Still playing after all these years

Limited S today John, Keith and Ian.
Limited S today John, Keith and Ian.
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There are some bands, or groups as they were called in the 1960s, still playing 50 years on although the line-up has altered somewhat.

I believe the rule is that if there is still one of the original members in the line-up, the group can still be called by the original name.

The band in 1973.

The band in 1973.

The Searchers, Hollies and of course the Rolling Stones all come to mind. None has the original line-up and I don’t know how long most can go on for as they must all be in their late 60s or early 70s now.

There’s a Portsmouth trio that has been going since 1966 and are still playing. Although the bass player left some years ago, the leader and drummer still play locally.

John Summerfield lived in Shirley Avenue, Copnor, as a boy and an uncle also lodged at the house.

In 1956 John heard his uncle playing a 78 on his radiogram, which turned out to be Rock Around the Clock by Bill Hayley and the Comets. Jon was struck.

In 1959 he and a few pals attended St James’s Youth Club where an early ‘disco’ was going on with 45rpm records being played on a Dansette record player.

John can remember the record Here Comes Summer being played and he and his pals calling out Here Comes Summerfield. They were thrown out.

After seeing the Beatles in 1963 Jon caught the music bug and learnt to play the guitar. He also started work in the dockyard but in his spare time practised on his guitar, becoming quite competent.

His cousin Rob was also an able bass guitarist, so they got together to form a duo.

Meanwhile, John’s brother Keith bought a drumkit, they became a trio and after much rehearsal hit the road. Rob decided to call the band The Parkas as he wore one on his scooter.

Their first gig was at the Ascension Hall in Chichester Road, North End. It was club night for the Travato Football Club. All the boys were nervous playing in front of a live audience for the first time and in front of their mates, but they did it and they were on their way.

With just one microphone and other basic equipment, it was down to John to do the singing as well.

They rehearsed every Wednesday at Wimborne Road School, often playing at youth clubs.

The band got their first pub work at The Rover on Petersfield Road, Leigh Park, in late summer 1966. That summer John also won a talent competition while on holiday on the Isle of Wight, which gave him some much-needed confidence. He sang The Kinks’ Sunny Afternoon.

In 1967 The Parkas bought their first stage gear by ploughing their earnings back into the act. From the middle of 1969 for a year they played every Friday and Saturday at the Good Companions on Eastern Road, Portsmouth, but John says the pressure of playing in one place and having to find new material put the band off playing regular dates forever.

In 1970 Rob married, followed the next year by Keith.

As the music scene changed so did the band’s equipment with a light show, backdrops and good quality sound equipment.

In 1973 John entered a song in the Opportunity Knocks song contest. It made the final seven but was sung by another band and did not win. The band also appeared at the Guildhall, Portsmouth, when Frankie Howerd topped the bill. A marvellous year with two of the band’s wives having children.

In 1974 things began to get better and they were playing gigs every weekend somewhere in the Portsmouth area. The thought of turning pro crossed their minds, but with good jobs and families to keep the idea passed. In 1978 the band changed name to Limited. It was a limited business and the name stuck, although they added an S to the end for Summerfield.

In 1984, after 18 years, there was a change of personnel when Rob left because of other commitments.

A new bass player joined but quickly decided it was not for him. Steve then joined the band and fitted in perfectly. The new Limited S had their first gig at the Royal Naval Club in Lake Road.

In 1980 the lads were into recording, making their own CDs to sell at gigs. In 2006 Steve left and Ian Campbell took over on bass. And so the band goes on.

On July 15 they are having a 50th anniversary party at St Mary’s Church, Fratton, which is open to everyone. They can be contacted via or on (023) 9273 5838.