and tour sporadically throughout the 90s
Featuring Mark King (bass, vocals), Phil Gould (drums), Boon Gould (guitar), and Mike Lindup (keyboards), the band formed in 1979. Before they released their first single, Love Meeting Love, the band was pushed to add vocals to their music in order to give it a more commercial sound; they complied, with King becoming the lead singer. Released in 1981, their self-titled debut album was a slick soul-R&B collection that charted in the UK Top 20, resulting in the release of The Early Tapes. Level 42 had several minor hit singles before 1984’s The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up) hit the British Top Ten. Released in late 1985, World Machine broke the band worldwide; Lessons In Love hit number one in Britain and Something About You hit number seven in America. Their next two records, Running In The Family (1987) and Staring at the Sun (1988), were a big success in the UK, yet only made some headway in the US. Both of the Gould brothers left the band in late 1987; they were replaced by guitarist Alan Murphy and drummer Gary Husband. Murphy died of AIDS-related diseases in 1989; he was replaced by the renowned fusion guitarist Alan Holdsworth for 1991’s Guaranteed. The band followed Guaranteed in 1995 with Forever Now.
Throughout the remainder of the 90s and the 2000s, the band’s lineup fluctuated, with King the lone constant and his brother, guitarist Nathan King, on-board since 2001. Level 42 released a studio album, Retroglide, in 2006. Four years later, the band celebrated its 30th anniversary with a special tour, as well as a box set, Living It Up, which included a disc of fresh acoustic versions recorded by Mark King and Lindup.
SPANDAU BALLET – THE 80s PHENOMENON
Pioneers of the 80s Romantic movement, Spandau Ballet formed in 1978 and had numerous chart topping singles and albums all over the world, some of the most memorable being the singles “Gold”, “Only When You Leave”, “Lifeline”, the epic “Through the Barricades” and of course the international number one “True”; the latter famously sampled by PM Dawn in 1991 and featured on Paul Anka’s Rock Swings in 2005.
As lead singer of Spandau Ballet, Tony Hadley has, over the years, earned the accolade of being one of pop music’s greatest vocalists. In addition to all the band’s songs, many will remember his prominent vocal contribution to the Band Aid UK charity single “Do They Know It’s Christmas” and subsequent 1985 London appearance at Live Aid. He also performed solo at the Nelson Mandela Concert at Wembley in June 1988.
Spandau Ballet reformed in April 2009, and their sold out ‘Reformation Tour’ kicked off in October 2009 with 13 UK Arenas, including three nights at London’s O2, followed by Croatia, Serbia, Italy, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Spain, then on to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the UAE.
The tour ended in June 2010 with the band performing their first festival date at the Isle Of Wight.
A LIFE IN MUSIC
Turning the page on Spandau Ballet (after they disbanded in 1990), Tony has stuck to the same raw instincts that brought him early success. Tony is now a solo artist in his own right who has spent the past twenty years entertaining audiences all over the world with his stunning rich voice that has lost none of its power.
He has continued to write and record, and to date has released four solo studio albums; ‘State of Play’ on EMI Records, two albums through Universal Records, a self-titled album in 1998, and ‘True Ballads’ in 2003. In 2006, on his own label, Slipstream Records, he released his long-awaited swing album ‘Passing Strangers’. He has also released three live albums, two live DVDs and has had European success with several dance music collaborations.
On the live music front Tony is a regular performer, delighting audiences at home and abroad with such events as the ‘Night Of The Proms’ in Holland & Belgium, orchestral tours of Europe and South America, as well as his own UK & European solo tours.
In 2005 Tony’s contribution to the music industry was officially recognised with the award of a Gold Badge from the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters.
Subsequently, in 2007 he won a new legion of fans following his critically acclaimed performance as Billy Flynn in Chicago on the West End stage. Tony’s appearances in the show gave the musical one of its most successful runs ever and earned him an invitation to perform in the 10th Anniversary Show in 2008.
In August 2011 he played his first solo shows in the US, performing Spandau Ballet songs there for the first time since 1986.
In 2013 Tony played a series of sell-out Orchestra shows with culminated in a performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall
BOYS ON TOUR
As well as the conventional shows Tony has played some extremely unusual venues for British, NATO and UN Troops on active service in Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Cyprus, the Falkland Islands and Northern Ireland. From aircraft hangers & tank workshops to bombed-out theatres & derelict sports halls to name but a few, Tony felt it was a real honour to give something back and be asked to entertain our troops.
A PASSION FOR SWING
Aside from his own live band, Tony also has a passion for ‘Swing’; Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Jack Jones being just a few of his personal favourites and has performed with some of the greatest jazz orchestras in Europe, including London, Holland, Italy and Spain.
In 2006 Tony released his long-awaited swing album ‘Passing Strangers’. It was a personal project that had been months in the planning and truly reflects his passion for swing. The album features some of his favourite songs and was released to coincide with Tony’s first UK Swing tour, aptly-named ‘Swinging True’.
TV, RADIO AND PUBLISHING
Tony’s talents as an artist extend beyond the stage and in recent years his profile has increased dramatically in the UK. His participation in the UK reality TV show ‘Reborn In The USA’, which saw him travelling across The US in a tour bus with eight other British artists, eventually won him the public vote and the overall “crown”.
He also became a successful Radio DJ, firstly at Virgin Radio and now Absolute Radio. He brings his own brand of chat and music to the national airwaves every Saturday night. Tony is currently working on his own radio show to be syndicated around the world.
In May 2004 Macmillan Books released Tony’s autobiography ‘To Cut A Long Story Short’. The book charted Tony’s youth, his early days in the school band, and the heady heights of worldwide super stardom as lead singer of Spandau Ballet. The book was a popular success entering the Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers chart.
Tony likes to donate time to support charitable causes.
As Vice-President of Shooting Star CHASE, Childrens’ Hospices he has worked and performed annually at their fund raising events over the past 12 years.
Tony also has a major involvement with Action Medical Research, participating in their treks to Machu Picchu, The Lost World (Venezuela) and in 2009 the Eden Trek, trekking from the Pacific to Caribbean coasts in Costa Rica, resulting in a huge sum of money being raised for the charity’s “Touching Tiny Lives” campaign, looking at research into and help for premature birth. Each Autumn, Tony hosts his own celebrity golf day to raise money for this charity.
In June 2010 Tony Hadley began his year as President of TRIC, the Television & Radio Industry Club. TRIC, established in 1931 is an organization that aims to promote mutual understanding and goodwill amongst those engaged in the audio, visual, communications and allied industries. Tony took over from the TV Presenter, Sian Williams. TRIC has an unrivalled track record of charitable support with its members channeling their energies and using their influential contacts to benefit good causes.
Tony is also a Patron of The Lowe Syndrome Trust and supports Huntington’s Disease Association, Willow Foundation, NSPCC.
As father of five children, Tony likes to keep fit and keep up with the kids!! He regularly runs and exercises. He loves his annual ski holiday and savours scuba and water skiing in the summer. One of his biggest passions is football – he’s a regular at all the Arsenal matches – and plays for Arsenal ex-Professional and Celebrity XI team whenever he can. His speciality is the “own goal”!
Two of Tony’s highlights In 2012 were when he performed at the Royal Albert Hall.
Firstly in front of The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge in the “Our Greatest Team Rises” spectacular, to promote and raise funds for Team GB and then again a couple of week’s later as a guest of Dionne Warwick to support The Hunger Project.
Tony was very proud to perform at Team GB House for both our Olympic and Paralympic athletes on the Closing Ceremony nights with “Gold” becoming the unofficial Athletes song.
He finished 2012 with some successful solo shows in Japan, the first since his Spandau Ballet days.
The highlight of 2013 had to be Tony and his band’s sell-out series of incredible orchestral shows with the 40 piece Southbank Sinfonia, conducted by the legendary Anne Dudley. Performing the hits of Spandau Ballet and some of Tony’s personal favourites the audiences were treated to some magical performances.
Tony’s 2014 diary saw him travel all over the world to perform. There were his first ever performances in Chile, a return to Australia and the Philippines in addition to most of Europe. Following the success of the orchestral shows in 2013, Tony took the show back on the road for ten dates, wowing audiences across the UK.
He and his Spandau Ballet bandmates were busy in 2014 also, spending the end of the year promoting their documentary ‘Soul Boys of The Western World’, which was premiered in March 2014 at SXSW in Texas where the band performed their first concert in North America since 1985.
Directed by long-time Julien Temple producer, George Hencken, her archive-only feature documentary combines newsreel footage of the time with unseen video from the band’s home movies, along with long lost material newly discovered. The film takes us into the heart of the era and the cultural, political and personal landscape that formed the backdrop to the band’s story.
The UK premiere combined with a mini gig at The Royal Albert Hall sold out and was an exciting evening for them all.
They announced their 2015 Soul Boys of the Western World World Tour which ran from January to the end of September 2015.
MOST RECENTLY Tony had the great honour to be invited to Buckingham Palace to meet HM The Queen. He says:
” It was a great honour in my role as Vice President for Shooting Star Chase to be invited to Buckingham Palace by HM The Queen. It was a privilege to be presented to Her Majesty and acknowledge and celebrate the wonderful work of our Royal Patron HRH The Countess of Wessex.” Shooting Star Chase Childrens Hospice Care makes a true and significant difference to the lives of families caring for children with life-limiting and terminal illness, creating some wonderful and lasting memories for the families who need the vital lifeline of their care service.
Right now he is busy putting finishing touches to his long overdue new solo album which will be released next Spring on Universal Records.
Then came the second single What Is Love? which reached number 2 in the UK and the third single, the enigmatic Hide and Seek which showed the spiritual side of Howard Jones’ writing. This was followed by the first album Human’s Lib which came straight in at number one in the UK in April 1984, eventually going platinum and which took the synthesiser and Howard to a new plateau. This success spread across the globe with Human’s Lib going gold in the USA, Japan, Germany, Italy and Australia.
With a large and loyal fanbase and album sales now exceeding eight million, this consummate musician and writer has maintained an admirable independence, writing, recording, performing and touring in the way only he knows how. He has proved that he is one of the most talented writers and performers out there. His independent attitude and his ability and willingness to take risks ensure that he continues to operate on the cutting edge of today’s music.
Belinda’s first venture into music was as the drummer for the LA punk band The Germs, under the name Dottie Danger, it didn’t last long what with drumming not being her natural forte and all so she left and joined The Go-Go’s. After the initial breakup of The Go-Go’s in 1985 Belinda picked herself up, dusted herself off and embarked upon a solo career. Her first solo album, Belinda, was released on I.R.S. Records in 1986 and it was also that year Belinda married Morgan Mason, son of the British actor James Mason. Morgan made appearances in Carlisle’s videos “Mad About You” and “Heaven is a Place on Earth”.
Belinda flaunted her glamorous image on the cover of her second album 1987’s Heaven on Earth, her second solo album (released in the United States through MCA but in the United Kingdom through Virgin). Critics and fans noticed that not only was Belinda’s image more glamorous than during her time with the Go-Go’s, but also her solo music was more polished and ‘professional’. The new sound was certainly due in part to producer Rick Nowels, who had previously worked with Stevie Nicks and would later work with Madonna amongst many others.
The first release from Heaven on Earth was “Heaven is a Place on Earth”, an enormous international hit, topping the charts not only in the U.S. but also in the U.K. and several other countries. It is to this day probably her best known song. The success of the song was furthered by its video, which, under direction of American actress Diane Keaton, showcased Belinda’s glamour that included her new red hair colour, part of an image change possibly inspired by Ann-Margret.
The next song released from Heaven on Earth was “I Get Weak”, which also had a video directed by Keaton followed promptly by “Circle in the Sand”, both were big hits. “World Without You” was well-hyped but didn’t sell as well, peaking outside the Top 30 in the US and December 1988’s follow up “Love Never Dies” also peaked outside the Top 30 in the UK.
Belinda’s next album after Heaven on Earth was 1989’s Runaway Horses. This album hit number four in the UK and number three in the US so proving that she was still much in demand. The first single “Leave a Light On” just missed the Top Ten in the U.S., peaking at eleven, but in the UK it hit the Top Five. The second single, “Summer Rain”, missed the Top Twenty (#23) in Spring 1990, but spent a long time in the Top Seventy Five and was, perhaps surprisingly, one of the biggest selling singles that year. Belinda had even better success in the U.K. that autumn when she went to number six with the remixed “(We Want) The Same Thing”, another track from Runaway Horses. This underscored perhaps that Belinda’s popularity in Europe now far surpassed both her and the Go – Go’s success in America
In 1991, Belinda released her fourth solo album, Live Your Life Be Free, to be candid the album did not sell as well as her two previous albums, though it did reach the Top Ten in many European countries. Shortly thereafter her son, James Duke Mason, (named for James Mason (Morgan’s father) and Duke Kurczeski (Belinda’s stepfather)), was born and not long after the now notorious 1992 Los Angeles riots to place. A few months afterwards virgin seized the moment and released her first greatest hit albums, the British release of which compilation topped the U.K. album charts.
Belinda’s fifth solo album, Real, was released 1993 on the Virgin label in the U.S. as well as Europe. Produced without Nowels, the album departed from her previous polished pop music formula, indeed some critics welcomed the change and noted that the new album was similar to her sound with The Go-Go’s. The week it was released “Real” reached number nine in the UK unfortunately, the album’s first single, “It’s Too Real (Big Scary Animal)”, failed to make a big impact in the U.S. but again achieved a respectable number twelve in the UK.
After the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, and after the turmoil of the riots shortly beforehand, Belinda, Mason and Dukey moved to the South of France.
Belinda returned to the recording studio and started working again with Rick Nowels. In 1996, she released her sixth solo album, A Woman and A Man, on the Chrysalis Records label. This album revitalized her solo career in Europe and included several hits. Leadoff single “In Too Deep” returned Carlisle to the U.K. Top Ten for the first time in seven years, reaching number six. “Always Breaking My Heart”, written and produced by Roxette’s Per Gessle, was another top ten smash, peaking at number eight. The album spawned two more U.K. hits, “Love in the Key of C” and “California”; the latter being a bittersweet reflection on why the singer left her home state.
In 1997, Belinda also released a cover of “I Won’t Say (I’m in Love)” from Disney’s Hercules as part of that movie’s distribution in Europe. The single was only released in France and Germany.
In her career, Belinda had the opportunity to work with musicians from the 1960s. Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and The Papas did backup singing for Heaven on Earth; Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys helped with the recording of the “California” track on A Woman and A Man. Although George Harrison did guitar work on two tracks from “Runaway Horses,” Belinda did not meet him or go into the studio with him.
She is set to return to the spotlight in 2006, with the release of her long awaited 7th album Voilà, her first studio album in ten years. The album is produced by John Reynolds and it’s a mix of French chanson and modern pop songs. Voilà is to be released on February 5th 2007 via Rykodisc.
In the three years since we saw him make the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ final, he completed the ‘Strictly Live UK and Ireland Tour’, released an album, was interviewed by Piers Morgan for his ITV1 ‘Life Stories’ series, and was a mentor/judge with former Spice Girl, Melanie Chisholm, Dawn French and Andrew Lloyd Webber for the ITV1 musical talent show ‘Superstar’. In the winter of 2012, Jason was delighted to return to Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds – The New Generation, in the role of Parson Nathaniel. Throughout 2013 he was on tour in the UK reviving his role as Tic in Priscilla.
TV/Radio. Appearances have included judging on Britain’s Got More Talent, BBC Breakfast, London Tonight, VH1, Question of Pop, Loose Women, The Wright Stuff, Weekend with Aled, This Morning, BBC’s The Cinema Show and Big Brother’s Big Mouth. Radio interviews include Jonathan Ross, Steve Wright, Edith Bowman, Colin Murray, Claudia Winkleman, Paul Ross, Janice Long, Clive Anderson, Alex Zane, Scott Mills, Jamie Theakston, and Dermot O’Leary. He has presented two shows for VH1/MTV and has taken part in a celebrity edition of The Weakest Link. Chesney also took part in Channel 4’s ‘The Games’ emerging a medal winner, and he performed on the Granada/LWT show ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time.’ Further appearances include the Ant & Dec Show, The One Show, Daybreak, The Graham Norton Show and in June/July 2015 Chesney took part in Celebrity Masterchef also guesting on ‘Lorraine’ on ITV.
Film/Theatre. Chesney’s first acting role was as Buddy in the rock ‘n roll movie ‘Buddy’s Song’ which featured a cast of young actors destined to make their mark. These included Nick Moran and Julia Sawhala, who went on to create the character Saffy in Absolutely Fabulous, as well as Lee Ross, long before he appeared with Catherine Tate and in Eastenders. Heading the cast was The Who lead singer, Roger Daltrey, playing the role of Chesney’s dad. Chesney’s subsequent career has been firmly rooted in music but he has worked on various comedy drama TV productions including The Spa on Sky 1 with Rebecca Front and Panto on ITV with John Bishop.
Songs/Compositions. Chesney has worked with writers and producers from a broad section of the industry, among them Mark Goldenberg (The Eels), Jesse Valenzuela (The Gin Blossoms) and Counting Crows producer Marvin Etzioni. Other collaborators include Howard Jones, the Police’s Stuart Copeland, Nik Kershaw, Bijou Phillips and more recently Rob Davis (co-writer of Kylie’s Can’t Get you out of My Head). Artists continue to cover his songs and he has had material recorded by three international Pop Idol winners. English band ‘Hepburn’ covered “Next Life”, which Chesney co-wrote with Phil Thornally. (Phil co-wrote “Torn” for Natalie Imbruglia). Caprice charted with “Once Around The Sun” which Chesney co-wrote with Eric Pressley and he also collaborated with Tricky on his ‘Mission Accomplished’ EP. Another of Chesney’s songs, “Almost You”, was in the film “Jawbreaker” starring Rose McGowan and Marilyn Manson and “Missing You Already” was in the film “The Night We Never Met”, starring Matthew Broderick. In mid 2007 Chesney co-composed an orchestral piece commissioned by Lexus Cars for a live presentation. The piece was recorded at AIR Studios by the London Symphony Orchestra. The Duncan Jones movie Source Code, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal, features a Nik Kershaw/Chesney Hawkes production of The One and Only.
With hits such as “In And Out Of Love”, “Flashback”, “Music And Lights”, “In The Heat Of The Night” and “Just An Illusion”, millions of singles were sold internationally. Imagination also went platinum worldwide with sales in excess of 30 million albums. As a result Imagination were playing to sold out concerts across the globe. Imagination’s songs have also more recently been sampled by a number of artists including Mariah Carey and The Pharcyde.
Leee and Imagination made their mark not only as musicians but as true masters of stage and performance. They were known for their outrageous costumes and stage shows and as such were invited to perform for the Prince’s Trust, HRH Princess Diana and Prince Charles, Princess Caroline of Monaco, the Mandela family in South Africa for the charity Operation Hunger and even for the Russian president at the Kremlin.
“ Timeless anthems for a very Big Country…a body of work that sweeps away the test of time” (Lancashire Evening Post)
Following the incredible success of their 30th Anniversary ‘Steeltown’ Tour, BIG COUNTRY set off again on tour to celebrate their stunning catalogue of songs, taken from their multi-million selling and Number 1 hit albums.The band will perform classic hits and live favourites including Harvest Home – Fields of Fire – In A Big Country – Chance – Wonderland – Look Away – The Teacher
Plus many more…
Steeped in a stunning catalogue of proud and stirring hit songs such as ‘Fields of Fire’, ‘Chance’, ‘In A Big Country’ (which sold 2 million), ‘East Of Eden’ and their biggest UK hit ‘Look Away’, along with massive albums such ‘The Seer’, ‘Steeltown’, ‘Peace In Our Time’ and the triple Grammy –nominated, ‘The Crossing’, BIG COUNTRY continue to look beyond the next horizon in 2015
The band – BRUCE WATSON (guitars/vocals); MARK BRZEZICKI (drums, vocals); JAMIE WATSON (guitars/vocals) and former SIMPLE MINDS’ bassist/vocalist , DEREK FORBES – will be augmented on stage by SIMON HOUGH ex-front man for DENNY LAINE (WINGS), ERIC BELL (THIN LIZZY) etc.
For further info:
After a farewell tour and subsequent break up in 1982, the members went their separate ways. Weller formed The Style Council and later became a solo artist, while Buckler formed the short-lived Time UK. Foxton – however – took a different path. After gaining experience in The Jam fronting ‘David Watts’ (a cover of The Kinks) and ‘News Of The World’ (one of his own compositions) he stepped out solo and scored a hit single with ‘Freak’.
Foxton then got a call from frontman Jake Burns of Belfast punk rock legends Stiff Little Fingers and consequently played bass with them for the following fifteen years. He featured on four SLF albums: ‘Flags’ and ‘Emblem’, ‘Get A Life’, ‘Tinderbox’ and ‘Guitar and Drum’, whilst also taking part in various other projects, specifically Sharp, in which he reunited with Buckler for a single entitled ‘Entertain Me’. Foxton then quit Stiff Little Fingers in 2006, and became part of Casbah Club (with Pete Townshend’s brother Simon), Mark Brzezicki and Bruce Watson of Big Country, supporting The Who in the U.K. The following year, the seeds of From The Jam were sown.
In 2007, Foxton joined Buckler in The Gift, a band that exclusively played material from The Jam and was fronted by Russell Hastings, the only frontman to work with both Buckler and Foxton since Paul Weller. With Foxton, he acted as a co-writer on his last album ‘Back In The Room’, which reached number 21 in the UK charts. Hastings even collaborated with Paul Weller in the studio in 2011.
The project eventually shape-shifted from The Gift to From The Jam, as Buckler left and various incarnations materialised with different members, among them Mark Brzezicki on drums. Hastings gained further experience in this realm with the classic material, performing it with respect and admiration. His passion and understanding of The Jam’s history and legacy is second to none, and as frontman of ‘From The Jam’ he sees the songs in a completely new light.
“It’s spine-tingling to play those songs. I’ve always treated them as if they’re my own children, and have felt like I’ve got a responsibility towards those songs, and a responsibility towards the legacy of The Jam. I treat them with the utmost respect, and lots of energy, As a result, oddly enough, I understand them a lot more these days. Lyrically, Paul was very advanced.”
Fans of the band have accepted Hastings as a man that fills Paul’s shoes supremely well and delivers the classic Jam material with legitimacy and skill. He and Foxton, along with new drummer Smiley (who joined the enigmatic trio in 2013, and comes from a background of working with Joe Strummer and Robbie Williams, along with European stadium band Archive), solidify the present incarnation of the project, which is currently at the peak of its powers.
From The Jam are one of the most hard-working bands in music. While most bands tour for set periods at a time, they tend to do it all year round, Russell Hastings explains, “I think it’s testament to the strength of the songs that we can tour that much. It’s just great that there are so many fans out there that love the music of The Jam.”
Adding to that live sound on tour is Tom Heel on keyboards. Hastings explains how he became a part of the project, “we met him at Paul Weller’s studio; he was playing on Paul’s new single, on drums, so he comes from a good pedigree. It just means that when we play live now, there’s a big four piece on stage. It fills out the sound.”
Their commitment has been paying off big time. Crowds have been expanding, and their name has gradually found itself moving up festival bills, “the numbers – as far as the crowds – have just been getting bigger, which is great thing for us. You get really fired up from those fans” Hastings says, “it’s been great, and also, it’s paid its dividends back in the venues now. The band feels on fire.”
Also included in the set are tracks from Foxton’s acclaimed ‘Back In The Room’ record – a song from which (‘Window Shopping’), was used on an episode of Top Gear – strengthening their position as their own unique, independent entity. This independence has become no more apparent than recently, as the band’s versatility and professionalism has allowed them to play a multitude of different shows, deviating from an acoustic tour ‘That’s Entertainment’, to a greatest hits set ‘The Public Gets What The Public Wants’.
Hastings explains these different types of show, “on the ‘That’s Entertainment’ tour, we do anything that was acoustically done by The Jam, or just anything else we feel like doing acoustically, along with a Q+A session. ‘The Public Gets What The Public Wants’ tour is very different. It’s basically the big festival set, all the hits, hit after hit, straight away. Oh and there’s also the ‘Setting Sons’ tour, in which – because it’s the 35th anniversary of the album, we play the whole of ‘Setting Sons’ in its entirety, and then finish on loads more hits.”
At their essence, From The Jam are a band keeping a spirit alive, a spirit that should be preserved. Since the 70s, The Jam’s music has punctured the airwaves with its power. From The Jam don’t rehash that power. Instead, they keep it going, they celebrate the material, and even give the crowd some new stuff. Hastings states simply, “I want to sing those songs as I remember them.” From The Jam enables that to happen, and crowds across the world – for years to come – will sing them right back.
In November 2015 Bruce and Russell announced that they were returning to the studio to record a new album ‘Smash The Clock’. Scheduled for release in October 2015 the news was announced on crowdfunding site PledgeMusic, with Bruce saying “Its [Back In The Room’s] success was made possible by Pledge Music and, in turn, by you the public getting involved, for which we can’t thank you enough. The initial demos are sounding great and Russ & I can’t wait to start recording in early January. As on the last album we will have a few guest appearances, which we’re really excited about.”
.and warm strong personality… ” The Times
Hazel O’ Connor has fast re-established herself as an artist and performer to be reckoned with. Her husky voice remains charged with passion and her enthusiasm, love of music, and wicked sense of humour, is ever present. Recently she received the accolade of her own star in the new Coventry Walk of Fame in England. Her own small version now sits alongside her Gold Discs and BAFTA’s
A Spring tour to sell out shows, earlier in this very special year, culminates in ‘Hazel Sings Breaking Glass Live’ which finds Hazel making her long awaited return to the West End stage to perform the whole soundtrack for the first time and which tours the UK in November and December.
In 1985 ‘Walking on Sunshine’ was a top ten hit all around the globe and has since featured in countless advertisements and films including, High Fidelity, Secret of My Success, American Psycho and Walking on Sunshine and it’s been covered by Dolly Parton and was a mash up with Beyonce’s ‘Halo’ sung by the Glee cast. Follow up hits were, ‘Do You Want Crying’ (US Top 40), ‘Sun Street’ (UK Top 30), ‘That’s The Way’ (US #16). Katrina also sang back up vocals on ‘Torn’ by Natalie Imbruglio and has recorded songs with Eric Burdon and Rick Wakeman.
In 1997 Katrina and the Waves’ ‘Love Shine A Light’ won the Eurovision Song Contest with the largest ever margin, followed by an unprecedented four consecutive appearances on Top Of The Pops and a No. 3 in the UK Charts.
Following the split with the Waves in 1999 Katrina pursued an alternative career on radio and TV. She was a TV presenter on Watchdog on BBC1 and had her own show on BBC Radio 2 – where she presented a three-hour show, five days a week. This was followed by a stint in musical theatre, where Katrina played the lead role (the songwriter Ellie Greenwich) in Leader of the Pack, singing some of the songs that had influenced her as a young singer.
Katrina published her first book – Peggy Lee Loves London: My London Guide (Metropoodle Press 2013) about some cool places in London featuring her toy poodle, Peggy Lee. Katrina has performed with her band at festivals and shows in the UK, Europe, South Africa, Canada, Australia and the US where she’s recently completed a couple of North American tours.
2015 was the 30th anniversary of ‘Walking on Sunshine’ and Katrina released her first studio album in 10 years – ‘Blisland’. Currently she is working on a follow up London guide – ‘Peggy Lee Loves London II’.
Unlike so many of her 80’s contemporaries, Jaki’s hits have remained fresh, uncomplicated and modern. Set Me Free remains an ageless pop classic to this day after rocketing to No.7 in the British charts in May ’86, an anthem of that era. Breaking Away followed and offered her first location shoot abroad. It also charted at a respectable No.14 in August ‘86. Step Right Up brought Jaki back to her trademark high energy, up tempo pop hits and gave her yet another Top 20 hit in November ‘86. Her third album with EMI, From Now On was produced in 1987. One track entitled The Better Part of Me was an exceptionally beautiful ballad, with many in the entertainment business convinced that this was Jaki’s firstNo.1, guaranteed! However, surprisingly the changing climate of EMI dictated some often incredibly ill thought out ideas and both the video and album were shelved after three weeks. This decision coincided with Jaki achieving a Guinness World Record for being the first black British female solo artist to have 6 consecutive Top 10 / 20 hits, unheard of by a black British female at that time. In the same year, Michael McDonald came into Jaki’s life looking for a female singer to accompany him on the track ‘On My Own’ for his UK Tour. Michael, who has worked with some of the most influential names in showbiz including Patti Labelle and Aretha Franklin, personally chose Jaki over a stream of other UK female vocalists. After hearing her voice, he was quoted as saying that Jaki was ‘one of the best singers Britain has ever produced’. A deep friendship and mutual respect grew between the two artists and to this day, Michael’s first choice for a UK singing partner remains Jaki. Towards the end of the 80’s, sales and figures provided by Billboard magazine had established Jaki as Britain’s most successful black female artist ever. Not surprisingly, Jaki’s success was not limited to the shores of the United Kingdom. People of every culture and language from every corner of the globe loved her natural vocal perfection. The distinct, powerful delivery, coupled with her warm and compassionate ease seemed to melt the barriers of language, colour and creed. Denmark, Germany, Japan, Australia, South Africa – places she had only ever dreamed of visiting – loved her and her fan base grew worldwide.
This marked a turning point and in Japan, Jaki was particularly successful and released albums and singles there that England never even knew existed . Her first album Real Life sold more than 800,000 copies in less than four weeks. By today’s standards, this record is only surpassed by the elite few. Furthermore, tickets for her Japanese tour sold out in 20 minutes flat, outselling some of her well known US contemporaries. In true down to earth style, her reaction was simply, ‘For real?’ Real Life gave Jaki many international hit singles and elevated her status further. Ain’t Nobody did exceptionally well in the United States reaching No.1 in the Billboard dance charts for 5 weeks, with its impressive video also rocketing to the Top 5 in the American Black Entertainment Charts (BET). In retrospect, it is a pity that England never had the chance to hear Jaki’s work at the time as it showed growth, professionalism and a polished depth not heard from Jaki before. In fact, it represents some of her best work (and at the same time least known to UK fans). This album, along with those that followed however, are now available on digital release in the UK, USA and Canada. Ain’t Nobody, Absolute E-Sensual, Real Life and You Can Count On Me are outstanding tracks which were released in 1994. Jaki had effortlessly slipped into the 90’s era of music and as a result, won over a new legion of eager fans worldwide. Sales of Ain’t Nobody reached gold in Australia, Japan and the USA and her next album Best Shots released only in Japan, responded quickly to her popularity with a greatest hits album. Michael McDonald also contributed album tracks specifically for Jaki, with Through Your Eyes in particular being a classic that still stands the test of time. When Jaki appeared on a German TV show with Boy George, he summed her up completely saying ‘You’ll never meet a harder working artist than Jaki Graham’. In ‘95, Jaki released her next Japanese CD entitled Rhythm of Life, followed by My Life in ‘96 and Hold On in ‘98. Sweden also took a great interest in her by releasing singles unique only to that country such as The Christmas Song and Seek and You Will Find which are now rare and highly sought after by collectors. During this period, Motown signed the album Kiss the Sky, which featured Jaki on lead and backing vocals, and has since gone on to sell in excess of a million copies worldwide, meaning the girl from Handsworth was now officially Motown.
Following years of travelling the world and continuing to constantly perform live, 2009 marked a hectic year for Jaki. After being approached by the BBC to work with the BBC Big Band as part of their Radio 2 special, Jaki had only a couple of months to prepare to perform Gershwin classics, that would finally give her the opportunity to sing Jazz! Following her Gershwin & Soul concert in October 2009, people were amazed, having not heard her perform in this genre until now, and not even realising that this too was in her repertoire. Only two weeks after the concert was put out across the airwaves, she received a phone call again from the BBC and the second concert was confirmed, having received a phenomenal worldwide response from the first performance.
March 12th 2010 saw Jaki again performing with the BBC Big Band, this time for an evening of Duke Ellington classics. March also saw the international release of Jaki’s 3 Japanese albums. Until this point Real Life, Rhythm of Life and My Life had only been available in limited territories which had meant that many fans have never heard some of her finest recordings. 2010 continued to be a hive of activity as Cherry Pop records released a special edition CD of Jaki’s 1986 album Breaking Away. In addition to the original 12 track album, 5 bonus tracks were added, 3 of which were exclusive to this release. The summer of 2010 also saw Jaki accompany Michael McDonald and Al Green on their UK Legends Arena Tour which included Birmingham LG, Manchester MEN and London’s O2 Arena, as Michael’s Special Guest. Jaki was invited to join Sir Cliff Richard on his successful Soulicious Arena Tour in October 2011, as his only British Special Guest alongside soul legends James Ingram, Percy Sledge, Freda Payne, Lamont Dozier and Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr of Fifth Dimension, which is available on DVD, having been filmed across 2 nights at London’s O2 Arena.
As for 2012, Jaki had a busy year! SET ME FREE 2012 by DJ Paul Rudd feat. Jaki Graham, was released in May, having been approached to re-vocal the 1986 classic. Jaki was also finally back in the studio and finished recording her first, long awaited studio album in over 10 years. For Sentimental Reasons was released in October, giving Jaki the chance to pay homage to some of the classics she was herself brought up listening too, only this time with a more contemporary Jazz twist. This also tied in with Jaki being honoured on Birmingham’s Walk Of Stars joining the likes of Julie Walters, Ozzy Osbourne, Jasper Carrott, Bev Bevan and more.
Following her intimate ongoing For Sentimental Reasons UK tour in 2013, Jaki received an Honorary Doctorate in Music from Wolverhampton University in recognition of her Outstanding International Contribution to R&B, Soul and Dance. Her life represents so much to so many different people. Her story is an inspiration, showing what a disadvantaged black girl from a socially deprived background can achieve. Her resilience and strength of character in conquering prejudice and ignorance in her mixed race marriage gives hope and strength to people worldwide facing similar struggles. No matter where you’re from or what struggles you may have encountered, it is for this reason that Jaki has amassed a fan base from all walks of life. Her ability to become the conqueror rather than the victim makes her an attractive role model in a society whereby it seems so few remain. Her music embodies people with a positive energy and inner strength and her voice has united and embraced nations and cultures worldwide. Of all people, Jaki would be the one who would least see these special gifts in herself. In her own words ‘I’m nothing unique….
In a career spanning thirty years Toyah has had thirteen top 40 singles, recorded twenty albums, written two books, appeared in over forty stage plays, made ten feature films and presented such diverse television programmes as The Good Sex Guide Late, Watchdog and Songs Of Praise.
It all began in her hometown Birmingham in 1977 when film director Derek Jarman offered her the role of ‘Mad’ in seminal punk epic Jubilee. She continued to gain strong roles, appearing alongside Katherine Hepburn in the film, The Corn is Green, as well as playing ‘Monkey’ in the legendary Quadrophenia. She teamed up with Jarman again to play Miranda in his innovative version of The Tempest, which won her a nomination as Best Newcomer at the 1980 Evening Standard Awards.
By this time Toyah’s band was gaining critical success with the debut single Victims of the Riddle (no.1 in the independent charts) and six track EP Sheep Farming in Barnet. Her first album, The Blue Meaning, became a Top 40 hit. A TV Documentary “Toyah”, an accompanying live album Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! – as well as hit singles It’s A Mystery, I Want to Be Free, Brave New World and Be Proud, Be Loud, Be Heard plus the platinum albums Anthem and The Changeling – confirmed her status as one of the most significant talents of the Eighties. In 1982 she won the Best Female Singer at the Rock & Pop Awards.
Over the next two decades, as well as consolidating her reputation as a singer songwriter (with albums Minx, Desire, and her least commercial album Prostitute) Toyah also forged ahead with a career as a stage performer. Notable credits include Trafford Tanzi (lead); Cabaret (Sally Bowles); Three Men and a Horse (winner of Olivier Award for best New Comedy); the UK tour of Arthur Smith’s Live Bed Show; the title role in Calamity Jane (nominated for an Evening Standard Award for Best Musical) and most recently starring as the Devil Queen in the hugely successful rock show, Vampires Rock.
Musically, the 90s saw Toyah transform from pop star to new wave diva. With her husband Robert Fripp she formed the band Sunday All Over the World, which toured world-wide. They recorded the album Kneeling at the Shrine which received rave reviews and Toyah went on to produce the critically-acclaimed albums Ophelia’s Shadow and Take the Leap!
The 90s also saw Toyah dominate our TV screens. Whether it be drama – as a dog, in the half animated real life drama series The Ink Thief with Richard O’ Brien or kid’s programming (Toyah found renewed cult status as the intro and outro voice of Teletubbies), or presenting an ‘Alternative Remedies’ series on This Morning, Toyah’s range and versatility was unrivalled. She recorded two series of the BBC’s popular Fasten Your Seatbelt, two series of the BBC Scotland’s kid’s drama series Barmy Aunt Boomerang, fronted her own BBC1 series Discovering Eve and was a regular presenter on Watchdog, The Heaven & Earth Show and Holiday. She also presented Anything Goes, Time Off. The Magic & Mystery Show and Roll With It! In 1996, whilst Toyah was making the film Julie and The Cadillacs, Michael Aspel surprised her as the subject of BBC1’s This Is Your Life.
The year 2000 saw the publication of her long awaited autobiography Living Out Loud and in 2001 Toyah was awarded a prestigious Honorary Doctorate by the University of Central England in recognition of her distinguished achievements in performing arts, media and broadcasting. Television continued to feature as she fronted forty programmes of Beyond Medicine for the Discovery Channel and Whose Recipe is it Anyway? for the Carlton Food Network. Carlton Television also made a documentary on Toyah’s music career as part of the Rock Legends series. Toyah also participated in the 2003Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! and most recently appeared in ITV2’s Secret Diary of a Call Girl as the mother of lead actress Billie Piper.
Toyah returned to song writing in 2002 with new material for a limited edition EP, Little Tears of Love and a one-off preview concert at Ronnie Scotts. In 2002 Toyah proved her staying power selling out eleven stadium gigs for the Here and Now Tour. In May 2003 she released a brand new mini-album Velvet Lined Shell on her own record label, Vertical Species Records, showcasing a darker, edgier direction. In 2004 she returned to her musical roots as part of The Best of the 80s Tour – a UK tour alongside fellow 80s hit-makers Nick Heyward, Curiosity Killed the Cat and Altered Images.
Musically, Toyah has remained fresh, uncompromising and ground-breaking. In 2007 she signed a new worldwide publishing deal with Zomba Music and released her first digital single – Latex Messiah (Viva La Rebel In You) from the 2008 album In The Court Of The Crimson Queen, written and produced in collaboration with Simon Darlow. Alongside this Toyah began a collaboration with Bill Rieflin (REM) and Chris Wong on the band project, The Humans. Described as “European experimental meets West Coast American grunge”, The Humans debut live performances took place in Estonia in 2007. Their debut album, We Are The Humans, was recorded in Seattle in 2008 and released in Estonia in May 2009 to coincide with the band’s return to play before the country’s president at Tartufest. It received a UK digital release in September 2009, along with a Humans’ single, These Boots Are Made For Walkin’.
The Humans marked their first ever like UK appearances with a series of warm-up concerts in the very intimate and beautiful surroundings of churches including St. Michael’s & All Angels’ Church and St. Anne’s Church, Worcester. These were followed up by dates across the UK, featuring special guest Robert Fripp playing live with the band. They appeared on the bill of acts invited to perform at The Roundhouse for the Helping Haiti fundraiser concert. Their UK tour culminated in a headline date at London’s Scala, yielding a 4-star, review from the Financial Times who concluded it was an “intriguing, often terrific, show” with “programmed beats, sinewy, rumbling rhythms, a kind of twisted funk”. The Humans’ forthcoming, second album Sugar Rush, which sees a further development of the band’s songs and sound will be released worldwide in winter 2010. The album features guest guitar on all tracks from Robert Fripp.
Toyah continues to be seen on film with her recently completed starring role in the British film Power of Three, a light-hearted feel-good comedy that follows the adventures of 3 friends who pool their strengths when the going gets tough. Additionally, the track Quicksilver by The Humans features prominently in the short film Marigolds. With new book projects and music releases in the pipeline and live concert dates scheduled for the year ahead, Toyah maintains her multi-faceted and vibrant career.