music rock n roll years

The Missing Years No 1

So far I have kept a steady consistent stream in my posting of the Rock & Roll Years series. But as I have earlier alluded there are gaps in my collection and sadly a significant gap in that 1962 and 1963 are both missing. I have always thought that these would have been 2 of the most interesting years in that it was during these 2 years that something started to happen with the chart pop music. If you look at the promoters who took charge of the early British bands then in some ways nothing much was different but there was a sudden surge of cultural creativity that – for a while at least – changed the nature of the entertainment business.

Actually most of 1962 was pretty much like the late fifties and the first couple of years of the new decade. It wasn’t until the twenty-second of November of that year that The Beatles got to number twenty-three in the UK charts with Love Me Do. Nothing of that nature had ever got into the popular music charts before – obviously it was based on the music that had been coming from the USA – Chuck Berry, Everly Brothers above all Buddy Holly, but it took elements from all of those and more and did them in a different way. This didn’t completely come from nowhere – it had been building up for a while but Epstein made sure that his band was the first to break through. Love Me Do stayed in the charts for several weeks but never got higher than seventeenth. But two months later they released Please Please Me which got to number three in the charts by the sixth of February, number two a couple of weeks after that. Then on the twenty-first of March, Gerry and the Pacemakers jumped into the chart at number twenty with How Do You Do It?. After three weeks that song got to number one which so far The Beatles had failed to do. But the week after that – April the eighteenth 1963 – The Beatles brought out their third charting single, From Me To You which jumped into the charts at number twenty-three and in two weeks knocked Gerry and the Pacemakers off the number one slot and stayed there for the next six weeks until Gerry and the Pacemakers took it back with their next hit I Like It.

Other British groups to make it into the charts in 1963 were Freddie and the Dreamers, The Hollies, Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, The Searchers and by the end of the year, The Dave Clark Five. On August the first The Rolling Stones’ single Come On reached number thirty-two but this early sortie wasn’t followed up until I Wanna Be Your Man was released and started moving upwards in November.

In the meantime The Beatles continued to dominate with She Loves You entering at number twelve in August and reaching top place two weeks later, dropping to number three in October but back at number one by the end of November.

So that’s what’s been missed. Here’s the Rock and Roll Years 1964 for your consideration


Ant Noel at the Somerset House

Last Tuesday 30th August there was a celebration at the Somerset House in Princess Victoria Street, Clifton Village, Bristol, where Gary Spavins was ending his tenure as landlord at the said establishment. The object of the exercise was to drink the pub dry and in addition was a celebration for the last night of the open mic night that had been put on there for at least a couple of years there maybe more by Ant Noel. It’s close to where I live and Ant has become a very good friend of mine over that sort of period of time. He pays tribute to me on his facebook page as his biggest supporter there week in week out. I didn’t make them all but probably about 75 per cent. As I say it was close to where I lived and my friendship and admiration for Ant’s musical skills made me happy to support him when I could.

To tell the truth it was never really a place that was going to seriously dig my music. But I persevered in performing my own material although tending to concentrate on songs that I felt were easy to understand like

The Airman’s Prayers

Children of the Sea

Early Rising Late

which we played on Tuesday.

Plenty of other songs were played over that time but those in particular were often repeated because Ant and I have them down pretty well. Obviously if Everton, was there as he was from time to time and thankfully this week he was, he would join in too. Also James whose speciality is The Wishing Well, though he’ll do himself proud on anything.

There was a bad spell in 2010 when it was mainly just me and Ant playing and there often weren’t many punters either (though they’d often turn up shortly before last orders and then clamour for music when it was time). But invariably there was some good part of the evening when things would come together. And certainly in the last 12 months (now is September 2011) there were quite a few lock-ins which generated extended sessions where we ended up playing Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Sam Cooke, Chuck Berry etc. late into the night. Apparently in the end some students complained about the noise and we had to be more careful. I’m not a smoker but actually I quite like that moment when the curtains are drawn, the front door shut and the ashtrays come out. There’s a nostalgia element there. The worst thing in my memory of tobacco legislation was when they had smoking carriages on the Tube in London. Before, anyone was allowed to smoke on public transport and you didn’t particularly notice it because you were used to it. But when they brought in that legislation most of the carriages were non-smoking and there was one (maybe 2 I don’t remember) where you were allowed to smoke. If you strayed into the smokers’ carriage through necessity it was unbearable because everybody just got straight in there and lit up. I mean why else would they be there?

Anyway whatever hopefully Ant and I will keep up some sort of musical collaboration from time to time. I will keep you informed.