Kink's farewell to music
By Martin Ford
AS one of Broxbourne borough's favourite sons puts down his
bass guitar after a career spanning almost 50 years, former
Kink John Dalton looks back on his life as a bona fide rock
recent swansong show with the Kast Off Kinks - the band that
reunited John with other former members - at Broxbourne Civic
Hall brought to an end a career that began just down the road
in Cheshunt 49 years earlier.
However, his story begins even before taking to the stage.
"My claim to fame is that I went to school with Cliff
Richard," John said, revealing that the ageing crooner,
three years John's senior, was his prefect at Cheshunt
Secondary Modern School. Fame came a lot sooner for Cliff,
After enjoying local success with Danny
King and The Bluejacks
, and playing alongside The
with Mark Four, John gave up on a music career.
"I thought we weren't going anywhere so I stopped playing,"
However, he was approached by a former roadie to audition for The
, to stand in for an injured Pete Quaife in 1966.
"I didn't want to do it at first, but he persuaded me. I
thought, 'It's the chance of a lifetime, you've got nothing to
John related his first meeting with the band: "There was
Mick (Avory) tapping away, Dave (Davies) was lying flat on the
floor, Ray (Davies) came in with a couple of singles he was
supposed to review and threw them out of a window - it was all
a bit frightening."
"They said, 'What are you doing this afternoon?' and we
went straight to the studio to play Top of the Pops!"
After contributing bass to hit track Dead
, John returned as a permanent member in 1969
when Quaife quit the band. He stayed with them for the next
"The Kinks played their best live music in the early
'70s. You've got to work, and we toured 12 weeks, three times
a year. When you're not touring you're recording - we recorded
four or five albums a year."
Seminal Kinks tracks recorded in that time include Victoria,
Shangri-La and the evergreen Lola.
In 1992, the Kast Off Kinks reunited John with two other
ex-Kinks, original drummer Mick Avory and keyboardist John
Gosling, plus Dave Clarke on vocals.
"We've always been friends, and it all started off at the
Civic Hall when we had an offer from the Kinks fan club 16
years ago. They asked us, so we got together."
The band played conventions and charity shows to raise funds
for the Leukaemia Research Fund, after the disease claimed the
life of John's third son Matthew at the age of six.
However, John ended his professional career with a bash at his
home, which saw Ray Davies drop by.
"The idea was to get as many of the musicians I have
played with and perform a little set with each band through my
And his highlight of the last 49 years?
"My grandson Declan, I absolutely love him to bits - he's
greatest thing that's happened to me."