HE is acclaimed as one of the greatest drummers this country has ever produced, writes Dennis Reading.

Tributes have been paid to Southampton born Pete Hunt, or Little Pete as he was known to his legion of fans and friends, following his death.

A very colourful character, Pete supported The Who and The Rolling Stones, rubbed shoulders with The Beatles and played on tour with The Drifters' Ben E King.

He played as a session drummer for Manfred Mann and played on the festival stage with Status Quo, while a young Reg Dwight served him tea in a London recording studio shortly before becoming Elton John.

Born in Mansbridge in 1944, one of six children, Pete went to school in Bassett Green.

At the age of 14, he teamed up with a friend and they started playing drums and piano in local pubs. They formed a skiffle band, but soon graduated to rock n roll. He also played drums with the Boys Brigade in Southampton.

Pete joined The Storms in Eastleigh when he was just 16. He went on to play with The Quik, Soul Agents and Iguana.

With the Jess Roden Band, which included the late and legendary Bruce Roberts, 'the governor' of the South's music scene, he supported The Who.

Pete’s good friend and fellow Southampton musician Don Shinn - keyboard player, multi-instrumentalist, composer and vocalist - asked him to join the well-known and celebrated Southampton band, The Soul Agents, replacing none other than Rod Stewart.

Pete went on to become a session drummer, but also played on three tours with the legendary Ben E King.

Over the years, he also shared bills with the likes of Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder among others.

His set of Ludwig drums, which he bought in 1961 for the princely sum of £180 on HP for £3.70 a week and which were played by Keith Moon, were his greatest investment and pride and joy for the rest of his life.

n The above is taken from a feature originally published in The AND Guide in 2017.