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Not fade away

00:52 02 February 2012

Not fade away

Not fade away

Author David Roberts is ensuring that our rock musical heritage – part of the 'history of the future' – is recorded, and found plenty in our area.


Setting out to research iconic music locations for my book Rock Atlas, I was astonished at how many statues, plaques and memorials there were to the UKs rock legends. An even bigger surprise was just how many great music venues there were and, tragically, just how many had vanished down the decades.


Two Berkshire and Buckinghamshire hotspots were no exception. Anyone visiting a Ricky Tick club in the Sixties is hardly likely to have forgotten the experience. Variously located, the Ricky Tick story began in Windsors Star & Garter, where the Rolling Stones literally brought the house down in 1963. Walls and ceilings crumbled during their January appearance at the old hotel, prompting a move to the riverside Thames Hotel and eventually a derelict mansion at Clewer Mead that became a mecca for mods from as far away as north London.


Other clubs bearing the name flourished but these three locations, though memorable, are all long gone. Theres better news when it comes to another terrific venue in Buckinghamshire. Anyone remember Aylesbury Friars with its distinctive gothic lettering logo advertising weekly in Melody Maker, NME and Sounds in the Seventies? Well it could be open for business again. Id like to say "I was there" when David Bowie singer-songwriter played the old Borough Assembly Hall in 1971 returning in 72 as Ziggy Stardust, but I was lost in the music of The Groundhogs and Edgar Broughton at the time.


More permanent memorials to rocks great and good include the Swan pub in High Wycombe where Kings of Leon made their UK debut, Marlows Jerome K Jerome house (Monks Corner) where the Small Faces congregated for a final burst of creativity, the teenage Lennon & McCartneys first steps toward superstardom at the Fox & Hounds in Reading, Elton Johns Windsor Great Park cover shoot for A Single Man, the birthplace of Led Zeppelin at Jimmy Pages Pangbourne boathouse and John & Yokos (and indeed Ringo Starrs) palatial pile, Tittenhurst Park, in Sunningdale.


For more on all these stories, Rock Atlas has 689 locations to read about and visit and is out now, published by Clarksdale Books, available at Waterstones, all good independent book shops and online at Amazon.


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