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Reliving the golden age of rock and roll and a subculture that took on the Establishment

Reliving the golden age of rock and roll and a subculture that took on the Establishment
  • A recently published book tells the story of a young man's journey into adulthood and his pursuit of stardom as a musician during the 1960s

'Thirty campers held after Wild West battle' reported the front page of the Daily Mail on Saturday 5 August 1961.

Colin Stoddart, now retired and living in Calahonda, was among the young men who were arrested after a gang fight that took place on St Osyth beach in Clacton.

It was the beginning of a new dawn, one of the most magical eras in the UK, and Colin had been involved in the first recorded bank holiday altercation between the leather-clad rockers and the clothes-focused, young men known as Mods.

This story is among the many that are recalled in Mods to Rockers, a new book available from Amazon, in which Colin recounts his experiences in the music scene of the 1960s.

Colin was born in East London in 1943 and was educated at St Edward's Church of England School in Romford. On leaving school, he went to work for a national high street bank, although his brush with the police in Clacton almost ended his career in banking. During this “dark period” Colin found solace in being the lead guitarist of a popular local group.

His prevailing love of the guitar and rock 'n' roll music had prompted him to form a group with his friends at school, and so he pursued a parallel career over the next eight years while continuing to work in the bank.

Colin and his generation were at the forefront of a new style, beat and ethos that would take Britain into a brighter and more confident future. His recently published book tells the story of a young man bearing witness to one of the greatest decades Britain ever knew. From his last day at school to supporting some of the era's most iconic groups with his band, The Candles, Colin recalls this exciting period with the utmost precision.

“I have a very good memory and I have always hoarded stuff like concert posters and newspaper clippings, so writing the book was not too hard. The difficult part was deciding what to leave out,” the former guitarist tells SUR in English.

Mods to Rockers tells the tale of a young man's journey into adulthood, his pursuit of stardom, the dawn of a new scene laced with 'Purple Hearts', and the call of the dingy pubs and clubs of London. Colin relives the very early years of the British rock 'n' roll era, sharing a stage with many emerging British acts, like The Who, Tom Jones, Dave Clark Five, The Merseybeats, and other groups of the time.

One of the author's most treasured memories was playing on the same stage as one of his childhood heroes, the wild man of rock 'n' roll, Jerry Lee Lewis. Another was his first encounter with The Who, the most outlandish band of the time. “We were both on the same bill and Roger Daltrey asked if they could use our gear. We had just brought new amps and a drum kit, so we said no: imagine our relief when we saw how they treated their instruments, especially Keith Moon,” Colin says, laughing as he recalls the incident.

This is a period that Colin remembers passionately, but by the end of the decade he had abandoned his dream and began working in the fashion industry. “The youth subculture of the '60s took on the establishment and changed the world and I witnessed it all,” Colin says nostalgically.