They’re used to everyone from Madonna to Moby, Pet Shop Boys to Robbie Williams, citing them as an influence. Now the dubstep generation – notably, the acclaimed Darkstar, who cover the League’s 1982 B-side ‘You Remind Me Of Gold’ on their current album, North – have begun to pay homage to the original sound of Sheffield.
But they’re about more than esoteric infiltration – there has been mainstream penetration, too, commensurate with a band who gave us the greatest ever Christmas Number 1 single with 1981/2’s ‘Don’t You Want Me’, who have had four Top 10 albums and eight Top 10 singles in the UK as well as two US Number 1 singles and sold 20 million records worldwide: the most lauded TV program of recent times, time-travel saga Ashes To Ashes, based one of its main characters on Joanne Catherall, while the mighty Philip Oakey appeared in a recent episode of Top Gear at the personal behest of Jeremy Clarkson who regularly name-checks the League in his newspaper column.
Then there are the ‘L’ girls, the new generation of synth-driven female pop artists, who have got in on the League-adoring act: La Roux is a known admirer of the electro pioneers, while Little Boots is such a fan she requested Philip Oakey’s input on her debut album. Even Lady Gaga professed to be a devotee when she met them recently; they had adjacent dressing rooms at the ‘V’ Festival.
“She sat there in her bra and pants and we told her we were a huge fan of hers and she told us she was a huge fan of ours as well,” says Susan Ann Sulley, who has never been a waitress in a cocktail bar but has been a member of the League since Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh left the band in 1980 to form Heaven 17. “I’m not star-struck by many people and I don’t hero-worship anyone, but she was lovely.”
But not surprisingly for a group who were famously described by David Bowie in 1979 as “the sound of the future”, and indeed the group was once called The Future, The Human League have never been about resting on their laurels or relying on past glories to see them through. Which is why, in March 2011, they will be releasing Credo, their 9th studio album, as brilliant a distillation of their ideas about pop and dancing, glamour and electronics, as anything they have ever done.
They called it Credo, meaning “belief”, for The Human League fans who never stopped believing in the band in the decade since their last album, 2001’s critically acclaimed Secrets.
“When I was growing up, Roxy Music was the most important thing in my life,” explains Philip Oakey, along with Iggy Pop the owner of the most instantly recognizable, dolorous yet authoritative baritone in pop. “When they split up [in 1976], I was bereft. And then one day I opened a music paper and saw an announcement for a new album called Manifesto  – I liked the title and the idea that it was their manifesto, which they believed in it. So I looked for a word like that, because we’ve been in the wilderness for a bit. The word ‘Credo’ is about believing – it says everything about the record, which is exactly the record we would want to have made for release in 2011.”
Credo was produced by ‘I Monster’, the Sheffield duo behind the 2001 single Daydream In Blue and for many years the brains behind a slew of distinctive, playful electronica from the Steel City.
“We can’t understate what I Monster have done,” says Philip of Dean Honer and Jarrod Gosling. Susan agrees: “It wouldn’t have taken such a short time had they not been involved. This is the quickest we’ve ever worked.” Adds Philip: “They grabbed the whole thing and simplified it.”
They note the irony of a band who spent years working with musicians from all over the planet, including stellar R&B producers Jam & Lewis on their 1986 single Human and album Crash, now being a Sheffield-only affair.
“We made the decision to not work with Sheffield musicians in case we fell out or something,” says Susan. Laughs Joanne:
“We just didn’t want anyone in Sheffield finding out how horrible we are!” Joking aside, they are delighted with their all-Sheffield set-up. And Joanne credits I Monster with bringing more of a sense of coherence to Credo.
“We wanted it to be a consistent record, not, you know, two tracks with that producer and two tracks with someone else,” she says. “We wanted it to have a unified feel, rather than going from one style to another”.
Credo’s style is a refinement of the approach adopted by The Human League in 1980-1 when they took the revolutionary decision to employ commercial tactics to inveigle experimental art-school ideas into the mainstream. Love Action, Open Your Heart, Sound Of The Crowd, Don’t You Want Me, Do Or Die, Hard Times, The Things That Dreams Are Made Of – these love, or anti-love, songs and anthems for dispossessed teens with their shiny production and hummable melodies, given added momentum by a series of menacing synth-bass riffs and riveting electronic pulse-beats, all presented in that Vogue-magazine-ish way via the artwork for Dare!, were nothing less than acts of radical subterfuge.
And so it is with ‘Credo’ – which Philip, looking forward as ever, sees as the first album of the next stage in The Human League’s evolution – and its eleven tracks, which sound like classic League but are as modern as the finest 21st century chart pop. ‘Never Let Me Go’ is an ecstatic album opener, the Auto-tuned vocals bringing to mind Cheryl Cole if she’d been brought up on Kraftwerk and Moroder as well as Richard X and Xenomania. The phased chorus – “No. Don’t. Go.” – is awesome, effortlessly straddling the high street and the art-house, the League’s stock-in-trade. The first single on an album of potential singles is ‘Night People’, another outrageously catchy burst of suburban disco pop with some of the urban nocturnal drama of ‘Sound Of The Crowd’, the girls’ voices as ever giving the lie to the idea that you have to bellow and blare to emote. ‘Sky’ paints a picture every bit as evocative as your favourite acoustic troubadour and shows what a great songwriter Philip Oakey is. ‘Got To Do’ manages to be, as per the League since day one, weird and utterly irresistible with its reference to “startled simians” harking back to the “sericulture” of ‘Being Boiled’. “Do you turn left, do you turn right, back to your bed or into the night?” croons Philip. “Wake me, shake me, just let me know.” Every lyric, every hook, has been designed for maximum impact. Even the titles – ‘Single Minded’, ‘Electric Shock’ – are immediate and striking. As ever, there is brightness here, with a feeling of danger encroaching on the dancefloor. Above all ‘Credo’ has the energy and sense of purpose of a group of particularly astute and skilled twenty somethings with something to prove about their desire to combine pop song mores with the latest electronics.
“The League have always been into other areas of culture and using bits of Clockwork Orange and JG Ballard, sci-fi and stuff,” says Philip of the lyrics on ‘Credo’ and some of the references in them. “And there has always been something a bit nasty and crude in our music, a quality that I think some of our records lacked and which we tried hard to bring to ‘Credo’ – other electronic groups have a little bit of shine, their records are a bit shimmery and polished and intricate, and that doesn’t suit us. We’ve got to be a bit primitive”.
“We don’t like people being too clever with our stuff or too polished because we’ve never been about that,” contends Joanne.
“But,” adds Philip, “our main aim for ‘Credo’ wasn’t literate lyrics or anything like that. We just wanted it to be catchy, accessible, with good tunes and good riffs, and for everything at every stage to be as memorable as possible.”
‘Credo’ is part of that particular pop lineage that goes from Bowie, Roxy and Kraftwerk to Donna Summer, Chic and Michael Jackson to Lady Gaga, Usher and Girls Aloud. Supremely infectious chart pop music, only with the League you get an extra subversive “x” factor.
“Pop to us has always meant ‘music that you’ve not heard before’,” he asserts. “Now it’s just Saturday night entertainment.” “We sat for a whole morning with loads of Lady Gaga and Usher records, comparing drums for loudness,” explains Susan. “I was saying the drums on ‘Credo’ needed to be really loud!”
‘Credo’ manages to makes itself heard above the brashest state-of-the-art pop productions. It brings some of that primitive essence to the milieu, as well as The Human League’s unique quality of apartness.
“We’re peculiar,” says Susan, utterly unabashed. “People think pop music is X Factor and S Club 7 and we’re still hankering after a Roxy-Bowie-Donna Summer-Chic version of pop. We don’t fit in. People don’t quite appreciate how strange we are. There are three of us, two of whom have never written a song and are pretty average singers, plus we’ve got a lead singer who doesn’t consider himself a singer at all and can’t play any instruments very well. And yet we still think of ourselves as a pop group, not arty-farty or weird. If a market research group got hold of us, they’d change absolutely everything! And yet it works. We shouldn’t have gone on this long as we have – we should have ‘gone rock’ by now, like Depeche Mode, Simple Minds and U2 did. But we’re still a pop group.”
Not just a pop group – possibly the last great pop group. Believe.
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.
Haircut 100 became as well-known for the preppie outfits they wore as much as MTV bubblegum like Love Plus One and Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl), two of the most endearing songs of the ’80s. Both singles hit the Top Ten in Britain in 1982. Other hits included Fantastic Day, Nobody’s Fool and Prime Time.
Nick Heyward (vocals, guitar) left Haircut 100 just when they were cruising through the pop charts in the U.K. Instead of destroying his career, the move actually provided him with more artistic credibility. Once on his own, Heyward’s work lost much of Haircut 100’s teen gloss; the music was still catchy, but the lyrics were more adult and introspective, as displayed on tracks like Whistle Down the Wind from his 1983 solo debut North of a Miracle. Other tracks from Nick’s solo days included Take That Situation, Warning Sign and Blue Hat for a Blue Day. In 1994, the Beatles-like Kite on From Monday to Sunday was a smash hit on American modern rock stations.
Hearing his music on the radio still makes the sun shine so, when Nick takes the stage at Lets Rock Southampton! prepare to be up-lifted.
For over 30 years, Kid Creole & The Coconuts have been entertaining sellout crowds around the world. The Kid fills out his colourful zoot suits with style and grace, dancing on stage with his inimitable, relentless and self-proclaimed cool, accompanied by his three dazzling damsels – the Coconuts.
Born in the Bronx, August Darnell is a man of multiple cultures, legends and personalities. His love of the big band tradition is evident: he travels with 10 musicians who all share his love of the ultimate musical tapestry (pop, R&B, reggae, calypso, funk, jazz, country, gospel, blues etc). Their live shows have become the stuff of legend.
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.
2014 signalled the 25th anniversary of the seminal Hue and Cry album ‘Remote’, released to not only huge acclaim but to multi-platinum success, spawning the singles ‘Ordinary Angel’, ‘Violently’ and ‘Looking For Linda’. To mark this Hue and Cry released ‘Remote: Major To Minor’ a multi – media celebration of ‘Remote’ which comes as a limited edition 48 page book containing four discs, including a re-worked and re-imagined version of the original album. In 2015 the brothers returned to the live scene with both their piano & vocal format and their live full on band. The year was the centenary of Frank Sinatra’s birth, an artist whose career has been a huge influence on Pat and Greg’s musical style. To celebrate they recorded ‘September Songs’, a covers album dedicated to the original Chairman of the Board.
Hue and Cry have sold tens of thousands of concert tickets worldwide, as well as performing alongside some of the greatest artists in music history, appearing with U2, James Brown, Madonna, Al Green and Van Morrison to name but a few. The duo were recognised by their peers when they were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Scottish Music Awards.
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.
.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 2016 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’.
The second album ‘Gatecrashing’ was released in 1989 and the first single ‘Blow The House Down’ went straight to number 10, firmly establishing Living In A Box, once again, as ‘chart-toppers’. Sadly, due to radio stations pulling the title track, and second single, ‘Gatecrashing’ in the wake of the terrible events at Hillsborough in April of that year, Living In A Box’s fortunes dipped through the second half of 1989. However, waiting in the wings was the track that few people, except maybe true ‘Box’ fans, even associate with them, ‘Room In Your Heart’. This beautiful ballad, which to this day receives thousands of radio plays and YouTube hits, soared up the charts in October 1989 to number 5. ‘Room In Your Heart’ stayed on the chart for 16 weeks; unheard of today.
Differences with the record company over issues following the labels takeover by EMI and the lack of support received from the company in the USA, led to the band splitting up in 1990.
2017 will see Living In A Box tour again with Chrysalis label mate and long-time friend Kenny Thomas taking over the lead vocals. They will be playing all their hits, top album favourites and songs that have influenced them over the years.