Micky Harris (vocals) Brian Collingwood (bass) Brian Yeates (Mark Stuart) (vocals) Johnny
Beresford (saxophone) Michael Carroll (lead guitar) Bob Clare (drums) Archie Edwards
(rhythm guitar) John Lodge (bass - replaced B.Collingwood)
For some time, Micky Harris & The Hawks had played the local pubs & clubs around
Sheldon, Solihull and Acocks Green when bass player and the band’s leader Brian Collingwood
invited a 16 year old Brian Yeates to join them as their fifth member, on rhythm
guitar. Yeates had just acquired a new Hofner Club 60 guitar adding an exiting look
and sound to their performances, securing a regular Sunday slot at the Lyndon.
Their repertoire up to that point had been mainly Cliff Richard covers and Yeates’
role soon developed to include popular vocal turns with songs from the likes of Eddie
Lead singer Micky, who’d fallen in love, started to miss more and more bookings so
Yeates duly took up the mantle on vocal duties until Collingwood announced that he
was sacking singer Harris and inviting Yeates to officially take over.
Happy to rise to the challenge, Yeates insisted that the Cliff Richard emphasis would
need to change, he brought in saxophone player Johnny Beresford, a keyboard player
as well as Irish lead guitarist Mike Carroll, with Bob Clare remaining on drums.
The band was renamed as Mark Stuart & The Crestas, with Yeates adopting the Mark
Stuart pseudonym and honing his music/gymnastics stage act!. Archie Edwards was recruited
on rhythm having had some local success previously with the Gladiators and the Modernaires.
The bookings expanded to include a variety of youth clubs, the Hen & Chickens (Oldbury),
the Wheatsheaf, the Bull’s Head as well as larger clubs such as the Carlton, the
Cedar and the Moat House. They even ventured over to Congleton and Uttoxeter to great
The band was amongst 14 of Birmingham’s best known groups to feature on the legendary
“Brum Beat” album on Dial records, with “St. Louis Blues” being their popular contribution.
The Carlton Ballroom’s Phil Myatt approached Yeates with a proposal he’d received
from M&B to sponsor a local band, but, not wishing to change their name, and with
success looming on the horizon from their recent Dial recording, the offer was declined.
In early 1964, Collingwood decided to vacate the bass position leaving the way open
for a young John Lodge, as shown in March 1964’s pop newspaper Midland Beat. Lodge
was known to the band from his time with El Riot & The Rebels who had split some
time earlier, deciding not to make the trip to Germany with Ray Thomas, preferring
the security of his apprenticeship at Parkinson Cowan (a stove manufacturer). Lodge
stayed with the Crestas until their split within a few short months.
Although no further record deals transpired, the band did cut a 2-sided acetate at
Domino studios in Albrighton featuring a Drifters cover of “I’ll take you home” and
instrumental “Manhattan Spiritual” on the b-side.