Tim Rose: Film & TV   Photo: Tim & me

First of all, lets get a clarification out of the way. This is about Tim Rose, the musician, not Tim Rose, the actor who played in Star Wars as Admiral Ackbar. Tim Rose was not involved in any movies, although his music was used in a couple. His voice was used regularly for a while in adverts on American television and radio. Once when I mentioned that a particular singer had allowed his music to be used for Army recruitment, he defended what could have been viewed as hypocritical by pointing out that, as a recovered alcoholic, he did beer commercials for Budweiser.

As for musical performances on television, he appeared in the late sixties on various programmes throughout Europe, performing his best-known tracks. For example, he appeared on German television, performing Hey Joe and Long Haired Boy, as well as turning up on the Lulu show on BBC TV to perform Morning Dew. He also performed Long Haired Boy on Top of the Pops for BBC TV.

In the 60s, he would regularly be heard on BBC Radio 1, particularly on shows hosted by John Peel, Pete Drummond and Bob Harris. Tim told me that all these recordings for the BBC have been wiped, so I'm lucky in having an old poor quality tape of him on John Peel's show, where he performed the Fred Neill song, Another Side of my Life, with Ainsley Dunbar on drums.

If you are really sharp-eyed, you'll catch a scarily young and fresh-faced version of Tim, performing with The Big Three, in a documentary about the Mamas & the Papas, as part of the Rock Family Trees series. Since its original screening, I've seen it on satellite channels, including BBC and VH-1.

A documentary on Tim's life and career was made in 2001 by the Dutch filmmaker, Jacques Laureys. Where Was I? premiered to great acclaim and has since been screened, from time to time throughout Europe. It features interviews and performances by Tim, along with Nick Cave and archive footage of Jimi Hendrix. It was Jacques, along with his partner, Susan Ijzermans, who persuaded Tim to return to the UK and resume performing.

In 2001, Tim was on the BBC2 show, Later With Jools Holland, again performing Hey Joe, but in its new format, Blue Steel '44. Most recently, the BBC made a programme in their Heir Hunters series, featuring Tim's story. When he died, he had no apparent family and he failed to leave a will. This programme attempted to find a deserving recipient for Tim's estate. Any information on other tv appearances would be most welcome.

Tim Rose on BBC Radio
John Peel's Top Gear sessions
My first experience of hearing Tim Rose - and possibly the first time for many people in the UK - was on the BBC Radio One Sunday afternoon programme,Top Gear, presented by John Peel. At that time,  radio was limited by rules on "needle time", which restricted the number of records that could be played. The Musicians' Union had agreements with the BBC that were intended to protect their members, but instead they led to additional opportunities for work for the many groups and performers that Radio One featured. For the three hour Top Gear programme, four performers would go in to the BBC studios in the week before and each record four tracks. They would be played throughout the programme, alongside vinyl recordings and "needle time" would be satisfied.

So it was that Tim reported to the BBC studios on Tuesday 25 September, 1967 with his guitar in his hand, along with two other musicians (Alan Weighall on bass & Dougie Wright on drums) and laid down five tracks.  He wasn't allowed to bring along the people that had performed on his first album, but had to use British musicians, because of another example of the power of the MU. It would have been enough of a battle for Bernie Andrews, the Top Gear producer, to get an actual American onto his programme, so he was forced to find a couple of appropriate British people to accompany Tim. The tracks recorded that day - Hey Joe, Come Away Melinda, You're Slipping Away From Me, Morning Dew & Fare Thee Well - were broadcast on 1 November 1967, the first-ever Top Gear, on only the second day of BBC Radio 1.

Tim recorded four subsequent sessions for Top Gear. They were:

16/10/67 (for broadcast on 22/10/67) When I Was a Young Man, Another Side to My Life, I Gotta Do Things My Way, Morning Dew & Hello Sunshine. David O'List (from The Nice) played guitar along with three unnamed others on bass, organ & drums. The backing vocalists were Madeline Bell, Lesley Duncan & Kay Garner.

20/2/68 (for broadcast on 25/2/68)  King Lonely the Blue, Cobwebs, I Got a Loneliness, Come Away Melinda, Memory Pain & Long Tome Man. Tim was accompanied by The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation and Lesley Duncan.

(for broadcast on 7/7/68) I Guess It's Over, Long Haired Boy, Roanoke & Foggy Mountain Breakdown. The only backing musician listed was Roger Coulam of Blue Mink (organ).

(for broadcast on 22/9/68) When I Was a Young Man, Angela, Kangaroo, Dim Light a-Burning & Long Haired Boy. Tim, on guitar & vocals, was backed by drums, bass & organ.

Of course, the big question has to be: does the BBC still have these recordings? It was quite common in those days to wipe tapes and reuse them, simply because of the cost of tape. The concept of archiving material and even thinking that these recordings would have some value in the future just wasn't there. Even if there are copies of these tracks, members of the public cannot access them. They can only be obtained "for personal use" by the artists themselves or members of their families. It is unlikely that the BBC, even if it has the tapes, would consider issuing a CD Tim Rose at the BBC, unless they felt it had major commercial value.
Tim Rose videos on YouTube


Hey Joe, performed on Beat Club for German TV

Long Haired Boy, performed on Beat Club for German TV


Tigers in Cages (snippet) performed at Guildford Festival

Hey Joe, performed on Later With Jules Holland (plus interview)

In Concert

Tim teamed up in 1998 with Nick Cave to perform at the Royal Albert Hall in London, and spent a large chunk of 1999 touring the UK, much of the time along with Arthur Brown & Cheryl Beer. He has also taken a number of trips across to mainland Europe to perform, particularly in Norway, where he teamed up with a number of musicians to cooperate in the production of CDs. Towards the end of 2000, he did a couple of gigs with Priory of Brion, the Robert Plant group. Perhaps this was Plant's attempt to repay Tim for once stealing his drummer from him (one Jon Bonham!) The photo below (by Trevor Neal) is taken from one of those gigs.

Photo: Tim in performance, with Robert Plant

When Tim appeared at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London on 14th February 1999, his set consisted of the following numbers (information provided by Spencer Kelly - grateful thanks):

The Dealer; He Never Was a Hero; Don't Think Twice (segment); Come Away Melinda; Hello Sunshine; Blue Steel 44 (Hey Joe); Stranger and a Cognac; Lord Rescue Me; Because You're Rich; Dance On, Ma Belle; Morning Dew; Sold it With My Car (Goin' Down in Hollywood).

If you saw him perform in your area in the latter period of his life, you'll know that his voice was as rich and resonant as ever, while his guitar playing was immaculate. He had a wide range of songs and, although happy to perform his older material, Tim was keen to display his new work. He was uncompromising in his choice of set list and held the attitude of "Leave them wanting more". You can hear the quality of his live performances on Haunted, details of which are in the Recordings section of this website.

The only information I have about Tim Rose playing live in the early seventies was when he and Tim Hardin performed around parts of England. One review I have describes Tim Rose as being magnificent and suggests that Tim Hardin's input was something of an embarrassment. Again, any information from a fan who saw the pair of them together would be welcome.

Further down this page is a review of a performance by Tim in the 12 Bar Club, written by Magnus Mills for The Independent. Before that, a  review of his 2002 gig at the Queens Hall, Widnes, by Elly Roberts.


Widnes: American folk-rock legend Tim Rose continues to enthral the provinces with master class displays of a genre in which he remains unrivalled.

Rose clearly relishes the opportunity to play live, during which he reminisces on past professional experiences with former musical partner Mama Cass and other notaries, giving a fascinating insight into the world of show business.

This gig at Widnes saw him in a more peaceful mode, with an aggressive repertoire more tempered and refined than ever before, without losing the undeniably passionate lyrics. It also saw the inclusion of some wonderful new material from his forthcoming album, American Son, due for release early in the new year.

The affable and approachable 60 year old appears to be finally coming of age and is writing some of the most tender and diverse material of his long on-off love affair with the industry.

The small but intimate audience were treated to his back catalogue of gems such as Blue Steel 44, covered by Jimi Hendrix as Hey Joe, Come Away Melinda from his trio days with Mama Cass and James Hendricks, collectively known as the Big Three, and Morning Dew, which made him his name in the UK.

Of his latest offerings, Tigers in Cages, remind us the man still has fire in his soul, countered by the stunningly beautiful She's a Mystery (potential single?) and the haunting opening track American Son.

Timeless music from a legend in his field.

12 Bar Club: Tim Rose has a penchant for songs about men murdering their wives. Or, in his own words, "murder as it should be". Take Long Time Man, for example, a loping blues composition that includes the words: "They're gonna keep me here for the rest of my life, but I don't care 'cos I shot my wife." Not a million miles away from "Hey Joe, where are you goin' with that gun in your hand?"

Except that Tim Rose doesn't just call it a gun. He manages to fit a description of the weapon into the same line (it's a blue steel .44 magnum for anyone who's interested.) He's fully entitled to improvise in this way, of course. His treatment of the song is the definitive one and, after all, there aren't many other people who can say they've had their version covered by Jimi Hendrix.

The guy from Greenwich Village had a little trouble at first from the odd heckler in the audience, but he soon settled in once he recognised it as friendly fire. People had come to listen to a musician who started out in the same band as Mama Cass Elliot, and who once turned down a song offered by an unknown Bob Dylan. Accompanied by Michael Winn on guitar, Tim Rose performed tunes such as Come Away Melinda and Eat Drink and be Merry, silencing the 120 or so people packed into this tiny venue. A bit of blues and a bit of country.

But the song they wanted to hear most was Morning Dew. Since he made his original recording in 1967, there have been over 60 other versions of this classic, including one by the Jeff Beck Group, with Rod Stewart on vocals. Yet Tim Rose set the benchmark. Clocking in at a mere 2 minutes 46 seconds, Morning Dew received extensive airplay on the infant Radio One at the time but, in spite of this, CBS decided never to release the single in Britain. Instead, it developed a cult following. People who don't know this song should seek it out and have a listen. That early recording featured a subtle slide guitar signature as well as some portentous drumming by Bernard Purdie. On Thursday night, however, Tim Rose and Michael Winn performed the song without embellishments. Rose's soaring voice was underpinned by two acoustic guitars and nothing else. A lot of people had waited a long time to hear the man himself sing, "Walk me out in the morning dew". He saved it until last, said goodnight, and played no encore.


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