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.

Royal makes a scorching return to Ealing

Ealing Club veteran Jimmy Royal at The Red Room 24 July 2019

It was one of the hottest nights of the year on 25 July when James Royal returned to perform at Ealing’s historic Red Room for the first time since 1967.

Fifty-two years on, Royal’s scorching set showed he was still in excellent voice as he ran through a programme of R&B and rock ‘n’ roll standards with a band which included two other 1960s Ealing Club veterans Terry Marshall on sax and  Nick Simper on bass.  

Marshall was an Ealing Club regular with the Soul Messengers; Simper played on Wednesdays with the Delta 5. Fronting Jimmy Royal & The Hawks, James had a residency at the Club’s Thursday night twist sessions.

His 2019 backing band also included Strawbs drummer and Part of The Union co-writer Richard Ford.

Ealing Club veteran Jimmy Royal at The Red Room with Nick Simper, bass; Terry Marshal, sax; Richard Hudson, drums.

James moved to Brisbane, Australia in 1984 after a career as a singer with record releases on the Decca, Parlophone, CBS, Carnaby, and Philips labels.

Now known as the Red Room, the basement premises opposite Ealing Broadway operated as the Ealing Cub which from March 1962 was the UK’s first R&B venue notable as the place where the members of the Rolling Stones first met and played together and The Who played some of their earliest gigs.  

Meet the Ealing Club at the 20-21 July 2019 Ealing Blues Festival

Continuing its decades-long legacy as one of the UK’s most iconic local festivals, Ealing Blues Festival 2019 takes place on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July in Ealing’s beautiful Walpole Park.

It’s your opportunity not only to hear some great music but also to meet the people behind the Ealing Club Community Interest Company. You’ll find us at the side of the Bar Stage where we’ll have our complete range of exclusive merchandise at very special process including our new publication: The A-Z of Ealing Rock which shows why Ealing’s the suburb that’s rocked the world.

Founded in 1987 by Ealing Club’s Robert Hokum, the Ealing Blues Festival has become one of the biggest blues festivals in the UK.  

It continues the borough’s rich musical fabric that began at the Ealing Club in 1962 where the likes of The Who, The Rolling Stones and Cream members Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce cut their teeth.

The 2019 two-day event is headlined by new-wave icon Nick Lowe, New Orleans bluesmen The Cosimo Matassa Project and Europe’s premier The Who tribute act, Who’s Next.

Artists appearing, in alphabetical order include: Andy Twyman, Bad Influence, Big Mama’s Door, Crossfire Blues Band, Cosimo Matassa Project, Eel Pie All-Stars, Geoff Garbow Band, Great West Groove, Guy William Band featuring Gemma Dorsett, Johnny G, Kyla Brox, Lewis Cohen, Mack featuring Tommy Hare, Marky Dawson, Near Death Experience, Neil Stout’s Old, Nick Lowe, Nicole Skeltys & The Disenchanted, Paul Cook Blues Band featuring Emma Wilson, Robert Hokum Revue, Son Of Dave, Stiff Joints Duo, The Frisco’s, Tim Stafell & Paul Stewart Band, Tommy Allen’s Trafficker, Who’s Next, Winnie & The Rockettes.

Festival details – Saturday

Festival details – Sunday