Roger Hopkins honed his craft as a photographer in the clubs of Bournemouth, snapping trendy young things as they danced the night away at Papa’s, the 81 Club and his favourite haunt Le Kilt, part of the Swiss Restaurant in Bourne Avenue just off the square. Born in Bournemouth in circa 1946, he gained a love of photography from his father and in later life found inspiration from the revolutionary fashion spreads in Vogue and the iconic celebrity shots taken by one of the leading lights of Swinging London David Bailey. He put his skills to good use as a wedding photographer working for Sean Hickey Photographers on Poole Hill and through his friendship with Sam Bell, the manager of the Pavilion and the Winter Gardens, he gained unlimited backstage access to mingle with the visiting stars as they passed through town on an endless treadmill of package tours. Roger took full advantage of his freedom, snapping images of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, Marianne Faithfull, The Kinks, Donovan and Lulu amongst a host of others. He sold his photographs locally to the Bournemouth Times and nationally to the music weeklies Melody Maker, Disc and New Musical Express.
In the spring of 1967, Roger was sent to Paris on a fashion assignment with another member of the Bournemouth clique, Jason Paul, (birth name Bruce Brown) a blond, blue-eyed model born in the cathedral city of Winchester circa 1945. During the shoot, the pair hit it off over their mutual love of music and hatched a plan to start a group on their return to the UK. They immediately set to work writing songs over drinks in dingy all-night cafes and back at their digs in the bohemian Latin Quarter. When the pair returned to England, they signed with Avon Entertainments, whose manager, Sam Newgarth, was a classical musician and founder of the Bournemouth Philharmonic Society and christened their new endeavour Svensk (Swedish for Swedish).
In his capacity as a photographer, Roger regularly came into the orbit of the American singer Roy ‘The Big O’ Orbison, who he looked on as a good friend. As a favour Roy introduced Svensk to Larry Page, the producer and manager of The Troggs. He was impressed with their charisma and confidence and signed them to his own Page One label. Within a matter of weeks they were in the studio with Page and top arranger Colin Fretcher, recording their debut single “Dream Magazine” (August 1967), a composition the pair had been working on in Paris. A huge pipe organ played by Fretcher dominates the song giving it a mysterious gothic mood while the B side, “Getting Old”, another Hopkins and Paul composition, also had slight psychedelic overtones which guaranteed future notoriety for both songs as they regularly turn up on compilations of psychedelic oddities and rarities. After the single hit the shops, The Beatles music publisher Dick James, took over their management and sent them on an exhausting tour throughout the UK and Europe to promote the disc under the groovy banner, ‘The sound of Svensk – A cultural revolution from two of the new beautiful people on the block’. All sounds a bit hippie drippy and slightly pompous now, but this was the swinging sixties. In November they followed up with “You” (November 1967), an unremarkable pop song coated in lavish strings and a bugle refrain borrowed from “The Last Post”, while the B side was an uninspired cover of the Everly Brothers “All I Have to Do Is Dream”. The record, like its predecessor, failed to chart.
Disappointed with the lack of success, Roger went back to his first love photography and opened a successful advertising agency in Bournemouth, eventually creating his own marketing and television production company. Jason released a one-off single, “Shine a Little Light Into My Room”, on PYE in 1969 (a cover of a song by the American garage band Teddy and the Pandas) and appeared fleetingly in the 1968 Douglas Hickox film Les Bicyclettes de Belsize with Judy Huxtable and Anthony May. He then became the face of the Orient Express advertising campaign, flitting from one exotic destination to another with a dolly bird on his arm. When last heard of he was living in the Far East.
Dream Magazine c/w Getting Old: Page One (POF 036) 1967
Dream Magazine c/w Getting Old: Hansa (19 752 AT) 1967 German picture sleeve
Dream Magazine c/w Getting Old: Page One (POF 036) 1967 Dutch picture sleeve
Dream Magazine c/w Getting Old: Fontana (272 354 TF) 1967 Spanish picture sleeve
Dream Magazine c/w Getting Old: Fontana (F-1605) 1967 American release
Dream Magazine c/w Getting Old: Fontana (POF 036) 1967 Scandinavian picture sleeve
Dream Magazine c/w Getting Old: Fontana (260. 105 MF) 1967 French picture sleeve
You c/w All I Have to Do Is Dream: Page One (POF 050) 1967
You c/w All I Have to Do Is Dream: Page One (POF 050) 1967 Dutch picture sleeve
Jason Paul Single:
Shine a Little Light Into My Room c/w Paradise Pudding: PYE (7N 17710) 1969
Compilations featuring Svensk:
Psychedelia 1: Oil Emulsion Slyde: Tiny Alice (TA 002) 1992 “Getting Old”
Electric Sugarcube Flashbacks: AIP Records (AIP CD 1054) 1993 “Dream Magazine”
Rare 60’s Beat Treasures Vol. 7: Gone Beat (BT-CD 77016) 1995 “Dream Magazine”
English Freakbeat 3: Archive International Productions (AIP CD 1048) 1997 “Getting Old”
Piccadilly Sunshine 01: Past and Present (PAPRCD 2107) 2009 “Dream Magazine”
Psychedelia: Rubble (RUBCDBOX2) 2015 5 CD Box Set “Getting Old”
Jon Savage’s 1967: The Year Pop Divided: ACE (CDTOP2 1495) 2017 “Dream Magazine”
English Freakbeat Vol. 1-6: Particles (PART6CDBOX10) 2018 “Getting Old”