Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – my memories

So at some point in early 1974 Steve released the single “Judy Teen” which went to no. 5 in the charts.  I must have seen it on Top of the Pops (TOTP) as that was the only music show in those days, and as usual only the cream rose from the ‘middle of the road’ pap that we were peddled on a weekly basis.

They looked different and certainly sounded different, so on the strength of the single and the album cover alone I bought ‘The Psychomodo’ LP that summer. I listened intently, read and re-read the lyric sheet, poured over the sleeve notes and thought WOW – this is just great.

On March 26th 1975 I left on a school ski-ing trip to Italy.  On the journey to Luton airport we stopped off at Watford Gap services – and there I saw the Cockney Rebel tour bus!  The excitement didn’t stop there mind – I went to the toilet and my claim to fame is that I stood right next to Steve whilst having a piss!  Oh the glamour..  Didn’t get to see any of the other band members.

It would be many years before I finally got to see him live – 21 Jun 1980 to be precise at Leicester University.  I drove there with a few friends and got talking to some lads who had made the trip up from Cardiff (there’s dedication for you).  Memories are vague, but obviously it wasn’t the original Cockney Rebel line up – nonetheless a very good night was had.  I remember the hall vibrating to the echoes of “oh dear look what they’ve done to the blues, blues blues” for what seemed like ages at the end of the gig.

I bought a few of their albums in the 70’s but like most people he/I disappeared off the scene for many ‘wilderness’ years.  I finally got around to seeing him in 1999 at the Robin2 in Bilston, again with the same mates who had been to Leicester all those years previously.

I saw his Greenwich ‘homecoming’ gig in 2013 and had the pleasure of seeing the 40th anniversary tour of The Best Years of our lives at the O2 in London – with practically the original line-up!.  The man still writes powerful, reflective, thought provoking songs.  I managed to video some of this so if anyone is interested go to my YouTube site to watch him in action.

He is also extremely amusing with his banter in-between songs (at all the gigs I’ve been at).  I’d put him on a par with Rick Wakeman for that.

I’ve placed some tour posters, ticket stubs and press adverts on this site – so just check out the Programmes/Posters/Press Adverts page via the menu.Cockney Rebel 1973

Enjoy, Marko

PS – Here they are in 1973..  Nice flares!

PPS – Do you think the guy who designed the logo had a bit of inspiration from Roger Dean’s Yes logo?

Cockney Rebel logo






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