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Thursday, June 17, 1999 Published at 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK


Rock roots of political Loony

On the road to Downing Street: Screaming Lord Sutch

Screaming Lord Sutch, who has been found dead at his London home, will be fondly remembered by a generation of rock fans as well as the UK's politicians.

The self-styled lord - real name David Sutch - was Britain's longest-serving political leader, standing in nearly 40 elections.

He was found dead at his home in Harrow by his partner, Yvonne Elwood. Police said they were called after reports of a man found hanging.

But before he entered politics he was most famous as a pop star, and continued performing up until his death.

Born in Middlesex on 10 November, 1940, he first rose to prominence in 1960 when he made his debut appearance at the Two I's coffee bar in London.

He was the first long-haired pop star - boasting hair over 18 inches long. Many compared his style at the time to that of Screamin' Jay Hawkins.

His early records included 'Til The Following Night, Jack The Ripper and I'm A Hog For You Baby, all produced by Joe Meek of Telstar fame.

Meek embellished the Sutch sound with his usual array of treated instruments, compression and odd effects.

Halloween novelties

[ image: Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck were among the big names to work with Sutch]
Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck were among the big names to work with Sutch
His early singles were mostly novelties for Halloween - seen by some as a precursor of acts like The Cramps and The Damned - or covers of rock and R & B standards.

Although his records were frowned on by critics, he was one of the first geniunely fun rock 'n' roll stars to come out of the UK before the arrival of the Beatles.

Although never achieving chart success, his band - the Savages - were one of the most accomplished live acts of the sixties.

The band featured stars including Paul Nicholas, Ritchie Blackmore and Nicky Hopkins.

In 1964 he also set up an offshore radio station, Radio Sutch, whuch later became Radio City after he sold out.

But in 1970, some success did come his way when he scored a hit in the US album charts with Lord Sutch And Heavy Friends. As well as featuring Blackmore and Hopkins, heavyweight support was provided by Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Keith Moon, Noel Redding and John Bonham.

But alongside his music career, he founded the Teenage Party in 1963, which later became the Official Monster Raving Loony Party took up more and more of his time - and his income.

Until recently, Sutch performed up to 250 concerts a year throughout Europe, helping to fund his future political ambitions, such as standing for the position of mayor of London - a dream he will now never realise.

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