Thursday, 3 June 2010

Article in West Briton

Thanks to Lee Trewhela for running this story at short notice. And as a result I ve heard from Roger Brokenshire who sang with Roger Taylor's band in 1965/66. In fact as described on Richard Prest's excellent KernowBeat website 1966 was the year that the Reaction won the Cornwall Rock and Rhythm Championship (having entered but not won in '65):

By Early 1966, Roger’s ‘O’ level year at Truro School, Graham Hankins was replaced by a new guitarist, Geoff Daniel (who was known to his friends as Ben). Not to be outdone, Taylor too acquired a pseudonym, ‘Splodge’, coined for no other reason than it rhymed with ‘Rog’. On 15th March, with a target painted onto Taylor’s bass drum skin, and Roger Brokenshaw as their front man, The Reactions once again locked musical horns with dozen-or-so local competitors at the Round Table’s sixth Rock and Rhythm Championship. This year, the judges were ‘six well-known figures in the dancing world of the South West’, and like the previous bash, 800 teenagers packed the City Hall, each rooting for his or her favourite act. The local paper, reporting on this hotbed of youthful exuberance with the headline, ‘Beat Night Is A Screaming Success’, noted that ‘Banners, streamers, whistles and cat-calls greeted every group. Emotions ran high as rival supporters clashed in vocal battle’“I came on with a short-length, pink and blue sheepskin jacket”, recalls Roger Brokenshaw. “We played ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow’ and the old Wilson Pickett number ‘In The Midnight Hour’. Roger Taylor and I shared the vocals, with me taking the lead. And we won!” According to the Truro press, ‘Thousands of pounds’ worth of equipment was used for the contest, but there was little originality or variety in the choice of instruments. This may have been why a group using a saxophone and an electric organ won. The Reactions, it went on, ‘gave a highly polished performance,’ and were rewarded for their efforts by being mobbed by young girls’ You can almost see the delight on their faces.

More info is available at

As well as biographies there are a series of articles in 'Record Collector' that document some of these early Pre-Queen bands:

Issue 195 - November 1995

A 7 page article on Brian's pre-Queen activities (1984 & The Left Handed Marriage), with many rare photographs

Issue 196 - December 1995
A 7 page article on Roger's pre-Queen activities (Johnny Quale and The Reaction, plus others), with many rare photographs

Issue 197 - January 1996
A 7 page article on Smile, with many rare photographs

Issue 198 - February 1996
An 8 page article on John's pre-Queen activities (The (New) Opposition, Art & Deacon), with many rare photographs

Issue 199 - March 1996
A 9 page article on Freddie's pre-Queen activities (Ibex, Wreckage & Sour Milk Sea), with many rare photographs

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