FP100 Fife bands 10. Andy Ross Orchestra

Andy Ross Orchestra
Andy Ross Orchestra

Born in Glasgow and classically trained on piano, Andy Ross joined his local group The Kimbos before coming to Kirkcaldy to the Raith Ballroom as band leader in 1962 just ahead of the ‘beat boom’.

Originally, Andy Ross and his Show Band brought in a variety of local musicians but then went on to form the Andy Ross Orchestra, which pre-dated the Raith Showband era.

As the resident band, they opened and backed all the acts that came to the Raith Ballroom.

Typically, they were on stage to play on Friday, Saturday and Wednesday nights with vocalists including Sue Taylor, Bryce Wilson and Sol Bryon.

The Andy Ross Orchestra even secured a record contract with CBS Records, with arrangements by Tommy Sampson.

They played The Carlton in 1963 when the Beatles played their legendary local gig, and also opened for The Who in 1965 at the Raith Ballroom.

In February 1967, Andy moved south to the Locarno in Birmingham, taking the majority of the 13-piece band – and The Kimbos – with him.

From there, he developed swing medleys which only James Last had attempted before.

And that formula led him to leading the house band at the Lyceum Theatre in The Strand, London, and with it a residency on BBC TV’s long- running and hugely popular ‘Come Dancing’ within a year.

He then recorded for Polydor and Sony, winning a Carl Allan Award for best orchestra on six occasions.

He also hosted the BAFTA Awards, Variety Club Awards and Miss World.

Andy retired from big bands after 30 years as ‘Come Dancing’ musical director.

He now resides in southern Spain where, since 2008, he has directed a choir of ex-pats, but the man and his orchestra are fondly remembered by a generation of dance hall fans.