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Keith West

If ever a "secret history" is written of British psychedelic rock, Keith West will surely have one of the leading roles. As the lead singer and principal songwriter of Tomorrow, he was a guiding force of one of the first and best British psychedelic bands, even if their one album (with a lineup that also featured Steve Howe in his pre-Yes days) was little heard beyond the London underground. West got his feet wet in the British Beat boom as singer in the obscure mod/R&B bands Four + 1 and the In Crowd, the latter of which evolved into Tomorrow after Steve Howe joined. While Tomorrow was still a going concern in 1967, West launched a simultaneous solo career, releasing a few solo singles (some of which also input from Howe) in the late '60s. The first of these, "Excerpt From a Teenage Opera," was an unexpectedly huge smash, reaching number two on the British charts during the summer of 1967.

"Teenage Opera," a convoluted story about the death of a grocer named Jack, was rather fruity in both lyrics and production (prominently featuring a too-cute children's chorus). But this ornately arranged slice of pop-psychedelia (with the accent heavily on the pop) had some moments of real grandeur, and has been said to have been an influence on Pete Townshend at a time when he was mulling over prospects for a rock opera of his own. The British press hyped the hit as part of a forthcoming full-length opera, but, in fact, nothing else had been written, and a projected double-album never materialized. West did release one more installment as a single, the even more rococo "Sam," a perhaps too-ambitious orchestral-psychedelic production that briefly made the British Top 40.

West's solo success hindered the career of the much less pop-oriented Tomorrow, who had yet to even release their album when "Teenage Opera" hit. Although West was far more interested in working with Tomorrow than staging whimsical pop-psych operettas, the difficulty in balancing the two concerns led to Tomorrow's premature demise in 1968. West did manage to release another solo single (unrelated to any operatic concept) and record some reasonably interesting unreleased material, which (as in his Tomorrow days) were frequently narrative character sketches of archetypically eccentric Brits. He hasn't done much recording since the early '70s, although he produced a few (unknown) bands, worked with his old partner Howe occasionally in the studio in the '90s, and produces music for television and radio commercials. He is one of the foremost cases of unrealized potential of the British '60s psychedelic scene. ~ Richie Unterberger
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Excerpts From Keith West Groups And Sessions 65-74

1. Time Is On My Side

2. Don't Lie To Me

3. That's How Strong My Love Is

4. Things She Says

10. Revolution

11. Excerpt From A Teenage Opera

16. The Kid Was A Killer

17. The Visit

20. Power And The Glory

21. West Country

x

Track List: Greatest Hits Of The 60's

Disc 1

1. How Do You Do It?

2. I'm Telling You Now

4. Stay

5. Hanky Panky

6. I'm Into Something Good

7. High Time

8. A Whiter Shade Of Pale

9. Confessin' (That I Love You)

10. Sloop John B

11. Have I The Right

12. Blackberry Way

13. Out Of Time

14. Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)

15. It Might As Well Rain Until September

16. The First Cut Is The Deepest

17. The House Of The Rising Sun

18. On The Road Again

Disc 2

1. Itchycoo Park

2. Tobacco Road

3. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

5. She's Not There

6. Going Up The Country

7. It's Good News Week

8. Happy Together

9. Do You Want To Know A Secret

11. Where Do You Go To My Lovely

12. God Only Knows

13. I'm A Tiger

14. 5-4-3-2-1

15. Dance On

16. Shakin' All Over

17. Hippy Hippy Shake

18. Telstar

Disc 3

1. Shout! Shout!

2. I Like It

3. Do Wah Diddy Diddy

4. A Little Loving

5. Bad To Me

6. You Were Made For Me

7. Venus

8. I Can't Let Maggie Go

9. Lovesick Blues

10. Let It Be Me

11. Silhouettes

12. I'll Never Get Over You

13. Google Eye

14. Boom Bang-A-Bang

15. I'm Alive

16. A Salty Dog

17. Angel Of The Morning

18. Handbags And Gladrags

Disc 4

2. F. B. I.

3. Got To Get You Into My Life

4. Super Girl

7. Put A Little Love In Your Heart

8. Ain't Misbehavin'

10. Tin Soldier

11. Fire Brigade

12. Hi Ho Silver Lining

13. Let's Go To San Francisco

14. Spooky

15. Time Of The Season

16. The Weight

Disc 5

1. Working In The Coalmine

2. The Israelites

3. Wonderful World, Beautiful People

4. The Birds And The Bees

5. Good Vibrations

6. I'm Gonna Knock On Your Door

7. Melting Pot

9. Flowers In The Rain

10. It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin'

11. A Must To Avoid

12. Carrie Anne

13. Anyone Who Had A Heart

14. Good Morning Starshine

15. Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying

17. We've Gotta Get Out Of This Place

18. Little Green Bag

Disc 6

1. Bus Stop

2. Think

3. Mony Mony

4. She's Gone

5. Honey

6. Michael Row The Boat Ashore

7. I've Been A Bad Bad Boy

8. I Understand (Just How You Feel)

9. Apache

10. Pretty Flamingo

12. Kites

13. Way Of Life

14. Man Of The World

15. Little Children

16. Everyone's Gone To The Moon

17. Wonderful World

18. You'll Never Walk Alone

Disc 7

1. Johnny Remember Me

2. Leader Of The Pack

3. The Carnival Is Over

4. If You Gotta Go, Go Now

5. He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

6. It Must Be Him

7. Walking Back To Hapiness

8. Poison Ivy

9. Crystal Blue Persuasion

10. Keep Searchin' (We'll Follow The Sun)

11. Jenny Take A Ride

12. Games People Play

13. Lazy Sunday

14. Maria

16. Go Now

17. America

18. Thank U Very Much

Disc 8

1. No Milk Today

2. If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody

3. Ferry Across The Mersey

4. You're No Good

5. Poetry In Motion

6. You're My World

7. The Night Has A Thousand Eyes

8. Tribute To Buddy Holly

9. All I Really Want To Do

10. Excerpt From A Teenage Opera

11. On A Carousel

12. Elusive Butterfly

13. I'll Keep You Satisfied

14. Hello Little Girl

15. Lily The Pink

16. Bring It On Home To Me

x

Track List: Power Radio Vol.5-1992

1. Roll Over Beethoven

2. Hold On

3. Can't Fight This Feeling

4. Sweet Home Alabama

5. A Little Bit More

7. Mississippi Queen

8. Cat Scratch Fever

9. The Flame

10. The Warrior

11. I Won't Hold You Back

12. Rocky Mountain Way

13. Roll Away The Stone

14. Superstitious

15. Shambala

16. Excerpt From A Teenage Opera

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Puffy shirt kind of guy

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