John Dunn's Sixties Moment
Contents List Our Memories Rock & Roll Performers 60's Moment
It was a hot day in the summer of 1967 as the school coach barrelled down the A11, bound for the London Planetarium. These Geography Society outings were no more than an opportunity to interact with the opposite sex, such opportunities being precious few in the Stalag-like regime of the coeducational boarding school. My companion on the back seat was the dark and mature D.W. With the cunning of a seventeen-year-old, I was subtly nudging our conversation further and further into confidentiality, into intimacy.
I had already impressed her with my nonchalance in smuggling a school-illegal radio onto the bus. “Wonderful Big L! Hahhah!” yelled Tony Blackburn. We exchanged a grimace at his ghastly bonhomie. “Here’s a record that can’t miss! Produced by George Martin, written by Tandyn Almer who wrote the Association’s ‘Along Comes Mary,’ and performed by the resident band at London’s Marquee club, here’s Shadows And Reflections by The Action!”
I’ll never forget … from the first notes of George Martin’s harpsichord, to the start of the pounding two-beat rhythm, to the ferocious entry of singer Reggie King … I was transported. And when drummer Roger Powell wound up to the chorus with inexorable force, the whole bus sang along …”Shadows … shadows and reflections” …. sang D.W. and I to each other, our heads almost touching. “If ever there was a Number One record, that’s it!” I declared, and assent seemed general.
How wrong can you be? It didn’t get anywhere - and, as you will have guessed, neither did I (as the sage Latten observed, “too much talk, not enough Action."). But for some reason the moment lodged itself in my memory, remaining perfectly clear as it receded down the years, as if down the wrong end of a telescope. It had a peculiar postscript. I blinked, and a quarter of a century went by. One day my daughter casually said, “My friend’s dad used to be a famous drummer – he played with John Martyn, Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson – and in the Sixties he was in a band called – now what was it?” I already knew. So I came to meet Roger, drummer of the Action, who had ended up in Norwich. We’ve become great friends and, partly to shut me up, he recently got the Action together in the original line-up for a series of reunion gigs, so I was able to meet them too. He even agreed to play drums with the Rockin’ Johnnies. But as for the dark and mature D.W .…. ah well …
Wymondham College Remembered