Pete put Thunderclap Newman together in 1968 to help out John “Speedy” Keen who had been a roommate of, and chauffeur for, Pete. The studio band consisted of Speedy (vocals, drums, guitar) along with Andy “Thunderclap” Newman (piano), and Jimmy McCulloch (guitar), and Pete Townshend (bass). On the record Pete was listed as Bijou Drains. Pete also produced their one and only album, Hollywood Dream. Something in the Air, written by Speedy, was a number one single in England in 1969.
Fun Fact: Something in the Air was originally titled Revolution. It was renamed due to song of the same name by The Beatles.
When they toured in 1969 Jim Pitman-Avery replaced Pete on bass and Jack McCulloch played drums. The initial three members stayed together through 1971 with a variety of musicians filling in on bass and drums.
After the band broke up:
- Speedy recorded a couple of solo albums, played as a session musician, and was a record producer. He passed away in 2002 as a result of heart problems.
- Jimmy went on to play with Stone the Crows, a reformed Small Faces, and more famously with Wings. He died young at the age of 26 as the result of a heroin overdose.
- Andy went on to record a solo album. In 2010/2011 he put together a new Thunderclap Newman band which recorded an album, Beyond Hollywood.
Before we leave Thunderclap Newman behind I strongly recommend you checkout this video tribute to the band lovingly put together by JimmyMcCullochFan and posted on YouTube. It includes some interesting commentary by Pete Townshend.
RIP Speedy and Jimmy!
As always, let me know what you think.