Noise Pollution is Good for You
1966, Garage Rock, Pop, Psychedlia, The Creation

67. Something for the Weekend: The Creation “Making Time”

The Creation "Making Time" (1966)

The Creation “Making Time” (1966)

A short-lived commodity of the mid-60s, Hertfordshire group The Creation were one of an emerging sect of artists that fused garage-rock with dabbles of very early malformed psychedelia and late generation beatnik art-pop.

While they formally came together in 1966, the guts of the band had already existed for several years, first as Jimmy Virgo and the Blue Jacks and later as The Mark Four.

Jimmy Virgo and the Blue Jacks’ brief life would be tainted by persistent line-up changes, including the group’s namesake Jimmy Virgo. As members came and went, the sole musician to hang around was bassist John Dalton, who quickly ditched the Blue Jacks moniker, forming another group called Kenny Lee and the Mark Four, which later simply became known as The Mark Four.

Led by Kenny Pickett (vocals {note 1}) with Dalton, Eddie Phillips (lead guitar), Mick Thompson (rhythm guitar) and Jack Jones (drums), The Mark Four curated bright, loud pop-rock leanings akin to a second generation Beatles.

Yet after releasing four singles (including a poor, half-learned cover of Bill Haley’s signature effort, “Rock Around the Clock”), The Mark Four ground to a halt when Dalton defected to The Kinks, replacing Pete Quaife. Shortly thereafter Thompson would also depart, but unlike Dalton, the guitarist left the music industry altogether.
Several more membership changes followed, before the group settled upon a core membership that consisted of Pickett, Phillips, Jones and new bassist Bob Garner {note 2}. With this line-up, the group were convinced by their management to concoct a new name and soon settled on The Creation (a name based on a reference Pickett discovered while trawling through some Russian poetry).

Signing a deal with producer Shel Talmy’s {note 3} label, Planet Records, the quartet recorded their début single “Making Time” with Talmy at the controls. Unlike their material as The Mark Four, The Creation’s garage-rock influences began to come to the fore, represented by a short-sharp guitar strikes backed by a punchier, harder rhythm section.
Adding to the sharper sound, Phillips is also heard playing his guitar with a violin bow on the track {note 4} – a short-lived technique that quite popular at the time and later made famous by Jimmy Page. Eventually released in the summer of 1966, “Making Time” proved to be a minor success and broke the Top 50 of the UK singles charts, followed by further success with their next – and probably most famous – offering, “Painter Man”, which came out that October; however this success would not last.

Further line-up changes began to destabilise the group and within a year, both Pickett and Garner had been forced out, while Jones had left once and later returned. More changes transformed the make-up and the sound of the band, guiding them toward a menagerie of hardened psychedelic rock. Come the tail end of 1967, Phillips had also departed The Creation, signalling the end of the group – for a short time at least.
Despite this, there was one last hoorah for The Creation. In early 1968, Jones reformed the group with Pickett, bassist Kim Gardner {note 5} and guitarist Ronnie Wood {note 6}. There would be three more singles – two of which were posthumous releases; however by that time, the moment had passed for the Creation. Come the summer of 1968, The Creation were no more.
A compilation album called We Are Paintermen was released in Europe in 1968, pulling together their singles, EPs and B-sides, but it received little attention in their homeland.

The Creation reformed in the mid-80s to perform live and record occasionally with a line-up currently led by Phillips, along with touring partners Simon Tourle, Tony Barber and Kevin Mann. New material was recorded and some older songs reworked during session in 1987; however beyond one single (“A Spirit Called Love”), little of worth was produced. The recordings were eventually compiled and released by Cherry Red Records in 2004, but quickly disappeared.
There would be one final success however, when “Making Time” was used to front the soundtrack for the 1999 Disney film Rushmore – starring Bill Murray – bringing The Creation to the attention of an entirely new audience.

{note 1}
Pickett was initially known by the stage name Kenny Lee; however he would revert to his own name part way through The Mark Four’s life. During The Creation’s short period of success, the group became more open to delving into performance art during their live gigs, including occasions where Pickett spray painted canvases during a show before having it set on fire. An accident during set in Munich, which resulted part of floor being set resulted in the band being banned from performing in the city.
Following the break-up of The Creation, Lee became a regular songwriter for producer Shel Talmy and supplied Boney M with a number of songs that would later become singles; however Lee’s most famous songwriting credit came when he penned the novelty song “Grandad” with Herbie Flowers. “Grandad” later became a hit for Dad’s Army start Clive Dunn; however a strike by workers at EMI’s pressing plant halted production, causing the song to miss out on the 1970 Christmas Number One. Rick Wakeman, later of Yes, played keyboards on the single.
Lee also acted as guitar technician for the likes of Jimmy Page, but was eventually tempted back into recording, initially as a solo artist, before joining up with Phillips again in the late-70s to form Kennedy Express. Lee passed away from a heart attack in January 1997.

{note 2}
When Dalton left The Mark Four at the end of 1965, he was originally replaced by Tony Cooke. However the group’s new manager, Tony Stratton-Smith, was unhappy with Cooke and brought in Garner as bassist in May of the following year.
By the time Garner joined The Creation, he was no novice to the music industry, following stints in The Merseybeats and having also performed with Tony Sheridan. Apart from occasional reunion shows, Garner had withdrawn from the music industry completely.

{note 3}
Talmy at that time was best known for working with some of the biggest pop and beat-rock acts of the 60s, including The Kinks, Easybeats and The Who.

{note 4}
While unhappy with the sound of his Gibson 335, Phillips became obsessed with finding different ways to play it, starting first by thrashing it with a sawless hacksaw. When that proved equally unsatisfactory – and also damaging – Phillips turned to using a violin bow to draw across the face of his guitar.

{note 5}
Gardner had very briefly stepped performed with The Mark Four following Thompson’s departure, before he too moved on to co-form bluesy rock group Ashton, Gardner & Dyke, who would have a hit with the single “Resurrection Shuffle” in 1971. After Ashton, Gardner & Dyke disbanded in 1972; Gardner joined Badger for brief period, but later moved to the US to become a session musician. He died of cancer in October 2001 at the age of 53.

{note 6}
Yes, that Ronnie Wood, who would later perform with The Jeff Beck Group, The Faces and most famously The Rolling Stones. Wood was also a brief member of British rhythm and blues group The Birds; not to be confused with American folk-rock group The Byrds).
Interestingly, at the same time as they were bandmates in The Creation, Wood also performed briefly in another group with Gardner called ‘Santa Barbara Machine Head’, alongside Jon Lord (later of Deep Purple) and John Charles Edward Alder (also known as “Twink”).


About Leigh O'Gorman

Give me motor racing, music and Doctor Who anytime


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