Young Johnny Concheroo must be the luckiest boy in all of Afterword Town. That’s because he is the proud owner of an object that is both precious and magical. A totemic artefact you might say. In fact, in the history of 60s British blues it’s right up there with the black cat bone, the mojo hand, gris-gris, and even, dare I say it, the mythical John the Conqueror root.
Yes, young Johnny now has a copy of the actual Beano comic which appears on the cover of the seminal 1966 LP Blues Breakers: John Mayall with Eric Clapton (aka The Beano Album.
But let’s stop talking in this ridiculous third person fashion for a moment and cut to the chase. Yes, it arrived today, not very well packed I must say, but thankfully undamaged. I’m talking about issue #1242 of The Beano comic, with the cover date May 12, 1966. So what? you may say. What’s so special about a tatty old kids’ comic? Ah, but this is not just any old comic, it’s the very same issue of The Beano that Eric Clapton is pretending to read on the cover of the aforementioned LP
I’ve had a copy of #1242 (as we call it) before of course, but that was decades ago, back when it really was just an old comic of no real value. Like so many other things which connect us to our youth however it got thrown out during one of the countless flat/house shifts over the last half century. But I’ve wanted to replace it for some time now and finally lucked into a reasonably priced copy on eBay last week.
While most original mid-60s issues of The Beano can be had for around $20 (£10), these days a clean copy of the Clapton issue can sell for upwards of $200 (£100) on eBay, not a bad return considering the 1966 cover price was just 3d (which, almost unbelievably, converts to one new penny). I won’t tell you how much I paid but thanks to a blurry eBay photo and very little in the way of description/hype it was much less than that.
All of which prompted me to revive this golden oldie thread.
So, at the risk of alienating all those gathered here who believe that the 60s was nuthin special, come with me now as we return to 1966 and take a long, hard (if not exactly sideways) look at one of the most important records in British rock history.