On a tiny island on the River Thames, the Eel Pie Island Club began in a rundown hotel which had seen better days, and passed into music folklore as one of the great venues for bands to play in the Sixties.
The musicians who performed on Eel Pie Island between 1962 and 1967 read like a Who’s Who of the R&B movement: Long John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men were regulars, and the bands of veterans Cyril Davies, Acker Bilk, Kenny Ball, Alexis Korner and John Mayall whose roots lay in traditional jazz and skiffle groups, provided inspiration and a showcase for the talents of Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and Eric Clapton, all of whom performed regularly on Eel Pie.
A thriving centre for rhythm and blues, with its sprung dance floor and less than salubrious décor, when you arrived at Eel Pie Island, you entered another world. There was nowhere else like it – not then, not now. It was the epicentre for a new musical explosion which emerged in the ‘60s, a true cornerstone of UK Rock history.
Rock N Roll Island, written, produced and directed by Cheryl Robson and Helen Walker, with a commentary by former island resident, actor Nigel Planer, boasts exclusive footage and stills from the era, as well as interviews with diehard fans – whose memories are ever vivid - and legendary musicians including Steve Hackett (Genesis) , Mick Avory (The Kinks) , Top Topham (The Yardbirds) , Phil May (The Pretty Things), Paul Stewart (The Others), Don Craine and Keith Grant (The Downliners’ Sect) Derek Griffiths (The Artwoods), Geoff Cole (Ken Colyer Band), Bob Dwyer (Steve Lane’s Southern Stompers), Blaine Harris (The Mystery Jets), and Rod Stewart.
All the greats of the rock and roll years cut their teeth at the island including The Rolling Stones, The Who, David Bowie, Elton John, Rod Stewart, The Yardbirds and Pink Floyd, during its ‘50s and ‘60s heyday.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Island will have its UK Premiere at VUE Cinema, Piccadilly on Saturday 3rd October (Provisional date) and will be screening in the Shorts Programme showcasing blues orientated short films titled PREACHIN’ THE BLUES.