I have kept journals for many years, certainly over 50, and looked briefly over 1962 over the last couple of days. I became 14 in 1962 but many other things happen. France gave up Algeria after a fierce war, it was the end of French colonialism as it had been and the UK was well down the way with that too.
I used the beginning of the Beatles’ ‘Sgt Pepper’ for a reason; namely that group appeared with ‘Love Me Do’ which did not become a hit for about two years but I noted its release as a bit of ‘different’ rock and roll. For me the big one was the formation and launch of a band doing blues like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley themes in there. I knew the guitarist from Alexis Korner’s band already, the rest were strangers. I went to the now legendary 165 Oxford Street club, the Marquee, to see the band officially launched to support Long John Baldry on 12 July. In those days they had Ian and Dick (who inspired me to take up slide/bottleneck guitar and listen to Robert Johnson) who left early and Brian who succumbed to substances a few years on. I think the former was the ‘founder’ although only a moderate guitarist as such kept the original sound together.
I saw them at SW London gigs like Cheam Baths Hall (cost me two bob – if people remember what that means!) and often at the Crawdaddy Club at Richmond Athletics Club. Potentially they are still together, the Rollong Stones!
I also saw Little Richard at Wimbledon Palais and Do Diddley at the Hammersmith Odeon. I really got into blues and began going to see visiting American bluesmen along with Big Bill, Little Bill and Greenie. Big Bill went on to become a J Walter Thompson creative director, Little Bill became and still is a photographer specialising in black and white work with blues and jazz musicians in the USA and Greenie became a famous guitarist and later broke down suffering schizophrenia and has been a shadow ever since. For all of that, I believe Johnny Speight used his dad, Joe Greenbaum who was a postman as the model for Alf Garnett. Once in the Albert Hall during a break between numbers Joe stood up and embarrassed us all by saying “Pete, that’s my boy Pete up there” and sounding exactly like Alf – needless to say that was later than 1962 and during the original days of ‘Till Death…’.
Brazil won the World Cup in Chile. Pelé became a world famous man, although he did not score in the final. He just had personality brimming over.
We sat on the edge of our chairs with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Some of us supported Castro, most people feared nuclear war and the end of the world. The anti-nuclear movement grew that year, I joined then.
Toward the end of the year I became 14 years old. Things were very different then, we were very grown up, roaming all over London with the money from paper rounds, Saturday jobs and the money we earned on the side from both to get us to see the music we loved and buy Levi jeans, such a status! I still wear button front Levis to this day.
OK, over to everybody else. What do you all remember from the past in tens of years (i.e. 1972, 1982, etc) as we enter a Leap Year cum Year of the Dragon?