Keith’s place in rock and roll history…
“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. 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
“I am often described as pretentious for attempting to write a composed song-cycle that tells a story. But, Rock Opera had already happened with Keith West’s Excerpt from a Teenage Opera.” Pete Townshend
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Having spent his entire career as a professional singer, songwriter, and musician, Thinking About Tomorrow is the amazing tale of rock and roll survivor Keith West. From being inspired by Elvis in the 1950s to pop stardom and working alongside the greats of the music world in the 1960s, Keith was at the eye of the storm alongside peers including The Who, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Small Faces, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix and many, many more.
With his Tomorrow bandmates – Steve Howe, Junior and Twink – Keith was a pioneer of psychedelic music in the 1960s with songs such as My White Bicycle, and he also achieved international fame alongside Mark Wirtz with the song Excerpt from a Teenage Opera (popularly remembered by millions of music fans as Grocer Jack).
Tomorrow evolved from the R&B and mod bands Four + 1 and The In Crowd and, while their recorded output is small, their influence on other artists and the way rock music would develop is widely-regarded as enormous. Steve Howe went on to continue his incredible guitar adventures in Yes and Asia, and Twink would continue to influence the rock world as a member of pioneering bands The Pretty Things, The Pink Fairies, and Hawkwind. Keith would go on to have a long career in the music business, embracing punk in the late 70s and indie music in the 80s and 90s.
But this is no straightforward tale of rock and roll hedonism; the book also pulls back the curtain on the mysterious world of the music industry. It reveals how agents, managers, publishers, record companies, songwriters, artists and the media are all locked together in an endless pursuit of the elusive elixir of their professional lives – a hit. Yet, once lightning has struck, the tragic consequences, the tremendous opportunities and the money generated can still create ripples half a century later…
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Correction: Please note that some of the material contained in chapter 12, with regard to the song Sam, was originally researched and documented by Mark Frumento. The full piece can be found here: https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/mark-marc-wirtz-teenage-opera-anyone.130974/#post-2999907