Live Music Exchange Blog

Pompey Pop – guest post by Dave Allen, University of Portsmouth


In the second of our guest blog posts, Dr Dave Allen from the University of Portsmouth writes about popular music in Portsmouth from 1944 till 1969.  For more about the project, see the website here, or read Dave’s excellent blog.

Pompey Pop

In 2010 I came to Edinburgh University to describe my project “Pompey Pop” which covers popular music in the Portsmouth area over the quarter of a century from the end of the Second World War. At Edinburgh I spoke principally about live music although the project is also concerned with recordings, record stores and to a lesser extent subcultures, fashion and associated topics. I take a broad but not unproblematic view of popular music, embracing dance bands, jazz, folk, rock & roll, pop, rhythm & blues/soul and rock.

Why Pompey Pop? Well I’m an unusual academic in that Portsmouth is my birthplace, my home and the city where I have lived most of my life. I was born in 1949 and through the 1960s went from being a domestic pop fan to a frequenter of live venues and eventually a professional, recording pop musician. I have continued to play since semi-professionally and this immersion in the local scene over 45 years gives me access to many experiences and people who share my interests.

It helps that – unlike say Liverpool or Manchester – Portsmouth’s pop history is pretty much hidden, or considered nonexistent. Roberts’ recent  Rock Atlas offers a couple of local births and Mike Oldfield’s Eponymous Top Ten hit but nothing more. Subsequently he has enjoyed learning that British professional rock & roll was almost certainly born in the city when Tony Crombie’s Rockets made their live debut at the city’s Theatre Royal in September 1956.

One purpose of Pompey Pop is simply to document as clearly and fully as possible everything that happened but there are a number of issues, which inform or emanate from the work. One is to challenge the view that the impact of rock & roll or the ‘swinging sixties’ was felt only or predominantly in the capital. Linked to this is the desire to document the particular experiences and events of one locality rather than proceeding from the over generalised accounts of the period often found in the mass media – what were our sixties actually like? Then the approach is as inclusive as possible – especially through the Blog which attracts a considerable range of responses, images, recordings and ideas. I’m not interested in discourses that discourage contributions although I’d like to attract more women as regular correspondents.

Pompey Pop has included a public lecture to an audience of 600, a local element to a “Birth of British Rock” exhibition at the City Museum, two publications, film screenings a website and the Blog which is the main purpose of this piece. I’ll be delighted if this encourages more people to visit the Blog and welcome any comments on what has been an almost wholly positive experience over the past two years.

Dave Allen

April 2012

Please note that this is a forum for discussion, dialogue, and debate, and posts and comments on this blog represent only the author, not Live Music Exchange as a whole, or any other hosting or associated institutions.


3 thoughts on “Pompey Pop – guest post by Dave Allen, University of Portsmouth

This site is a space for comment and discussion. Please refrain from promotional activities such as advertising gigs or releases, offers of free downloads or similar. Any spam activity will be removed from the site.

  1. Pingback: Across the Borderline « Pompeypop's Blog

  2. Pingback: ‘Live music—a local case study (Portsmouth in the 1960s)’ |

  3. dear dave , my name is thomas moss . my dad and his band won the world sciffle championships in 1957 at the savoy in portsmouth , they were called tommy moss and the rolling ramblers. He passed on in 1992 and we have just 2 photos of the band from the time. he also won some band equiptment and a days recording in a studio in bournemouth were he cut a white lable. it would be so great to hear some records of the band , both me and my brother would be so so chuffed. is there any chance that there maybe someone who may have some material . i will be eagerly look forward to a reply. cheers tommy moss

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *