The £1M Drum Contest -
Dave Clark's 1963 English Rogers Drum kit

Due to my interest in English Rogers drums I have ended up owning one of the most iconic drum kits, certainly of the 1960s, and probably of all time. It is Dave Clark’s original Red Sparkle English Rogers drum kit from late 1963. It was acquired by Dave Clark just as the career of the Dave Clark Five was taking off, and used by him to the end of 1965. Whenever I talk to anyone about it their reaction is almost universally the same, “How can you be sure?” This comment becomes irritating after a while, as the provenance of these drums is overwhelming. I determined to put together as clear and detailed an account of how I came to own these drums, their provenance, their history, and their unique features.

This one -

The Dave Clark Five on Ready Steady Go! sometime in 1964 or 1965
Dave Clark gave this drum kit away as first prize in a competition in early 1966.
The Million Pound Drum Kit Competition

Popular UK music paper Melody Maker 29th January 1966 had an interesting item on page three -

In the following week's issue, 5th February 1966, details of the competition are laid out.


Melody Maker says that the drums that Dave Clark would be giving away in the competition are (not in the best English), “the one of which he recorded “Glad All Over” and “Bits and Pieces”.

“On Sunday, March 20th 1966 at the Wimbledon Palais, the prize was presented to the winner of the 'Million Pound Drum Contest'. From an entry of 2,700, Carol Offord was selected to win Dave Clark's multi-hit-making Rogers drum kit. Carol nominated her friend John Tillett (rear right) to receive the prize. "

I have copies of the original Melody Makers and they will stay with the kit.


















This is one of the original photos that Carol and John were given after the presentation. They were kind enough to let me have one when I bought the kit.

The observant might see that the bass drum hoops have a fresh coat of black paint. In the early 60s English drum makers painted their bass drum hoops silver. Bass drum hoops can take quite a battering and by 1966 the fashion was to paint these black, so the hoops had been thoughtfully repainted before being presented to Carol. Dave's Swiv-o-matic stands and pedals have been replaced with the English Rogers catalogue cheaper option of Ajax stands and pedals. 

And no, the Original bass drum head with “Dave Clark” written on it did not come with the kit – everyone asks!












The reverse of the above photo.
Forty-four years later and John and Carol are a couple, and John still had the drums.

Carol kept a scrapbook at the time about their experience.

DJ from Radio London, Earl Richmond who was there on the day. And the reverse has Dave Clark's and Mike Smith's autographs.
Below John enjoying himself.
Please continue to "How I Got Involved".