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Pete Atkin >> Music >> Thank you Pete.
(Message started by: David_Allen on Today at 12:14)

Title: Thank you Pete.
Post by David_Allen on Today at 12:14
I first saw Pete Atkin perform way back in the 70s in Cambridge. It may have been at The Lady Margaret hall although I’m not sure of that. I’d first heard him on one of the pirate radio stations: Radio London, probably the Kenny Everett show or maybe John Peel (anyone remember his show ‘The Perfumed Garden’?)

But I digress... I’d bought his album:  ‘Beware of the Beautiful Stranger’ in 1970 and loved it. The lyrics of course but just as important to me was the music. Those songs: So different in their construction to the ‘normal’ music I was used to. Normal music where once you’d heard the 1st verse & chorus you knew the rest of the song. Pete’s music was different - a breath of fresh air. Tunes that took you on a different journey. There was also the fact, & one which probably contributed to his obscurity, that he never pretended that he was an American. It always irked me when British singers (Elton John, Mick Jagger etc.) introduced their songs in broad English then sang them with fake American accent. Pete was different. He was English & didn’t put on a fake accent when he sang.

But I digress… I bought all of his albums as they were released and loved every one. As time went on & there were no more albums he faded into further obscurity but not for me. I always came back to those songs, I knew them inside out & could ‘sing’ every one (although most would disagree).

And then as we entered the 21st century something wonderful happened. Thanks to another fan (there were others?) Steve Birkill sparked a ‘revival’ . Suddenly there were new songs (or old ones previously unreleased). I bought ‘The Lakeside Sessions’ & ‘Winter Spring’ as soon as I could get my hands on them and was transfixed! Some of those songs reduced me to tears & still do.

But I digress. My reason for writing about my 54 year old journey with Pete & Clive is to say thank you. Thank you Pete for such wonderful songs. After all these years I still find myself waking up to one or other of them going round my head. Today I have an ear worm: ‘The Faded Mansion on the Hill'. Ear worms usually irritate me but this one can go on all day as far as I’m concerned.

Title: Re: Thank you Pete.
Post by S J Birkill on 17.05.24 at 09:11
Thank you David -- it's great to hear the details of how you came to be here. When MV began, in 1997, we were accruing new members at a rate of more than a dozen per week on average, and without fail they were reporting the same kind of experiences that you relate, including ear worms, and incorporating lines from the songs into their everyday conversations. In these more blasé times everyone here seems to accept the phenomenon as normal, and few if any bother to come back with their own stories any more. Perhaps the romance has gone, but the magic certainly was there.

Might your first PA gig have been at Lady Mitchell Hall, Cambridge? According to his list of '70s appearances -
- Pete played the venue four times during the seventies:

on 31.10.72, supporting Lou Reed
on 19.01.73
on 26.04.74 on the 'The Road Of Silk' tour with 'Mama Flyer'
on 10.11.75 on the 'Together at Last' tour with Clive James.

As far as we know Kenny Everett was the first to play Pete on radio, having obtained a demo tape of 'Master of the Revels' and 'Girl on the Train', made during the sessions for Beware of the Beautiful Stranger in early 1970; but this was on BBC Radio 1: he introduced Pete as the 'Mystery Singer' and played the tracks on his show on successive weeks. You can hear the broadcast on our Discography page -- look for Kenny's image towards the bottom of the right-hand Player column.

Pete's first studio session for the Beeb was broadcast on 24th August that year on the David Symonds show, and his first for John Peel went out in March 1972, though Peel may have played album tracks prior to that. Both sessions were part of the 'Sounds of the Seventies' strand. We have those too -- look for the Broadcasting House image.

Offshore Radio London had weighed anchor in 1967, while Pete was laying down tracks for the demo album While the Music Lasts in Cambridge -- yes, you can listen to that too on the Discography page, if you're logged in to MV -- but we remember fondly 'Big-L' in the days of 'Kenny and Cash' and 'The Perfumed Garden'.

I hope you don't mind me clarifying names, dates and places as best I can. Most of it is there on peteatkin.com. I fear too many today expect a Website to deliver, well, not much apart from sparse promotional material. Smash Flops is different! There's an awful lot to find if you click around, things I'm sure most of our new members miss. For instance, while clicking the per-song 'Play' buttons in the vicinity of (say) The Beautiful Changes, use the 'next' and 'previous' chevrons (hey, there's a band name!) repeatedly, to take you beyond the listed songs and see what you find. Keep on exploring, and don't let that magic slip away!

Oh yes, and Pete tells me he likes your message.


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