Colin Allen

May 09, 1938


From Wikipedia:

Colin Eric Allen (born 9 May 1938) is an English blues drummer and songwriter.


Allen spent the first ten years of his adult life working in aircraft engineering. He became interested in jazz at the age of 16 and two years later started playing drums. He studied drumming with local drummer Jack Horwood for two years and for a short period with Philly Joe Jones.

Allen’s first stage performance was in a skiffle contest at a cinema. He went on to play with jazz musicians in Bournemouth. During 1963 he became a member of Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band, which included Andy Summers (later of The Police). For a few years ago he played occasionally at The Bull’s Head, Barnes with the Big Roll Band when visiting London. Allen moved to London on 1 January 1964 with Andy Summers.

Allen has worked with Bob Dylan, John Lee Hooker, Sonny Boy Williamson, Memphis Slim, Solomon Burke, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Mick Taylor, Focus, Donovan, Stone The Crows, Georgie Fame, Brian Joseph Friel, and The British Blues Quintet with keyboardist Zoot Money, bassist Colin Hodgkinson, and vocalist Maggie Bell. In 1973 he joined the Dutch band Focus. He played drums on the album Hamburger Concerto (1974).


Allen started writing lyrics when a member of Stone the Crows. He has also co-written songs which have been recorded by artists including Paul McCartney’s Wings (with music by Jimmy McCulloch), Fleetwood Mac, Mick Taylor and Mick Ronson. When co-writing he has mostly worked as a lyricist, as in Taylor’s “Alabama”, from his solo debut Mick Taylor (1979). To date about sixty songs he co-wrote have been recorded. […]

Medicine Jar was born out of my frustration, caused by Jeanette’s constant use of Mandies. The song’s line I know how you feel now your friends are dead, related to friends who had died because of drugs.

Colin Allen – From “Little Wing : The Jimmy McCulloch Story
Jeanette Jacobs was the inspiration for “Medicine Jar” – From Facebook – McCarthy/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Last updated on January 6, 2024

Songs written or co-written by Colin Allen

Medicine Jar

Officially appears on Venus and Mars

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