Home town glory as 1960s rocker Ron is honoured

Ron Griffiths performs at the Pete Ham, Iveys and Badfinger tribute concert at the Swansea Grand Theatre.
Ron Griffiths performs at the Pete Ham, Iveys and Badfinger tribute concert at the Swansea Grand Theatre.
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A 1960s rocker whose band was signed to the same record label as The Beatles has been honoured with a blue heritage plaque in his home town of Swansea.

Ron Griffiths moved to Hemel Hempstead in 1970 after leaving Badfinger, because he had a wife and child.

Ron Griffiths with his grandson Ryan in front of the heritage blue plaque at Swansea Railway Station, commemorating his band The Iveys which later became Badfinger.

Ron Griffiths with his grandson Ryan in front of the heritage blue plaque at Swansea Railway Station, commemorating his band The Iveys which later became Badfinger.

Bassist Ron, 66, joined the band’s original line-up in Swansea in the early 60s, when it was known as The Iveys. The band was fronted by legendary songwriter Pete Ham, perhaps best known for co-writing Without You, famously covered by Harry Nilsson and Mariah Carey.

The commemorative plaque was unveiled on Saturday.

It was followed by a tribute concert to Ham and Badfinger guitarist Tom Evans, who both took their own lives. Drummer Mike Gibbins died of a brain aneurysm in 2005, so Ron is the only member of the original recording line-up still alive.

Ron, of Royal Court, said: “The day in Swansea was brilliant, but it was very moving. The plaque is outside the train station on Ivey Place which we named ourselves after originally.

“It is mainly to commemorate Pete Ham as a songwriter, but also the band which spawned him.”

Once they were signed to Apple Records, Ron and the band had one of their best hits with Come And Get It, written for them by Paul McCartney.

But Ron, who continued to play in bands in Hemel Hempstead after his departure, had not performed for 13 years before the weekend concert at Swansea’s Grand Theatre.

He said: “The gig was great, I was on stage and did six tunes. We hadn’t had much of a rehearsal so it was a bit nerve-wracking, but it must be like riding a bike, because you never forget.

Ron said he was totally blown away by the award of the plaque.

He added: “I only wish all the boys could have been alive to see it.

“To see your name on a blue plaque like that, I was absolutely gobsmacked. I don’t think any of us realised something like this was ever going to happen.”