Friday, July 29, 2011

Jimmy Page - 1957 Skiffle Music

I ran across this gem on You Tube.(Where else?) Jimmy Page, along with 3 of his freinds, just as thousands of other British teenagers in the late 1950's, were influenced by the sounds of Lonnie Donnegan and Buddy Holly. This was a type of music which they were able to play easily, and without much formal training. It was called "skiffle" music. It often included a washboard along with the upright bass. Lonnie Donnegan had launched the whole sound in 1956 with his hit "Rock Island Line." That record would be the impetus for John Lennon to buy a guitar. It appears that Jimmy Page was hit with the same idea. This music was more acceptable to adults in Britian at the time, who had witnessed, only 2 years earlier, the riots which accompanied Bill Haley and the Comets on their "Rock Around the Clock" Tour.

This clip is from the Huw Wheldon variety show on BBC. At the time, England had only 2 stations, and the content was strictly controlled. Rock was not entirely welcome. But there was an innocence about "skiffle" that made it acceptable to the masses. Even parents enjoyed watching their kids play in these bands, which performed at most church functions, or "socials", as they were called at the time. The Beatles, appearing as The Quarrymen, made their first public appearance, at such an event around the same time as this clip from the Huw Wheldon Show.

The most interesting thing about this video for me is the bemused way in which Mr. Wheldon handles the interview portion with the boys. He is surprised that they seem to have no musical ambitions. They all wanted to be biologists of some sort. Glad they chose music instead!

No comments:

Post a Comment