It may seem strange yet, without one Englishman, Finnish popular music as we know it couldn’t have been shaped – and the artist in question wasn’t one of The Fabs, but a singer and keyboard player named Jim Pembroke who passed away on October 9th at the age of 75. A Londoner, he left the British shores for the Scandinavian ones back in 1965 to land in Helsinki, where, having passing through the succession of largely forgotten collectives, fronted BLUES SECTION and recorded their sole album that’s considered a classic now, or even the first genuine platter of Suomi rock, yet Jim’s claim to fame would lay with WIGWAM.
Initially a rhythm-and-blues band, they soon, after bassist Pekka Pohjola joined, progressed towards art-rock and delivered such gems as 1974’s "Being" and "Nuclear Nightclub" from the following year. There were Pembroke’s solo albums too, when the ensemble broke up, and reunion recordings as well, while in his spare time the veteran used to write lyrics for other famous Finnish proggers, TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI, and composed several Eurovision entries for his adopted home country.
Unfortunately, further explorations in sound were interrupted by health issues – Jim Pembroke didn’t feel good at the time of WIGWAM’s 50th anniversary shows in 2018 – and he peacefully died in the USA where the artist resided for some time.