The smoke

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The smoke
General information
Genre (s) Beat , rock , psychedelic rock
founding 1965
resolution around the end of the 1970s
Founding members
Michael Rowley
Drums , guitar, composer
Geoff (rey) Gill
Guitar, bass
John "Zeke" Lund
Guitar, keyboard , sitar
Mal (colm) Luker
Phil Peacock

The Smoke was a British rock band that rose to fame in 1967 with the " drug-influenced " title My Friend Jack , but never repeated their success.

Band history

The shots

The Smoke story began in Yorkshire in 1965 when entrepreneur and millionaire Alan Brush discovered the local mod / beat band The Shots , which was supporting PJ Proby . Brush wanted to get into the music business and got the then five-member group a contract with Columbia Records . When the single Keep A Hold Of What You've Got flopped in October 1965, its sponsor lost interest and guitarist Phil Peacock left the band.

Breakthrough underground

They presented their more psychedelic demo recordings to producer Monty Babson , who was enthusiastic about the song material. Now renamed The Smoke , they released the single My Friend Jack in February 1967 , which reached number 45 on the UK charts . The title was due to the line "My friend Jack eats sugar lumps" from the major radio stations in England and the United States boycotted , because an advertisement for herein LSD saw. “The band,” writes Malcom Luker 30 years later, “never agreed with the drug-related interpretation of the lyrics, but the song was banned in England and the US, while it became a huge hit in non-English speaking countries in Europe and initiated a new trend in pop music with his unusual guitar sound ”(quoted from the booklet of the album Smoke This , 1997). Thanks to many underground magazines and pirate channels , My Friend Jack became a huge success in mainland Europe. In the Federal Republic of Germany the title even reached number 2 and remained in the charts for 16 weeks. The only official album It's Smoke Time was released in the same year, but only on the German market. The following single, If The Weather's Sunny, sold poorly, after which the band left Columbia Records in August 1967. During the period of great success in Germany, the band lived in Detmold and was looked after by the Diekmann / Reuter agency. From here they traveled to all venues in Germany such as B. the Star Club Hamburg and the Jaguar Club in Herford, as well as appearances in television programs such as the Beat Club of Radio Bremen and Beat! Beat! Beat! of the Hessischer Rundfunk.

Failures and dissolution

Her manager at the time, Chris Blackwell , owner of Island Records , signed her to his label. Until the 1970s several singles appeared, which no longer achieved the success of My Friend Jack . Collaborations with other artists did nothing to change that. The title Utterly Simple wrote z. B. the Traffic guitarist Dave Mason , and Some People came from the pen of the later 10cc bassist Graham Gouldman . In 1972 they tried to jump on the glam rock bandwagon with the bolanesque single Sugar Man , which also failed.

After some line-up changes, the band broke up in the 1970s. John "Zeke" Lund, Malcolm Luker and Geoff Gill became studio musicians at Morgan Sound Studios . Gill belonged to the band Fickle Pickle in the early 1970s and remained the most successful of all members. He worked with Jenny Darren , the Beaver Brothers and Boney M. together. The latter had a minor hit in April 1980 with their version of My Friend Jack . After the success in Germany, Malcom Luker stayed with his wife in Detmold and set up a recording studio there with the band The Lions, where he produced demo recordings for several bands from the Diekmann and Reuter agency. At the beginning of 1969 Malcolm Luker went back to London. Werner Zahn from the band The Lions recommended Malcom Luker Udo Jürgens , who brought him to Munich as a sound engineer , where he then worked in the legendary Union studios as a sound engineer. Lund followed him a short time later. At the end of the 1980s, Luker moved to the Arco Studios , where he was promoted to chief sound engineer and studio manager. Luker and Lund left Munich after both studios closed (around 2000). Luker now works in Los Angeles in his own post-production studio, which he runs with son Jamie (ex "Feinkost-Paranoia"), for Hans Zimmer , among others . Lund works in the Swiss studio Basel-City. Mick Rowley lives in Ulm and is employed in the management of a clinic there.

Exactly 30 years after their breakthrough with My Friend Jack, Mick Rowley and Malcolm Luker published a new seven -track album called Smoke This , which was more like a maxi single - if as a duet, at least under the Name The Smoke. Two versions of My Friend Jack remixed by Luker - a long version and a short one for the radio - may justify this. Otherwise there are five new pieces, composed by Rowley and Luker, in one case with the participation of co-composer L. Forsey. The musical arrangement was done by Luker and Günther Gebauer, who appeared on the album as bassist. Isabel Varell and Joy Fletcher , among others, acted as background singers .


Chart positions
Explanation of the data
My friend Jack
  DE 2 05/01/1967 (7 weeks)
  AT 6th 06/15/1967 (16 weeks)
  UK 45 03/11/1967 (3 weeks)


  • 1967: It's Smoke Time
  • since the 1980s: various samplers with bonus tracks
  • 1997: Smoke This


as "The Shots"

  • 1965: Keep a Hold of What You've Got / She's a Liar (UK)
  • 1965: There She Goes / Walk Right out the Door (UK)

as "The Smoke"

  • 1967: My Friend Jack / We Can Take It (D)
  • 1967: High in a Room / If the Wheater's Sunny (D)
  • 1967: If the Wheater's Sunny / I Would if I Could, But I Can't (UK)
  • 1967: Have Some More Tea / Victor Henry's Cool Book (D)
  • 1967: It Could Be Wonderful / Have Some More Tea (UK)
  • 1968: Utterly Simple / Sydney Gill (UK)
  • 1968: Sydney Gill / It Could Be Wonderful (D)
  • 1970: Dreams of Dreams / My Birth (UK)
  • 1971: Ride, Ride, Ride / Guy Fawkes (UK)
  • 1972: Sugar Man / That's What I Want (D)
  • 1972: Jack Is Back / That's What I Want (F)
  • 1974: Shagalagalu / Gimme Good Loving (D)
  • 1974: My Lullaby / Looking High (UK)
  • 1976: My Friend Jack, 1976 version / Lady (F)

Individual evidence

  1. [1]
  2. Chart sources: DE AT UK

Web links