The Vox Defiant - "Hello, Goodbye"


Photo courtesy Apple Corps

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The Lloyd Thaxton Show used to air in my home town of Milwaukee, Wisconsin at 5:00 PM on Saturday afternoons in 1967. Lloyd Thaxton had an independently produced rock and roll TV "dance" show modeled somewhat after Dick Clark's American Bandstand. Kids danced to current hit records, and between songs, Thaxton usually performed some pretty corny routines. Most weeks there would be a national band featured on the show that would lip synch their current hit. Ordinarily, watching this show was not a big deal to me, but on this particular week, the Beatles video for "Hello Goodbye" would be aired on the Thaxton show.

The Beatles promotional video for "Hello Goodbye" was shot at the Saville Theatre in London. While watching the Beatles video on the Thaxton show, I was fascinated by brief views of Vox amps I had never seen before. Like many in America, I was unaware that Vox in the UK was offering Vox amps elsewhere in the world that were not available in the United States. In the video, George and John were standing in front of Vox Defiant amps. I have read that these Defiant amps played a major role in the recording of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour albums.

I also would like to add that some have suggested that the amps in this video were actually the slightly smaller Conquerors, and this is a possibility as well.

For those familiar with the Vox amplifiers produced by Thomas Organ in America, the Defiant was comparable to the Vox Royal Guardsman. The Defiant head had features and effects nearly identical to those on the Royal Guardsman, and the speaker enclosure similarly featured two 12" speakers and a Midax horn.

The amps in the "Hello, Goodbye" video featured a complete tubular trolley. The amp head rested on the tubes at the top of the stand. The amp head had a rectangular Vox nameplate similar to those used on American Vox amps.

I will also add that the speaker cabinets shown in the video are not likely to be Defiant cabinets. If you look closely at the picture of the Beatles near the top of the page, you will see that the letters spelling "Vox" on the logos on the speaker cabinets are white. Vox used white letters on the 400 and 700 series speaker cabinets, but changed back to gold for the solid state amps.
Considering that the Beatles used 400 and 700 Series amps in the studio while recording the Revolver album, it is quite likely that the 730/430 cabs were mistakenly grabbed from the Abbey Road studio for use in the "Hello, Goodbye" video. The 730/430 and Defiant cabinets are exactly the same size, and only the 730/430 cabinets came standard from Vox with the full trolley shown in the Beatles video. By the time the Defiant reached the market, Vox only offered the amp with the individual side swivel stands shown at bottom left. These side stands had a bent loop at the top that served as a carrying handle. The amp head now rested directly on the speaker cabinet. A latching mechanism on the bottom of the Defiant head locked the amp to the speaker cabinet.

Vox also added the words "solid state" to the nameplate on the head.

The picture at middle left shows a Defiant amp in the "Hello, Goodbye" cosmetic. This amp is owned by my good friend, Mike Handley, in the UK. He bought his Defiant trolley from North Coast Music.

The picture at lower left shows the Defiant with the more conventional "bent side stands."






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Photos and editorial content courtesy Gary Hahlbeck, North Coast Music


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