The opening of the Ealing Blues Club by Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies in March 1962, is generally regarded as the pivotal moment when British Blues developed its own identity. British musicians played the blues and were given an opportunity to see other British artists playing the music for the first time. Prior to this date the growing interest in the Blues had been fostered by Jazz musicians, such as Chris Barber who had brought some of the leading Black American artists to the U.K. for the first time.
By the end of 1962, the club had overseen the creation of the Rolling Stones who were brought together by Alexis Korner and played there over 20 times. Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart and Pete Townshend played Ealing, as did many other members of future bands that would later take the rawer sound of ROCK to the world.
The Ealing Club and Blues Incorporated led directly to the early 1960’s British Rhythm and Blues Boom, which created the more intense sounds that were to influence so many. This included the Beatles, who had already opened the gates in the U.S. for the next wave of British bands. Groups such as the Rolling Stones, Cream, The Who,Manfred Mann, The Yardbirds, John Mayall, The Pretty Things, Fleetwood Mac, The Animals and Free, to name but a few, all participated or were heavily influenced by the scene generated by the Ealing Club.
British Rhythm and Blues would soon spread to other London venues notably theCrawdaddy, Eel Pie Island, The Flamingo and the Marquee. Here in Ealing the foundations for this movement were already set in stone. Ealing resident Pete Townshend would develop feedback on his guitars at the first Who gigs at the Oldfield hotel (Greenford). He practiced his auto-destructive art on the Marshall speakers sourced locally in the first Marshall shop in Hanwell.
His inspiration for destruction of guitars and amplifiers came from art classes attended at Ealing art school, where subsequent students would also include Ronnie Wood, David Bowie and Freddie Mercury.
As a showman and musician Jimi Hendrix would be deeply influenced by the music of The Who and their contemporaries, even deciding to purchase his amplifiers from the Marshall shop in Hanwell.
Perhaps the following quote from the Keith Richards biography “Life” from 2010 says it all:
“Cyril Davies and Alexis Korner got a club going, the weekly spot at the Ealing Jazz Club, where Rhythm and Blues freaks could conglomerate. Without them there might have been nothing”
The club is also noteworthy as the place where on 7 April 1962, Alexis Korner introduced Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to Brian Jones, and the nucleus of The Rolling Stones first came together.
Other regular musicians at the Saturday night sessions included Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Charlie Watts, Graham Bond, Long John Baldry, Rod Stewart, Dick Heckstall-Smith and Paul Jones. Manfred Mann (originally the Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers) also played there.The Who played there early on in their career, when they were known as The Detours. Eric Burdon (lead singer of The Animals) and Eric Clapton also frequented and sang on stage at the club.