Music is something that can evoke all manner of memories and emotions, we all have some kind of soundtrack to our lives.

For Roy McMahon, his love of music became a way of life, as he performed as a professional musician across the world.

Here the 76-year-old, originally from Wrexham but now lives in Pant, in Shropshire, recalls his first foray into music and shares an emotional memory of the loss of his music hero...

The Renegades performing at The Hippodrome c1961 - Kevin Hughes, Ron Nicholson, Roy McMahon, Don Foulkes, and Steve Lloyd just out of shot.

The Renegades performing at The Hippodrome c1961 - Kevin Hughes, Ron Nicholson, Roy McMahon, Don Foulkes, and Steve Lloyd just out of shot.

I started my first group*, The Renegades, in late 1958. We rehearsed over that winter and spring and performed our first gig in May 1959.

The original line-up was John Andrews (vocals), Steve Lloyd (drums), John Halstead (rhythm guitar), Kevin Hughes (bass guitar) and me (lead guitar).

It is interesting to note that three of these, Steve, Kevin and me, eventually, became full time professional musicians.

Over the next few years there were several changes of personnel e.g. Dave Loose (rhythm), Colin Holt (drums/vocals), Don Foulkes (vocals), Ross Mills (drums) came and went.

Ron Nicholson (rhythm) and Jim Noble (drums) joined and stayed to the end. Dave Loose really wanted to play country and western, as it was called then (now just 'country') and left to form a duo, Cindy & Dave, with his future wife. This duo won several awards on the country music scene.

Colin Holt also won several awards on the club circuit, mostly in the Midlands, where he was voted top male vocalist several times. In 1996 I was voted 'UK Entertainer of the Year' on the club circuit!

Derek 'Noddy' Crewe joined in late 1961, as a pianist/vocalist. Derek was multi-talented having the ability to play lead/rhythm/bass guitars, drums as well as several other instruments.

When Kevin left to go pro (in Scotland) Derek switched to bass guitar and was also lead vocalist. We were joined in late 1963 by a college friend of mine, a singer called Dave Jones.

We changed his name to 'Dave Eager' and we became The Beavers. This is how it remained until we disbanded in late 1965.

The Beavers - Ron Nicholson, Jim Noble, Roy McMahon and Derek Crewe.

The Beavers - Ron Nicholson, Jim Noble, Roy McMahon and Derek Crewe.

Dave switched from singing to being a DJ and went to work for a fellow Mancunian and famous DJ whose name is now unmentionable (J.S.)! He then became DJ on Piccadilly Radio, Manchester's commercial station. He also hosted his own TV show on Tyne-Tees in Newcastle, The Geordie Scene. Derek Crewe swapped his musical talents by becoming an actor, becoming a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company where he was a friend of Sir Kenneth Branagh. Quite a bunch of talent!

You may be interested in the following (true) story:

In 1958/59 I had an early morning paper round. My first guitar was an acoustic, so I was saving my meagre earnings to buy a magnetic pick-up to affix to my guitar. At that time the embryonic Renegades were busy rehearsing and building up a set list.

A lot of our songs were those of Buddy Holly, my first musical hero. The Renegades had no expectations of stardom or record deals. All we wanted was to play at local dances. In fact, at the end of each gig we assessed our performance not on how we'd played or sounded but on how many times we filled the dance floor!

I always started my paper round at about 7am, so I was never wide awake. In early February 1959 I was on my round and I'd already delivered about 20 papers and was walking up the garden path to a house in Churton Drive, Spring Lodge, Wrexham, before I noticed the headline "HOLLY DEAD"! I sat on the doorstep, read and cried! The door of the house opened and the lady of the house asked me why I was crying. I just pointed to the headline and she started crying.

Now fast forward to 1971 and the release of the Don McLean song American Pie, which, as you may know, is a tribute to Buddy Holly. Radio stations never played the long intro to this 8.5-minute song, only the chorus, "So bye, bye miss American pie..." etc.

It was only years later that I heard the intro:

A long, long time ago

I can still remember how that music used to make me smile

And I knew if I had my chance

That I could make those people dance

And maybe they'd be happy for a while

But February made me shiver

With every paper I'd deliver

Bad news on the doorstep

I couldn't take one more step

I can't remember if I cried

When I read about his widowed bride

But something touched me deep inside

The day the music died.

How spooky is that?

Honorary citizenship of Lubbock for Roy McMahon.

Honorary citizenship of Lubbock for Roy McMahon.

Again fast forward to 2002. I was doing a Route 66 Blues Tour in aid of the 911 Fund. As well as playing in all the major cities along the 'Mother Road' as Route 66 is known, I was booked to play a few venues away from it.

One was in Lubbock, Texas, Buddy Holly's home town. I had been invited to meet the mayors of all the cities along the way, where each gave me a 'Proclamations of Support'.

However, in Lubbock I was given, not a proclamation, but honorary citizenship of Lubbock! I've got the scroll framed on the wall of my music room. I was then taken to Buddy's grave. No huge headstone, just a very simple plaque. You won't be surprised to hear that I cried!

*A 'group' was young men playing rock'n'roll. A 'band' was old men playing waltzes, quicksteps, foxtrots...