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August 16, 2013

The tale of a legendary pump and tool bag..

..and the night of The Jeff Beck Group debut at the Marquee Club. By Max Browne and Nick Radin.

posted by Mike Walton

In the 1967 Easter holiday a sixteen-year-old London schoolboy photographer acquired his first 35mm SLR camera and it accompanied him on notable gigs for several years. It's first outing was the Jeff Beck Group debut at the Marquee Club. A few months later the National Jazz and Blues Festival line-up included Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac debut - some of these historic and apparently unique shots were used by the late Bob Bruning in his biography of the band and later by Mick Fleetwood in his more lavish My First Twenty Five Years in Fleetwood Mac.

From then on Max Browne shot many famous and up-coming stars at club and festival gigs and is now starting to digitally scan these, sometimes unique, photographic negatives and upload them to the RockShots.Co website.

Max told SMILER This shot of Jeff, Rod and Ronnie certainly immortalises a little bit of history. They were certainly under rehearsed, by their own admission, as they ran out of numbers and Jeff played his Bolero at least twice as well as a slightly reluctant Hi Ho Silver Lining which is probably the song depicted. I remember a good cover of The Temptations 'I'm Losing You' too with a strong opening riff in guitar 5ths.

Nick Radin who attended the gig with Max takes up the story..As far as the music goes, my memory is that they only had about three songs to play, and in addition to the ones mentioned in Max’s email, I think they also played Rock My Plimsoul. Maybe they also played a Yardbirds song - Shapes of Things, perhaps – but I’m not so sure of this. Possibly therefore the repertoire extended to four or five songs, which ultimately they repeated three times to produce something resembling a set. Despite the paucity of material in terms of the number of songs, if not their quality, I remember enjoying the gig, and going home with Hi Ho Silver Lining ringing in our ears.

The main thing I remember, though, is the band coming onto the stage and being introduced by John Gee, who was the resident MC at the Marquee. John Gee was an interesting phenomenon in himself, since he was an old man from a previous era – probably about thirty-two – who revered Sinatra, and had a rather distinctive and prominent toupee. As a result he was always met by a barrage of ‘good-natured’ jeering and abuse from the audience whenever he appeared on the stage. You never quite felt that his supposedly complimentary introductions for the ragtag parade of bands appearing at the Marquee were exactly heartfelt. Why did Tony Bennett never show up? This was his cross to bear.

But on the night that the Jeff Beck Group appeared, his dismay was even greater, for he had noticed, as the band trouped onto the stage, that – oh, no! - the lead singer’s flies were open. As a result, he attempted, discreetly, to bring this slightly embarrassing oversight to the singer’s attention. However, the singer, rather than retreating to the back of the stage to remedy the situation, instead took a step forward to the front of the stage - and with that impeccable sense of propriety and fashion sense which was to mark the rest of his career - planted his legs apart, and, with a wide sloping grin on his face, leaned back slightly whilst thrusting his groin straight at the audience to make sure that the state of his flies was obvious to all! Watch out: ‘Rod The Mod’, as I seem to remember him being introduced, is in town!

Still, even in its truncated form, the music was pretty great – if memory serves me well.

Photo by Max Browne
To see more images from 1967 to 1980 go to

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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