“What I take the influence back to, was ‘Excerpt from a Teenage Opera’, a record in the late 60s, by Keith West that was episodic. That was really the one that was the biggest influence, and then lots of people started doing it. We’d do it a bit, prog-rock did it, Townshend started doing it a bit, The Who opera and all that. I think it was just that one record that made you realise that it didn’t have to be the same tempo or the same key all the way through, you could cut like a film.” Sir Paul McCartney
Bennion Kearny is delighted to announce that Thinking About Tomorrow: Excerpts from the Life of Keith West will be launched later this year.
With exclusive interviews with Steve Howe from Yes, Twink, and Joe Boyd, the book will look, in depth, at the development of the psychedelic scene in London and how Keith’s group – Tomorrow – became the darlings of that scene, and would play and party with everyone from Hendrix to The Pretty Things to Pink Floyd.
As well as covering the never-before-told story of Grocer Jack (Excerpt from a Teenage Opera), and its influence, the book offers an insider’s view on the R&B and Mod clubs of the early 60s where Keith cut his teeth. The book also details Keith’s career in music after the 1960s, from a shot at soft rock superstardom in the USA, to being at the heart of punk and new wave in the 1970s, then jangly C86 indie pop in the late 1980s, through to sampling and dance records in the 1990s, and beyond.
Thinking about Tomorrow: Excerpts from the life of Keith West reveals all from an extraordinary life and career in music, from someone who was there at the eye of the storm. It’s a fascinating untold tale from someone who not only rubbed shoulders with all of the greats of modern music but who worked, lived, and partied with them. Indeed, Keith counted such greats as The Who, The Kinks, and The Small Faces among his peers and friends.
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Keith Hopkins, known as Keith West, was born in Dagenham, Essex, on the 6th of December 1944.
Keith is best known for his collaboration with Mark Wirtz on the song Excerpt From a Teenage Opera (also known as Grocer Jack) which was a number 2 hit in the UK in 1967 and Number 1 in 16 other countries worldwide.
He continued to work with Mark Wirtz on ‘Sam’ the follow-up to Excerpt From a Teenage Opera and then subsequently on the Tomorrow album (released in 1968) and his own solo recordings such as ‘On a Saturday’ and others along with Ronnie Wood, Steve Howe and Aynsley Dunbar.
As a singer and songwriter, he was the lead singer of Tomorrow (previously known as the In Crowd) – a leading band in the Psychedelic movement and Pink Floyd’s peers, appearing with the band at the legendary 14-Hour Technicolour Dream event. Tomorrow comprised of Keith West and Steve Howe – who would achieve global stardom in Yes – John “Junior” Wood, and John “Twink” Alder who would form The Pink Fairies and also play with The Pretty Things and Hawkwind. The band released the seminal psychedelic single My White Bicycle in 1967 (also produced by Wirtz) which became a UK chart hit for Nazareth in 1974.
In 1971, Keith released a solo album, Wherever My Love Goes, before subsequently becoming the lead singer of Moonrider, who issued an album on Anchor Records in 1975 and featured on the BBC’s Whistle Test. The band included: Chico Greenwood, John Weider, and Bruce Thomas.
Following the break up of Moonrider, Keith continued to manage, write for and produce various artists both in the UK punk and the indie scene of the late 1980s.
He continues to perform with The Keith West band and to write songs for films, promotional purposes and other artists.
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