The first album I ever bought - apart from cheapo assembled chart hits and that sort of thing - was 'Death Walks Behind You' by Atomic Rooster. It was released in September 1970, when I was fourteen, and charted in a minor sort of way. I still have the record, as you can see.
I'm not quite sure why I bought it. The heavier side of hard rock is not my thing, and death metal - which Atomic Rooster was edging towards (put it this way, not many of their numbers are happy ones) - is absolutely not me. Perhaps it was the William Blake artwork on the cover.
The motive force behind the band was the keyboard player, Vincent Crane - he's in the middle. John Cann, the guitarist on the left, also wrote quite a few of their numbers. Paul Hammond was the drummer.
As you#ll have spotted, this morose band photo was taken in a burial ground. Sadly, but perhaps not surprisingly, all three of these seminal members of the band are dead.
I never saw Atomic Rooster at the time. They were on the bill of a festival I went to, but if I saw them I remember nothing about their set.
But Atomic Rooster goes on, after a fashion, fronted by Pete French whose association with the band dates back to 1971. I went to see them at the cellar that is the 100 Club on Oxford Street last night - this is them performing the group's biggest hit 'Devil's Answer' (which reached number 4 in the charts back in 1971).
So it's taken me more than half-a-century to catch Atomic Rooster live! And if you want to know what they were like in their heyday, this is the band in the Crane/Cann era playing 'Tomorrow Night' on Top of the Pops back in February 1971.
The band played 'Tomorrow Night' last night - it's taken me 20,000 tomorrows to catch up with them.
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