At the end of the book, as things are coming to a climax, the band is holed up in their safehouse and they are reminiscing about when they first got started. Some of their first gigs were in Putney, not far from Bishop’s Park. They remarked that back then they wanted to be “bigger than the Beatles.”
In fact, the Beatles were a band they absolutely loved. But they were also inspired by other genres as well. Here are a few:
The band, like many British groups of their era, were inspired by American blues masters. Though it was written toward the end of their tenure, one of their favorite songs was by B. B. King - “The Thrill is Gone.” This may have been because they were winding down, or just because it was evocative of how they were feeling - could Kurkle have been in love?
The Black Hats were big fans of John Coltrane and his musical poem, “Love Supreme” - widely regarded as a true avant-guard jazz masterpiece. But they loved Nina Simone just as much. She was equal parts pathos and playful, and her vocal styling was unparalleled. Their favorite song was “My Baby Just Cares For Me.” Honorable mention to Miles Davis’ “Sketches of Spain.”
The band was influenced by many of the classics, but one symphony that captured their heart and their imagination was the fantastical “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by Felix Mendelssohn. They would lounge around listening, conjuring up images of fairies and royalty traipsing around ancient British forests.
It must be said that there are too many awesome Beatles tunes to choose from, but some of their favorites include “Think For Yourself” off Rubber Soul and “I’m Only Sleeping” from Revolver. There was something both whimsical, innocent and groovy - and not mainstream, about these tunes. Other bands they admired: The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin (new on the scene but awesome - where did they get that idea for their name?), The Who and Creedence Clearwater Revival.