‘Eric Burdon: Rock ‘n’ Roll-Animal’ & West London

It was high time a great documentary dedicated to Eric Burdon screened on a major broadcaster in the UK. And so Eric Burdon: Rock ‘n’ Roll-Animal, was screened recently on BBC4 TV.

As lead singer of The Animals, the band that hailed from Newcastle Burdon went on to influence many musicians of subsequent generations: Springsteen, Little Steven, Patti Smith and Sting are all included here and give some idea of the impact this group had on many future talents.

Bruce Springsteen’s memorable speech at SXSW in March 2012 was a momentous illustration of the importance of the Animals, hailed by many as the first classic rock band. 

In early 60s England, The Animals were considered to be an R & B group who along with bands such as The Rolling Stones based their sound on a particular sub-genre of American blues guitarists whose music was yet to become appreciated in most regions of their own US homeland. 


In 1962-63, Eric Burdon’s musical development included visits to Blues Incorporated’s gigs at the Ealing Club, a fact that he has always acknowledged over the years. The 306-mile (492Km) hitchhike from Newcastle to London did not deter Eric Burdon and countless other young blues afficionados from places such as Cheltenham, Oxford, Birmingham and Kent. Many ended up making West London their musical destination.

SUBURBAN STEPS TO ROCKLAND – The Story of the Ealing Club

Eric Burdon’s memories of Alexis Korner, Cyril Davies and the legendary evenings that helped hone the skills of many future musical legends, form part of another independent movie that is reaching out to global audiences following its recent TV debut on Sky Arts TV. 

Suburban Steps To Rockland illustrates the motivation and influences of figures such as Eric Burdon, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Pete Townshend, while explaining how legendary bands sprung into life around a tiny West London R & B music scene. 

If you enjoy Eric Burdon: Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal, Suburban Steps To Rockland is well worth a watch as it takes the viewer on a journey through the roots of The Animals, The Rolling Stones, Manfred Mann, Cream, The Who and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. (Full details here)

West London’s connection with the sound of Marshall that was adopted and pioneered by the Who, Cream and Jimi Hendrix (amongst others) is also explained in depth. 

Eric Burdon: Rock ‘n’ Roll – Animal is available in the UK on BBC I Player here

Please check out Suburban Steps To Rockland on Sky Arts and Now TV (UK, Ireland & NZ) and now available to buy on DVD from www.ealingclub.com.

When Ricky Tick Met The Ealing Club

The Ricky Tick (RT) is a legendary venue referred to by countless UK musicians who ‘cut-their-teeth’ in the early to mid 60’s. Bands such as The Stones, Manfred Mann, GBO, The Who, The Birds, Yardbirds (& many others) passed through the founding Windsor venue and later via the network of (RT) events that took root across southern England.

The producers of Suburban Steps To Rockland – The Story of the Ealing Club recently met with one of the primary instigators of the (RT) Brea Gosling who alongside Philip Hayward and John Mansfield helped kickstart the legendary venue chain that hosted so much ground-breaking musical activity of the 60’s.

Brea has confirmed that the vision to kickstart RT evenings began following a visit to the Ealing Club by promoter John Mansfield who quickly realised that the ‘Trad Jazz scene’ of early 60’s London would soon be superseded by a new kind music …… the sound of what was known in 1962-65 as R & B.

The Ricky Tick as highlighted in the Ealing Club, Pitshanger Manor Exhibition held in 2012

Ealing Club stalwarts such as Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated would be offered gigs in Windsor and were followed by just about every other band who came to ply their trade in the South of England. The Stones, Little Stevie Wonder, John L Hooker …… just some of them!

By 1967, Hounslow’s Ricky Tick was hosting groups such as the Jimi Hendrix Experience while cinema audiences, worldwide became familiar with Ricky Tick via Antonioni’s film ‘Blow Up’ 

…. Cue the scene featuring the Yardbirds  (with both J.Page & J.Beck in the band) ….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zeza1xeWKM

In February 2020, Brea is hosting a show on Brooklands Radio and kindly featured Suburban Steps To Rockland & The Ealing Club CIC while playing a few tunes related to the story. Catch up with the interview at the link above^

Thankfully a book on the Ricky Tick was launched in July 2019 prior to John Mansfield’s passing and we understand there are plans underway to launch a Charity Tribute To Ricky Tick in 2020.

Nicky Hopkins celebrated in Perivale

Saturday 19 October 2019 saw the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the Perivale childhood home of Nicky Hopkins aka ‘ Rock’s Greatest Session Man’.

The keyboard skills of the one-time Ealing Club regular provided a major contribution to many legendary recordings from Cyril Davies to Spinal Tap, along with Rolling Stones, The Who, the Beatles, the Kinks, Jefferson Airplane, Dusty Springfield and many more.

A crowd of fans, friends and neighbours attended the unveiling at 38 Jordan Road, Perivale, Middlesex UB6 7BX of a plaque to mark Hopkins’ childhood home of Hopkins who died aged 50 in 1994.

The Ealing Civic Society plaque was unveiled by Hopkins’ wife Moira, with The Mayor of Ealing, Dr Councillor Abdullah Gulaid, along with John Wood, who has led the campaign for recognition of Hopkins’ life and work and local councillors Tariq Mahmood and Charan Sharma.

The event was hosted by the current occupants of the house, Tom & Iwona Carroll.

The plaque installation was initiated by the campaigner John Wood (above) with the support of Ealing Civic Society and the kind agreement of Tom and Iwona Carroll.

Classically-trained Hopkins is already remembered in nearby Perivale Park with a memorial bench commissioned by Wood in September 2018.
It was constructed thanks to contributions from fellow musicians and local community groups including the Ealing Club CIC. The next stage in his campaign is to have Hopkins admitted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Wood’s next objective is to have Hopkins admitted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Like many of his contemporaries, Nicky Hopkins cut his teeth during the R&B boom of the early 1960s and featured on the classic 1963 Cyril Davies Rhythm & Blues All Stars recording Country Line Special.

Nicky had featured in The Savages, Screaming Lord Sutch’s backing band which at the time was one of the most celebrated live line-ups of early 60s London.  

Following his hospitalisation in 1963 from a serious illness, Hopkins became a sought-after session player.

Just a few of of his credits are:  Cyril Davies and  His Rhythm & Blues All Stars (Country Line Special), Screaming Lord Sutch (Jack The Ripper), The Who (Anyway Anyhow Anywhere, Getting In Tune), PP Arnold (The First Cut Is The Deepest), The Kinks (Sunny Afternoon, Days), Dusty Springfield (I Close My Eyes and Count To Ten), The Beatles (Hey Jude, Revolution), The Rolling Stones (Sympathy for the Devil, Angie, Street Fighting Man), Donovan (Barabajagal), Jefferson Airplane (Volunteers), John Lennon (Happy Xmas (War Is Over), Jealous Guy), Joe Cocker (You Are So Beautiful) , Art Garfunkel (I Only Have Eyes For You) and Spinal Tap (Break Like The Sun).

For more on West London’s contribution to the 60s R & B scene please check out the A-Z of Ealing Rock and the film Suburban Steps To Rockland.

38 Jordan Road, Perivale, Middlesex UB6 7BX