The band Genesis went through several phases, but mainly two. In the first, with Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett, they were definitely prog rock, lots of Mellotron, long tracks, opaque lyrics and tricksy rhythms. Then two left and they went all pop/disco.

One of the labels other groups are given is “Genesis clone”. Marillion have this, and I can’t say anything about them as I have never really listened to much of their work. Another such band is IQ.

And this is wrong and so unfair.

Of course IQ are a prog rock band (lots of long tracks, Mellotron, tricksy rhythms and opaque lyrics). There are bound to be similarities with the line up of drums/bass/guitar/keyboards/vocals. But IQ are heavier and more guitar based, for a start.

IQ began in 1981, and they are still going. They have a very loyal following.

Their first ‘proper’ album is Tales From The Lush Attic (1983). This is available on CD and was remixed relatively recently and is worth a listen.

If you ask IQ fans they will mention a few albums as the best, really top class albums.


When you dig a bit deeper than the usual, you find that some bands have very interesting histories. Take The Dave Clark Five, for instance.

The DC5 were the Tottenham Sound. They were founded in Tottenham, north London and not so far from where I live. At their height they were regarded as at least equal to The Beatles, but only by Clark himself. They were certainly rivals to the fab four, in the sense that they were around at the same time in a similar musical area and appealing to the same age group.

They had success in the UK, the USA and many other countries.

When you think of the band, you remember a five piece (!): keyboards, guitar, bass, saxophone, drums. Clark played the drums, and main singer Mike Smith was keyboards.

There are rumours going around that Clark himself did not really play drums. I have no idea if it’s true. He was certainly always front and centre of the band, hogging the limelight. Clark managed the group, produced the records and owned all the rights.

The band also made a film, as bands did in those days, Catch Us If You Can. The plot involves Clark and Barbara Ferris having various adventures. The others do appear, but briefly.

Twelve British Songsā€¦ V

Whistling Jack Smith

I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman


There was a singer called Whispering Jack Smith. This is Whistling Jack Smith, no relation. This is the very definition of a one hit wonder, and the whistling is great and the tune is as catchy as they come.


Do you remember The Carpenters, you know, the married couple Karen and Richard?

Well no, we don’t either. Firstly, they were not married, but actually brother and sister.

Secondly, their group was not “The Carpenters” but simply Carpenters (no “the”). I believe Richard made up the name, and he always seemed to quite like to do quirky things. I suspect he regretted it – if you’re introducing them, or talking about them, it sounds strange. “The Carpenters” is more natural.

You may think it odd that they are included on our site.

The history of the duo is well-known and not terribly happy. Drug addiction, over work and Karen’s eventual death are just a part of it.

Richard played piano, he sang, wrote songs, did arrangements and production. He is a talented chap. Karen really did play drums, wanting to join in, but she also a fabulous singer, though she hated fronting the band, at first at least.

How many is not enough?

I was lucky enough to be born in the mid 1950s and my musical tastes were heavily influenced by bands of the 1960s and early 70s. People like The Beatles (John, Paul, George and Ringo), King Crimson (Robert, Ian, Michael, Greg and Peter), Pink Floyd (Roger, Nick, Richard and David), Small Faces (Ronnie, Steve, Ian and Kenney) and so on, including The Moody Blues (Mike, Ray, Justin, Graeme and John).

I just named a few at random, and have given the first names of their ‘classic line up’. If I’d included The Rolling Stones it would have been Bill, Charlie, Brian, Mick and Keith.

So, why am I doing this?

If you think of a band you like, certain members will come to mind. They may not be the original members (The Beatles had Pete Best as drummer before Ringo, The Moodies had Denny Laine and Clint Warwick before Justin and John etc), but they are the line up you think of first, the people who produced one or more ‘classic’ albums. The classic Moodies produced seven good albums (plus another) known as the ‘core’.

It’s inevitable, though, that members will come and go. I believe they call it ‘churn’. (This is a good posting if you like technical words beginning with ‘c’). People die, they move on, they retire, bands have a big falling out… all sorts of things can happen. Sometimes, members who have left come back, but usually they don’t. No matter how much fans would like to see Roger Waters, Nick Mason and David Gilmour play together again, this seems somewhat unlikely.