The Rings – I Wanna Be Free

16th March 2023 · 1970s, 1977, Music, Punk

This early punk effort is the solitary single by The Rings, a band created by Twink, former drummer with The Pretty Things and Pink Fairies.

There have been a couple of notable instances in pop history of an artist converting to Islam. First came Cat Stevens, then Peter Murphy of Bauhaus.

Another was John Alder, the drummer with psychedelic sixties groups like The Pink Fairies and The Pretty Things – a man universally known as Twink.

Back in the sixties the word did not have the same connotation as now, and the nickname was bestowed by a hair product of that name, due to his abundant curly locks.

In his youth he moved from Colchester to London to form a band called The In-Crowd with Steve Howe – later the guitarist in Yes – before joining The Pretty Things.

Before moving on to The Pink Fairies he recorded a solo album with members of The Deviants among his backing band, and played periodically with Hawkwind.

Twink’s flirtation with punk began in 1976 when he teamed up with a fellow old-timer from the Mod era, Steve Marriott, called Fallen Angels.

But he was injured in a car crash on the way to their very first gig, bringing the band to an abrupt end, and went on to sing in this punk group, The Rings, in 1977.

This is their solitary single, I Wanna Be Free – one of the first punk singles on Chiswick Records – produced by former Sparks member Martin Gordon.

He called it “acid punk” and went on to release a solo EP on Chiswick Records featuring Do It ’77, Enter The Diamonds and a song about Syd Barrett called Psychedelic Punkeroo.

He’s had a peripatetic life since then, taking acting roles in Lovejoy and ‘Allo ‘Allo, moving to Marrakesh and converting to Islam in 2006.

He now goes by the name of Mohammed Abdullah but still records as Twink, most recently a concept album inspired by the poems of Aleister Crowley, which I’m sure is in the collection of my old neighbour James.