MAGAZINE - THE STORY OF SVENSK
seen as the creative Mecca of UK pop in the mid sixties, but many of the
nation’s other towns and cities were also adding their weight to the music
bandwagon, with countless new groups to plug the chart gaps that Brian
Epstein’s Mersey machine left open. One of those towns was Bournemouth - which
was, as is now, crammed with clubs and discos of every shade and size. The
town’s mega-venue was the Pavilion, where on Saturday nights Zoot
Money’s Big Roll Band and silver suited local singer Tony Blackburn
hammered out their sets. But parallel to this was the thriving underworld of the
disco clubs where the real action took place. These were raw late night high
spots in the style of London’s Marquee Club - so right-on, that Britain’s
rock elite could often be seen turning up in the crowd. Bands like The
Who and Manfred Mann cut their
teeth here, and every local band from The
Night People to the fabulous Bob
Michaels Band took their turn on the cramped and tiny stages.
their time, they were the region’s coolest venues with exotic European names
such as Le Disque, Papa’s, Adriano’s, The 81 Club, and the famous Le Kilt.
On hot summer nights, many of these sweaty cellars packed in over 400 kids a
night, and the wall of sound therein made one’s hearing a little challenging
for hours afterwards. This was the pounding backdrop that fired the music of mid
1960’s Bournemouth, a power so great that local unknowns in the crowd - Bob
Fripp, Andy Summers and Al Stewart were already being hooked on their individual
dreams of rock stardom.
of Le Kilt’s regular’s were 20 year old Roger Hopkins and Jason Paul who had
both met through Roger’s career as a fashion photographer and Jason’s role
as a top model. Roger was also a music journalist, covering the rock scene for
music papers, and a much sought after photographer for the burgeoning bands of
the mid sixties. This brought Roger into contact with many of the period’s
rock giants, and one in particular who would soon help to fire the starting
pistol on an interesting diversion for the two boys.
forward back to England and now well serious about their mission, the boys set
themselves up with the Swedish sounding name SVENSK
and cannily drafted in some professional management. But the big breakthrough
came when they played their new song DREAM
MAGAZINE to Roger’s long time friend Roy Orbison, who lined them up with
top record boss and Troggs creator Larry Page at Page One Records.
remembers his first meeting with SVENSK:
‘These two confident young guys came striding into my office telling me that
after due consideration, I was the one they would be willing to record for! They
had such charisma; I couldn’t resist signing them on the spot!’ Roger
remembers Larry Page as the Simon Cowell of his day. Dark shades and slick shiny
suits cut him out as the classic big time pop impresario, and the boys were
proud to be associated with one of the nicest and fairest guys in the business.
into the frame, pop legend Dick James took now over as manager, and he and Larry
Page rolled out what they billed as: ‘The Sound of Svensk - A cultural
revolution from two of the new beautiful people on the block’. Roger remembers
that promoting DREAM MAGAZINE across
Europe and the UK was an extraordinary
and exhausting experience, but provided him and Jason with a fabulous grandstand
seat at the highest point in the crazy world of pop music. ‘As a kid, I used
to listen religiously to Radio Luxembourg under the bed clothes’ says Roger,
‘so it was a very strange and surreal moment to find myself actually
performing on it LIVE!
Page One Records and Dick James Music were situated in the same building in the heart of London’s West End, and walking its corridors was like a stroll through the Hall of Stars. ‘Literally around every corner another famous face would appear’, remembers Roger. ‘The Beatles, Elton John, Reg Presley, Cilla Black – pretty much anyone who was anybody in the music business. There’s a pub just round the corner near the famous Denmark Street, and here one would rub both shoulders with the nation’s concentrated music talent – Jimi Hendrix being one of my favourite memories!’
DREAM MAGAZINE, Svensk recorded another of their own brand songs called YOU,
backed with one of the finest covers out there of The Everly Brothers hit ALL
I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM. But with
his real love of performing behind the camera, Roger jumped ship back to the
world of advertising, eventually forming his own marketing outfit and TV
commercials production company.
In 1968, Jason appeared in Douglas Hickox’s classic film musical Les
Bicyclettes de Belsize
starring alongside Judy
Huxtable and Anthony
May. For many years he was the face of the Orient Express advertising
campaign, playing the enviable part of the international traveller with a
delicious and sophisticated bird at his side.
and Roger continued to keep in touch for many years, but eventually they lost
contact. Says Roger: Jason is a unique guy, always happy, always ready for a
challenge, and with a galvanising sense of humour! I believe he now lives in the
DREAM MAGAZINE continues to be
a force, and countless new re-issues have helped it become a ‘psychedelic’
cult classic, particularly in the US and South America. Happily, the incredible
fat sound of Colin Frechter’s pipe organ still hails the Sound of Svensk on
radio stations around the globe.
"Dream Magazine" should be fairly easy to find as it appears on several compilations, both legal and dodgy--"Electric Sugarcube Flashbacks", "Piccadilly Sunshine Vol 1", "Rare 60s Beat Treasures #7", "Psych Archives Pop-Sike Vol 2" (tape) and "Traces Out Of Time" (tape)
"Getting Old" appears on "Hen's Teeth Vol 1" and "English Freakbeat Vol 3"
"You" has only, to my knowledge anyway, been compiled once and then only on a tape "Psych Archives Pop-Sike Vol 1"
"All I Have To Do Is Dream" remains uncompiled....
Many thanks to Roger Hopkins, without whom you would not be reading this page.
By the way, if anyone knows where Jason Paul is, please get in touch!