Stuart Leathwood: A Tribute

By Bill Harry & Stu's Friends  

Stuart LeathwoodStuart Leathwood was born in April 1942 at 16 Marne Street, Rock Ferry, Merseyside. His father died when he was six and his sister Maureen, 12 years older than him, was also an artist and singer, but cerebral spinal meningitis left her deaf and with a weak heart and she died in her thirties. Maureen and Stuart were very close, in spite of the age difference, and he always insisted that she had more talent and artistic skills than he had.

When he was six, Stuart was in the school choir and won a local schools competition. The teacher who trained the choir said his vocal range was extraordinary in one so young. In spite of his talent, he was very modest and shy and his mother didn't even know he was in the choir until the school asked permission for him to attend the competition. His mother was unable to take him as his father was dying at the time but his sister and neighbour were in the audience.

After leaving school he worked for a local firm but at the age of 21 announced that he was packing up work to be a full time musician. His mother says, "I let him get away with it because I always knew he would have to do something different. He liked to be free, very independent, but was still very much a private person."

An early appearanceStuart became guitarist with the Midnighters, along with Roy Morris. The two left in 1962 to form the Kubas with Keith Ellis and Tony O'Riley of the Thunderbirds.

The Kubas appeared at Hamburg's Star Club in December 1963, toured with the Beatles in 1965 and moved to London where they signed with Tony Stratton-Smith, who changed their name to the Koobas. They made several singles and an album, but didn't have success on record and they disbanded in 1969. Stu teamed up with Gary Holton and later joined March Hare.

Sadly, Stuart died in 2004. He was well-liked and much respected and several of his friends have written their tributes to Stu especially for the Mersey Beat site.

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