Fantastic cdrummer, he has performed with many of the greatest British musicians. He was born in Preston, Lancashire, England in April 8, 1944.


This must be Keef's first band.

Along the time, there were some changes in the lineup: Finally, Keef left the band, being replaced by Gene Carberry.

Keef joined this famous band (they had Ringo Starr drumming for them) in June 1963. The band was commanded by the late Rory Storm (born Alan Caldwell).
They only recorded some songs, which later resurfaced on several Merseybeat compilations, although, as far as I know, none contained Keef in them. Other famour drummers in this band later were Trevor Morais and Aynsley Dunbar. Keef left the band in November 1963, as we're going to read...


Around 1963, Rory Storm and Freddie Starr bands were playing in Hamburg, Germany, in the Star Club. And a curious thing happened: in November 1963, they exchanged drummers. Keef joined Freddie Starr, and original drummer Ian Broad went on with Rory Storm. When Keef joined the band, they used the name Freddie Starr and The Starr Boys.

They released three singles, all of them produced by the late, legendary producer Joe Meek. But they also recorded an album, This is Liverpool beat, released in Germany. A later lineup was: In April 1964, Freddie Starr split the band, but Keef and Roger James remained together.


Around summer 1964, Keef and Roger James try again with a new band.

They moved to Blackpool, and later they even toured Germany. But they stayed together for a few months, until December 1964, when Garner and McShane joined singer Lee Curtis.


This band was formed when several members of Red Bludd's Bluesicians were joined by Keef Hartley and Malcolm Pool, around the end of 1964.

After an album, Keef left them in mid 1967, being replaced by Colin Martin. As everybody knows, Jon Lord later gained worldwide fame in Deep Purple. Keef joined John Mayall.

They released an album, Art Gallery, as well as an EP, Jazz in jeans. Now, Art Gallery has been reissued on CD with 14 bonus tracks!! (including that EP).

100 Oxford Street is a compilation with several tracks from their album, plus several singles, from the period 1964-1966. It has 16 tracks, including one track with this funny title: "I'm looking for a saxophonist, doubling French horn, wearing size 37 boots", co-written by Keef.


First thing that Keef does after joining Mayall, is playing in a experimental album, called The blues alone. Mayall plays all the instruments, except drums by Keef on 8 tracks. It was recorded in only 1 day, on May 1, 1967. After that album, Mayall assembles a new lineup in May 1967. John Mayall had lost his great partner Peter Green, and searched for new musicians, including the great ones Mick Taylor and Chris Mercer.

In June 1967, Mayall adds a rhyhtm guitar, Terry Edmonds. But Edmonds leaves the band that same month. They release a studio album, the superb Crusade, with covers of great blues songs, as well as several original songs.

Following that, John McVie leaves the band in August 1967 to rejoin old Mayall bandmates Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood in order to form the fantastic blues-rock band Fleetwood Mac. Rip Kant also leaves, and the new lineup in August 1967 is:

They recorded a track in September 1967, "Suspicions (part one)" included in the fantastic collection of outtakes, Thru the years, and "Suspicions (part 2)" appears in another collection of outtakes, Looking back.

Paul Williams only stayed two months, until October 1967. The bassist role was filled in a very short period with three different musicians. Keith Tillman joined until February 1968

They released two consecutive live albums, recorded in 1968, Diary of a band, vol. 1 and Diary of a band, vol. 2. These live albums are a unusual experience. They can't be considered the typical live album. They include interviews, funny parts, and long jamming around dense blues numbers. I like them, although the second volume contains more musical content. Some parts are really, really very good, although the albums never got great acclaim.

Next bassist to join, in March 1968, is the very young Andy Fraser.

But Andy Fraser only stayed till April 1968. Later he was in the succesful band Free. But this time, more changes happen. Keef Hartley leaves to lead his own bands.

Looking back comprises 11 tracks, none of them ever available on an album. There are songs from 1964 to 1967. Another musicians from my Olympus: Hughie Flint (2 tracks), Chris Mercer (x tracks), Keef Hartley (2 tracks), Aynsley Dunbar (3 tracks). And with fantastic guitar players: Eric Clapton (1 song), Peter Green (7 songs!!!), Mick Taylor (1 song).

Thru the years (originally a 2LP, including the complete Looking back LP inside), now it has been released as a 1CD, with just the tracks not yet included in Looking back. It comprises 14 tracks, none of them ever available on an album. Another musicians from my Olympus: Hughie Flint (2 tracks), Keef Hartley (1 track), Aynsley Dunbar (7 tracks), Chris Mercer (x tracks). Noted appearances: Peter Green (8 songs, some of them just superb!), Mick Taylor (3 tracks), and several of the musicians who later formed Colosseum: Jon Hiseman, Tony Reeves and Dick Heckstall Smith.

My opinion about those two rarities album is that they have a very good quality. I love them!!

Further albums with unreleased material include Primal solos, with live tracks dating from 1966 till 1968, thus including several tracks from the lineups where Keef Hartley was.

In 1997, it has been released the compilation The best of John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers - As it all began 64-69. It has been digitally remastered, and includes Mayall's comments on every track, from an interview. In my own opinion, the selection is quite good, and includes some songs not available on albums. Keef Hartley plays in 5 tracks: "Broken wings" (from The blues alone), "The death of J.B. Lenoir" (from Crusade), "Me and my woman" (also from Crusade), "Suspicions (part one)" (from Thru the years), and "Picture on the wall" (from  Looking back).


After leaving Mayall's band, he formed a superb lineup:

They only released three tracks, which unfortunately remain unreleased. I'd love to hear them!!! :)


One of the finest blues bands I've ever heard, believe me! Commanded by Keef, he soon found a great companion in Miller Anderson, a superb guitarist and singer, who composed most of the songs. Although he wasn't the first singer in the band:

They started recording their first album, but they felt something didn't work. So they changed the vocalist. But they finally called the great Miller Anderson to join as vocalist and lead guitarist, in November 1968.

With Miller's voice, they release the fantastic album, Halfbreed, recorded in three days, with a funny introduction where you can hear John Mayall's conversation with Keef, when he tells him he's out of Bluesbreakers band. The track is appropiately named "Sacked". :)

In the album, Halfbreed, there's a horn section to enrich their sound (mainly Hartley former bandmates in John Mayall band):

Once Spit James leaves the band, Miller Anderson takes the guitar role completely. New changes leave the lineup as follows:
Miller Anderson (guitar, vocals)
Gary Thain (bass)
Henry Lowther (trumpet, violin)
Jimmy Jewell (sax)

Keef Hartley (drums)
This lineup played in Woodstock Festival, on its second day, although unfortunately they don't appear on the movie or soundtrack. I also have the extended video edition of the movie with almost 1 additional hour of footage, but KHB isn't there. :(

To remind a bit of the atmosphere of what happened there, I copy here a brief excerpt from liner notes written by Michael J. Fairchild for the album The Woodstock diary (1994, Atlantic), about that 2nd day:

"Rainless Saturday concerts bring euphoric peaks. Participants groove to the tunes of Quill, Keef Hartley, Santana, Mountain, Canned Heat, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Sly & The Family Stone, the Who, and the Jefferson Airplane. Gladiator gods at the frontliness of consciousness, these bands lead the masses past breakthrough peaks. Rock's Freedom Beat by moonlight unites the tribes at the apex of a decade. Woodstock's field of dreams awakens ancient rites and Sabbat dance. The music is a fruit rooted in Blues, ripening sweet in a half-million heads. It is the Saturnalia of the Century, casting possession frenzy 'til dawn..."

For a while, Keef helped Jethro Tull as a guest, when their drummer wasn't available for some reason.

For the second album, the lineup changes slightly:

They release their second album, The battle of North West Six, another superb album. It was still recorded with Spit James in the band, with contributions from Mick Taylor (The Rolling Stones) guesting on guitar on one track. Plus Mike Davis (trumpet), Harry Beckett (trumpet, fluegelhorn), Lynn Dobson (tenor saxophone, flute), Chris Mercer (tenor saxophone), Barbara Thompson (baritone saxophone, flute) and Ray Warleigh (flute).

When they were recording their third album, The time is near, Lowther and Jewell leave the band:

Dino Dines comes back to the band for a while. But the new members don't stay long time in the band, and they leave the band in December 1970. The lineup changes to an incredible quartet: They release Overdog, with help from former member Dino Dines (keyboards) and Colosseum drummer Jon Hiseman. Next step was the opposite. Keef records a live album in the Marquee in London, with a big band. Appropiately called Little big band. They toured with a big lineup, up to 20 members sometimes.

At some point, great horn man Lyn Dobson joins the band. He had already played in some of the former albums.

And soon later, Miller Anderson thinks of pursuing a solo career. They get a new guitarist, Junior Kerr (alias for Junior Marvin, also known as Junior Hanson). They were two guitarists for a few weeks, until Miller Anderson finally leaves. For next album, Seventy second brave, the band was: Also appearing in the album, Mick Weaver.

Lancashire hustler was Keef next album, and it was credited to his name instead of being credited to Keef Hartley Band. It was recorded with help from several Vinegar Joe members (singers Elkie Brooks and Robert Palmer and guitarist Pete Gage), plus Jess Roden (vocals), Miller Anderson (guitar), Junior Kerr (guitar, vocals), Phil Chen (bass), Mick Weaver (keyboards), Jean Roussel (keyboards). A pity this album has never been released on CD.

Keef himself recognizes they recorded another album, which remains unreleased (why?!!), with collaborations from John Mayall and some other friends.

Finally, Keef dissolves his band to join John Mayall again.

Good news! Finally, in 1999 it has been released a new live album by the band. It comprises old live recordings, plus some studio tracks. It's called Not foolish, not wise. Sadly, it doesn't include any info about the musicians involved.

(cover of The Best of Keef Hartley)


Keef rejoins his friend Mayall for a short tour in summer 1971. Rumour has it about Mayall trying to get Eric Clapton or Peter Green to play in this tour, but the chosen one was a 18-years old whiz guitarist, the great Jimmy McCulloch.

After that short tour, McCulloch left Mayall without making any recording. Next live band in late 1971 was: This lineup appears in the brand new Rock the blues tonight 2CD live, released in 1999. This lineup appears in just three tracks. The rest of the tracks were recorded along 1970 and 1971, but without Keef.

Around Spring 1972, Keef rejoins Mayall substituting drummer Ron Selico.

A very jazz-oriented band, I must say. They even played in Spain, in Barcelona, on May 19, 1972. In July 1972, the band is augmented in order to record a live album, Moving on: We can find a Hartley solo in the song "Worried man". It's a very good album, although it's not only blues, but blues with jazz. The introduction to the band was made by comic actor Bill Cosby. It was recorded at the Whisky A go-go in L.A., on July 10, 1972.

They toured again in the second half of 1972, without the added horn players.

For the next album, Larry Taylor had left the band in the beginning of 1973, followed by some other changes: The album was called Ten years are gone, it was a 2LP, and it was produced by Don Nix. Hartley performs a great work in the long track "Dark of the night".

But soon later, Keef quits again.


Michael Chapman is a great singer who always has had superb musicians in his bands and albums. Around 1973, his live band was:

They released Millstone grit, before Keef leaving. But he would team with Michael again along the years, as we'll see.


Yeah, Keef and Miller Anderson together again!!!

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

In 1975, Keef and Miller join forces again, in the short-lived band Dog Soldier:

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

After releasing their self-titled album, Dog Soldier, Keef Hartley left the band.


They recorded a live album Pleasures of the street, but don't know the lineup. Any help?


Around 1977, Chicken Shack's leader, Stan Webb, reorganizes the band, this time with Keef:

Don't know how much time Keef stayed in the band, and if they released any album. Help, please!!


This band comprised several great veteran musicians from the British blues-rock scene. Keef was in the band for a short time. Can anyone give me details about the musicians? I think once I saw an ad for a gig, but my memory can't remember the exact names. Maybe Keith Tillman, Kuma Harada, Tim Hinkley. I'm sure about Eric Bell being in the band. I've also read that they released a live album (recorded at Ronnie Scott's, I think), but don't know if Keef plays there. Does anyone know?


Surprise, surprise! Some months ago, Keef reunited with his old friends from The Thunderbeats, and they have been doing a couple of recording sessions, just for fun.

Will these sessions finally see the light of day? :)

And now?  

Maybe there'll be some great things VERY soon... So, stay tuned!


Press here to read about Keef Hartley sessions

Links related

From the always interesting Alex's Picks (by Alex Gitlin), we have: From the superb site Knights in Blue Denim: The British Blues Scene '68 - '70 (by Christer Fridhammar & Vanja), we have:
Musicians mentioned in this page that I have projected to cover in my site someday:

Family tree

Coming soon (I hope so!).

Thanks section

Very special thanks to: Keef Hartley, for his kindness and most of all, for his music. Keef, we're waiting for new things!!

Very special thanks to: Ian Southworth for invaluable help. Check out his web site (, where you'll be able to find real gems both in vinyl and CD format.

If someone wants to contact Keef, they can do it through Ian Southworth, at this e-mail address: Keef is enjoying hearing from old and new friends and fans of his music. They are trying to find ANY bootleg live tapes. If you hear of any please let them know.

Thanks to:

Great fan Alex Gitlin for many reasons (his continuous help and interest about Keef, as well as album scans, tapes and many more things); Boris Shnitzer for backup and encouragement; Diego Zanti for some details on KHB albums.


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Page created by Miguel Terol on: 29/April/1998. Last modified on: 03/November/2000. 1