bit from the group and I think they are a very good band, competent and intelligent," said Mike Patto who has also sung with the New Jazz Orchestra.

They used to feature jazz in their stage repertoire but have dropped it now.

"The vibes produce a sort of jazz sound anyway," said Mike.  "We can't sell jazz to pop audiences.  We've tried but it was no good and we've given it up although we all like jazz.  You have to be very careful with a pop audience not to put them off and I'm afraid that jazz tends to do this."

Mike feels that the group's varied approach will eventually have to be honed down to a more concentrated style, so the Time Box will have have a more easily identifiable appeal.  "We all have our own ideas about music and we fight like hell at rehearsals.  But we agree on a lot of things, too, and after a year together I think we are starting to get things together musically."


But, they realise, they need a hit if they are to go on from being a promising, rated group to more permanent success in the pop field.

"Of course, we want a hit.  We need it from the financial point of view and to get better and bigger bookings.  And we need it for the recognition it can bring so people will start to listen to what we are trying to do.

"A hit is so important for that.  One hit really isn't enough if you're really wanting to get established," he said and added hopefully:  "In fact, I'd like ten hits..."

Note:  picture at top of this page accompanied this article.

UNTITLED (from Disc and Music Echo, December 28, 1968)  

Chas. Chandler, who guided Jimi Hendrix to phenomenal fame and fortune, and started in pop as bass guitarist with the Animals, picks fine group the Timebox.  "I only heard them for the first time a few weeks ago. I hadn’t a clue who they were until then. They’ve got a lot of talent and deserve to be big."

UNTITLED (from Melody Maker, February 8, 1969) *

Time Box's singer Mike Patto raised the alarm when he spotted a fire in a flat opposite Klook's Kleek, Hampstead, while taking a breather between sets.

Chris Welch Pop Singles
     (from Melody Maker, March 8, 1969) *

TIMEBOX: "Baked Jam Roll In Your Eye" (Deram)

Groups who play well on stage and have a deal of musical talent often have great difficulty in finding commercial material than awful bands that can barely play a note.

If I didn't like and respect the band I would be a lot ruder about this sad production about "Martians coming to earth -- you'd better watch out" etc.

TIME BOX SINGLE (from Melody Maker, March 8, 1969)

TITLE OF the new Time Box single, released on March 14, is "Baked Jam Roll In Your Eye."  It is a group composition.

Time Box guest in Radio One Club on March 19 and Pete's People on April 2.

On April 8 they start recording their "live" album at the Club Noreik, Tottenham.

     (Disc and Music Echo, March 8, 1969)

BAKED Jam Roll In Your Eye (Deram) – I am still bewildered as to why "Beggin’" wasn’t a hit – and will be forever, I have no doubt. But still the past is gone and here we are in the present, and who am I to ignore a group who have the bravery to call a single "Baked Jam Roll In Your Eye"?

A very nasty situation this. One I feel that could have been gleaned from endless goon show records of hot spaghetti trees and flying pancake machines. This is the first record Timebox have produced themselves and in parts it reminded me of the Bonzos. A sort of mad nursery tale of an invasion from Mars led by one "Galloping Klaus." Ho, ho, a merry wheeze indeed.

TIMEBOX (source unknown, circa March, 1969)

Baked Jam Roll In Your Eye; Poor Little Heartbreaker (Deram DM 346). With a title like that, it should at least attract attention. This is one of the best teams on the homegrown scene and there is something persistently commercial about the way they do this one. At least it gets away from the hackey old lyrical ideas. Darned catchy and unpretentious. Flip: Rather more routine, but powerful.


     (excerpt from article in Daily Mail, June 27, 1969) *

IT ISN’T only Princess Anne who is going to Paris for the Party which Christopher Soames, our man in Paris, is giving tomorrow for his 21-year-old son, Nicholas, and 19-year-old daughter, Emma…

Christopher Soames’s association with Decca – he used to be a director – stood him in good stead when it came to a pop group to play. The company fixed him up with the Time Box, pictured right.

Nitpicking: order in photo from left to right is Chris Holmes, Mike Patto, John Halsey, Clive Griffiths, and Peter Halsall.

     (excerpt from article in Daily Mail, June 30, 1969) *

PRINCESS ANNE danced and danced and danced right through the night and on until the sun began to shine over Paris yesterday morning…

Clive Griffiths, bass guitarist in the Time Box, the British pop group flown over to Paris, tells me that they played for six half-hour stretches though the night and Princess Anne danced every time we were on.

'She asked us to play one of our songs called Beggin.'


‘Emma also asked us for that song, as well as two others called Come On Up and Walking Through the Streets of My Mind. She looked lovely. She was wearing a white dress and had her hair beautifully done…'

Everything everywhere was decorated with flowers. The chandeliers inside the Embassy were done with flowers and fruit. And over the stage outside in the garden, soft drapes were hung, giving the effect of a crown topped by a huge bunch of roses.

There was a psychedelic light show against a wall of the courtyard that went on for most of the night. The rest of the garden was not only floodlit, but decorated with coloured bulbs.

Note: The article included complete lyrics to "the song she requested," which was "Beggin’."

     (from Barnet Press Series, July 4th, 1969) *

A REQUEST for one of their tunes from Princess Anne gave four young Finchley musicians an evening to remember at the lavish ball given by Mr. Christopher Soames at the British Embassy in Paris at the weekend.

John Halsey, Clive Griffiths and Chris Holmes, all from Fortis Green, and Mike Patto, of Beaconsfield Road, Friern Barnet, are members of Timebox, the group who flew to Paris to play at this royal event.

Princess Anne, Princess Alexandra, Angus Ogilvy and Prince Michael were among the 900 guests at the ball, given by Mr. Soames for his son, Nicholas, and daughter, Emma.

Timebox, a group which has been in existence for about 18 months, did six half-hour spots. The highlight of the evening came when Princess Anne specially asked them to sing one of the songs they recorded called "Beggin’."

Princess Anne danced all the time Timebox were playing while other visitors took advantage of the unceasing flow of champagne and French food.

Timebox lead singer is Mike Patto, a former member of the Youth Jazz Orchestra, who used to be singer with The Bow (sic) Street Runners.

John Halsey, aged 24, is drummer and used to go to Hillside School, North Finchley. His colleagues at Fortis Green came to the area from Southport six years ago. The group, well known in the top London clubs, is completed by Peter Halsall from Edgware.

Notes from a conversation with John Halsey, October 31, 1999

Since various accounts contain some inconsistent information, I asked John about the details of how he joined up with Timebox. 

He explained how the band members were living in very poor conditions, though they didn't dare tell their parents.  Clive used to ride the underground trains to get warm.  Drummer Jeff Dean came down with TB just before the band was to leave for a series of dates in France (St. Tropez).  Rather than canceling the gigs, manager Laurie Jay reluctantly sat in on the drums.  Laurie was the drummer for the Laurie Jay Combo which backed up a lot of rock and roll acts that came to England, such as Gene Vincent.

They returned to England and learned that Geoffrey would not be returning to the group.  

Mike Patto joined as vocalist and they recorded "Don't Make Promises".  It is Laurie Jay playing drums on both sides of the "Don't Make Promises" single, not John.

Laurie didn't want to continue playing drums for the group, and answered John's ad in Melody Maker.  John went to sit in/audition with the band at a gig at the Scotch of St. James's in London.  One other drummer showed up to try out.  Mike Patto was playing drums, and Ollie was still doing the lead vocals!  Of course, John was offered and accepted the drummer position in the band, and Mike was able to then focus on being the lead vocalist.  

Guitarist Kevan Fogarty left shortly after John joined, and Ollie began to handle the guitar role in the band along with the vibes.

John's first singles with the band were "Beggin'" and the France-only "Come On Up".

     (excerpt from liner notes in the CD issue of 'Igginbottom's Wrench album)

Meanwhile, the schooldays gigs carried on for Michael, from his twelfth to his sixteenth year, when he did a summer season at Butlin's Holiday Camp in Filey.  There he met a band called 'Timebox' and became very pally with their guitarist, Ollie Halsall - a tremendous musician, now no longer with us, and greatly missed - along with 'Timebox' vocalist and good guy, Mike Patto, also gone, but never forgotten.  Ollie invited Michael down to London "to stay at our pad anytime you like."

So it was that Michael turned up soon after at the given address, with another musician friend, only to find that the 'Timebox' pad was actually the abode of some girls who were already feeding and housing Mike, Ollie and Co., and were not at all pleased to find two hungry young lads from 'Oop North' being foisted upon them.  It wasn't a long stay.

Note:  'Igginbottom was an English jazz-rock group which released one album in 1969 called 'Igginbottom's Wrench.  The band included several members of The Love Affair as well as guitarist Allan Holdsworth, who for a short while in 1973 shared guitar duties with Ollie in Tempest.

* articles kindly provided by John Halsey
** taken from the booklet of the 1998 CD release "The Deram Anthology"

[<= Timebox Articles Before June, 1968]          [Return to Top of Page]