Watkins Electric Music

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Watkins Electric Music
Headquarters United Kingdom

Watkins Electric Music (WEM) is a British company known for manufacturing musical instruments, guitar, bass and PA amplification and the CopiCat tape echo machine. The company was founded in 1949, initially as a record shop in Tooting Market, London, by Charlie Watkins and his brother Reg Watkins. Two years later the brothers moved to a small shop in Balham, London and began selling guitars and accordions.

A WEM 100 watt PA dating from 1969

In 1967-1968 The Who used the WEM (Watkins Electric Music) Audiomaster five-channel mixer and multiple WEM 100-watt transistor PA amplifiers chained together as their sound system. [1] In the concert movie Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii (1972), the band is shown using WEM PA equipment as it performs in the ruins of an ancient amphitheatre in Pompeii, Italy. Jimi Hendrix and his Band of Gypsys also used WEM PA equipment at outdoor venues in the UK. WEM amplification can also be seen in footage of the Miles Davis Electric Band playing at the Isle of Wight festival in 1970, in Led Zeppelin's 1969 supershow in London, and in The Stones in the Park, one of the Hyde Park Free Concerts.

A scaled down version of the company still operates, focusing on accordions and a new handmade version of the CopiCat tape echo units. The firm continues to be run by Charlie Watkins, over 60 years after founding the company.

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