South Africa's Rock Classics
Essential South African Albums
Top 50 SA Album Covers
Download South African MP3s
In the late 60s and early 70s, various experimental and innovative styles of
rock music were developing worldwide. "Psychedelic", "progressive", "heavy
metal", "hard rock" were just some of the terms used to describe this
incredibly inventive music. The term I like the most, which encompassed all
these genres (and more), was "underground".
This very general term was what my father used to describe any music which he
didn't like! So most of my record collection and almost all the songs on the
late, great LM Radio were considered "underground". Anything from Focus to
Wizzard, Deep Purple to Jethro Tull, was considered "underground"; often used
in the same sentence as the phrase "turn it down".
In South Africa a number of wonderful "underground" groups formed, performed,
recorded and disappeared, but their legacy of great music remains. For whatever
reason, be it South Africa's pariah status at the time or just lack of record
industry and media interest, this music failed to achieve overseas (and
sometimes even local) recognition.
This website was established on the 1st of January 1999 to remember and archive these "forgotten" classics of South African rock. These archives has been compiled with the help of various SA Rock Digest subscribers, in particular Stephen Segerman, John Samson, Kurt Shoemaker, Tertius Louw and René Mullenders. A number of other people have also contributed, go here to see who they are.
Since late 2000 more and more of these "forgotten" albums have now become available on CD (mostly on Benjy Mudie's RetroFresh label) and since early 2001 I have also been trying to archive information on the early pioneers of SA pop and rock from the 50s and 60s, thanks mainly to the efforts of vinyl collector, Tertius Louw.
SA Rock Files
This website forms part of the South African Rock Files, the online archive for the history of South African rock music. Use the tabs on the right to take you to the different sections of the Rock Files. Unfortunately I am no longer able to dedicate the time and energy to updating this website as I would like, so it will need to remain as a time capsule for the foreseeable future.
All the quotes from the book The History Of Contemporary Music Of South Africa by Garth Chilvers and Tom Jasiukowicz (1994, TOGA Publishing) that appear on this website are reprinted here with the kind permission of the authors.
References and Contributions: A list of references and people who have helped with this site.