Before they were famous: Hugh Cornwell, Richard Thompson, Lemmy and co.

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A 15-year-old, Hugh Cornwell poses with his first band Emil and The Detectives in 1964. The band was formed by guitarist Richard Thompson (on the far right of picture). who went on to Fairport Convention, while Cornwell found fame as frontman with The Stranglers. Cornwell talked about this early snapshot in the Telegraph Magazine:

I remember getting the violin bass guitar I’m holding here, I was about 15 and had saved up £50 for it. Before then I’d been playing a homemade version with a neck the thickness of a plank of wood. Richard Thompson (on the far right) suggested I learn to play bass because he was forming Emil and the Detectives (the band in the picture) and he needed a bass player, so he taught me. We were good friends from school and we played each other music that we had discovered, like the Rolling Stones and the Who. Richard’s older sister, Perri, who was the social secretary at the Hornsey College of Art in north London, would book us to play parties and pay us £30 per gig. Our biggest claim to fame was supporting Helen Sahpiro at the Ionic cinema in Golders Green. But after we took our O-level [exams] we lost touch. The next I heard he was the lead guitarist in Fairport Convention…

...In August 2008 I was doing a festival outside Madrid and the promoter said, ‘If we hurry we can catch the end of Richard Thompson’s set.’ I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t seen Richard in 30 years. We had a big huggy reunion and now we’re back in touch it’s really lovely. When I played in LA last year he came to watch and I suggested that we play a song together. I chose “Tobacco Road” by the Nashville Teens, which was a number one hit in the 1960s and was one of the first songs we learnt together.

Hugh Cornwell tours the UK April 6-17, details here.

Now, here are some other early clips and pix of young pop and rock stars.
 
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A band going to the toppermost of the poppermost, from 1957. Not sure about the shandy-swilling drummer though.
 

Long before Led Zeppelin, a 12-year-old Jimmy Page played skiffle on the BBC’s ‘All Your Own’, hosted by Huw Wheldon, from 1957.
 
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Davy Jones of The Monkees as Colin Lomax, grandson to the indomitable Ena Sharples, played by Violet Carson, from the world’s longest running soap opera ‘Coronation Street’, 1961.
 
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Lemmy Kilmister, before Opal Butterfly, before Hawkwind and Motorhead, in the band Reverend Black and the Rocking Vicars, one of the first bands to have toured behind the Iron Curtain, Yugoslavia in 1965. The Vicars were famous for their lively gigs and had considerable success in the north of England.
 

Lemmy played guitar on The Vicars’ interpretation of The Who’s ‘The Kids Are Alright’ called ‘It’s All Right’
 

Blink and you may miss David Bowie in a poptastic band, selling ice cream, 1969
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher

 

 

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