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ACE CAFE & ROCK `N´ ROLL
Britain, particularly from 1956 to 1963, like much of the world, went crazy with the eruption of Rock 'n' Roll. Many UK teenagers identified with the new Rock 'n' Roll sounds, sounds that initially could only be heard on jukeboxes in transport cafes and coffee bars, though when a fair came your way, you knew you were in for a good time as every ride and sideshow would have Rock 'n' Roll, blasting out nice and loud.
This first wave of Rock 'n' Roll music gave youngsters a spontaneous worldwide voice - the voice of wild rebellion. This led to the adoption of specific styles of dress, behaviour and conduct. It was not uncommon that those meeting at places such as the Ace Cafe London, with its jukebox, were then motivated and inspired to create their own sounds. The sound of British Rock 'n' Roll. The British boys made good, and gave the enthusiastic audiences what they wanted and loved, live Rock 'n' Roll.
Rock 'n' Roll venues and clubs were opening, jukeboxes were being installed as fast as possible, with sales of tea and coffee booming! The energy of the new British stars such as Terry Dene, Wee Willie Harris, Marty Wilde, Tony Crombie, Billy Fury, Cliff Richard and many others, found a groundswell of support and identity from places like the Ace Cafe, which most would visit or call in at whilst on tour, and there listen on the jukeboxes to their own music.
Times changed as the sixties progressed, with the advent of The Beatles and the Mersey sound. It appeared to some that Tommy Steele, Marty Wilde etc. had semi retired.
Nevertheless, bands from the Ace Cafe, such as Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, provided a focal point for British Rock 'n' Roll, at a time when U.S. artists such as Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent appeared to have a greater following in Britain, rather than over there! With Gene Vincent insisting, we are told, on visiting the Ace, which was by then not only a well established meeting place for Rockers but also a stop off for touring bands.
With the rise of Carnaby Street, the Rock 'n' Roll sound so redolent of the fifties and sixties, could by now only be heard in a few places. One of course being the Ace Cafe, which sadly closed with the sixties in 1969.
During the 1970`s things began to look better for Rock 'n' Roll.
The Mersey bubble had burst, and it was obvious that Rock n´ roll was here to stay.
Groups like The Wild Angels, Hell Raisers, The Rock `n´ Roll All Stars, Impalas and ex Cafe man, Graham Fenton´s Houseshakers and later Matchbox, all added to this rejuvenation.
However, Rock 'n' Roll did not get that much radio airtime, and in 1976 a massive London march of Teddy Boys and Rockers demanded "More Rock 'n' Roll on radio".
By the late seventies things really began to take off again, with clubs seemingly opening everywhere.
With the 1980´s more new groups appeared on the Rock 'n' Roll circuit, many involving the new rockin´ teenagers who were looking for that elusive, powerful sound called Rock 'n' Roll.
Today we can clearly see that the Rock 'n' Roll scene is still very much with us, there being a tremendous variety, as never before, of sounds being released on CD and in that historic format, vinyl. With numerous record labels the world over, which together with the increasing number of Rock n´ Roll "Festivals", "Weekenders" and gigs to choose from, all underlining the importance and relevance of authentic original venues like the Ace Cafe.
You can see and feel the powerful energy of the Rock 'n' Roll spirit at the Ace Cafe Reunions - we´re working to unleash that spirit trapped in the Ace Cafe London. Beware!
Hail Hail Rock 'n' Roll
Thanks for the kind assistance of Mick Hill from "Rock You Sinners" - The mag for British Rock 'n' Roll.