The Kursaal Flyers may have been named after a funfair but they had a Top 20 hit in 1976

The Kursaal Flyers were a Southend band put together in 1973. At the time of their formation, they wanted to choose a name that expressed their geographical origin but, as they told Look-In magazine in January 1977, the best-known landmark in their home town was the Pier and the ‘Southend Piers’ doesn’t have much of a ring to it. At the time, there was a funfair named the Kursaal - in its heyday, the largest fairground in the south of England - and it was advertised locally by a brightly painted lorry known as the Kursaal Flyer.

The band’s big hit, ‘Little Does She Know’, was released in 1976 but a year earlier they released a single on the UK Records label with the title ‘Speedway’.

Look-In magazine feature

January 22, 1977

UK Record Label

UK Records was a label set up by music entrepreneur Jonathan King in September 1972 and their discs were originally distributed by Decca.

The best-known name signed up by the label was the British band 10cc which had hits with such songs as ‘Rubber Bullets’ and ‘Donna’.

The company closed in 1979.

Speedway on Vinyl

The band comprised five members: Ritchie Bull, Will Birch, Vic Collins, Paul Shuttleworth and Graeme Douglas. Will Birch, the group’s drummer was also the songwriter who penned their biggest hit, ‘Little Does She Know’.

The Kursaal Flyers

Click the image above to listen to a short extract from SPEEDWAY by The Kursaal Flyers

UK RECORDS 2012 001

1975 Birch & Murdoch

In Look-In magazine, (the junior TV Times), of January 22, 1977, there was a six page feature on the Kursaal Flyers, which included photos, a double-page poster spread and a competition in which readers could win a copy of the group’s latest album, ‘Golden Mile’. Sadly, the song ‘Speedway’ came from a different LP, ‘Chocs Away!’



In addition to the single, Speedway was also featured on the album ‘Chocs Away!’

2 Kursaal Flyers Speedway Excerpt.wav Look-In Jan 22, 1977 Kirsaal Flyers.pdf


Will was the drummer and songwriter of the group who penned the lyrics for ‘Speedway’.


Graeme wrote the band’s music but was a keen scientist and taught science before embarking on his music career.

The word ‘Kursaal’ is of German origin and means ‘cure-hall’, effectively a spa. The Kursaal amusement park dates from the beginning of the twentieth century and was the destination for hundreds of East End families throughout the Fifties and Sixties, on away days and holidays.

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