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It has been a sad week for us, music lovers. Rick
Wright, one of the founding fathers of the band Pink
Floyd, died of cancer. Wright was a member of the 1963 R&B cover
6 that would grow, a couple of years later, into the next hip thing
when Syd Barrett joined the gang. The hip thing would soon become a
monster, a gravy train, a dinosaur, it had its up and downs, it was
praised and loathed by the so-called serious music press.
I am not good at obituaries, and who am I to write one anyway, so I’ll
pass the word to David Gilmour, not only a colleague but also close
friend of him.
In the welter of arguments about who or what was Pink Floyd, Rick's
enormous input was frequently forgotten.
He was gentle, unassuming and private but his soulful voice and playing
were vital, magical components of our most recognised Pink Floyd sound.
I have never played with anyone quite like him. The blend of his and my
voices and our musical telepathy reached their first major flowering in
1971 on 'Echoes'. In my view all the greatest PF moments are the ones
where he is in full flow. After all, without 'Us and Them' and 'The
Great Gig In The Sky', both of which he wrote, what would 'The Dark Side
Of The Moon' have been? Without his quiet touch the Album 'Wish You Were
Here' would not quite have worked.
In our middle years, for many reasons he lost his way for a while, but
in the early Nineties, with 'The Division Bell', his vitality, spark and
humour returned to him and then the audience reaction to his appearances
on my tour in 2006 was hugely uplifting and it's a mark of his modesty
that those standing ovations came as a huge surprise to him, (though not
to the rest of us).
I admit I was one of those many fans who sheered louder for Rick than
for the others on David’s last tour. Hearing him sing Echoes with David
was probably my best Floydian encounter ever, topping Dogs that Roger
Waters used (and still uses) to sing on his solo tours.
Roger Waters, normally a man of many words, has put the following
appropriate statement on his website:
Julianindica (aka Julian Palacios) wrote some great stuff about Wright
at Late Night:
Wright’s keyboard style had a unique melancholic grandeur. He had an ear
for exotic sounds, bringing in Middle Eastern Phrygian scales into his
mix. Never one to play lightning fast or pound the notes out, Wright
conjured up his unique style with patience. What was left out was as
important as what stayed in, and Wright took a calm and methodical
approach. The influence of Davis sideman Bill Evans introspective,
melancholic piano was strong. Modal jazz had minimal chords and relied
on melody and intervals of different modes. A slow harmonic rhythm
opened space in the music, in contrast to bebop’s frenzy.
On September the 17th the Croydon
Guardian, a weekly free local newspaper covering South London,
devoted an article to Iggy after the Church had revealed that Iggy had
probably been a regular visitor at the Purley dancehall The Orchid. The
article was brought to my attention by Matthew Taylor from Escape
Artists who was so kind to point me to a scan
of the article, neatly hidden in a dark corner from the (long deleted)
City Wakes website.
It all started with a remark on the Late Night forum why no one had ever
tried to locate Iggy. Pink Floyd biographer Mark Blake promptly denied
this and added some extra titbits to the Iggy enigma. He had found out
that she was probably a South Londoner who used to go dancing in
dancehalls in or around Purley. More about the Church’s quest to locate
Iggy’s dancing habits can be found on a previous entry on this blog: Shaken
This ended with the promise that the Church would try to find some more
information about the place and the people who visited it. A mail was
send to a historian of the Bourne
Society but without success. The same message however to a
journalist of the Croydon Guardian was immediately replied. Some initial
information was exchanged and journalist Kirsty Walley did an excellent
job by getting testimonies, not only from Anthony Stern, but also from a
DJ who used to spin records at the Orchid, Jeff Dexter, and who still
So, where did she go to, our lovely? By Kirsty Whalley
In the Swinging 60s she was an iconic model who broke the heart of Pink
Floyd's Syd Barrett. Known only as Iggy she is thought to have lived in
Thornton Heath and was a regular at the Orchid Ballroom in Purley
between 1963 and 1967. Then she vanished and for the past three decades
the former 60's in-crowd has wondered where she went?
Former friends, director and artist Anthony Stern and DJ Jeff Dexter,
are both searching for the enigmatic model, who featured naked on the
cover of Barrett's solo album Madcap Laughs. She was nicknamed "the
Eskimo" because it was thought that she was part Inuit. DJ Jeff Dexter,
who regularly played at the Orchid, vividly remembers the beautiful girl
who used to talk to him while he played his set. He first noticed her in
1963. He said: “Iggy was part of a group of very wonderful looking south
London girls. She was unusual because she did not look like anyone else
at the time. Since she disappeared, she has become a bit of an enigma.”
Dexter says that he met the director and artist Anthony Stern in 1967
and that Iggy became involved with him at about the same time. Anthony
took many pictures of the model and also made a film of her, which will
be shown for the first time at the City Wakes festival this October in
Cambridge. Stern said: “Iggy was my muse. I met her at a Hendrix gig at
the Speakeasy. She was a lovely inspiration and free spirit. I never
knew her real name.” “We used to hang out together, occasionally
dropping acid, staying up all night, going for walks at dawn in
Battersea Park.” The artist said he recently discovered photographs that
he took of Iggy on a houseboat near Lots Road in Chelsea. “She entirely
captures the spirit of the Sixties, living for the moment, completely
Photographer Mick Rock remembers turning up at Barrett’s to take
photographs for his solo album cover. At an interview in 199 he said:
“Syd was still in his underpants when he opened the door. He’d totally
forgotten about the session and fell about laughing. Iggy the Eskimo was
naked in the kitchen making coffee. She didn’t mind either. They both
laughed a lot and it was a magical session.” The most iconic images of
her appear on the album, where she poses naked in the background.
After she broke up with Barrett she disappeared. Felix Atagong, who has
set up a website in her honour, said: “According to the painter Duggie
Fields, she got married to a rich guy from Chelsea and led a ‘decent’
life after that.”
Anthony and Jeff both admit they have spent time looking for her. “the
truth is, if she has not come forward by now, she probably doesn’t want
to be found,” said Anthony.
(picture insert: It-crowd icon: Iggy the Eskimo). An online version of
the article can be found here.
An entirely new and previously unreleased picture
of Iggy accompanies the newspaper article. This comes out of the
personal collection of Anthony Stern. It is believed that more pictures
from his collection may be unearthed on a later date.
‘Sammy’ Samwell had been a member of The Drifters, the
backup band for Harry Webb. They would become a wee bit more successful
when Harry changed his name to Cliff
Richard (it was Samwell’s idea to cut the final S from
Richards to give the pseudonym extra spice). At the same time the
backup band was renamed to The Shadows (as there was already an American
band call The
Drifters). When Hank
Marvin joined the band Ian Samwell stepped aside and concentrated on
composing hits, producing and disk jockeying.
Samwell was probably the first to acquire a star status as a DJ, before
that the DJ had always been the invisible nobody who turned a few
singles when the bands on stage were switching places. For the first
time in history people came to The Lyceum to see the DJ at work
instead of the house band.
As a producer Ian worked with Aynsley Dunbar, Georgie Fame, John Mayall,
The Small Faces and he would also be known as the man 'who discovered America'.
Ian 'Sammy' Samwell passed away March 13, 2003.
As a youngster Jeff Dexter wasn’t into pop music at all, but dancing
with girls was, so he simply gave in. At The Lyceum (1961-ish) he
met DJ Sammy Samwell and they soon became friends. Not long after that
Jeff made quite a name because he was barred from the dance floor for
making an attempt at The
Twist, originally a Hank
Ballard B-side. When a few weeks later The Twist became a Chubby
Checker superhit The Lyceum hired the mod they had banned
before. He became a professional dancer and had to instruct the dance
crazy public the moves of the week.
Around 1962 – 1963 Jeff moved to The Orchid Ballroom, the biggest
ballroom in Europe with four different bars.
Chicken & Chicks, as they called it. Fish bar. Chicken bar. They had
this big ice igloo where they sold ice cream sodas. They had an upstairs
bar. And they had a roundabout which was another bar, a revolving bar,
all in this wonderful huge building. (Taken from DJHistory.)
Iggy was part of a group of very wonderful looking south London girls.
She was unusual because she did not look like anyone else at the time.
Since she disappeared, she has become a bit of an enigma. (taken from
While Ian Samwell was the main DJ at The Orchid Jeff worked as a dancer
and singer of the house band and as an occasional DJ. This would become
his prime profession and later on he would also spin records at Tiles,
UFO and Middle Earth (where John Peel was another DJ).
As a member of the Underground in-crowd, (the index of Days In The
Life gives him 20 entries), he would witness the raise and fall of
the movement that wasn’t a movement to begin with and the hostile
reaction of the powers that be.
Middle Earth closed after the horrible scenes of the police raid. We had
had a private party that night and somebody had brought along their
children. The police raided, found the children and told the Covent
Garden porters we were crucifying children in there. So they smashed the
place to pieces. (…) Jenny Fabian and I were locked in the box office
while they wrecked the place.
Fabian’s semi-auto-biographical account of her Groupie
days Jeff Dexter appears as Len although Dexter maintains: “I was
the only one she didn’t fuck”.
Sources (other than the above internet links): Bacon, Tony: London
Live, Balafon Books, London, 1999, p. 101. Green, Jonathon: Days
In The Life, Pimlico, London, 1998, p.222, p. 283.