Picture above: Steve Gibbons as a little boy: (Copyright: The Gibbons family, Edgbaston, „Brum“.=
Music Town „Brum“ (Birmingham)
Steve Gibbons was born on July 13, 1941 in Harborne, where he still lives today. He grew up there on York Street. Harborne is a district of Birmingham that its inhabitants affectionately call „Brum“.
Decades later, Fuzzy Townsend, the drummer of Pop will eat himself, described this city in the documentary „Untold Stories“ as „a great sort of fermenting hot spot for artists of all kinds“.
Steve Gibbons also grew on this humus. And the city remained the center of his life. In contrast to others – apart from a brief intermezzo at the end of the 1960s/beginning of the 1970s – the prospects of better career opportunities could not lure him away from the second largest city on the British Island.
Birmingham in the Second World War
In 1941, Birmingham is the target of air raids by the German Luftwaffe, which regularly bombed the city during the Birmingham Blitz from 9 August 1940 to 23 April 1943, including the time when Steve was born.
Picture Source: United Kingdom Ministry of Information http://www.john-madin.info/downloads/John_Madin_Architect_Planner_ebook.pdf
On the day of Steve’s birth, Bishop Clemens August Graf von Galen delivers the first of a series of flaming sermons against National Socialist injustice in the German city of Münster, the wording of which is also broadcast by the BBC a few days later.
The industrial city of Birmingham, where the German Luftwaffe killed over 5,000 people and destroyed even more houses, was then aventre of thhe defence indistry: ammunition, tank suspensions and steel helmets, but also mines as well as fighter and bomber aircraft such as the Hawker Hurricane, the Lancaster and the Supermarine Spitfire were produced there. (One of these armament companies was B.S.A., the Birmingham Small Arms Company, which will be mentioned here in connection with the motorcycle songs of Steve Gibbons).
Source of the film: YouTube
Birmingham right after the Second World War
Dave Morgan, born one year after Steve, who now calls himself Dave Morgan-Scott, and who played with Gibbons both at the Ugly`s and at the Balls, describes his own childhood in post-war Birmingham like this in his autobiography „Patterns in the Chaos“:
It was post-war Birmingham and compared to today most of us were undernourished, dishevelled and slightly ailing in some manner (It was Birmingham after the war and compared to today most of us were malnourished, dishevelled and somehow sick)
And with Jürgen Wanda (Blackberry Way MOVE, ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA, Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne and STEVE GIBBONS BAND, Balve 1996, p. 23) it says
Steve Gibbons grew up in a dark neighborhood in the industrial district of Birmingham. There were few chances to find a good job after school there… He grew up on the street, between broken windows, overturned garbage cans, polluted backyards and ball-playing buddies.
A truly sad picture. But you can look at it positively: It could only get better.
Steve Gibbons: Not a music fan back then
And: In this post-war situation, there was nothing to suggest that Steve would ever perform in Münster, let alone that thousands of Germans would cheer for him. Especially not in Nuremberg (more on this in the 1970s in the Steve Gibbons story).
Also there are no signs that little Steve would earn his living with music later on as he doesn’t like music lessons at school.
Read more about Steve Gibbons in the 1950 here.
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