Hello you Groovy Kids, the Wimpey Bar generation, when a burger was cooked in front of you and tasted nice. A special Hello to all of you guys n' gals who lived in Birmingham during the 60's through the greatest age of live music ever known. I often refer to us as The Golden Few.
I was thinking about that defining moment when things went meteoric in the legendary Swingin' 60's musically.
In 1960 we had had the first proper home grown British Rock song "Move it" by Cliff and The Shadows and shortly after the globally iconic, Shakin' All Over and for the first time we had rock and roll Riffs and dynamic openings of our own, the Shakin' opening riff was an adaptation of Hank Marvin's opening on Move It so that's where it started in the 60's, it had to start somewhere but it still took a couple of more years before it went into hyperdrive. It was the best of days for live music for the younger generation played by the youth of the day but was largely based on the R&B output of Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and a smattering of Cliff and The Shads. An expected set list from all the fledgling groups to copy. We all did the same songs, only the faces changed. It still wasn't swingin' though.
Jazz clubs closed in their hundreds and even thinking about folk music was declared illegal. Bearded men smoking pipes and wearing chunky knitted sweaters were driven underground where they could lament the "Cold North winds blowing up their Bonnie Wee Kilts" in private.
It was now a new Rock and Roll but slightly more aggressive and louder, there were amplifiers that generated power and the kids loved it, it was anti establishment, every kid that has ever been has heard the shouted phrase "Turn that music down" identifying immediately as the moment of the generational split in every child/adult relationship. Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis were still going strong until October 1962 but girls didn't want to jive anymore, there were other dance crazes and fashions changes and early British rock was incredibly important but very short lived, which was the very moment Englands music pendulum started its first swing cycle and was the day someone mentioned to me, The Beatles and "Love me Do".
That was 59 years ago, more than a lifetime for many and I've done a million other things in my life since then and had many experiences so why is it I remember it like it was yesterday? To be precise it is the actual moment that some kid asked me if I'd heard of The Beatles that I remember, I can even hear the traffic noise on Stratford Road, Sparkhill under a cloudy evening sky. He told me they were French. At that time The Tornadoes were at No 1 with "Telstar" and were the ONLY Group in the pop charts. Things were about to change.
We all know what happened from then but even after that memory moment it was probably 1963 when it really started going "Ape" and Great Britain specifically rode the crest of the musical wave for years, producing the worlds greatest influencing groups and fashions. It swung alright, it screamed in like a hurricane and London was a magnet to the worlds trendy elite. That is not to say that was where the best bands were but it was the centre of the entertainment industry so that's where you had to be, to be seen at the right places. John Lennon said that was the time he loved the most "We were kings".
John Lennon died 40 years ago.
George Harrison died 20 years ago.
I remember it all so well, in fine detail and full colour. I recognise today, from the outside looking in, people dont even see the old guy with his memories walking down the same street in Birmingham where once, I was told about The Beatles. I imagine that in these times of uncertainty they could well experience their moment of enlightenment just like I did at some time and maybe 59 years from now will reflect on their greater days with as much affection as I have.
It was such a long time ago, I feel at times that I should let it all go and get on with being an old git but it still has me by the throat, the desire to make music is still strong, occasionally needing a kick start to get me out of the chair but once I'm plugged in and start playing the opening riff to "Little Queenie" I'm back on stage at The Plaza. Feeling like a king too.
It will never, ever be as good as those times we experienced then.
I hope you're now all jabbed up. Great Britain was lucky to have had a quick thinking, strong government during this pandemic. Up the Villa!!