You probably would not think of Thurrock as a place for fostering pop music, but the local working men's clubs and entertainment venues like The Circus Tavern, Thameside Theatre and Civic Hall have all witnessed up and coming bands and pop idols in the later half of the 20th century.
On April 13th 1967, Pink Floyd played a gig at the Tilbury Railway Club in Calcutta Road, Tilbury.
In the previous month, the band had just signed a record contract with EMI Records with an advance of £5,000. Pink Floyd's line up at the time included Nick Mason on drums, Syd Barrett on guitar/vocals, Roger Waters on Bass/vocal, and Rick Wright on keyboards. The bands very first single "Arnold Layne" was released backed by "Candy And A Currant Bun". "Arnold Layne" the tale of a hard-up transvestite, who steals (and wears) ladies clothes from washing lines, escaped a BBC ban to rise into the UK Top 20. "See Emily Play", originally titled "Games For May" in honour of an event the band hosted at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, reached the number 6 position in the Top 20 in June 1967. Their performance at the "14 Hour Technicolour Dream" event made way for the recording of their first album " The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" named after a chapter from "Wind In The Willows"
The album was released in August and is regarded as one of the finest examples of psychedelic space-rock. But with this, the price of fame, band member Barrett was now heavily into L.S.D., a hallucinogenic drug and would not perform with the group, blankly staring whilst playing live.
Eventually the band decided that they could not continue with Syd in their line-up, and he was replaced by David Gilmour. The band continued with their performing and recording with their new band member Gilmour which included their new album "A Saucerful Of Secrets" which was released in 1968. In 1973 "Dark Side Of The Moon" was released which was their most success-full album to date, reaching No1 in the U.S.A. where it stayed in the album charts for 741weeks. In the U.K. it reached No2 in the album charts where it stayed for 301 weeks. Other albums recorded by Pink Floyd included "Wish You Were Here" in 1975 and also "Animals" in 1977. In 1979 the group released their first single for 11 years. Entitled "Another Brick In The Wall Part II", the record made the number one position in the U.K. chart where it stayed for a total of 5 weeks. The album " The Wall" was released two weeks later, reaching the number three position.
Thurrock youths appear in Floyd film
In 1982 a film version of Pink Floyds "The Wall" was made. The film which was directed by Allan Parker, starred Boomtown Rats and Live Aid organiser Bob Geldof as a drug crazed pop star who becomes a fascist style leader. 300 unemployed youngsters from the Thurrock area including some skinheads were recruited as extras for the controversial film. They were cast as the fanatical black shirted followers at a Nuremberg style rally. The youngsters were recruited by Eva Samson Shaw the Warden of the Riverside Youth Centre in Tilbury. Eight double decker buses were needed to take the youngsters to the film location. Each person was paid between £50-£100 for around two days work on the film. The youngsters were not involved in the more controversial scenes of the film, which included rape and violence. To appear in the film was a way of making some extra money, some of the youngsters were unemployed, and some went to Thurrock College. Many of the students were given a skinhead style crop haircut for the film.
- Thurrock Gazette
- Official Pink Floyd website