1970 Roll-call


represents the last hurrah for the Eel Pie Island Hotel. While the commune establishes itself in the Hotel proper, the old ballroom still manages to see appearances from acts such as Mott The Hoople, Genesis, Taste, Free, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Groundhogs and many other heroes of the ‘Underground’. Quintessence may have been the last performers before the venue closes for good, and goes out literally in a blaze of glory

The following were due to appear in 1970 as shown on contemporary posters (thanks to Mikey J Champion for providing the bulk of this information), or from adverts in Melody Maker, as gathered by Andrew Humphreys:

January 1970

Fri. Jan 2ndStray

Sat. Jan 3rdJunior’s Eyes

Fri Jan 9thRare Bird (from http://www.45worlds.com/live/artist/rare-bird/2)

This heavily keyboard-oriented band were flying high by the time of this appearance on the Island, as their single “Sympathy” was about to enter the Top 30 a few weeks later. They had started with the name Lunch, and initially included Chris Randall, one of the Museum’s volunteers, on bass

Sat. Jan 10thShades (from advert in MM)

Fri. Jan 16thJohn Dummer Blues Band (from advert in MM)

Sat. Jan 17thWishbone Ash (from advert in MM)

Fri. Jan 23rd – Eire Apparent

These were Belfast Boys who must have thought that they’d cracked it, having their only LP produced by Jimi Hendrix, and also including him playing on it: unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way

Sat. Jan 24thVan Der Graaf Generator

Van Der Graaf Generator were a darker progressive band than most, but typified a prevalence of musically intricate, but commercially unsuccessful outfits at this time. The number of different line-ups is impossible to detail here, but the constant Peter Hammill has consistently been quoted as an influence on all sorts of folk

Fri. Jan 30th Warm Dust (from advert in MM)

Sat. Jan 31st Shades (from advert in MM)

February 1970

Fri. Feb 6thToe Fat

Back in 1962, Cliff Bennett had appeared on the first ever ‘non-jazz’ bill when Wednesdays became the norm for ‘Beat’, Pop or R&B groups. By this time he’d reinvented himself as a ‘heavy rocker’ with Toe Fat, who produced one of the ugliest album covers ever

Sat. Feb 7th Siren

Maverick songster Kevin Coyne featured in the ranks of Siren, but achieved a degree of cult status in the mid-70s under his own name

Sat. Feb 7th Medicine Head

It definitely says Medicine Head on the poster for tonight

Sat. Feb 7th John Peel

The esteemed DJ brings his record collection to the Island, along with two of his Dandelion label signings, Siren and Medicine Head

Fri. Feb 13thMighty Baby (from Melody Maker via Clive Whichelow)

Sat. Feb 14th Principal Edwards Magic Theatre (fromhttp://s335571041.websitehome.co.uk/Pe/site/gigs70.asp )

It was probably the most crowded the stage had been in years for this 14-strong performance art collective

Fri. Feb 20thFree
This still some months away from their massive “Alright Now” hit

Sat. Feb 21stStray

Fri. Feb 27th Mandrake

Sat. Feb 28th Glass Menagerie

This was on the heels of a European Tour with John Mayall, but they split up not much later. Singer and organist Lou Stonebridge went on to play with the likes of McGuinness-Flint and The Blues Band, while guitarist Alan Kendall joined Cliff Bennett’s Toe Fat before replacing Vince Melouney in The Bee Gees in 1971, and stayed with them until 2003. That means he featured on “Saturday Night Fever”!

March 1970

Tue. Mar 3rdLittle Free Rock (from http://www.illingworth70.freeserve.co.uk/lfr_giglist.htm )

Fri. Mar 6thTruth (from advert in MM)

Fri. Mar 6thShades

Sat. Mar 7thJohn Dummer Band

Sat. Mar 7thMay Blitz

These were a short-lived power-trio that recorded a couple of albums before disbanding in 1971. Drummer Tony Newman had played with Jeff Beck, but went on to Three Man Army, before being decommissioned by the arrival of Ginger Baker in that band

Fri. Mar 13thWhite Lightning (from advert in MM)

These are advertised as “formerly Truth”, who had played under that name the previous week

Fri. Mar 13thWriting On The Wall

Sat. Mar 14thClimax Chicago Blues Band

Fri. Mar 20thSam Apple Pie

A jobbing boogie/blues-rock outfit, Sam Apple Pie would appear at the first ever Glastonbury Festival later this year. The singer, Sam Sampson, used to take to the stage wearing a stove-pipe hat

Sat. Mar 21stStray

Fri. Mar 27thToe Fat

Sat. Mar 28thShades

April 1970

Fri. Apr 3rdEasy Leaf

Fri. Apr 3rdLittle Free Rock

Sat. Apr 4thWhite Lightning

Sat. Apr 4thMott The Hoople (£115 as per Caldwell Smythe)

This is Mott when they were a jobbing rock band, years before Bowie gifted them a lifeline. According to Caldwell Smythe, the place was totally packed out for this one

Fri. Apr 10thGenesis

Fri. Apr 10thJan Dukes De Grey

Differing fortunes for tonight’s double bill: while everyone knows about Jan Dukes De Grey and their 1971 opus “Mice and Rats in the Loft”, whatever happened to Genesis? Seriously though, Jan Dukes De Grey were bonkers enough to insist that they needed to be seated, cross-legged in a meditation tent in order to be recorded properly, a whim which producer David Hitchcock indulged them, though not to any discernible difference to his ears, whereas, of course, anyone who witnessed Peter Gabriel’s increasingly unhinged stage outfits in his latter Genesis days may have been inclined to think he was just as bonkers. Whatever, this looks to have been a very early Genesis gig, coming off the back of a residency at Ronnie Scott’s, after they’d honed their act in a three month tour of the nation’s colleges, including a couple of appearances at nearby Twickenham Tech in Egerton Road (the poster for tonight states they were appearing “By Demand”, indicating an earlier – date unspecified – gig on the Island back in December had gone down well). They got £5 for the Island gig (though Caldwell Smythe disputes this, stating that all support bands got no more than £3 an appearance, as he was being offered money by bands’ managers to put them on), and £50 for the college one. Either way, you can see where the money was in those days. Four months after tonight, local lad Phil Collins would join Genesis on drums

Sat. Apr 11thCracious [sic]

I assume this is meant to be Gracious!, whose exclamation mark was added into their name when their first album cover was being designed this year

Sat. Apr 11thEast Of Eden

Fri. Apr 17thWhite Lightning

Fri. Apr 17thTaste

Rory Gallagher brings his Irish blues-rock trio to town, and though they would split up shortly after the Isle of Wight Festival in August – where this scribe witnessed them come back for at least five encores – Rory forged a respected career for years after

Sat. Apr 18thStray

Stray had the dubious distinction of being managed by one Charlie Kray at some point, but guitarist Del Bromham holds the distinction of being one of very few musicians to have played on the Island, as well as the present-day Eel Pie Club, as he does regularly with his Blues Devils

Fri. Apr 24thSmile

While this could have been an early outing for Brian May and his homemade guitar before global superstardom some years later, it turns out that there was another Smile treading the boards, who were a low-key acoustic duo, and tonight probably featured these

Fri. Apr 24thClimax Chicago Blues Band (£125 as per Caldwell Smythe)

Coming out of the blues-fuelled boom of the late 60s, Peter Haycock and Colin Cooper touted their Climax Chicago act around for years before finally landing a hit in 1976 with “Couldn’t Get It Right”. Following innumerable line-up changes and at least a score of albums recorded, there is still an outfit treading the boards under the name

Sat. Apr 25thShades

May 1970

Fri. May 1stAlma Mater

Fri. May 1stPrincipal Edwards Magic Theatre (from http://s335571041.websitehome.co.uk/Pe/site/gigs70.asp )

“Featuring their 31 Stone Rock’n’Roll Roadie” according to the poster

Sat. May 2ndBoris

It says “Ex-Colosseum” on the poster, but I can find no reference to these using that connection


The above two entries are as according to the poster for May, while below…?


Sat. May 2ndEast Of Eden (from http://www.digitdesign.macmate.me/eastofedentheband/GIGS.html )

Fri. May 8thIron Maiden

Not the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal merchants popularising spandex and big hair during the 80s, this lot were a comparatively tamer outfit from Basildon

Fri. May 8thGinger Johnson & His Drummers

Fri. May 8thLittle Free Rock  (from http://www.illingworth70.freeserve.co.uk/lfr_giglist.htm )

Fri. May 9thGenesis

Fri. May 9thJulian’s Treatment

Genesis sure picked their support slots: following on from Jan Dukes De Grey in April, this time they’re second on the bill to this outfit, centred around keyboardist Julian Savarin, whose eventual album was a kind of opera about an Atlantis-styled lost civilisation on the planet Akron, whereby the last Earthman encounters Altarra, who is “the embodiment of all womankind”. What tosh we had to put up with during the nascent prog era…

Fri. May 15thTiny Clanger (from advert)

Fri. May 15thBlack Sabbath  (£250 as per Caldwell Smythe)

(from http://www.setlist.fm/venue/eel-pie-island-hotel-london-england-63d6d667.html)

A matter of weeks after tonight, Black Sabbath went into the studio and dashed off “Paranoid” in about 20 minutes flat, as an afterthought for their new album, and look what happened after that. According to Caldwell Smythe, there was a good crowd present for this

Sat. May 16thNemesis (from advert)

Sat. May 16thShy Limbs (from advert)

Shy Limbs had featured Greg Lake in their line-up, but he’d departed a year or so earlier for King Crimson

Fri. May 22ndWriting On The Wall (from http://www.writingonthewallband.co.uk/gigs.html )

Willy Finlayson came south from Scotland with Writing On The Wall, and has been hereabouts ever since

Sat. May 23rdShades

Fri. May 29thThird Ear Band

Third Ear Band’s initial line-up, instrumentally, was violin, cello, oboe, and perscussion. It would be interesting to know how that went down at the island. Nevertheless, following a couple of albums, and a large revolving door of varied musicians, including Simon House (who went onto Hawkwind and David Bowie), and Keith Chegwin (!), they did a lot of soundtrack recording

Sat. May 30th Savoy Brown

June 1970

Fri. Jun 5thMetropolitan Grease Force

Fri. Jun 5thAlma Mater

Fri. Jun 5thWild Angels

These were a retro rock’n’roll outfit, harking back to the 50s, perhaps obviously. The year before, they’d backed Gene Vincent on his comeback tour

Sat. Jun 6thGinger Johnson’s African Drummers

If you’ve ever seen “The Stones In The Park” film, the drummers that came on stage during “Sympathy For The Devil” were this lot. A noted Nigerian percussionist, Ginger Johnson also played with all manner of Eel Pie alumni, including Georgie Fame, Brian Auger, Long John Baldry, Graham Bond, Hawkwind, and even Genesis apparently. His own band was actually called His African Messengers

Sat. Jun 6thLittle Free Rock

Sat. Jun 6thEdgar Broughton (£150 as per Caldwell Smythe)

This bunch of hairy underground merchants had unbelievably charted with their rallying cry, albeit at #31, “Out Demons Out”. According to Caldwell Smythe, again a good crowd was in evidence for this

Fri. Jun 12thBlack Velvet

Black Velvet evolved out of The Coloured Raisins, who had appeared on the Island back in 1966. However, as Black Velvet, they had a great single out round about now, “African Velvet”, which I heard a lot at the time, but have only ever since heard it once, on Greater London Radio when that was around. Only recently has the song surfaced on YouTube

Fri. Jun 12thThunderzone

Apparently these are White Lightning who appeared here back in April, following a name-change. Not only that, but it is also Caldwell Smythe’s band, and apparently Chris Blackwell of Island records fame came to see them, and promptly offered a three LP deal, as well as a spot down the bill for a US tour, all of which was scuppered by the band’s (unnamed) “ego-tripping lead guitarist, and his idiotic Harley Street doctor / employer / advisor”: obviously went down well with Caldwell

Fri. Jun 12thDeep Purple (£325 as per Caldwell Smythe)

Ritchie Blackmore and chums are only two months away from their huge “Black Night” hit, and tonight represents a return to Eel Pie Island for keyboard wiz, Jon Lord, last seen here with The Artwoods. Unless there was an earlier date by Deep Purple, it would be this one that Caldwell Smythe reckons he lost heavily, given the payout: poorly attended? One 16 year-old attendee that night recalled (albeit with hindsight) “crossing the footbridge on to Eel Pie, and through a Harry Potter-esque mist was this decrepit old hotel with a ballroom”. The gig was “pivotal” as far as Tony James was concerned, and led to him forming his first school group. Six years after tonight, he had formed Generation X with Billy Idol during the punk explosion’s early days

Sat. Jun 13thJunction

Sat. Jun 13thSemper Vivum

Sat. Jun 13thGypsy

At the end of the following year, this scribe witnessed Gypsy at a John Peel In Concert recording: out of Leicester, I concluded that they were decent enough guitar-led outfit, with some good, tight vocal harmonies, not a million miles away from CSN

Fri. Jun 19thRapture

Fri. Jun 19thFree

I can only imagine the place is rammed for this one: “All Right Now” was at this point heading up the charts for the first time. Well, it would have been, had they appeared, but for precisely that reason, Free pulled out of tonight’s gig, presumably having larger fish to fry. While that is from Alan Winter’s personal testimony, and he did share a place with Simon Kirke, then again, John Marks recalls seeing Free twice at the island, the first time for 2/6 (or 12 and ½ pence in new money) but that the entry was ramped up by Caldwell Smythe for this one because of their chart success, causing consternation to Paul Kossoff, as Free were not getting paid any more. Caldwell Smythe further muddies the waters by confirming that Free did not show for this one tonight, though he did pay them £250 on another occasion when it was packed out

Sat. Jun 20thBone

Sat. Jun 20th – Steve Miller Delivery [sic]

Steve Miller’s Delivery, as they should have been billed, contained a number of musicians associated with the ‘Canterbury Scene’, also including saxophonist Lol Coxhill, and Miller himself appeared in a later line-up of Caravan, having, interestingly, guested on yesterday’s (scheduled) headliners Free’s debut, “Tons Of Sobs” in 1969

Fri. Jun 26thTiny Clanger

Fri. Jun 26thThe Amazing “Shades” (£30 as per Caldwell Smythe)

Amazingly, Shades have become just that, and acquired additional quotes around their name since April. Then again, as they were good buddies with Caldwell Smythe, who gave them regular gigs on the Island, I guess that would help to elevate their status

Sat. Jun 27thBlood Son

Sat. Jun 27thEast Of Eden

This was a busy night according to Caldwell Smythe, though as they had three dates here in just over two months, it’s not certain whether his comments apply to tonight: maybe all of them?

July 1970

Fri. Jul 3rdJody Grind

Based around keyboardist Tim Hinkley, Jody Grind were by this time veering toward a rock-oriented direction, thus away from their jazz-leaning beginnings. Following the release of the dubiously entitled “Far Canal”, which was a commercial flop, they disbanded, with Hinkley and drummer Pete Gavin going on to join Vinegar Joe, who boasted the vocal talents of both Elkie Brooks and Robert Palmer

Sat. Jul 4thNemesis Blues Band

Sat. Jul 4thBlack Cat Bones

By this time, this line-up of Black Cat Bones (having been away for a few years) would be the one that would soon change their name to Leafhound, and record and release one of the rarest albums ever. And of course, singer Pete French is once again fronting a modern line-up of that band, and regularly appearing at the present day Eel Pie Club

Fri. Jul 10thTony Dee & The Memphis Index

The poster promises “Another Rock’n’Roll Night”

Sat. Jul 11thSpirit of John Morgen (sic)

John Morgan was the organist in this band, holding onto R&B values while the rest of the world was diving into progressive waters

Fri. Jul 17thNoir

Fri. Jul 17thMick Pickett’s One Man Band (from advert in MM)

Despite Noir appearing on the poster for forthcoming gigs, they do not appear in the advert for tonight

Fri. Jul 17thThunderzone

“The heaviest 3-piece in the world” according to (probably Caldwell Smythe’s) their blurb, and I don’t suppose the reference is to their combined tonnage

Sat. Jul 18thSweet Slag (from advert in MM)

Sat. Jul 18thStray

Fri. Jul 24thFive Long Tears (from advert in MM)

Fri. Jul 24thPink Fairies

The darlings of the “Underground”, who sprang out of Mick Farren’s band, The (Social) Deviants…RIGHT ON

Sat. Jul 25thFlesh (from advert in MM)

Sat. Jul 25thGroundhogs

After a gap of a number of years, this is the Groundhogs more associated with the album “Thank Christ For The Bomb” rather than their earlier 60s liaisons with John Lee Hooker

Fri. Jul 31stLady Fee

Fri. Jul 31stClark Hutchinson

Andy Clark and Mitch Hutchinson specialised in lengthy hard rock improvised jams flavoured with an Eastern influence: I’ve seen this described as “Indo-Prog / Raga Rock”. Whatever floats your boat, I guess, but they did recruit a bassist called Stephen Amazing. Really

August 1970

Sat. Aug 1stBlack Widow

The poster promises “There will be no restrictions made on this group’s act”. That’ll be down to the promised use of satanic and occult imagery in their stage act, then (they were expressly forbidden to include this later in the month at the Isle Of Wight Festival). Best known for their “Come To The Sabbat” track, drummer Romeo Challenger joined at some point during this year, but would achieve pop success with Showaddywaddy years later (think “Three Steps To Heaven”: that’s him doing the ‘step count’)

Fri. Aug 7thNational Head Band

National Head Band include Lee Kerslake on drums, who had played in The Gods with Mick Taylor, but who would later pitch up in Uriah Heep

Fri. Aug 7thNoir

A “heavy black group” according to the poster

Sat. Aug 8thGinhouse

This lot won the 1970 Melody Maker Talent Contest: much good it seems to have done them

Sat. Aug 8thStackridge

Stackridge originally had a bassist known as Jim ‘Crun’ Walter, which was particularly apposite as the the original little old ladies collecting the bridge toll were inevitably referred to as ‘Min’ and ‘Henry’, as in “Crun”, as in the Goons’ characters. I recall Stackridge betraying a degree of levity not particularly prevalent in those prog-oriented years, and while ‘Crun’ went off bricklaying for a while, he’s since returned, and there was a Stackridge reunion in 2017. A month after tonight, Stackridge opened (and also closed, but not at the same time) the very first Glastonbury Festival

Sat. Aug 15thBerlin

Sat. Aug 15thSteamhammer

Steamhammer boasted the talents of Martin Quittenton on guitar, who’d later turn up as a writing partner of Sir Roderick of Stewart on “Maggie May”


The above two entries are as according to the poster for August, while below…?


Sat. Aug 15thFusion Orchestra (from www.fusionorchestra.com/history.html )

Fri. Aug 21stMaya

Fri. Aug 21stTiny Clanger

Sat. Aug 22ndThe Few

Entries for both Aug 21st and Aug 22nd supplied by Clive Whichelow from his huge collection of back copies of Melody Maker. Oh, and he was a member of The Few

Sat. Aug 22ndAfrican Drummers

This is all that’s shown on the Melody Maker ad, but assume these to be Ginger Johnson’s outfit as described in the entry for June 6th

Sat. Aug 22ndLittle Free Rock

Led by Peter Illingworth from Preston, this ‘psychedelic hard rock’ trio were originally called Purple Haze, changing their name for obvious reasons. They played regularly at both The Roundhouse and The Marquee Club, and for a while featured Peter Green within their ranks. Mr Illingworth himself had previously appeared on the Island with David John & The Mood in 1964

Fri. Aug 28thGinger

Is this the oft-appearing Ginger Johnson?

Sat. Aug 29thThunderzone

September 1970

Fri. Sep 4thPatto

These would become a cult band in the best sense of the phrase – a bizarre, idiosyncratic outfit who sold very little, but were highly respected, having an exciting live act, and boasted the mercurial talents of guitarist (and vibes player) Ollie Halsall

Fri. Sep 4thSupertramp

We are several years away from “Breakfast In America” here

Sat. Sep 5thBram Stoker

A heavy quartet, though coming from Bournemouth, formed in Brighton, and who nevertheless managed to get rather pigeonholed with the “Progressive-Classical-Rock-Gothic-Psychedelic Rock” label, as you do. Their sole release was the fearsome looking “Heavy Rock Spectacular” album, but apparently guitarist Pete Ballam’s legendary “Doppler” (a spinning speaker cabinet) had to be seen – and heard – to be believed

Sat. Sep 5thAlan Bown

Fri. Sep 11thToe Fat

Sat. Sep 12thHowl

Sat. Sep 12thTir-na-nOg

A duo who were proponents of intricate Celtic-influenced acoustica

Sat. Sep 12thPrincipal Edward’s Magic Theatre

Fri. Sep 18thEast Of Eden

“AT LAST” it says on the poster, so I guess these were welcome returnees

Sat. Sep 19thDuster Bennett

A respected blues performer (one-man-band style with guitar, bass drum and harp), often Duster was aided by Peter Green and Top Topham, and recorded a number of albums on the Blue Horizon label. Sadly Bennett died in a traffic accident driving home after appearing with Memphis Slim in the Midlands six years after tonight

Fri. Sep 25thStray

Sat. Sep 26thShades

October 1970

Fri. Oct 30thLittle Free Rock (from http://www.illingworth70.freeserve.co.uk/lfr_giglist.htm )

November 1970

Sat. Nov 14thFusion Orchestra (from www.fusionorchestra.com/history.html )

Following auditions for a front man on vocals, the impressive Jill Saward was recruited, and tonight was only her second gig with Fusion Orchestra. She would later achieve chart success with Shakatak

Sat. Nov 21stQuintessence (from http://www.mooncowhq.ch/Quintessence/chronology.html )

Indian trance and Eastern mantras land on the Island, direct from Notting Hill Gate

=========This is the last documented gig performed on Eel Pie Island=============

As I point out, perhaps obviously, there are a number of gaps in this roll-call, and certainly the presence of a contract for an artist for a given date is no guarantee the date was fulfilled, though it seems that Arthur Chisnall was fairly rigorous in updating contracts to reflect such changes, and of course, the same principle applies to poster-driven information. Naturally, if anyone out there can help fill in some of the blanks, please do not hesitate to get in touch, through the Contact page on this site.

Pete Watt

Music Historian

Eel Pie Island Museum


Postscript: Various folk have got in touch since this Roll-Call was first compiled, giving us personal reminiscences, but invariably, they hadn’t been as much of an anorak as I have been, in meticulously recording when they occurred. Nevertheless, Simon Fallon remembers The Bee Gees, and them performing “New York Mining Disaster 1941”, and David Mansell remembers playing on the island with The Shades Of Blue, as support to John Mayall, and that it was the night the film crew from Berlin were in evidence, and as Mayall was so late, the crew filmed The Shades instead: I’d love to get a fix on that date! Steve Milton remembers chatting to The Overlanders on the lawn before they went on. George Hill got in touch to tell us of his band, The Charge, who played as support for, amongst others, Pink Floyd, The Artwoods and The Herd: The Charge also featured a young Phil Collins on drums for a while. Other names which have been mentioned include Stubby Kaye, Buck Clayton, George Chisholm, The Dutch Swing College (!), Muddy Waters, Zoot Money and his Big Roll Band, Jimmy Reed, Sonny Boy Williamson, Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band, The Grebbels, and Sour Milk Sea. Additionally, since we opened a pop-up Eel Pie Island Museum at Twickenham Library in June 2015, visitors have included someone whose name I didn’t catch who played in The Sugarshacks, supporting The Downliners Sect; Eddie Parpworth, whose The Stumble racked up 28 weeks as a support band in 1968, backing the likes of the Nice, Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera; Adrian Hawkins, whose band Horse played in 1970, previewing their album “For Twisted Minds Only” (which coincidentally was re-released in 2016). Trevor visited the Museum, telling tales of managing an outfit called Them: unfortunately an Irishman over in Belfast had the same idea, and fared rather better, so this Them became Themselves. As usual, none of the aforementioned can supply dates, so they get an honourable mention here instead! John Marks remembers Peter Green doing a farewell gig for the commune (1970?), outside the hotel, with Hell’s Angels in attendance as the obligatory security, with them peppering skinheads’ scooters across the reach on the Ham side with powerful catapults. Another source recalls that this particular event took place on the summer solstice in 1970.

In December 2016, Caldwell Smythe got in touch, and while he was unable to provide dates, he did submit a list of bands he remembered, together with amounts paid (in some cases). A number of these are already detailed in the Roll-Call, but additionally Caldwell cites Atomic Rooster (£150), Caravan, Keef Hartley Band, Junior’s Eyes, The Idle Race, Juicy Lucy, Love Sculpture, Rare Bird, The Strawbs, Uriah Heep (very busy), Tuesday’s Children, Yes (£125, and packed out), Spooky Tooth (£175 and a good crowd), and Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation (£175 and busy). 60s survivors from the early days, The Nashville Teens are also mentioned in dispatches. Further appearances by bands who played during the Chisnall era, such as Family, Fairport Convention (£200 and very busy), and Savoy Brown Blues Band (£125) are mentioned as well as a busy night when John Peel brought his record collection along.

Subsequently, in 2017, Neil O’Reilly got in touch, recalling playing on the Island early in 1965, drumming for an outfit called the Westsiders (who supported Ronnie Wood’s then outfit, The Birds at the 100 Club that year), and Music Heritage UK put out an interview with Dave Brock, wherein he recalls playing with his band the Dharma Blues Band during jazz bands’ intervals on a Saturday, long before his Hawkwind outfit appeared. Mark Pickthall remembers The Pink Fairies “playing on the lawn” in 1970, which sounds like it could be linked to the Peter Green outdoor gig, not unsurprisingly, given The Fairies’ tendencies towards free / underground gigs.

The Eel Pie Island Museum finally opened in more permanent premises in February 2018, so I can add The Target, who were Wilson Pickett’s backing band when he toured over here. Tim Boulting remembers seeing Genesis supporting Free, with stages set up at either end of the ballroom, easing the changeover, I guess. No date for that one, but it does tie in with Caldwell Smythe’s info that suggests that bill did take place: perhaps the December 1969 gig noted in the April 10th 1970 Genesis gig.

Christopher Hjort requested info on The Muskrats, a short-lived blues outfit consisting of Peter Green (on bass!), Dave Bidwell (later Savoy Brown and Chicken Shack) on drums, and Roger Pearce (later John Dummer Blues Band) on guitar. They only lasted between February and September 1965 but both Roger and Peter are adamant they played a support gig on the Island. Catherine Lang has answered a shout-out on the fact, and has confirmed they did play.

Gillian contacted us, recalling seeing Son House at Eel Pie. She remembers it was a “lovely hot evening”, and she was standing behind Eric Clapton. This would have been June or July 1970, which is when he toured Europe (he had toured in October 1967, but that would have been after Chisnall had closed the original Eelpiland club).

A lady visiting the Museum in June 2019 remembers seeing Little Stevie Wonder as a support act! This would have been in ‘63/64, but unfortunately, she couldn’t recall who it was he supported.

Bruce Gubbins visited the Museum in August 2019 with information about The Hugh Douglas Orchestra, mentioned at the very beginning of this chronology, of which his father was a member. Apparently, there was no Hugh Douglas involved, but the band-leader was Doug Greening, with said father Ernest, but known as “Gubby”, taking on the leader’s duties at some stage (Ernest’s stage name was Eric Gibbs as his day job was with the LCC, ie the London County Council, who disapproved of their employees having second jobs). Bruce remembers that they played at the Clarendon Hall (York House) regularly: I don’t know whether that equates to the Twickenham “Palais” I previously referenced.

Peter Illingworth, who played lead guitar in David John & The Mood, contacted us in October 2019, remembering supporting Long John Baldry & The Hoochie Coochie Men in late 1964, and that LJB borrowed his guitar on that occasion, and also that Diz Disley was in The Hoochie Coochie Men at the time. Peter recalls “humping the gear over the bridge and that the place was packed. Steaming in fact. The floor was bouncing.”

In November 2019, a certain Tim Hill visited the museum, pointing out that it’s a photo of him with his band The Turnkeys that appears in Michele Whitby’s “Eel Pie Island” book, captioned “unknown singer giving it his all”. Unfortunately, he has no recollection of who they were supporting that night, or when it actually was. Always grateful for fragments.

Thanks to Des O’Byrne at the Grayshott Folk Club, who’s been into the Museum a couple of times, I have this from Alan Turner: “I was the drummer in Gary Farr and the T-Bones and we played Eel Pie Island many times. We had to park our van on the opposite bank and wheel our equipment over the little foot-bridge on a trolley! The problem was, our organist was Keith Emerson (ELP fame) and getting his Hammond on a trolley and wheeling it over was nightmare, it fell off many times although it never actually fell in the Thames!!” Not the first time the difficulty in ferrying a Hammond across to the Island has been referenced!

We got a wonderful festive gift when re-opening the museum on January 2020 when Mikey J Champion sent us a veritable glut of posters from the Colonel Barefoot’s Rock Garden era: Mikey used to work the Aural Plasma light-show set-up. Many thanks for that Mikey, and those updates are now included here!

In May 2020, Alan Hauser contacted our website with his recollection of him and his two turntables being hired for the Island to carry out mobile disco duties: he recalls two particular gigs, Rare Bird and King Crimson, and thinks they were consecutive weeks. Says Alan “My memories are that there were only about 20-30 people there.  Very much in the commune phase; mostly residents disinterestedly wandering in and out.  People insisted we only play ‘In A Gadda De Vida’, which meant we had nothing to do for the 17 minutes duration.  And then to play it again…  Big blow heaters unsuccessfully trying to warm the place.  Being propositioned and pestered by a stoned gay hippie which was an eye-opener for a suburban teenager.”

Naturally, if anyone out there can help fill in some of the blanks, please do not hesitate to get in touch, through either our Facebook page (Eel Pie Island Museum) or through this site.

Keep them coming, folks!

Pete Watt

Music Historian

Eel Pie Island Museum


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