The Ealing Club A-Z shows why this west London borough, which includes the Acton, Hanwell and Southall districts should be regarded as the birthplace of British blues and blues-based rock music.
ADAM FAITH (1940-2003) – One of the first generation of British pop stars was born Terence Nelhams-Wright on 23 June 1940 and lived at 4 East Churchfield Road, Acton W3 7LL.
THE ALBERMARLE CLUB – Ealing’s jazz heritage and roots owe much to the Albermarle Club that was run by promoter Don Short from the early 1950s from the now-demolished White Hart pub at 49 High Street, Southall UB1 3HF. The Albermarle was a regular stopover for many trad jazz musicians including Ken Colyer, Acker Bilk, Lonnie Donegan and Chris Barber – for whom we all think a knighthood for services to music is well overdue. Don Short was responsible for many jazz nights at Ealing Town Hall that served the community for regular live events throughout the 1950s and early 1960s. The Albermarle was the highpoint in Ealing for post-war jazz.
ALEXIS KORNER (1928-84) – The Ealing Club co-founder was brought up in a flat in Ealing Village, Hanger Lane W5 2NB, an estate created in the 1930s to house visiting film stars working at Ealing Studios. See EALING CLUB.
THE BEATLES – On 24 April 1964 the corner of Edgehill Road and Lakeside, North Ealing W13 8HN was the location for the final day’s shooting of The Beatles’ film A Hard Day’s Night. The slapstick sequence featured Ringo, a raincoat and a hole in the road. Earlier in the filming on 3 March 1964 their special train had stopped at West Ealing station Drayton Green Road W13 0NQ, so that they could disembark and avoid the fans massed at Paddington Station.
BEGGARS BANQUET – The record label which found fame with Gary Numan started life as a chain of record shops, one of the first being at 19 High Street, Ealing W5 5DB where label founder Martin Mills lived above in a flat over the shop. Early artists recorded for the label included Ivor Biggun, The Lurkers and Johnny G.
BLUES INCORPORATED – Formed in 1961 by ALEXIS KORNER and CYRIL DAVIS this seminal line up featured a host of players who pioneered electric blues in the UK and go on to greater things. Among many others, the line-up at times featured Ginger Baker, Long John Baldry, Graham Bond, Jack Bruce and Art Wood. When Blues Incorporated was ejected from a club in London’s Wardour Street, Korner & Davies were prompted to open their own R&B night at THE EALING CLUB.
The BLUE TRIANGLE, 49a Uxbridge Road, Ealing W5 5SA – Now a nursery, this hut behind the former ABC Cinema played host to Chris Farlowe amongst others including Steampacket (Rod Stewart etc.). On 4 November 1965 a gig by John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers had a line-up which featured both Peter Green and Jack Bruce.
The BRAND NEW HEAVIES – members went to Ealing Grammar School (now Hammersmith & West London College) on Ealing Green.
CLIFF RICHARD – Cliff and The Shadows played what was the Dominion Theatre in Southall, a venue visited by many other legendary acts of the late 50’s and early 60’s. Numerous sequences of his films were shot locally including ‘Summer Holiday’ at Acton Bus depot.
CREAM – All three members gained their early experience at the EALING CLUB. Jack Bruce first started to play with and Ginger Baker as the rhythm section of Blues Incorporated after an audition there. Eric Clapton occasionally stood in for Mick Jagger at the club when the novice Rolling Stones singer had a sore throat. Later on, in Cream’s career, the band rehearsed at THE VIADUCT in Hanwell.
CYRIL DAVIES (1932-64) – Pioneering electric harp player and co-founder with Alexis Korner of the EALING CLUB. As a bandleader, Davis inspired and recruited a whole generation of British blues players including: Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Long John Baldry, Jimmy Page & Nicky Hopkins.
DEEP PURPLE – 13 Second Avenue, Acton W3 7RX. This house was rented during 1968 for the earliest line-up of Deep Purple which included Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord & Ian Paice.
DR FEELGOOD – Forever associated with Canvey Island, Essex this highly influential band which drew heavily on the British R&B tradition has a significant Ealing connection. Lee John Collinson (1952-94), later known as Lee Brilleaux arrived from South Africa in 1955 to be brought up in Hanwell for the next 10 years. He grew up just streets away from the Marshall Amplification shop attending Ealing Grammar School for boys, now Ealing Green College, The Green, Ealing W5 5EW. In 1965, the 13-year-old Lee moved with his family to Canvey Island. In 1971, he would form Dr Feelgood with Wilko Johnson, John B. Sparks and The Big Figure.
DUSTY SPRINGFIELD (1939-99) – The only British female singer to have been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame lived from age 10 in Flat 4, 2 Kent Gardens, North Ealing W13 8BU and attended St Anne’s Convent School, Little Ealing Lane, Northfields W5 4EJ — now Ealing Fields High School. Dusty worked in the Squires musical instrument and record shop at 28-30 New Broadway W5 2XA – now the Tuk Cho restaurant, and at the department store Bentalls which occupied the site of the present-day Morrisons supermarket on The Broadway, Ealing W5 2ND.
The EALING BLUES FESTIVAL – Founded on 28 June 1987 by Ealing Musician Robert Hokum, takes place every summer in Walpole Park, Ealing. The Ealing Blues Festival has attracted audiences of over 10,000 making it one of the biggest single-day, Blues Festivals in Britain.
THE EALING CLUB, 42A The Broadway, Ealing W5 2NP – The basement venue opposite Ealing Broadway Station where it all began on Saturday, 17 March 1962 when Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies took over the Ealing Jazz Club for their weekly Ealing Blues Club nights after their previously acoustic blues club at the Roundhouse pub in Wardour Street, Central London was ejected for going electric. The venue had recently been established by Ealing Technical College student union head Fery Asgari who’d been running jazz nights there on Thursdays and Fridays. The Ealing Club is where Mick Jagger & Keith Richards met Brian Jones and is where the Stones played their first gig — on snowy Tuesday night attended by an audience of around five people. Another notable event took place there one Sunday night in 1963 with the first live performance ever to use the classic ‘loud’ Marshall JTM45 guitar amplifier. The band assembled to test the pre-production amp included future Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell — who worked in the Marshall shop in Hanwell, and saxophonist Terry Marshall, the ‘T’ in ‘JTM’. Other musicians who played the venue included Ginger Baker, Long John Baldry, Graham Bond, Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton, Cyril Davies, Nicky Hopkins, Paul Jones, Alexis Korner, John Mayall, Mitch Mitchell, Ian Stewart, Rod Stewart, Dick Taylor and Charlie Watts. Bands included The Birds (featuring Ali McKenzie & Ron Wood), Blues Incorporated, Downliners Sect (with Don Craine), Graham Bond Organisation, Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers, the Soul Messengers (with Terry Marshall) and The Who. Subsequently, the premises were used as a disco and casino. The names it’s been known as include: Tabby’s, The Nutmeg, Chequers, Madocs and Club Azur. These days the venue operates as the Red Room and consists of two small bars, a dance floor/performance space and a seating area which occupies the space where the stage was in the 1960s.
EALING FILM STUDIOS, Ealing Green W5 5EP – Opened in 1902 and famous for its 1950s Ealing comedy films, from 1955-95 it was operated as the BBC’s film studios. Since then it’s had numerous music connections. It was the former day-job location of former BBC TV That’s Life presenter and Hanwell resident Doc Cox whose alter-ego Ivor Biggun had a banned novelty chart hit in 1978 with The Winkers Song (misprint) on the West London based Beggars Banquet record label. Others who’ve recorded or made music videos there include Blur, Coldplay, Emeli Sandé, Franz Ferdinand, Naughty Boy, Suede, Spice Girls and Mel C.
EALING JAZZ CLUB – see EALING CLUB.
EALING TOWN HALL, New Broadway, Ealing W5 2BY – Opened in 1888 and the venue for many music performances including those by the legendary black American blues artists, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.
ELVIS COSTELLO – While he struggled to establish himself as a professional musician, Elvis worked between 1974 and 1977 as an IBM computer operator at the Elizabeth Arden cosmetics factory in 140 Wales Farm Road, Acton W3 6UG.
THE FEATHERS, The Broadway, Ealing W5 5JN – Now a branch of Metro Bank, this large pub almost opposite the Ealing Club and by Ealing Broadway station had a big basement bar where, amongst others The Pink Floyd, Jeff Beck, The Who and Metropolis Blues Quartet (The Yardbirds) performed. The upstairs ballroom was used by Ealing Art College students prior to their moving across the road to the venue that from March 1962 hosted the EALING CLUB. Pink Floyd’s 24 April 1967 performance did not go well, with bass player Roger Waters being hit in the head by a large old penny coin thrown by a disgruntled member of the audience.
FREDDIE MERCURY (1946-91) – The Queen frontman went to Ealing Art School, now the UNIVERSITY OF WEST LONDON and made one of his first public performances as a singer there in 1969.
GREENFORD GRANADA, Greenford Road – Now a Tesco supermarket, but back in the 1960s a venue visited by many of the pop package tours of the day. Including in March 1965, The Rolling Stones, headlining a tour on the back of their chart EP Got Live If You Want It
The HAMBOROUGH TAVERN, The Broadway, Southall UB1 1NG – A pub rock venue which achieved national notoriety on 4 July 1981 when it was burnt down during the riots which also claimed the life of Blair Peach.
HANWELL COMMUNITY CENTRE, Westcott Crescent, Hanwell W7 1PD – The former Cuckoo School opened in 1849 boasts Charlie Chaplin as its most famous ex-pupil. Hosted gigs by amongst others Procol Harum, The Animals, Gene Vincent and Jerry Lee Lewis. Used as a rehearsal venue by The Who, Uriah Heep, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Purple released the material originated in Hanwell in 1970 as Deep Purple in Rock. In more recent times the venue has featured on the big screen as a location for the 2000 film Billy Elliot.
The HANWELL HOOTIE – Started on 6 April 2013 as a free event in four pubs to commemorate the unveiling that day of a black plaque at 147-149 Uxbridge Road, London W7 3ST to mark the birthplace of Marshall Amplification at 76 Uxbridge Road. The Hootie usually takes place on the first Saturday of April to coincide with the passing of Jim Marshall on 5 April 2012. It’s now London’s biggest free one-day music event. In 2018 the Hootie featured no fewer than 90 acts in 15 venues.
IVOR BIGGUN – Ealing resident for many years. Had a banned chart hit with ‘The Winkers Song (misprint)’ on the then Ealing based Beggars Banquet record label which sold over 180,000 copies and funded the recording career of Gary Numan.
JAMIROQUAI – Jason ‘Jay’ Kay comes from Ealing, attending 54 Eaton Rise, Ealing W5 2ES.
JOHN MCVIE – Bass player with Fleetwood Mac, was born in Ealing and lived at 2 St Marys Square, Ealing W5 4QX. He attended Grange Primary School, Church Gardens, Ealing, London W5 4HN, followed by the now-demolished Walpole Grammar School in Cranmer Avenue, Northfields W13. His first played in a band as a schoolboy with friends John & Peter Barnes, rehearsing in their house at 12 Lammas Park Road, Ealing W5 5HZ.
LEO SAYER – His 1983 top 20 hit Orchard Road is an autobiographical song about a marital dispute and late night phone call to his then-wife living in a flat at 33 Churchfield Road, Acton W3 6AY.
LIONEL BART (1930-99) – Writer of Cliff Richard’s first hit Livin’ Doll and Tommy Steel’s Rock With The Caveman as well as From Russia With Love and the smash hit musical Oliver! lived out his final years at 33 Churchfield Road, Acton W3 6AY.
The MAGIC NUMBERS – Indie rockers lived in Hanwell.
MANFRED MANN – Their lead singer Paul Jones, jammed with Alexis Korner and Blues Incorporated and the leading lights of rhythm & blues at the EALING CLUB. Jones then joined the Mann-Hugg Blues brothers whose popularity grew and band name changed to Manfred Mann.
On outgrowing the Ealing Club they penned some of the most successful pop hits of the 1960s. They would later return to the Ealing Club to try and find their R&B roots once more. Their very expensive and innovative Hammond organ managed to get down the stairs for a homecoming gig.
MARSHALL AMPLIFICATION, Hanwell – With premises at 76 & 93 Uxbridge Road W7 3ST in 1962 Jim Marshall’s guitar amplifier gave birth to heavy rock. Customers included: Pete Townshend (The Who), Ronnie Wood (The Birds), Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) and Jimi Hendrix. Mitch Mitchell worked in the shop. Later on, Marshall briefly operated a shop in the centre of Ealing on the site of today’s Ealing Broadway Centre. It was closed following objections from independent retailers of Marshall gear who did not like the competition.
MATT MONRO (1930-85) – The singer regarded by Sinatra as one of the world’s best male vocalists lived at 1 Dallas Road, Ealing W5 3BW. Signed by Beatles producer George Martin, Monro’s long list of hits included the themes from Born Free and From Russia With Love.
MONTEREY MUSIC, 69 Station Road, Hanwell W7 3JD – Now Peter Cook’s Guitar World, these premises once housed an eight-track studio where Malcolm Maclaren performed his parts for The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle. Other clients included the other Peter Cook (of Peter Cook & Dudley Moore fame).
MITCH MITCHELL (1946-2008) – The drummer with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, came from Ealing and worked at the MARSHALL shop in Hanwell. One of his friends was local resident Chris Thomas who turned down Mitchell’s suggestion he play bass with the then-unknown Jimi Hendrix. Thomas subsequently found fame as a record producer working with The Beatles, Procol Harum, the Sex Pistols and more.
NICKY HOPKINS (1944-94) – Played in the Cyril Davis R&B All-Stars line-up that recorded Davis’s 1963 classic Country Line Special but best known for his subsequent work as a session keyboard player for The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, Jeff Beck, Pretty Things, Jefferson Airplane and more was born in Perivale and spent his early years living at 38 Jordan Road, Perivale, Greenford UB6 7BX.
The NORTHCOTE ARMS, 49-53 Northcote Avenue, Southall UB1 2AY – The former pub, now derelict, was the venue in the late 1960s and early 1970s for the Farx Blues Club. Performers included Free, Rory Gallagher & Taste, Stray, Groundhogs, Edgar Broughton, Genesis, Supertramp, Mott The Hoople and Uriah Heap. Led Zeppelin played there in March 1969 shortly before the release of Led Zeppelin I.
The OLDFIELD TAVERN, 1089 Greenford Road, Greenford UB6 0AJ – Now demolished and replaced by a large block of flats. Where Keith Moon met The Who and the band played numerous early gigs. Genesis played here as well.
PET SHOP BOYS – have stated that they named the band after some friends nicknamed ‘The Pet Shop Boys’ who worked in a pet shop in West Ealing: Aquapets at 17 Leeland Road, W13 9HH.
PETE TOWNSHEND – was brought up at 20 Woodgrange Avenue, Ealing Common W5 3NY and from 1961 attended Ealing Art School, now part of the UNIVERSITY OF WEST LONDON. After starting at art school, until 1964 he shared a flat at 35 Sunnyside Road, Ealing W5 5HT. Townsend recalled in his autobiography that the first time he smoked pot it was outside Ealing Common Tube station. See also THE WHO.
PHIL COLLINS – drummer, lived in 12 Queen Anne’s Grove, Ealing Common W5 3XP in the early years of Genesis having attended the Barbara Speake Stage School in East Acton Lane, Acton W3 7EG. While living at Queen Anne’s Grove he offered to ‘bring my band along’ to play at a street party. The offer was turned down thus depriving his neighbours of the opportunity to see close up a band that was poised for worldwide fame.
RICK WAKEMAN – The Strawbs and Yes keyboard wizard and Bowie session player attended Drayton Manor Grammar School, Drayton Bridge Road, Hanwell W7 1EU, now Drayton Manor High School in the early 1960s where he played in trad jazz in his first band. Wakeman recalls as the young ‘Ricky’ Wakeman that he’d skip school to hang out at the Musical Bargain Centre shop in 20 South Ealing Road W5 4QA run by future SIMMS-WATTS AMPLIFICATION company co-founder Dave Simms.
RICKY STEVENS– Drummer (son of Ealing jazz legend John Stevens) whose credits include George Clinton, Prince’s Paisley Park Studios, Culture Club & Joss Stone. Ealing resident who also attended Ealing Grammar School.
ROGER DEAN – Not to be confused with the album cover artist of the same name, this Ealing resident was the first guitarist in John Mayall’s influential Bluesbreakers band.
The ROLLING STONES – formed at the EALING CLUB. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones met and jammed together with members of Blues Incorporated. Eventually, they were asked to fill in for the sought after Blues Incorporated, at the Marquee in London. They were named the “Rollin’ Stones” for this gig, which was their first official concert. The band then undertook a weekly Thursday night residency at the Ealing Club between July 1962 and March 1963.
Bill Wyman would join the band in December 1962. His autobiography Stone Alone recounts how Bill, first felt “part of the band”. Having grown his hair, he was greeted with “cheers” by the rest of the band on their arrival at ABC teashop next-door-but-one to the Ealing Club basement. The Rolling Stones were of course, on their way to a gig at the basement bar.
Charlie Watts had drummed with Blues Incorporated on a regular basis from the first Rhythm & Blues night on 17 March 1962. He played on some of the infamous jams that helped Mick Jagger overcome his stage nerves. Keith Richards cites Charlie’s first gig with the Rolling Stones, at the Ealing Club as Tuesday 15th January.
Ron Wood joined the Stones way after the early formation. However, he played many gigs in Ealing with his band The Birds sometimes being joined for impromptu drumming sessions with the Who’s, Keith Moon. Ronnie’s elder brother Art Wood was Blues Incorporated’s first vocalist and guided the band to the tiny club. Until then the “Moist Hoist” had hosted trad jazz bands and a bit of twist.
RON WOOD – guitarist with the Birds, Jeff Beck Group, The Faces & The Rolling Stones Ealing Art School, now the UNIVERSITY OF WEST LONDON.
SIMMS-WATTS AMPLIFICATION, 20 South Ealing Road, Ealing W5 4QA (from 1969, 181 South Ealing Road W5 4RH) was formed in 1968 out of the Musical Bargain Centre music shop by Dave Watts and electronics designer Rick Watts. Their range of PA and instrument amps were favoured by a number of top players, notably John Entwhistle of The Who and Mick Ronson. For a time Terry Marshall, son of Jim Marshall worked for Simms-Watts, recruited to set up manufacturing. In 1972 the company was acquired by EMI’s Sound & Vision Equipment subsidiary which itself was closed down in 1975. Simms went on to set up Dave Simms Music Projects, which for a short time took over the short-lived MARSHALL shop on Ealing Broadway and went on to specialise in DJ gear at now-demolished Project House, 1/5 The Grove Ealing W5 5DX.
SOUTHALL COMMUNITY CENTRE, 20 Merrick Rd, Southall UB2 4AU – The Who, The Yardbirds & The Small Faces all played there
The UNIVERSITY OF WEST LONDON, St Mary’s Road, Ealing W5 5RF – UWL was formed in 2010 from a number of predecessor institutions, notably Ealing Technical College & School of Art. According to Spinner.com, this is the top University of Rock, famous musician-students having been Pete Townshend, Roger Ruskin Spear, Ron Wood, Andy ‘Thunderclap’ Newman, Freddie Mercury and John Gotting (‘Johnny G’). Other notable alumni include Yellow Submarine animator Ted Powell and two photographers known for their work in rock. Tom Wright was a contemporary of Pete Townsend who has taken striking images of The Who, Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart and others. Derek Ridgers is the photographer described by the NME as ‘legendary’ for his work on picturing musicians and club culture for the magazine in the 1970s & 1980s. On 29 April 1969, David Bowie made a lunch-hour appearance at the Arts Lab in the main St Mary’s Road building of UWL. The student had been lent a PA by nearby manufacturer SIMMS-WATTS AMPLIFICATION. Bowie and guitarist John Hutchison were paid £12 for the gig, equivalent to £190 today and played to just a handful of people. In July 2013 the contract for the appearance signed by Bowie sold at auction for £3,500. Later that year, on 31 October the UWL building witnessed one the earliest public performances by FREDDIE MERCURY as the singer in a band called Wreckage.
THE VIADUCT, 221 Uxbridge Road, Hanwell W7 3TD – The Bee Gees and CREAM rehearsed here in the pub’s large upstairs function room. Cyril Davies played here, as did The Artwoods led by Art Wood — first singer with Blues Incorporated and Ronnie Wood’s elder brother. Live music lives on at the Viaduct – it’s one of the main HANWELL HOOTIE venues.
The WHITE HART HOTEL, 264 High Street, Acton W3 9BH – In the 1950s an important West London jazz which became an important stop on the pub-rock circuit until revamped in 1995 as the Redback Tavern and became well-known as a raucous Aussie and Kiwi backpacker haunt. In 2012 revamped as the Acton Arms. Now known as the Aeronaut. The Who played there frequently in 1963 which was also the year that John McVie played his first gig with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. On 27 July 1970, David Bowie played here at the Arts Lab run by RICK WAKEMAN.
WALPOLE HOUSE, 18-22 Bond Street, Ealing W5 5AA – Site of the former Walpole Picture Theatre. After its closure as a cinema in the mid-1970s became a rehearsal space run by Liveware, an offshoot of Trident Studios. It was used by major bands such as Paul McCartney & Wings, The Kinks, Thin Lizzy and Leo Sayer. When the building was demolished in 1981 to make way for Walpole House, the ornate Walpole Picture Theatre facade was preserved on the wall of the building at 3 Mattock Lane, Ealing W5 5BG.
THE WHO – According to the Who biography Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere, Saturday 21 November 1964 was “the first documented Who gig at this legendary R&B venue below the ABC bakery [sic], opposite Ealing Broadway Station“. However, the band may have played here before, as the High Numbers and the Detours. The Ealing Club was where Pete Townshend and Ealing Art College friends would see the very early Rolling Stones and Alexis Korner & Cyril Davies in Blues Incorporated.
A-Z of Ealing Rock © 2018 The Ealing Club Community Interest Company. All Rights Reserved.