Spandex, Synths & Stadium Rock – Exhibition – Brentford

June 3rd – August 28th – The Musical Museum, Brentford.

Keith Richards @ Wembley Stadium 25th June 1982 – Tattoo You tour of The Rolling Stones. (Digital Artwork by Stella/Photography Sol)

The 60’s and 70’s cemented London’s international contribution to Rock & Pop thanks to the success of the Beatles, The Stones and many more groups who were reaching out to millions worldwide. This led to the development of a flourishing UK music industry hub in Central & West London, powered by companies such as EMI, BBC Radio & TV together with large numbers of theatres and venues where bands could perform and be seen.  

London was home to a cluster of record company headquarters, recording studios, advertising agencies and fostered iconic Independent labels such as Island Records, Stiff Records, Virgin & Beggars Banquet (many with firm roots in West London)

A pool of musicians and technicians were established & primed to embrace The Blues, soul, blue-beat, reggae and pushed forward genres such as blues-rock, pop, ska & punk.

By the end of the 70’s the city’s musical ecosystem was able to identify, nurture and promote new artists thanks to the trailblazing bands that had changed the music industry.  

Just as the synthesiser became the cornerstone of most 80’s bands, audiences were adopting widespread technological developments such as the Walkman, VHS, MTV and the Compact Disc. This digital trend was accelerated thanks to synth based, landmark recordings, namely ‘Tubular Bells’- Mike Oldfield and ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ – Gary Numan.

The exhibition ‘SPANDEX, SYNTHS & STADIUM ROCK’ compiled by Sol & Stella at the Musical Museum, Brentford brings together many artists and scenes, captured by Sol at large London venues, and reinterpreted in digital painting. This includes, the legendary Live Aid gig at Wembley on the 12th July 1985 often seen as a key moment in Rock ‘n’ Roll and 20th century culture, with many UK musicians on stage in either London or Philadelphia as millions around the world watched via live TV.

Meanwhile, back in Brentford, the King of Skiffle, Lonnie Donegan may have been sitting watching from afar in his home, knowing that most of the British guitarists participating would credit him and his ‘trad jazz’ contemporaries for getting them started on guitar.

So, Brentford, West London is an ideal location to head for this unique set of 80’s images, hosted in a facility, that should be on any synthesiser fan’s itinerary of London.

‘Never A Masterplan’ – The new film from the Director of Suburban Steps To Rockland

The director of ‘Suburban Steps to Rockland’, the definitive movie about the Ealing Club, has a new film. It’s called ‘Never A Master Plan’ and it’s almost entirely shot in Ealing (with a few scenes being shot at The Ealing Club, now called, The Red Room). The film tells the story of a group of artists and musicians living in London and it also features surprise appearances from music legends Vashti Bunyan (who started her career as a Andrew Loog Oldham protégé covering ‘Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind’ by The Rolling Stones) and Mike Watt (bass player of Minutemen and The Stooges). There will be two London screenings in May, one as part of the London Doc’n’Roll Film Festival and one in Ealing at the Ealing Project. Links to tickets are below.

Friday 19 May at Rio Cinema (Dalston Kingsland) at 06:30pm as part of the summer edition of the Doc’n’Roll Film Festival:

Wednesday 24 May at the Ealing Project (Ealing) at 08pm:

Here’s the film trailer:

Charlie’s Good Tonight & BBC Later…with Jools Holland

This week’s edition of Later with Jools Holland features an interview with Paul Sexton, the writer of the “authorised” biography of Charlie Watts. Titled “Charlie’s Good Tonight” the publication tells the story of the “heartbeat of the band’. 

The band in question…. The Rolling Stones. 

Charlie’s Good Tonight confirms the date of 12th January 1963 as the first day that Charlie Watts played with the Rolling Stones. From that date forward the band was made up of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts and on keyboards Ian Stewart. 

The band would continue to play the Ealing Club until March 1963 whereafter the Crawdaddy in Richmond and The Ricky Tick would become the place to see the Stones. 

Catch Paul Sexton’s interview with Jool’s Holland at minute 25 on the following link: