Pub rock


If the real secret of success in Rock & Roll lies in choosing the right name, then Ace very nearly came a cropper. When rhythm guitarist Alan 'Bam' King (a former member of legendary mod band The Action) first teamed up with lead guitarist Phil Harris, they called themselves Clat Thyger - and died a death.(...)

Be-Bop Deluxe

Formed in Yorkshire in 1972, Be-Bop Deluxe are one of British rock's classic marginal bands. Everyone seems to have heard of them and yet few have actually heard their work. A number of their tracks - such as Ships In The Night and Sister Seagull - were played on UK rock radio in the 70s, and the group were(...)

Bees Make Honey

Barry Richardson was playing bass in one of the part-time jazz combos which regularly appeared at the Tally Ho pub in Kentish Town (London) when he first saw Eggs Over Easy. A veteran of the Irish country showband circuit - now with a very good 'straight' job in marketing - Richardson realised he could put together(...)

Bontemps Roulez

Bontemps Roulez were based in the Pub Rock heartland of the Hope & Anchor, where they gigged and recorded between January and May 1975. They folded because they were unhappy with the "artificial white English funk" they were playing. Rhythm section Andrew Bodnar and Stephen Goulding eventually turned up in Graham Parker & The Rumour.(...)

Brinsley Schwarz

It's a tad unfair that Brinsley Schwarz became a global laughing stock after their infamous "Fillmore trip" of 1970. The ill-fated jaunt saw them pay for scores of drunken British music writers to fly to New York on a freebie and write about how rubbish they played. They deserved better. The band were still reeling from(...)

Chilli Willi & The Red Hot Peppers

In Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers, Pub Rock revealed its hippie roots. Martin Stone, once the guitar lynchpin in much touted London bands The Action and Mighty Baby, and fiddle player Phil 'Snakefinger' Lithman - who had spent the late Sixties soaking up the flower power vibes in San Francisco - came together early in 1972 to make(...)

Count Bishops, The

Cutting their teeth on the Pub Rock circuit, The Count Bishops began life as Chrome before changing their name in 1976. The name was taken from a New York motorcycle gang (original vocalist Mike Spenser hailed from Brooklyn). Signing to the newly-created Chiswick records they laid down their Speedball EP that showcased their 60s R&B roots via a selection(...)

Dr Feelgood

Dr Feelgood

Although they never strayed from their gritty R&B based sound, Dr Feelgood was a fixture of England's Pub Rock scene since the early 70s. While they were comparative latecomers to the scene - not playing their first London pub gig until July 1973 - they burst out of Canvey Island (Essex) like a force nine gale, and(...)

Ducks De Luxe

Ducks Deluxe was formed early in 1972 by former Man and Brinsley Schwarz roadies Sean Tyla, Martin Belmont, Nick Garvey and Tim Roper. Of all the early Pub Rock bands the Ducks were the leanest and meanest. From the start, Sean Tyla took "Get up and boogie or fuck off out of it" as the band's motto, and so paved the(...)

Eddie & The Hot Rods

Eddie & The Hot Rods formed in Rochford near Southend, Essex in 1975, originally as a garage band called Buckshee. The group were aptly described as "high-octane", and their mix of Pub Rock and Power Pop produced some truly great songs. During the summer of 1976, the group broke house records at the Marquee Club with a scorching series(...)

Eggs Over Easy

Widely regarded as the band that gave birth to the British pub rock scene, this New York threesome - Jack O'Hara, Brien Hopkins and Austin de Lone -  travelled to the UK in 1970 to record an album at Olympic Studios with Chas Chandler, ostensibly for Mercury Records. The sessions certainly took place, but back in New(...)


Like every other self-respecting musical movement in the early 70s, Pub Rock had its own 'supergroup' in the shape of Kokomo. Named after an Aretha Franklin song (First Snow in Kokomo) the band consisted of guitarist Neil Hubbard and bassist Alan Spenner from Joe Cocker's Greaseband, saxophonist Mel Collins from King Crimson, guitarist Jim Mullen and drummer Terry Stannard from Vinegar Joe and(...)

Nick Lowe

Nick Lowe has probably the greatest ear for melody in the modern world - but this is not just a pop melody composing genius - This is also a very clever man with a sense of humour : Example? When David Bowie released an album called Low, Nick responded with an album called Bowi. Born in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, on(...)

Pub Rock

The full story of Pub Rock can be read in Will Birch's excellent book No Sleep Till Canvey Island (Virgin). In it, the former Kursaal Flyers drummer recounts how an American band called Eggs Over Easy blagged themselves a gig at the Tally Ho pub, a former jazz club on Fortress Road in Kentish Town, London (sadly now demolished to make(...)


It was 1975, and the British music scene was in thrall to pub rock, the movement that would ultimately make superstars of Graham Parker, Ian Dury, Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe, but which was then still seeking its own defining talent. Bands were bubbling up gloriously all the time, and some of them were terrific - Dury's Kilburn & The High(...)

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