The story of Cross Section’s 1979 Quadrophenia soundtrack cover of “Hi Heel Sneakers” by Tommy Tucker.


All the way back in 1979 I bought the double LP of the soundtrack to the Quadrophenia movie.

It repeats much of the Who’s album of the same name, plus a generous share of re-recordings, which may be subtly different (there are an abundance of grace notes on “I’m One,” for instance), but different, more produced all the same. Even better, they’re all pretty good, and help give this a different — yet, again, subtly different — feel than the album that’s welcome.

Then there’s the last side of the record, containing a bunch of mod anthems — which means there’s a bunch of early-’60s soul, plus a couple of girl group numbers and “Louie Louie,” all of which are familiar, yet still offer a good portrait of what mods actually listened to. Along the way, a song by the High Numbers — the early incarnation of the Who — is thrown in for good measure, along with the Cross Section’s take on “Hi Heel Sneakers,” plus three new songs, all added to assist the film narrative, all enjoyable but only “Four Faces” really standing out (and it sounds more Who by Numbers than Quadrophenia, anyway).

Those three new Who songs were the rationale for my purchase; one of them including drumming by my teen idol Keith Moon (the Loon), who’d died the previous year, but in the final analysis the song that stuck with me all these years, regularly recurring, was Cross Section’s cover of “Hi Heel Sneakers,” a 1963 blues song by Tommy Tucker.

Here’s the point: I’ve never had the slightest idea who or what Cross Section was, assuming it was a one-hit-wonder garage band from the early 1960s as preferred by Mods. I also was entire ignorant of the source recording.

It has taken me only 40 years to bother finding the answer.

Cross Section, The Band from Quadrophenia, by Simon Wells (Zani)

When 5 teenagers in 1978 saw an advert in the NME that read “Do you want Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll?” you can imagine what they said! The advert was referring to the movie Quadrophenia, based on The Who’s 1973 studio album of the same name.

The movie was now being made, a young band was required to portray a band mid 1960’s playing in a club in London, this was to be a scene in the movie. A demo was sent as an answer to the advert plus a publicity shot. The band sat back and got on with their lives, namely school and playing in local clubs and pubs in Kent and South East England.

To their amazement, in the summer, the band auditioned along with many other hopeful groups that had been chosen out of hundreds of applicants. The list was narrowed down to 70 or so bands.

After playing live in front of a couple of members of The Who at the Electric Ballroom, Cross Section got to be the band of their choice. Roger Daltrey approached them after the audition in Camden High Street and, much to their disbelief, told them he liked what he heard, and popped the question -‘Would you cut your hair?” “Yeah I’d dye it green” said the drummer – naturally!

Tucker’s original version is pretty good, too.