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Rik Gunnell

Rik Gunnell was a primary mover and shaker in the London pop music picture from the Swinging Sixties. The dapper, two-fisted owner from the Soho nightspot the Flamingo, he later on managed functions including Georgie Popularity, Geno Washington, and Pole Stewart. Gunnell was created July 23, 1931, in Hausbruch, Germany — his English father worked well for an area shipping company, but relocated the family members back again to London in 1937 as Globe Battle II loomed. As a teenager Gunnell was an beginner boxer of some differentiation, with 16 he give up school to are an accountant for an area pub, 2 yrs afterwards signing up for the Royal Military Pay Corps. Pursuing his 1951 armed forces discharge he proved helpful being a bookkeeper at a location meat marketplace, moonlighting being a bouncer on the London jazz membership Studio room 51. Within a season Gunnell opened up his own place, the 2-Method, booking future United kingdom jazz titans including John Dankworth, George Melly, and Mick Mulligan. The business nevertheless demonstrated short-lived, as do a second membership, the Blue Area. For a while he slipped from sight, apparently relocating to Paris and time for boxing. Gunnell resurfaced in past due 1952 via Membership Americana, situated in the cellar of Leicester Square’s Mapleton Resort. Together with membership supervisor Tony Harris, he created all-night contemporary jazz periods that grew in reputation throughout the 10 years, frequented in huge part with the myriad African-American servicemen located in the U.K. In 1958 Gunnell and Harris relocated towards the Flamingo, the Wardour Road membership controlled by promoter Sam Kruger and his boy Jeff; within a season, Kruger was out as well as the “Jazz on the Flamingo” series shortly gave method to tempo and blues, anticipating the ocean change that could shortly reshape Britain’s musical sensibilities. Gunnell’s pivotal move was employing then-unknowns Georgie Popularity & His Blue Flames as the Flamingo’s home music group — their now-legendary all-night weekend shows had been instrumental in entrenching the American R&B audio overseas, and eventually yielded the traditional concert LP Tempo and Blues on the Flamingo. He also booked serves like Alexis Korner and Chris Farlowe, documenting the last mentioned through his Rik Gunnell Productions business and leasing the experts to EMI. For a short amount of time in early 1963, the Rolling Rocks also headlined a Mon evening residency, and regarding to star Gunnell rejected a chance to indication as their supervisor. The Flamingo was also famous for courting a mixed-race clients, an insurance plan that brought with it extra interest from the authorities as well as the press: on Oct 27, 1962, the membership made nationwide headlines as the website of a fans’ quarrel regarding model and showgirl Christine Keeler (after that engaged within an affair with English Secretary of Condition for Battle John Profumo) and two Western Indian boyfriends who found blows over her affections. The Flamingo was similarly notorious like a hotbed for medicines and prostitution, and Gunnell became the prospective of crusading reporter Duncan Webb, whose investigative attempts helped topple the Messina brothers’ London-based structured crime band. Gunnell deflected all criticisms and episodes, nevertheless — with more youthful sibling Johnny and Blue Flames saxophonist Mick Eve, he founded a Gerrard Road management and reserving agency that advertised performers including John Mayall, P.J. Proby, and Zoot Cash. Upon acquiring the managerial reins for Popularity, he persuaded the vocalist to dissolve the Blue Flames, negotiating a profitable agreement with CBS Information that yielded the chart-topping smash “The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde.” Gunnell also supervised spirit vocalist Geno Washington, and honoring his backing music group opened up the Ramjam Golf club in Brixton Large Street in early 1966. The golf club was the website of Otis Redding’s first-ever U.K. overall performance, and later on hosted dates from the Animals as well as the Who. Later on that same 12 months the Gunnell brothers obtained the Kingly Road venue the Handbag O’Nails — the membership was to be perhaps one of the most in-demand nightspots in Swinging London, and was frequented by all Beatles. (Star provides it Paul McCartney also met potential wife Linda Eastman there.) In the summertime of 1968 the siblings arranged a two-day celebration at Woburn Abbey headlined with the Jimi Hendrix Knowledge, Donovan, and A DECADE After — guests slept on the Abbey’s grounds overnight and place fires to hold warm, burning up down the celebration site and costing Gunnell almost £20,000 along the way. At year’s end the Gunnells marketed both the Handbag O’Nails and their administration company to music impresario Robert Stigwood, for whom Rik afterwards proved helpful in both NEW YORK and LA. In 1969, his fiancée, Jean Lincoln, was present dead within a Central Recreation area apartment, and immediately after he quit the business enterprise once and for all, spending a lot of the first ’70s touring incognito through Vietnam and Australia. By the finish of the 10 years Gunnell resurfaced in the Austrian skiing resort city of Kitzbühel, buying and operating a little bar that later on financed a more substantial golf club, the Londoner, that was a preferred of local people and vacationers as well. He continued working the location until his loss of life on June 3, 2007.

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