How West London Rocked The World

Ealing’s role in the history of rock music is to be featured in a major book festival.

The Chiswick Book Festival, one of west London’s leading cultural events is to host a session on 18 September called How West London Rocked the World, to highlight the research compiled for the new Ealing Club book The A-Z of Ealing Rock.

The book tells the story of the place where British guitar-based rock found its definitive sound and the music pioneers who lived, worked and played in this corner of west London including The Rolling Stones, The Who, Queen, Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Dusty Springfield, Fleetwood Mac and many more.

Robert Hokum, founder of the Ealing Blues Festival (pictured above) and a co-author of The A-Z of Ealing Rock will talk about Ealing music scene’s global influence, chaired by Caroline Frost, author and former entertainment editor of Huffington Post.

The Chiswick Book Festival event takes place on the evening of Wednesday 18 September at Gunnersbury Park and Museum – the first time this venue has been used for the Chiswick Book Festival.

The Ealing Club is widely regarded as the cradle of blues-based rock music because of the scene that formed around it, particularly between 1962 and 1965.

The A-Z of Ealing Rock details how members of groups including the Rolling Stones, Cream, The Who, Manfred Mann, The Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, The Pretty Things, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Animals all performed in the basement premises opposite Ealing Broadway Station that’s now known as the Red Room.  The prototype of the classic ‘loud’ Marshall guitar amplifier, made in nearby Hanwell, was first heard in public in the Club, on a Sunday night in 1963.

Robert Hokum said: “The book shows that this west London suburb is the place where thanks to the pioneering players at the Ealing Club and to father-of-loud Jim Marshall, the electric guitar realised its true potential,” says Hokum, “If that’s not enough, it’s where Freddie Mercury joined Queen, and where a punk heritage was to be a catalyst for some of the most iconic electro-pop of the 1980s.”

A documentary film, Suburban Steps To Rockland – The Story of The Ealing Club is to be shown on Sky television this autumn. A crowd funding campaign has been launched to cover some of the music licensing costs.

David Bowler, the chief executive of Gunnersbury, said: “Gunnersbury CIC is delighted to launch its partnership with Chiswick Book Festival by hosting this event. Working with dedicated, enthusiastic local experts, to uncover and present stories about the rich cultural heritage of west London, is key to our mission as the local museum service for Ealing and Hounslow.

“Robert Hokum’s talk and publication perfectly complements our museum collection which contains artefacts, archives and displays representing the role of local people and places in the story of the development of blues, rock and pop in the UK.”

The evening will be sponsored by the University of West London (UWL), which is home to London College of Music and where Freddie Mercury, Ronnie Wood and Pete Townshend all studied.

“We were delighted when Gunnersbury invited us to hold an event there” said Torin Douglas, director of the Chiswick Book Festival. “The park and museum have been beautifully restored and it will be wonderful to open the Festival at Chiswick House and close it at Gunnersbury, another historic house in west London. Gunnersbury has some terrific cultural displays – Freddie Mercury is celebrated there – and we hope to help it build further links with writers in Ealing.”

  • Tickets for How West London Rocked the World are available here.
  • The A-Z of Ealing Rock (ISBN 978-1-78926-463-0; is available price £10 from here.