b. 4 May 1930, Hounslow, Middlesex, England, d. 15 October 2004, England. Eyden first played drums as a member of an Army Cadet Corps band. Later, he began playing with local semi-professional dance and jazz groups where his abilities were first noticed. He was hired by front-rank dance bands such as those led by Roy Fox and Harry Roy, and later worked with the Ivor Kirchin band. Throughout these years, however, Eyden retained a preference for jazz, especially bop, and became a member of the house rhythm section at London’s Studio 51. Among the musicians with whom he worked during this stage of his career was Tubby Hayes. In 1957 he was a member of the Jazz Couriers, the very highly regarded band co-led by Hayes and Ronnie Scott. Concurrently with his work with Hayes, which also included spells in the tenor saxophonist’s quintet, Eyden was also in demand in other fields including R&B, rock and pop. Among musicians with whom he worked were Long John Baldry, Georgie Fame (for some years he was a member of the singer-organist’s Blue Flames), Wee Willie Harris and Alexis Korner. Eyden also became a regular at Scott’s own club, playing in the house band with Stan Tracey. Eyden was also active in the recording studios and in 1967 was brought in to a Procol Harum session. Reportedly, the session producer was unhappy with the regular drummer’s playing on the date, which included what would become the band’s big hit, ‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale’, and hired Eyden, at flat rate, to take over.
Through the late 60s and into the 70s, Eyden played drums in pit bands for several West End shows, including Promises, Promises and Bubbling Brown Sugar. He retained his jazz and rock connections, playing with the Bebop Preservation Society, Spike Robinson, and he was one of the trio of drummers that worked in Charlie Watts’ 30-something-piece big band, appearing on record and on tour in the UK and USA. In addition to his performance work, Eyden was also active as a teacher.~ Rovi