Alexis Korner (1975)
Alexis 1 with DLT
'Radio 1 on the road' (1981)
Alexis had twenty-five solo
albums released in his lifetime.
Out of 'Blues Incorporated' came bands such as the Rolling
Stones, Cream, the AniMals, Free and Led Zeppelin.
A chain smoker all his life,
Alexis rolled Gauloises shag tobacco.
Alexis was of half Austrian and half
See also external links;
Biography on VH1
to as the father of British blues, Alexis Korner helped bring together
many English blues musicians. He was a pioneer and major influence in the
sound of the 1960's British pop groups.
Born in Paris
1928, Alexis emigrated to England with his family at the start of WWII where
he discovered American blues music. He learnt to play the piano and guitar,
and aged twenty, joined Chris Barber's band, becoming part of the popular
London skiffle scene in the early 1950's. Moving towards
blues music, in 1954 he jointly opened a blues club in London's Soho, where
he and harmonica player Cyril Davies played, later forming Blues
Incorporated. The club embraced aspiring young musicians including
Charlie Watts, Long John Baldry, Jack Bruce and Graham Bond. These sessions
initiated the R&B revival movement, eventually leading to the formation of
the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.
During the early
sixties he became show business interviewer on the BBC Home Service Today
programme, and had his own slot in the Light Programme's Roundabout
show, Korner's Corner. From 1965-1966, Korner worked hosting and playing as
musical director for ITV's Five O'Clock Club, a weekly children's TV
show which included pop, cooking and guitar spots! Alexis kindly allowed
relatively unknown musicians to take part in the show.
success in the UK in the 1970 with his band, CCS (the Collective
Conciousness Society) where the big band treatment was given to Rock and
Roll tunes. Alexis was front man, however most of the singing was by Peter Thorup. Their 1970 version of Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love was
used as the theme of BBC's Top of the Pops for many years and became a hit
record. Also charting were 'Tap Turns On The Water', 'Brother' (used
as the Sunday Top 20 Theme on BBC Radio 1)and 'Band Plays The Boogie'. CCS
broke up in 1973 and Korner formed a group called Snape. Over the next few
years, Alexis was frequently heard on TV and radio, as a popular advertising
voice over artist.
April 1973 and
Alexis presented a unique 6-part documentary on Radio 1, The Rolling Stones
January 1977 found
Alexis on the air again, this time as DJ on BBC Radio 1, with his own
weekly weekend hour-long evening slot; Alexis Korner's Blues and Soul show
which replaced Stuart Grundy's 'It's Rock and Roll' show on a Saturday. Here
he played to a UK audience the Delta Blues singers, Charles Mingus, Muddy
Waters, boogie-woogie, free-form jazz, folk blues, work and prison songs.
His popular Sunday night specialist programme turned on a whole new UK
generation to both R & B and blues music. The series moved to a Sunday slot
in 1978 and ran until 1982.
In 1981, Korner
formed the last group of his career, Rocket 88, featuring himself on guitar,
Jack Bruce on bass, Ian Stewart on piano, and Charlie Watts on drums. They
toured Europe and recorded several concerts.
Alexis passed away
January 1st 1984, a victim of cancer. He was mourned by the many
musicians and friends he had encouraged over the years. His influence on the
development of the British rock and blues scene was immense and he is
remembered as a much loved and respected figure.