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Phase 1 – Prehistory (1964–1970)

The origins of Childe Rolande date back to the mid 1960s when a group of friends in the sixth form at school got together to form a band to play Beatles, Stones and Kinks covers. The name of the band was originally the Ravens (after the school badge) which soon became the 'Swinging Ambers', then finally the '5 Ambers'. The band line-up included Ed Criswick on electric bass, Dave Percy on electric rhythm guitar and John Richards on drums. The band developed and played a few gigs around London before finally breaking up in the summer of 1966 when some members of the band went off to university.

At the same time as this was all going on John had met up at school with Patrick Doherty through mutual friends and started writing and recording songs together.

During their time at school Ed had introduced Dave, Pat and John to his local church youth club at St. George's Church in Forest Hill. At one point the youth club decided to put on a revue of sketches and musical items. John, Pat, Dave and Ed, decided to put a band together to play some songs. Originally referred to as the 'Package Tour' the band originally comprised ten members with the addition of Ian Cooper (harmonium), Sue Cooper (recorder/violin), Linda Rapley (drums), Janet Carder (clarinet/violin), Judith Fuller (violin) and John Dowsett (viola). In the summer of 1968 John and Judith left to go to university and later the remaining band changed the name to 'The Bright Green Pleasure Machine' when they needed a name for a talent competition. The name was later shortened to 'Machine'.

During this time John and Pat had introduced a number of their songs into the repertoire and one of these was about the legend of Childe Roland – Pat had come across the Robert Browning poem 'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came' at school. The band decided to use the name of Childe Roland for the band, adding an 'e' to differentiate it from the poem and also the musical instrument manufacturers. It also resulted in the band's name being misspelt on numerous occasions. And so the young Childe Rolande was born.


All text, images and music samples on this site are copyright © Childe Rolande.




1. Prehistory
2. First steps
3. New faces
4. The gigging years
5. The medieval years
6. The studio years
7. A new beginning
8. All change!
9. Here, there and everywhere