Music While You Work

Bob Potter and his Orchestra


Bob Potter

Although famous in the '60s as a band leader starting with a trio and eventually having a band of 26 players, he made his fortune (he was a multi-millionaire) when he created the Lakeside Country Club, famous for darts competitions and for engaging some of the top pop groups of the day including The Beatles.

Bob Potter died on 14th April 2023 aged 94.

The following obituary can be found in an article by Rob Searle in the Woking News & Mail:

Bob grew up on his family’s farm in Mytchett, near Camberley. They also had a haulage business and, during the Second World War, Bob drove the firm’s lorries that had been commandeered by the army.

By this time, he was playing drums in a dance band that had plenty of bookings at military camps. He returned to work on the farm and for its transport business and had also become busy with music activities. He soon had three bands on the road – The Bob Potter Band, The Rhythm Aces and The Aldershot Aces.

Bob set up a pool of musicians and was able to take on any type of booking. He and his bands played throughout the UK and in Europe.
He then moved into running music venues, his first being the then popular Aldershot dance hall the Palais de Dance. This was followed by the Agincourt Ballroom in London Road, Camberley, and then the Atalanta.

Bob continued to play in bands and, during a concert at the Atalanta, its caretaker told him she had heard he was looking for a new pianist.
She suggested Bob gave her son – who had been playing with the RAF dance band the Squadronaires – a try. Bob agreed and had discovered Les Reed, the Woking-born acclaimed songwriter, arranger, musician and light orchestra leader.

By the early 1960s, the dance band era was on the way out, replaced by rock ’n’ roll and then pop music, and a new generation of musicians were on the scene.
A young Welsh singer called Tom Jones went to Bob’s recording studio in Mytchett to audition and it was fortunate that Les Reed was there to hear him sing.
Les’s song It’s Not Unusual, co-written with Gordon Mills, was offered to Tom. He recorded the number and it topped the “hit parade” in 1965.
With the song riding high in the charts, Bob paid Tom 100 – a handsome sum at the time – to appear at the Atalanta and pack it full of pop music fans.
Bob staged all-nighters at the Atalanta on Saturdays, when the music continued until 5am. There were live band concerts and dancing every day of the week, with popular bingo sessions filling in any gaps.
The Atalanta Ballroom was established in two of buildings, one of which was a former church. Its days ended when it was demolished at the start of the the Woking town centre redevelopment of the early 1970s.

Bob Potter turned his attention to buying the Wharfden Estate at Frimley Green, where he created the Lakeside Country Club in 1972.
The club, which was soon hosting top acts, was destroyed by a fire in 1974. Bob rebuilt it and welcomed show business stars from around the world and members of the Royal Family to a venue that can seat more than 1,000 people.
Lakeside is best known for hosting the Darts World Championships from 1986 to 2019 and then again from 2022. Bob was made an OBE in 1993 for his role in helping develop British and world darts.


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Listen to 'Music While You Work' played by Bob Potter and his Orchestra
as broadcast on 1st July 1964.

MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK
played by Bob Potter and his Orchestra
on 1st July 1964

Calling All Workers (sig)
Fascinating Rhythm
Rip Van Winkle
Too Close for Comfort
Tender Trap
Please be kind
My kind of Girl
Carlo's Theme
Rise and fall of Flingle Bunt
Can't buy me love
I love you baby
Green Onions
Dominique
Bluesette
Charade
Dont throw your love away
World without love
Jeepers Creepers
Indiana
I'm just wild about Harry
Theme for young lovers
I love the little things
Surrey with the fringe on top
Someone nice like you
Gentle Persuasion
Tell me when
Hello Dolly
Calling All Workers (
Sig)
Eric Coates
George Gershwin
Steve Race
Jule Styne
Cann
Cann
Leslie Bricusse
Ivor Slaney
Bruce Welch
Lennon/McCartney
Paul Anka
Jones
Sourire
Thiglemans
Henry Mancini
Jackson
Lennon /McCartney
Warren
Hanley
Sissle
Bruce Welch
Welbeck
Richard Rodgers
Leslie Bricusse
Jack Coles
Reed
Herman
Eric Coates

Youtube video: Bob Potter interviewed at his Lakeside Country Club