Very soon, Colchester’s record outlets were boosted further by Howard Leach Records, secreted up Church Lane, just off Head Street. Howard was a friendly, knowledgeable chap, always happy to share a joke and take the mickey out of your musical tastes. My school friend and fellow muso Grahame Andrew chucked in further education for a full-time job with Howard. Often, I would pop in after school and if it were quiet, we’d play football with a scrunched-up newspaper in and out of the record racks.
Years later Howard opened a classical music outlet in Crouch Street. He employed a truly knowledgeable lad called Peter Golding, himself an accomplished pianist. He introduced me to classical works that went beyond Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams, for instance. It’s sublime and inspiring. Composed in 1914 this piece, like the calm before the storm, contrasts sharply with the onslaught of The First World War which was about to engulf Europe with devastating consequences.
Of course, in the 1970s, records sold by the millions. Among the best-sellers were Led Zeppelin’s fourth opus selling around 22,000,000 copies. Next was Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, racking up 23,000,000 copies sold. And let’s face it, who hasn’t heard or owned a copy of Rumours? Andrew's Post
What a wonderful piece of writing and thanks for your kind compliments. I remember my days at Howard Leach with great affection. It was quite groundbreaking to have a purely classical shop in the town, and into it came many wonderful musicians that you wouldn't really expect to. I was privileged to see come through that door in Crouch Street Nick Kershaw, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and, most importantly of all (to me), Ray Cooper (whose mother lived in Frinton). It was he who introduced me to Elton and I've done many shows with him since. Other well-known people who entered the shop were Joan Hickson, Julian Lloyd Webber (for a promo day of his new LP) along with, I'm sure, many others who I can't now remember. Paul Ballard - Geoffrey Ballard was a good friend of mine (with his wife, Adair) and they were two of the directors of the shop. I spent many a happy evening with them at their beautiful house near Tollgate