Forest Gate Rock - a local anthem!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014


... and club bills for the Upper Cut's two Decembers


Continuing our monthly series on what was happening at the Upper Cut club on Woodgrange Road at this time of the year,  we feature - briefly - the gig lists for its opening and closing months - December 1966 and December 1967, respectively.
Upper Cut venue on Woodgrange Road,
before demolition
But first, possibly one of the venue's longer lasting effects, which  may well have been inspired by an appearance at the club on Saturday 23 September 1967, by the Jamaican Ska and early Reggae band, the Skatellites. They had had a chart success with their biggest hit Guns of Navarone a year or two before the Upper Cut gig.

Skatellites gig on
23 September 1967



Skatellites around the time of
their Forest Gate inspiration!

Within two years of the Forest Gate appearance Jamaican brass player, Lester Sterling, had left the band - temporarily - and released an album with Pama records, Bangarang.

Lester Sterling, whose 1969 track
Forest Gate Rock
could become a local anthem!

On it was the track Forest Gate Rock, possibly inspired by that one local appearance. And pretty good it is too, as you can tell from this You Tube clip.


 Lester Sterling: Forest Gate Rock

It could become the anthem for our revitalised postcode!

Sterling rejoined the Skatellites in 1975 and has been in and out of it since. He still plays with the band as its sole founding member.

Back to the Upper Cut

We featured, at some length, the circumstances around its opening and closing last July (here and here for details), and below we briefly recap on the awesome array of talent that entertained Forest Gate a generation ago.

It was only open a calendar year, as we have described, from its fantastic beginnings in December 1966 to it being upstaged and out manoeuvred by other local venues a year later, as the line ups below suggest.  The venue opened it  Bingo club in January 1968, thus signalling the end of one of the shortest lived, but most star studied, music venues in London.

Below we feature adverts for and gig lists of those opening and closing months in Forest Gate

December 1966 - the beginnings
Upper Cut's opening week
of gigs, December 1966


Weds 21 Dec - The Who - gents 17/6d, ladies 15/-
Thurs 22 Dec - Easybeats - gents 12/6d, ladies 10/-
Fri 23 Dec - Dave, Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich - gents 15/-, ladies 12/6d
Sat 24 Dec - Eric Burden and the Animals - gents and ladies 20/-
Mon 26 Dec (matinee - 2.30 - 5.30) - The Jimmi (sic) Hendrix Experience - gents and ladies 5/-
Mon 26 Dec (evening) - The Pretty Things - gents 12/6d, ladies 10/-


December 1967 - the end

 Fri 22 Dec - Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac - (no price shown) - Railway Tavern
Sat 23 Dec - Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds - gents and ladies 10/- (Lotus Club)
Sat 29 Dec - Savoy Brown's Blues band - (no price shown) - Railway Tavern
Sat 30 Dec - The Foundations - gents and ladies 10/- (Lotus Club)



The sad end - premier music
venue becomes Bingo club
Footnote 1. We are deeply indebted to an internet radio show, Cruising with the Commissioner, run by a good friend, for digging up the Forest Gate Rock track for us. The Commissioner runs a weekly radio show dedicated to early rock 'n roll, soul and 'real rhythm and blues' music.  He digs deep and picks out rare gems, delivered via his idiosyncratic broadcasting style.  The show is live every Tuesday evening, but you can catch it at any time here

Tune in and listen to the back catalogue, and as the man, himself says ... Enjoy!!

Footnote 2: previous Upper Cut articles on this website can be found at:

Upper Cut (1) - a summary of the emergence and first six months of the club
Upper Cut (2) - a brief survey of the second, and final half year of the club's existence
Georgie Fame, The Tremeloes and Unit 4 + 2- (September 1967 at the Upper Cut)
When Stevie Wonder played Forest Gate - (October 1967)
Mouthwatering musical fayre on Woodgrange road (November 1967)

E7-NowAndThen will be taking a break for a month or so, as we seek a bit of African sun.  We'll be back with a flow of exciting new posts from early February, so have a good new year - and enjoy the cold!!

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