Tributes to music club pioneer and star spotter

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A music club owner who brought huge artists to Halifax as they began on their careers has died aged 72.

Paul Mountain was born and raised in Pellon. He attended Clare Hall Secondary School where he met a group of like-minded boys together with whom, in 1961, he would go on to establish the Plebeians’ Jazz Club based in an old warehouse in the Upper George Yard in Halifax.

The Plebeians’ continued until 1968 and was a huge success, being the first music club for the baby boomer generation in Halifax.

By 1962, Paul was in sole charge of the club and steered the evolution of its change from jazz to rhythm & blues and eventually to soul music, reflecting the changes in popular music styles of the sixties.

Many musicians who would go on to achieve huge international fame performed at the club. Up and coming acts, such as Rod Stewart and Joe Cocker took the stage there. Other already famous American musicians, such as the Drifters also visited the club.

In 1968, Paul moved on from the Jazz Club to create Clarence’s in Crown Street.

At Clarence’s Paul’s ability to spot new talent and trends enabled him to book not only top name acts such as Genesis, Supertramp, Status Quo, The Cure and Joy Division but also future stars such as Ian Dury.

In 1972 Paul had the foresight to book the then little known Roxy Music for the opening of the club’s new Roxy Room.

Just a few weeks later the band’s first hit single, ‘Virginia Plain’, would go storming up the charts.

Over the following years Clarence’s went on to reflect many changes in musical taste and also went through a number of name changes until 1981 when Paul retired from the music business altogether.

To get away from it all, he moved to Seahouses in Northumberland, where he founded a woodworking business.

He continued to live in Seahouses until his death, where He leaves a son, Dominic.