Screaming Lord SutchView in iTunes
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He couldn't properly be considered part of the British Invasion -- he never had a hit in the U.S. or the U.K. -- but Screaming Lord Sutch laid some unheralded groundwork for the phenomenon. With a rock & horror act based to a large degree on Screamin' Jay Hawkins, David "Lord" Sutch was one of the first genuine rock & roll longhairs, and his bands employed such sterling instrumentalists as Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore, Nicky Hopkins, and Mitch Mitchell before they became famous. His early-'60s singles -- mostly over-the-top Halloween novelties or covers of early rock and R&B standards -- are genuinely energetic and fun performances that rank among the few out-and-out raunchy rock & roll records waxed in Britain before the ascension of the Beatles. Twiddling the knobs on his first five singles was the legendarily eccentric Joe Meek, who embellished Sutch's modest talents with his usual grab bag of treated instruments, compression, and odd effects. While he holds a position of undeniable importance in the history of British rock, Sutch was not a talented singer or musician, and the records he made after the mid-'60s were pretty lame despite the presence of some stars who remembered him fondly (and had even sometimes played in his band in the old days). A well-known public figure in Britain, he ran for Parliament several times in the '60s, representing the National Teenage Party, and he founded the pirate radio station Radio Sutch in 1964. He published his autobiography in the early '90s. ~ Richie Unterberger