NOSTALGIA: Those Were the Days

The Black Aces, Worthing group of the late 1950s and 1960s
The Black Aces, Worthing group of the late 1950s and 1960s

MORE memories of The Black Aces, a Worthing band from the 1960s that featured rock legend Keith Emerson, have been sent in.

Paddy Lovelock from Ferring was the bass player. He made contact following our feature on lead guitarist Lyle Milner and Keith Emerson in the April 4 edition.

Lyle Milner with Keith Emerson at Ivy Arch Studios in Worthing in 2005

Lyle Milner with Keith Emerson at Ivy Arch Studios in Worthing in 2005

It was Paddy and Lyle, also known as Pete, who first started the Black Aces in 1959.

“It all started as a bit of a joke really,” said Paddy.

“Everyone was forming groups at the time. We were 21. We never set out to become anything at all. It was just for fun really.

“As we went on, we played for about three or four years.”

He remembered that The Black Aces had difficulty in finding somewhere to practise, but they got some help from a local farmer.

“The photos of the band (see right) were taken at Clapham,” he explained. “A farmer let us use an old cottage, which was just used for storing animal feed, and that was where we practised.”

Paddy explained it was his departure that led to Keith joining the band – though they didn’t realise at the time he would go on to find world fame with 1970s supergroup Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

“I met my wife while we were playing and I had to make the decision, my wife or the group, so I left,” he revealed. “That was when Keith Emmerson joined. He played with them for a bit.”

Paddy said he didn’t know Keith well but he did know of him and had met him.

In fact, he went on to make some equipment for Keith.

“I made all the amplifiers and cabinets and things for the group,” said Paddy.

“He wanted a speaker cabinet for his Hammond organ, so I made him one.”

Having left the band, Paddy never returned to music in the same way, but he does still own a base guitar and enjoys playing it at home.

Paddy said he and Lyle, who lives in Findon Valley, went to technical college together in Bognor, and later Brighton, and they are still friends.

But he lost touch with drummer Robin Cox when he moved to Perth in Australia, and the other member of the band, singer Dennis Hall, died some time ago.

Keith Emerson, who is now aged 68, was brought up in Worthing but he was born in Yorkshire, during the time when his family had been evacuated from the south coast.

He created his own style, combining classical music, jazz, and rock themes, and mainly performed on the Hammond organ in the 1960s.

He became known for his flamboyant performances and the explosive sounds he could produce from the organ.

He later added the Moog synthesizer to his keyboards kit, which he played with his band The Nice.

With his technical skill and dramatic performances continuing to impress, he was one of the founder members of Emerson, Lake and Palmer in 1970.

The band, which included Greg Lake and Carl Palmer, became one of the most popular and commercially successful progressive rock bands. They sold more than 40million albums and headlined large stadium concerts during their nine years together.