The Symbols



A friend of mine, Barry Anderson who’s father owned a pub called The Plough in Cranham, Essex, had met Ian Drury who often stayed in Cranham with his grandmother. Many years later Barry also introduced me to Micky Denn. I lived up the road with my parents in Hall Lane, Upminster. We were all teenagers and Barry, Ian and I would get together with our favourite records, 78’s as they were in those days. Mine were mainly Bill Haley & The Comets and Elvis. Ian’s were predominately Gene Vincent & The Blue Cats because Gene Vincent was his hero, and if I remember correctly, Barry had a Buddy Holly record. The house I lived in backed onto Upminster Golf Course so together with our records and old gramophone, we would go across the golf course down to a little river called the Ingrebourne where we had found an old caravan. Here we would spend hours playing our records and hoping that we could be like these rock’n’roll stars one day. We would often go back to my house where Ian would sit on the sofa and spend hours writing rhymes and ditties. On Saturday night we would all go to Romford to a place called Wickham Hall where they played all the latest pop records and also featured live acts, one of the most popular bands was Neil Christian & The Crusaders who featured a very young Jimmy Page on guitar. It was here that I met Chris Andrews who had already been on Jack Goods ‘Oh Boy’ TV show singing and playing Little Richard songs. Chris was an excellent piano player and he used to come back to my house in Upminster with Ian and others. My mum had a baby grand piano in the front room and Chris used to play it for hours. It was here that he wrote many of his hit songs, including songs that would later be big hits for Sandy Shaw. Chris went to work in Germany and still lives there now.

We worked extensively around clubs and pubs, including the famous 59 Club in Hackney run by Father de Wolfe. The Evening Standard newspaper reported that Hornchurch rock band ‘The Condors’ were banned for being too sexy due to John Milton’s interpretation of Gene Vincent’s “Baby Blue”. However the Group’s agent at the time failed to capitalise on this.


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