Electro Rock was an event held at the London Hippodrome in March 1985, the actual name of the event was 'Hip Hop at the Hippodrome' but the film made about the event was called 'Electro Rock' and was used as the title of the video release later in the year. Mike Allen compered the event which featured all of the top UK B Boy crews at the time including Broken Glass, B Boys, Rock City, Supreme Rockers and London All-Stars. There were also performances from various UK Hip Hop acts and a US crew called Loose Bruce and the Street Elite. Afrika Bamabaataa headlined the event along with Zulu Nation members Jazzy Joyce, Lisa Lee, Ikey C and Cool B. The video release featured all the performances from the night interspersed with back stage footage, it is a fascinating glimpse into the UK Hip Hop scene in the mid 1980s and really captures the best of the UK talent at that time, before the UK rap scene developed it's own style in the later 1980's.
Mike Allen talks about an Electro Rock special screening in August 1985
The video was first released by Polygram with a yellow cover, the second release seen here was released by Channel 5 video licensed from Polygram.
A rare photo of Mike Allen and Tim Westwood together, on stage at 'Hip Hop at the Hippodrome'.
The B Boys help advertise the video release of 'Electro Rock'. The video is seen here in it's original yellow cover.
A scan of the 'Electro Rock' video cover.
A competition from the Echoes music paper in December 1985 offering a chance to win a copy of the 'Electro Rock' video.
An article from Blues & Soul magazine in December 1985 talking about the release of the 'Electro Rock' video.
Below are details about all the performers on the 'Electro Rock' video, they are in order of appearance on the video release...
Broken Glass - One of the first UK B Boy crews, this very respected crew originated from Manchester. They released the classic old school cut 'Style of the Street' on Streetwave records in 1984. One of the crew members Kermit went on to be in the rap crew Ruthless Rap Assassins.
Dizzy Heights - From Ladbroke Grove, one of the very first UK MC's he also released one of the very first UK rap records 'Christmas Rapping' in 1982. Dizzy would release several other singles in the mid 1980s, some of which were more RnB flavoured, although he did release the funk rap 'To the Sound of the Drum and Bass' in 1986.
Junior Gee - Mike announced Junior Gee as the current winner of the London Rapping Championships. Junior Gee was one of the most active UK rappers on vinyl in the mid 1980's, his first record 'Caveman Rock' was released in 1983, in 1984 he released 'Check Us Out' with The Capitol Boys. Later on in 1985 he would feature on the Mike Allen/Sonic Graffiti produced Masquerade single 'One Nation' on Streetwave Records and in 1986 he had another single 'The Truth' released on US label 'Scorcher Music' which was distributed by JDC. He also released the 1987 single 'Terminator' under the name Junior Gee & The A Team which got airplay on Mike's show.
Live to Pop - This crew featured Little Whiz, Feathers and Hofmeister other than the names of the members there is little known about them.
Family Quest - This rap crew were already well established in London at the time and were possibly the best known London rap crew on the scene in 84/85. They would host the weekly Saturday afternoon sessions at the Spats club in Oxford Street along with Westwood and DJ Fingers. In 1986 they won the 'King of the Streets' competition on Mike Allen's show, the entrants sent in demo's of their work with the winner getting the opportunity to release a single on Streetwave Records. The Family Quest won and released their 'Sleep Walking' single which also featured on Electro 13, this single was produced by David Toop who also wrote the book 'Rap Attack'. Their only other venture on vinyl was on the B Side of the 1984 Automation single 'Dancing in Outer Space' with the rap version 'Outer space 84 Rap'.
London All-Stars - The premier London B Boy crew once featured on an episode of Blue Peter. Dolby D, King Breaker and co formed from various London crews as a kind of London super crew.
Look Twice - Body popping duo of Basil Liverpool and Darnell Allen.
B Boys - The Wolverhampton crew were used to help advertise the 'Electro Rock' video release later in 1985. The graffiti artist Goldie was an original member of the B Boys crew. One of the most famous lines from 'Electro Rock' comes from Mike when introducing this crew, when he says 'Hey check the one in red... it's a girl...'
Mastermind Roadshow - Max LX or as he was introduced here Superman Max went on to become one half of the rap crew Hardrock Soul Movement along with Dave VJ, they released a number of singles from 85 to 87. Max and Dave also went on to have their own radio show on Kiss FM.
Mastermind Roadshow - Colonel KC, another DJ from the Mastermind crew, his performance was notable for when his headphones came flying off in his routine.
Loose Bruce & Street Elite - The Harlem crew were one of two US acts brought over for the event, in the credits of the film it says they featured courtesy of Phillips Electronics and were seen wearing Phillips jackets. They are featured at the start of the movie turning up to the Hippodrome in a convertible car.
City Limits Crew - The London rap duo of Little Stevie Bee and Pretty Boy Gee put on a great performance at the event, dressed as 30's gangsters with guitar cases, their routine was full of energy and a highlight of the night. Pretty Boy Gee aka Gary Beadle went on to play Paul Truman in BBC soap opera Eastenders. They released a couple of singles, 'Keep It On' with the Mutant Rockers in 1984, and 1985's 'Fresher Than Ever'.
Up Rock - There is little known about this crew but they put on one of the best performances of the night, with a well put together routine of dancing and MC'ing complimented with scratching from Richie Rich.
Bass & Treble - This duo of Gary Washington Thomas and Sipho Josana (of London Posse fame) did a beatbox routine. It is said that Don Letts and Mick Jones of Big Audio Dynamite invited Sipho on tour with them on the strength of seeing this performance. It was because of the tour that the London Posse were formed as Sipho invited Rodney (MC Rodie Rok) and Bionic to join him on the tour, whilst on the US part of the tour they picked up the name London Posse.
Zodiac Crew - Body popping crew from Brixton, South London.
Rock City Crew - The Nottingham B Boy crew appeared here under the name The X-Treeme Team. During their performance they danced to their own music, a track called 'Outlaw MCs'.
Afrika Bambaataa - Bambaataa headlined the event along with various Zulu Nation members Ikey C, Lisa Lee, Jazzy Joyce and Cool B. Their set on the 'Electro Rock' film was only 5 minutes long, I presume the actual set would have been much longer.
Ikey C - Also known as Prince Ikey C, later in 1985 he performed guest vocals on Bambaataa's Tommy Boy single 'Funk You'.
Lisa Lee - One of the prominent MC's from the Zulu Nation's early days. Probably best remembered for her performance in Beat Street alongside Sha Rock and Debbie D.
Jazzy Joyce - One of the many Zulu Nation DJ's, she had a big hit the following year in 1986 with 'Its My Beat', where she partnered Sweet Tee on the Profile Records single.