BBC4 recently screened several evenings of themed programming curated by one of the greatest figures to hail from the early 60’s London R & B scene…. Mr Keith Richards, the Rolling Stones guitarist who recently declared he had his first gig in …. Ealing.
Highlights include Julian Temple’s “Origin of the Species”, a film that provides fascinating insight into the life of Keith growing up in London. Original & compelling, the project glimpses into the young baby boomer generation as they developed in post-war Britain.
Alongside this film, there are over ten hours of programming selected and approved by Keith Richards himself…music, comedy, cartoons and archive news footage that are all interspersed with anecdotes and comments from one half of the “Glimmer Twins”.
The Ealing Links?
For those in search of any links with Ealing, keep your eyes open, literally. Forgotten but much rated 60’s Ealing band “The Eyes” had their cult classic ‘When The Nightime Falls’ included in the soundtrack of one chapter of the show titled: “Nightime is The Right Time”….
Of course, you could look out for the iconic footage of Jimi Hendrix backed by Ealing Club veteran Mitch Mitchell on the drums or enjoy the comic genius of former Ealing Resident Sid James who also featured as one of Keith’s favourite comedy talents.
No doubt, many other scenes were filmed at Ealing Studios just down the road from The Rhythm and Blues Club.
Respect to the British Rock ‘n’ Rollers of The 50’s
Keith also paid some dues to Joe Brown, a key participant from another set of UK musicians who built strong foundations for the UK Rock and Pop business prior to the dawn of the Beatles and the London R & B scene in 1962-65.
British Rock ’n’ Roll had sprung up in the late 50’s spawning stars such as Tommy Steele, Cliff Richard & The Shadows, Joe Brown, Billy Fury, Marty Wilde and Adam Faith (from Ealing Borough) most of whom would regard the 2i’s Coffee shop in Soho as their spiritual and musical birthplace.
It’s important to note that this stable of stars would often find a gig in Ealing and it is entirely possible that some might have taken a detour via the Ealing Blues Club to check out the nascent R & B scene where musicians were dedicated to exploring ‘electric blues guitar’ in the rawest and most basic form possible.
London’s Rhythm & Blues
The Rolling Stones latest album of blues covers (recorded in Chiswick, London) provides a glimpse of the type of music that originally motivated the likes of Keith, Mick, Charlie, Brian Jones and Ian Stewart and so many other young musicians to gather in Ealing.
Great to see some growing recognition from the BBC for the first R & B hubs of West London with the announcement of the new Rolling Stones Album.