Bringing Music back to ‘Eelpiland’
EEL PIE ISLAND In the 1960s, a dilapidated hotel on Eel Pie Island was part of a music revolution that was to change popular music for ever. A Jazz Club began at The Eel Pie Island Hotel in 1956. Soon after weekly dances were organised by local antiques shop owner, this brought fame to the […]
EEL PIE ISLAND
In the 1960s, a dilapidated hotel on Eel Pie Island was part of a music revolution that was to change popular music for ever.
A Jazz Club began at The Eel Pie Island Hotel in 1956. Soon after weekly dances were organised by local antiques shop owner, this brought fame to the Eel Pie Island Jazz Club as a result of his social work in giving young people a voice, and bringing in name jazz acts like Ken Colyer, Chris Barber, Kenny Ball and George Melly.
In 1961, Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies founded the first home-grown Rhythm and Blues outfit, Blues Incorporated, and founded their own jazz club in 1962 – the Ealing Club. Early visitors to the Ealing Club included future Rolling Stones Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones and Charlie Watts. Within a year, these young men were unknowingly altering the course of popular music just down the road – at The Crawdaddy Club in Richmond and on Eel Pie Island.
Eel Pie Island in the 1960s attracted ‘Beatniks’ and ‘arty’ people. Teenagers were discovering black American blues and new musicians of the era were incorporating this sound with popular Rock n Roll. Many of the new Rhythm and Blues bands (including The Rolling Stones) were formed at art schools, although Rod Stewart rose to fame after being discovered busking on Twickenham Station by Long John Baldry. Apart from the fascinating graffiti and footprints on the ceiling of the bar, the Hotel had a sprung dance floor which created a hub for the now established famed Ealing Club.
Famous Rhythm and Blues Bands who played at the Eel Pie Island Hotel were The Rolling Stones, Long John Baldry’s Hoochie Coochie Men (including Rod Stewart), John Lee Hooker, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (featuring Eric Clapton), Pink Floyd, David Bowie, The Tridents (featuring Jeff Beck), The Who, The Yardbirds, The Downliners Sect, The Artwoods (featuring Jon Lord), Screaming Lord Sutch and The Others.
In 1967, the Hotel was forced to close as the owner was unable to meet the cost of repairs demanded by the police. In 1969, the Club briefly opened as Colonel Barefoot’s Rock Garden with bands such as Black Sabbath, The Edgar Broughton Band, Stray, Atomic Rooster, Genesis and Hawkwind.
In 1971, the Hotel burnt down ‘under suspicious circumstances’ and music has since not had an outlet on the now prestigious residential island, until now.
In 2013 the site was listed as a music heritage site.
2014 saw Unifunk commissioned for the idea to bring music back to Eelpiland at Twickenham Rowing Club, the ONLY venue on the island where this musical legacy can continue.
Rhythm and Blues has made a long awaited return to the island with the diversely talented songstress ‘Chezere’, an ex-member of Screaming Target, Urban Species and current leading house music vocalist. The last bank holiday saw her grace the stage and play an unplugged gig to club members and guests, kicking off a new musical era at Eel Pie Island.
EEL PIE ISLAND UNPLUGGED
Want to join the list of music royalty? We are seeking major emerging and established talent to play unplugged live at Eel Pie island.
Interested in joining our freelance production team? contact: email@example.com