Freak success for old school rocker Pete
A little-remembered rock band formed in the late 60s by a Kirkham Grammar School boy could be on the crest of a new wave of fame.
Little Free Rock were put together in the late 60s by Peter Illingworth, who was a day boy at the school.
Originally called Purple Haze, the band changed their name following Jimi Hendrix’s hit of the same name.
Despite years of gigging around the North West, as well as playing festivals and dates throughout the UK the band never managed to breakthrough to mainstream success.
However, that could all be set to change after an atmospheric shot of the band was used on the cover of a box set of CDs commemorating early heavy rock music in Britain.
I’m a Freak baby not only includes the bands best known song Dream, but features them on the cover perched on a post box in front of a gas works in London’s Kings Cross.
Peter was brought up on a dairy farm in Longridge near Preston.
In the early days of Little Free Rock the band used to rehearse in a cow shed on the farm.
Initially the band played cover versions by bands such as The Who, Jimi Hendrix and The Creation and were a big draw at clubs throughout the Fylde, before taking a heavier direction
Little Free Rock released an album in 1969, which has since become a collectors’ item, and at one point even had Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac fame among their ranks.
Following the album’s release, the band played scores of festivals, including one at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and changed musical direction a number of times.
However, by 1974, Pete had had enough.
He said: “I decided I had had enough of sitting in Transit Vans going up and down the motorways of the UK and my landlord told me that British Telecoms were looking for International Operators.
“There was no way I actually wanted to do that but I thought I would try it for a while until I got myself organised again.
“Twenty eigh years later I retired with a pension.”
Although Pete has suffered from heart problems over the last few years he has never lost his love of music.
And now Little Free Rock look set to gain more listeners than ever before as I’m A Freak Baby moves up the Amazon best sellers list.