It was 20 years ago today (well actually it was 5o years ago this year)

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?

A toi aussi...

Just found them on you tube - brings back memories but the sound isn't the same. "Stand down Margaret" introduced me (in a very limited way) to politics and thinking about what was going on around me and so many others about racial issues that I hadn't ever come across in rural Oxfordshire, back to you tube for a blast of the past...!

Bonnes fêtes de fin d'année ;-)

Shed a tear or two, may even have been as exciting to listen to them now! That early stuff was brill. Jamaican families on our estate had stacks of the stuff that I heard whenever I visited old friends when doing home 'duty'.

I've heard that since but I was in the middle of a divorce, went into a shared student house for a year whilst I finished my degree, then off to Aix for the Maîtrise etc - no storage and was trying to clear the decks and had stuff that I simply had to get rid of unfortunately my collection of 80s ska was one of them :-(

This ran quickly, so I have copied over to discussions folk. Andrew, how could you have sold them? I know of auctions where you'd make a bomb today!

the Beat, the Specials, Selecter and the rest of the early 80s ska scene, sold all my old 33s when I left the UK

Never like Long Pong or his Hoochie Coochie Men. Alexis and Bobbie Korner were my musical mentors and told us about the Marquee gig and new band which Jonesy and Ian Stewart had formed. Dick Taylor spent a lot of time at Alexis's place and that is where I first touched my National, which I bought from Bob Brunning no less. Greenie stunned everybody with his guitar work from the word go but he and Jeremy Spencer both went off the rocks and two major talents were lost. Danny Kirwan, who some of us knew as Wishy-washy Boy, the blues one riff specialist, was pushed by the Vernon Brothers at the Blue Horizon at the Nag's in Battersea and helped those two go ape. Pity. In 1962 Pete was about 16 I guess and Alexis said would be the best of all, he knew Eric C by then so it was a big statement. Pelé eclipsed them all though and Fidel for standing up to Kennedy.

1972 - vague recolections of disco and very loud flarred trousers

1982 - I lesft school in the middle of A level physics, chemistry and biology to become... a blacksmith! parents didn't forgive me until I finally went to evening class, got straight As in A level French and Italian then went on to Exeter Uni to finish up with a maîtrise : français langue étrangère from Aix-en-Provence. They felt much better after that but my mother still can't understand why I don't earn a fortune! Thatcher marked me for life - very scary woman who put the UK back on its feet but went barking mad towards the end!

1992 - left the royal navy and a career as an officer - upset parents again!

2002 - exchanged my last francs for euros in a bar near morlaix, teaching in Brittany, disastrous summer that year and start of divorce proceedings (realised my future was not in the UK!)

2012 - Teaching chinese students french in french in a french uni, lots of other irons in the fire, watch this space for more changes...!

Long John Baldry was bessie mates with a Tutor from the Oxford tech Bob Catteral, bright Yank. When Baldry brought out the 'sell out'

"let the heart aches begin" Bob was nausiated!