The Wilde Flowers originated in Canterbury, Kent circa 1964. Various recordings were made up until 1969 where the musicians recorded at Regent Sound studios in London, Wout Steenhuis studio in Broadstairs, Kent and a studio in Sellindge, Kent. He's Bad For You (Robert Wyatt), It's What I Feel (Hugh Hopper) recorded in 1965 in Sellindge, Kent. Never Leave Me (Hugh Hopper), No Game When You Lose (Hugh Hopper) recorded in Spring, 1966 at Wout Steenhuis' home studio, Broadstairs, Kent. Memories (Hugh Hopper) recorded in 1966 at Wout Steenhuis' home studio, Broadstairs, Kent. Impotence(Hopper/Wyatt) recorded in 1969 at Regent Sound studios, London. (The text kindly supplied by John H. Warburg. 2013.)
(The following text was composed by Nigel Camilleri for DPRP, 2001)Various musicians in the line-up came and went with Hugh Hopper and Robert Wyatt playing in the Daevid Allen Trio in the early 1960s. From The Wilde Flowers arose such notable Canterbury acts as; Caravan, Soft Machine and Kevin Ayers.
On March 16, 1965 at Wout Steenhuis studio in Broadstairs, Kent, demo recording sessions a Parchman's Farm (B. White), b Memories (Hugh Hopper), c She's Gone (Kevin Ayers), d Almost Grown (Chuck Berry). Kevin Ayres (lead vocs, a b), Richard Sinclair (backing vocs d, tambourine), Richard Sinclair (rhythm guitar, backing vocals d), Brian Hooper (lead gtr, alto sax a lead vocs d), hugh Hopper bass, Robert Ellidge drums. Band first time in a proper studio.
June or July 1965 in Sellindge, Kent demo recording session a Slow Walkin' Talk (Brian Hooper), b He's Bad For You (Robert Wyatt) c Don't Try To Change Me (Hugh Hopper), d It's What I Fell aka A Certain Kind (Hugh Hopper) Graham Flight (lead vocs a b c), (tambourine c), Brian Hopper (guitar, alto sax b, backing vocs d), Richard Sinclair (rhythm guitar, vocs d), Hugh Hopper (bass), Robert Wyatt (drums, vocs b, backing vocs d).
Winter or Spring 1966 SRS Broadstairs, demo recording sessions Memories (Hugh Hopper), Never Leave Me (Hugh Hopper), Time After Time (Hugh Hopper), Just Where I Want (Hugh Hopper), No Game When You Lose (Hugh Hopper), These Words They Say, Impotence (Hugh Hooper). Brian Hopper (guitar, backing vocs b, f), Hugh Hopper bass, Richard Coughlan drums, Robert Wyatt (vocals, tambourine b, e).
The roots of this group lay within a trio that had been formed at the Simon Langton School, attended by Wyatt, Hopper and Mike Ratledge. As Ian McDonald, then editor of the NME, said about the school in 1975, "an exclusive, private establishment for the sons of local intellectuals and artists. Very free, emphatically geared to the uninhibited development of self-expression. A hot-bed to teenage avant-garderie". The three were jazz lovers and their idols included Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane. However it had to be an Australian beatnik by the name of Daevid Alllen who would lay the foundations for the formation of The Wilde Flowers. A patron of The Beat Hotel which had residents as William Borroughs, Alan Ginsberg and Gregory Corso, Allen befriended Wyatt at Wellington House and together with Hugh Hopper formed the Daevid Allen Trio, with Hopper on bass and Wyatt on drums. Wellington House was a Georgian mansion owned by Wyatt's mother and was a form of converging point for musicians and artists in the area who dug avant-garde jazz, Dadaist art and poetry. He arrived at the house with 200 jazz records and a guitar having travelled via Melbourne, Paris and London. The first session he played with Wyatt, had Wyatt accompanying blues improvisations on the piano. But as friends Ayers and the Hopper brothers arrived, this developed further and Wyatt took over percussion. The percussion consisted of a broken typewriter, an old ammunitions box as well as a trumpet. Though not a Canterbury resident, Allen would initiate these students in the excesses of sex, drugs and experimental music. Of further importance to Wyatt is the fact that his family sent him to recover from these excesses to family friend, poet Robert Blake in Deia (Majorca). There was also present American drummer George Niedorf who gave him his first drumming lessons. The trio played together, often on Allen's houseboat and debuted at London's Establishment Club in 1963. This can be considered to be the first elements of free jazz that would become dominant in the Canterbury musical scene. In all honesty the musical scene at that time was too innocent to be able to welcome such a style which included free jazz improvisations coupled with beat poetry, and it is no surprise that the trio met little success. That year Allen left for Paris shortly after and continue experimenting with music, especially with Terry Riley (one of the pioneers of "musique concrete") and school friend Mike Ratledge (who had often jammed with the trio), helped forming The Wilde Flowers. Many recordings from this era have been grouped together in a 4-series compilation called Canterburied Sounds, released on the Voiceprint label. These compilations include a series of sessions and demo recordings made by the various instigators of the Canterbury musical scene, in their early years. As already mentioned the first line-up consisted of Wyatt, Hopper, Richard Sinclair, Brian Hopper and Kevin Ayers. Ayers is said to have been chosen due to his appearance and because he was the only youth in Canterbury with long hair! What is definite is that he also was instrumental in giving the group its name. Born in Malaysia, the son of a diplomat, he brought to the group a certain exotic flavour and added the "e" to Wild, in honour of the irreverent Oscar Wilde. Furthermore, Ayers did not play any instrument in the studio or on stage, but had started to learn to play the guitar and he wrote some basic tracks, some of which ended up in The Wilde Flowers repertoire, and some were used later on with Soft Machine (eg: Love Makes Sweet Music). Initially the group played soul music with covers of bands such as Booker T And The M.G.'s as well of standards by Ray Charles and Chuck Berry (a cover of Almost Grown appears on the album). However the group slowly moved towards a jazz leaning introducing that Elvin Jones and John Coltrane touch into their music. Their first gig was at the Bear and Key Hotel and in Hugh Hopper's words "we played Chuck Berry, Beatles and a few originals." Their first recording was a demo made at Wout Steenhuls Studio, Broadstaris, Kent, on 16 March 1965. The group's short history can de divided into five distinctive phases, characterised by the various line-ups that made the group. The first phase (and line-up) lasted till March of 1965, when Kevin Ayers left the band, fleeing to Ibiza (a movement that would be repeated often throughout his career!) with none other than Daevid Allen! Ayers would form part of the first incarnation of Soft Machine later on. However, the first available recordings of the band come from a rehearsal in the summer of 1964 where the group play Your Really Got Me (The Kinks) and Thinking Of You Baby (Dave Clark). The line-up here consists of the initial line-up minus Richard Sinclair and was the first recording session with Kevin Ayers. Both tracks appear on the compilation album Canterburied Sounds Volume 1 (Voiceprint VP201 CD). The Broadstairs session has the group recording Parchman's Farm (Booker White), Memories (instrumental) (Hugh Hopper), She's Gone (Ayers) and the Chuck Berry track, Almost Grown, this time with Sinclair joining in. Another session at Broadstairs, whose recordings are yet to be released, took place in April that year, with another recording of Memories and A Certain Kind. By this time, Ayers had already left the band and the vocals are sung by Wyatt. For a short while, vocal duties would be taken up by Graham Flight. With Flight in the line-up, the band recorded at Selindge, Kent between June and July of 1965. The tracks recorded were Slow Walkin' Talk (Brian Hopper), He's Bad For You (Wyatt), Don't Try To Change Me (Hugh Hopper) and It's What I Feel (A Certain Kind) (Hugh Hopper). Even though Flight was the band's vocalist, Wyatt sings on his own composition. Graham Flight, however, would only last five months with the band before going onto form The Polite Force and The Music Doctors. September 1965 also saw Sinclair leave for college. In time he would form Caravan. Meanwhile, Wyatt, who by now had also taken up vocal duties, was also toying with the idea of leaving the band and left a short while later to join Soft Machine. In came Richard Coughlan from the Stour Side Stompers on drums, together with Pye Hastings on guitars and vocals. However, recordings exist from the time where Richard Coughlan played drums and Wyatt dedicated himself solely to vocal duties. The sessions took place in Spring 1966, and the following tracks were laid down: Memories (Hugh Hopper), Never Leave Me (Hugh Hopper), Time After Time (Hugh Hopper), Just Where I Want (Hugh Hopper), No Game When You Lose (Hugh Hopper), Those Words They Say (Brian Hopper) and Impotence (Hugh Hopper). By mid-1966, it was Hugh Hopper who left the fold to join Soft Machine. Dave Lawrence took his place. The end of the official Wilde Flowers was nigh and by September / October 1967, the group had Brian Hopper, the last remaining original member, leaving to join Soft Machine while Coughlan, Hastings and Sinclair would move onto Caravan.
Further unreleased recordings by this artist: Those Words They Say, Don't Try To Change Me, Parchman Farm, Almost Grown, She's Gone, Slow Walkin' Talk, Memories (instrumental version), Time After Time, Just Where I Want, She Loves To Hurt, The Big Show, Memories (alternate version).
Following text kindly supplied by John H. Warburg. 2013.
THE WILDE FLOWERS #1 (OCT 1964 - MAR 2?, 1965)
1) Brian Hopper lead vocals, lead guitar, alto sax
2) Hugh Hopper backing vocals, bass
3) Richard Sinclair backing vocals, rhythm guitar
4) Kevin Ayers lead vocals, backing vocals, tambourine
5) Robert Ellidge (aka Robert Wyatt) backing vocals, drums, percussion
November or December 1964: Kevin Ayers's bungalow, Swalecliffe, Canterbury, Kent, UK
The Wilde Flowers debuted live playing at a private party. This was only the first of several parties organized by the band to "testing their improvements".
January 15, 1965: Bear and Key Hotel, Whitstable, Kent, UK "Dance"
The Wilde Flowers first public gig.
January or February or March 1965: The Beehive, Canterbury, Kent, UK (two shows)
January or February or March 1965: Canterbury College of Art, Canterbury, Kent, UK (two shows)
January or February or March 1965: Starlight Ballroom, Herne Bay, Kent, UK
THE WILDE FLOWERS #2 (APR ?, 1965 - SEPT 1965)
1) Brian Hopper
2) Hugh Hopper
3) Richard Sinclair
4) Robert Wyatt
5) Graham Flight lead vocals, harmonica
June 5, 1965: Frank Hooker School, Canterbury, Kent, UK
July 10, 1965: Kingsmead Stadium, Canterbury, Kent, UK "Canterbury Jazz and Blues Festival"
July 31, 1965: The Beehive, Canterbury, Kent, UK
Former singer and pianist of the famous The Tornados, Norman Hale, sang with the band as guest tonight.
August 31, 1965: Bekesbourne Village Hall, Canterbury, Kent, UK
THE WILDE FLOWERS #3 (SEPT 1965 - JUL ?, 1966)
1) Brian Hopper
2) Hugh Hopper
3) Robert Wyatt now on lead vocals, tambourine, trombone
4) Richard Coughlan drums
ca. September - December 1965: ABC Cinema, Canterbury, Kent, UK
The band played there every week on Saturdays mornings between the films.
October 20, 1965: The Beehive, Canterbury, Kent, UK
ca. November 1965: Christchurch College, Canterbury, Kent, UK
unknown date 1965: Quarterdeck, Ramsgate, Kent, UK
unknown date 1965: Rhodes Centre, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, UK
Robert Wyatt was absent tonight and maybe their future vocalist Pye Hastings filling in for him.
unknown date 1965 or 1966: unknown venue Willing, Kent, UK
unknown date 1965 or 1966: Elliot College, Canterbury, Kent, UK
unknown date 1966: St. Augustine's Hospital, Chartham, Kent, UK
February 19, 1966: St. Thomas Hall, Canterbury, Kent, UK
March 12, 1966: Technical College, Canterbury, Kent, UK
April 2, 1966: St. Thomas Hall, Cantebrury, Kent, UK
April 9, 1966: Prince of Wales Youth Club, Canterbury, Kent, UK
May 14, 1966: Frank Hooker School, Canterbury, Kent, UK
May 29, 1966: Regent Ballroom, Brighton, Sussex, UK "Melody Maker Beat Contest"
June 24, 1966: Dreamland, Margate, Kent, UK "Radio London Rock Music Concert"
Richard Coughlan was absent tonight so Robert Wyatt moved on drums and their future member Pye Hastings "replaced" Robert Wyatt as singer.
THE WILDE FLOWERS #4 (JUL ?, 1966 - DEC 1966)
1) Brian Hopper
2) Hugh Hooper
3) Richard Coughlan
4) Julian 'Pye' Hastings lead vocals, rhythm guitar
unknown date 1966: Onwards Tofts, Folkestone, Kent, UK
unknown date 1966: Village Hall, Chilham, Kent, UK
THE WILDE FLOWERS #5 (DEC 1966 - JUNE 3, 1967)
1) Brian Hopper now on vocals and alto sax
2) Hugh Hopper now on vocals, tenor sax and soprano sax
3) Richard Coughlan
4) Pye Hastings now also on lead guitar
5) David 'Dave' Sinclair organ
6) Dave Lawrence vocals, bass
January 6, 1966: Christchurch College, Canterbury, Kent, UK
January 8, 1967: The Beehive, Canterbury, Kent, UK (afternoon show)
January 8, 1967: Joker Club, Maidstone, Kent, UK (evening show)
January 14, 1967: The Beehive, Canterbury, Kent, UK
January 20, 1967: Youth Club, Folkstone, Kent, UK
January 27, 1967: The Beehive, Canterbury, Kent, UK
January 28, 1967: Two Bees, Ashford, UK
February 3, 1967: Regency, Medway, UK
February 5, 1967: The Beehive, Canterbury, Kent, UK
February 6, 1967: Medway Youth Club, Chatham, Kent, UK
February 10, 1967: Dane Court School, Broadstairs, UK
February 17, 1967: Youth Club, Sittingbourne, UK
Febuary 18, 1967: Working Men's Club, Isle of Grain, UK
February 19, 1967: Tofts, Folkestone, Kent, UK
February 20, 1967: Medway Youth Club, Chatham, Kent, UK
February 23, 1967: Royal Marines Churchill Club, Deal, UK
February 24, 1967: The Beehive, Canterbury, Kent, UK
February 25, 1967: Two Bees, Ashford, UK
March 10, 1967: Youth Club, Folkstone, Kent, UK
March 11, 1967: Good Companions Club, Rochester, UK
March 12, 1967: Tofts, Folkestone, Kent, UK
March 17, 1967: Town Hall, Folkestone, Kent, UK
March 24,1967: Tofts, Folkestone, Kent, UK
March 25, 1967: Cabin, Margate, Kent, UK
March 31 - April 1-2, 1967: Tofts, Folkestone, Kent, UK
April 3, 1967: Corn Exchang, Rochester, UK
April 8, 1967: St. Thomas Hall, Canterbury, Kent, UK
April 14, 1967: Tofts, Folkestone, Kent, UK
April 15, 1967: Technical College, Canterbury, Kent, UK
April 16, 1967: Tofts, Folkestone, Kent, UK
April 28, 1967: Tofts, Folkestone, Kent, UK
April 30, 1967: Tofts, Folkestone, Kent, UK
May 6, 1967: Technical College, Canterbury, Kent, UK
May 12, 1967: Tofts, Folkestone, Kent, UK
May 13, 1967: Chequers, Higham, UK
May 14,1967: Tofts, Folkestone, Kent, UK
May 22, 1967: Corn Exchange, Rochester, UK
June 3, 1967: Carmel Hall, Sittingbourne, UK
THE WILDE FLOWERS #6 (JUN 4, 1967 - NOV or DEC 1967)
1) Brian Hopper
2) Richard Coughlan
3) Pye Hastings
4) Dave Sinclair
5) Dave Lawrence
November 3, 1967: Marquee Club, 90 Wardour Street, Soho, West London, UK with Ten Years After.
A complete overview of this artist's recorded history has been made available by Voiceprint records, 1994.
Due to the artist still seeking a commercial return on their work, the featured selections have been permitted for streaming purposes only on this website. Other recordings may be available elsewhere on commercial formats, outside of this archive.
Hugh Hopper (backing vocals, bass, vocals, tenor & soprano sax) (born Hugh Colin Hooper, 29 April 1945, Canterbury, Kent, England died 7 June 2009), Kevin Ayres (lead & backing vocals, tambourine) (born 16 August 1944, Herne Bay, Kent, England died 18 February 2013, Montolieu, France), Robert Wyatt (drums, percussion, lead vocals), Pye Hastings (lead gtr, lead vocals) (born Julian Frederick Gordon Hastings, 21 January 1947, Tamnavoulin, Banffshire, Scotland), Graham Flight (lead vocals, harmonica) (born 1946), Richard Sinclair (backing vocals, rhythm guitar) (born Richard S. Sinclair, 6 June 1948, Canterbury, Kent, England), Brian Hopper (lead vocals, lead guitar, alto saxaphone) (born 3 January 1943, Canterbury, Kent, England), Richard Coughlan (drums) (b. 2 September 1947, Herne Bay, Kent, England), Dave Sinclair (organ) (born David Sinclair, 24 November 1947, Hernebay, Kent, England).
1965 - 1969.
All recorded and photographic material kindly submitted and permitted by Brian Hopper. 2012.
All recorded and photographic material copyright B. Hopper. 2012.
Special thanks to: Brian Hopper, Nigel Camilleri, Aymeric Leroy, Nigel Cross, John H. Warburg.
The following text was composed by Nigel Camilleri for DPRP, 2001: