Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Grantham musician Brian 'Licorice' Locking who found fame with The Shadows has died

More news, no ads


Grantham musician Brian Locking, who played bass guitar with The Shadows in the sixties, has died.

Brian, who was 82, died in north Wales this week, but had lived most of his life in Grantham, moving there as a small boy with his family. He was born in Bedworth.

Friend and fellow Grantham musician Trevor Leeson said Brian had been ill for some time and, after a period in intensive care, he died in a hospice in Wales.

Brian 'Licorice' Locking, top right, with The Vagabonds. (42614958)
Brian 'Licorice' Locking, top right, with The Vagabonds. (42614958)

Trevor said: "He was a very good bass player. He had to be to get into The Shadows. He had a style about him and he was a great musician. He was also a kind gentleman.

"He spent a lot of happy times with us. The last time we played together was at his sister Barbara's birthday."

Brian helped form The Vagabonds with Vince Eager in Grantham in the late 1950s. They travelled to London in search of fame but it didn't last long and Vince went on to become famous in his own right. Brian also stayed and was offered a tour with Terry Dene which led to him joining Marty Wilde's Wildcats. Then he was offered the position in The Shadows and took the place of Jet Harris. he remained in The Shadows for 18 months and appeared in the film Summer Holiday with Cliff Richard.

Brian's sister Barbara Wilson, who lives in Leasingham, was 12 when Brian joined The Shadows. She told the Journal: "It was amazing. I was very popular everywhere I went! He kept his music up after The Shadows and he became a kind of ambassador for them in places like France and Germany. He went everywhere.

"People have been paying wonderful tributes to him. He had friends worldwide."

Brian 'Licorice' Locking with his sister Barbara. (42618334)
Brian 'Licorice' Locking with his sister Barbara. (42618334)

Barbara said Brian had suffered Bell's palsy but would go on to master the harmonica again. He was also registered blind towards the end of his life and died after being diagnosed with an aggressive tumour on his bladder.

Barbara said: "He was transferred to a hospice yesterday. They looked after him really well. He died very, very peacefully."

Brian was nicknamed ‘Licorice’ by long-time friend and bandmate Vince Eager when they were in The Vagabonds which they formed in Grantham in the 1950s. While they were travelling to a gig on the east coast, Brian insisted on playing a black toy clarinet, known as a ‘licorice stick’, and the name ‘Licorice’ Locking was born.

Vince told the Journal: “I have met some amazing people in my 80 years, but there is nobody comes close to him in terms of his amazing personality. When he walked into a room, it lit up. He had time for anybody and everybody. He used to go all over the world visiting The Shadows clubs. And everybody had the same thing to say - he is the nicest guy you ever met.”

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More