JACKY AND HIS STRANGERS, Rock´n´Roll Is Here To Stay, 1977Posted: January 7, 2010
Shortly before Christmas fellow record collector Mario came over to our appartement with some of his records for me to digitize and scan. We spent a very nice evening talking about records and Berlin music history.
Initially we had met each other at Kollage and then later did Auktion/Destruktion together (By the way, our next and last show at Kollage is happening January 23, 2010). While talking about records he had mentioned Jacky Spelter and that he owned this Kaskade 45. I thought it was a perfect little Berlin-related Rock´n´Roll record to post here and Mario agreed to lend it to me. Thanks a lot, Mario!
Jacky and the Strangers were Berlin´s longest running Rock´n´Roll band. Born in 1928 in Wiesbaden Jacky Spelter formed the Strangers in 1953 with a Fender Jazzmaster guitar that he had brought from Texas were he had been taken as a POW. It was the first Fender model to appear in Germany and he played on that same instrument (that he lovingly called Jenny) for 50 years.
In 1958 he opened for Bill Haley and the Comets at the Waldbühne in Berlin. In Friedberg, where Jacky and the Strangers played the GI-Clubs, he met Elvis, who was sitting in the audience. In Hamburg he played with the Beatles. Jacky continued to play until his death in 2004.
I saw Jacky and his Strangers play on a stage in front of the Wild At Heart club in Kreuzberg in 2003. By then he was very large and had to sit on a chair for the whole show but still played to a very receptive crowd of punks and rockabillies. He was cool!
Mario had the pleasure to meet Jacky in 1977. Being 17 years old and a Rock´n´Roll fan he asked Jacky for an interview for his school paper. Jacky then invited him into his home in the working class district of Berlin-Neukölln, where he had lived since 1962. Jacky and his wife took the teenage school-boy serious, offered him coffee and sandwiches and answered all his questions. Two weeks later, when Jacky played with the Strangers at a club, Mario presented his little self-produced magazine that contained the interview and Jacky gave him this 45 that all band members had signed.
Mario also told me of an incident in 1979 where it had been announced that Little Richard was to play at a Berlin disco – a place called the “Top Disco”. On arriving there he saw Jacky leave the place infuriated because Little Richard had refused to see him. Jacky had met Little Richard personally in the early 60´s and knew then that something was wrong. Later the show was stopped by the police who found out that it was not Little Richard who was performing. The impersonator was arrested.
Guitar Special is a fast and furious Rock´n´Roll instrumental with a lot of reverb. Sounds like the coolest Surf song of 1977! Awesome!
Rock´n´Roll Is Here To Stay is not the Danny and the Juniors´song. Both songs are Jacky Spelter originals. Mario told me that, except for his signature, Jacky couldn´t read or write and he´s speaking some pretty funny English too. But isn´t that supposed to be the charm of it? Itsn´t it the attitude that counts?
Come to think of it, there´s a little bit of a Hasil Adkins in Rock´n´Roll Is Here To Stay…