Line Up

Line-up

 

THE HUMAN LEAGUE

TheHumanLeagueThe Human League are so credible it’s incredible. In fact, they’re probably more highly regarded in 2011 than they were in 1981 when they released their landmark album Dare!

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 [1979] – 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.

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TONY HADLEY

tonyhadleyTony Hadley, the eldest son of Josephine and Patrick, was born at The Royal Free Hospital, Islington, London on 2 June 1960. Tony attended Dame Alice Owen’s Grammar School and thought his future lay in medicine but, after winning a holiday singing competition, decided that his vocation was as a singer … the rest is history …

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.

CHARITABLE WORK

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.

FAMILY LIFE

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”!

MORE RECENTLY

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.

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HOWARD JONES

HowardJonesIt was in 1983 that Howard Jones released his first single New Song in the UK. The expectation was that it might sell a few thousand copies and introduce his fresh new music to an unsuspecting world. The reality was quite different. The single steadily climbed the UK chart to peak at number 3.

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.

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NICK HEYWARD

NickHeywardWhen Haircut 100 burst energetically onto the pop scene in 1980 with their bright and innovative sound, Nick Heyward was the boy that every girl wanted to see.

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 Leeds! prepare to be up-lifted.

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ROLAND GIFT

RolandGiftRoland Lee Gift is a British singer and actor. He was the lead singer of the band Fine Young Cannibals.

His first recording on which he played the saxophone was with Hull ska band Akrylykz, the second release on nearby York’s Red Rhino Records. Although this record was unsuccessful, it did bring him to the attention of Andy Cox and David Steele of The Beat. The Akrylykz toured with The Beat, which led to them in around 1985 asking him to be the lead singer of their new band Fine Young Cannibals after their old band, The Beat, had broken up. He also was a guest artist on the Ska City Rollers’ Time Is Tight single.

In 1987, Gift had his first screen role in the film Sammy and Rosie Get Laid. In 1990 he did his first stage work, playing Romeo in the Hull Truck Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a production which had a brief run in the United States at the Staller Center for the Arts. He also appeared as a lounge singer (singing songs that were included in the Fine Young Cannibals album The Raw and the Cooked) in the film Tin Men, directed by Barry Levinson.

In 1989, he appeared in Scandal as Johnny Edgecombe, Christine Keeler’s boyfriend.

In 1990, he was named by People magazine as one of the “50 Most Beautiful People” in the world.

In 1993, he began the first of several appearances as the evil Immortal Xavier St. Cloud in the television series Highlander: The Series, and appeared in an episode of the Yorkshire Television series Heartbeat. He has also appeared in the movie The Island of the Mapmaker’s Wife.

In 2002, Gift released a self-titled solo album, featuring the single “It’s Only Money”.

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KID CREOLE & THE COCONUTS

KidCreoleKID CREOLE AND THE COCONUTS were born out of the burning embers of the brilliant and legendary Dr Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band.

For over 30 years, Kid Creole and 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

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TECHNOTRONIC

TechnotronicThe act that first rocked the international dance community to its core in 1989. The collaboration of unique musical talent that unexpectedly pushed house music into the mainstream; it is the band behind the house anthem Pump Up The Jam.

Aiming to fuse hip-hop and house, Technotronic was the brainchild of the Belgian producer Jo Bogaert who collaborated with the vocal talent of Manuela Kamosi (Ya Kid K) to devastating effect. Their first single was the groundbreaking Pump Up The Jam – a track that took the world by storm and one which is now considered a seminal house classic.

Originally recorded as an instrumental, Pump Up The Jam hit #2 in the UK sales chart and the US Hot 100 and follow up singles such as Get Up! (Before The Night Is Over), This Beat Is Technotronic and Move This all enjoyed extensive chart success throughout the world. Technotronic debut album titled Pump Up The Jam was also a major success and their total record sales are now somewhere in the region of 14 million.

At the peak of the their original success, Technotronic played live shows opening for the likes of Madonna as well as making TV appearances on Saturday Night Live, The Arsenio Hall Show and It’s Showtime At The Apollo. Throughout the 1990s Technotronic went on to release four albums and further singles such as Move It To The Rhythm while their music also featured in a number of high profile Hollywood films.

Technotronic remain in huge demand and are destined to reclaim their ownership of the dance floor. A truly talented and innovative act with a legendary status at the heart of dance floor culture; this is an opportunity that should not be missed.

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FROM THE JAM

FromTheJam1972 saw one of the most influential and legendary bands in the history of rock music emerge, as three ordinary guys from Woking in Surrey juxtaposed punk rock anger with R&B influences and the dapper aesthetics of 60s mod culture, creating the unstoppable musical force of The Jam. Over ten years, the three piece – comprised of drummer Rick Buckler, frontman Paul Weller and bass player Bruce Foxton – forged a timeless legacy of widespread emotional resonance, with a variety of accomplishments ranging from 18 consecutive top 40 UK singles to four UK number one singles and a UK number one album. Providing all the power and low-end that helped to initially propel the trio into the stratosphere, Foxton gave The Jam half of an integral component to their success: an energetic rhythm section. Driving the band’s enduring appeal into the hearts and minds of all who witnessed it first hand, Foxton’s bass rounded out Weller’s songs, throughout a career that weaved its place into the historical tapestry of both musical culture and British culture as a whole.

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.”

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HUE & CRY

Hue&CryBrothers Patrick and Gregory Kane formed Hue and Cry in 1983. The duo made a huge impact in the late 80s with the albums ‘Seduced and Abandoned’ and ‘Remote’ as well as the massive hit singles such as ‘Labour of Love.’ Albums like ‘Stars Crash Down’ and ‘Jazz Not Jazz’ ensured Hue and Cry’s continued triumph in the 1990s, whilst the release of the hugely applauded ‘Open Soul’ in 2008 brought them firmly back into the limelight. The release of their seasonal album ‘Xmasday’ (2009) and live album ‘Bitter Suite, Again’ (2010), preceded the release of ‘Hot Wire’ (2012) which received rave reviews. To date Hue and Cry have sold in excess of two million records worldwide.

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.

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HAZEL O'CONNOR

HazelOConnor“…the expressive power of her singing her songwriting craft
.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.

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IMAGINATION

ImaginationHaving spanned close to 3 decades in the entertainment industry as an artist, Leee John has been an all round artist, singer, writer, record producer, actor and recently a film producer. Lee came to the world’s attention with his group Imagination which he founded in the early 80s. Imagination was signed by Morgan Khan after hearing the track “Got To Be Good”. Produced by Trevor Horn (producer of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Seal and Grace Jones to name but a few), the master tape was sent to the states to get reproduced but got lost and the outcome looked bleak. Leee was introduced to producer Tony Swain and given a piece of music to write some lyrics and a melody. He went home and came up with what became Imagination’s first gold record, the hit single “Body Talk”.

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 Princes 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.

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DR & THE MEDICS

Dr&TheMedicsThe Doctor (Clive Jackson, born 7 July 1961 in Knotty Ash, Liverpool), a former London-based DJ, formed the group with guitarist Steve McGuire, drummer Vom (aka Steve Ritchie), and bassist Richard Searle and female dancers and singers The Anadin Brothers in 1981. The group adopted a look inspired by both 1960s psychedelia and kabuki make-up similar to that of Kiss.

Their first single was “The Druids are Here” which was released on Whaam Records in 1982. They released no further records until 1985, although a four track EP recorded live at Alice In Wonderland, a Soho nightclub where The Doctor was house DJ, was available direct from the band. The band’s female backing singers were known collectively as The Anadin Brothers. Originally there were three Anadin Brothers, but this was soon whittled down to Wendi West and Colette Appleby.

In 1985, they signed to IRS Records and released “Happy but Twisted”, a five track 12″ EP including a cover of Hawkwind’s “Silver Machine”. This reached number 2 on the indie charts.[ This was followed by “The Miracle of the Age”, produced by Andy Partridge of XTC. Around this time the band performed a concert in a television studio in Limehouse, London which was recorded for television broadcast, although it was not shown at the time. At this concert the line-up was augmented by Roman Jugg of The Damned on keyboards and second guitar.

They scored an international hit in 1986 with their next single, a cover of Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky”. The single reached number one in the UK. They fared less well with subsequent singles; “Burn” and “Waterloo” (the latter of which was a cover of the ABBA hit, with Roy Wood on saxophone, backing vocals and in the video). “Burn” reached No. 29 in the UK Singles Chart and “Waterloo” peaked at No. 45.

The band released their final studio album Instant Heaven, in 1996 on their own ‘Madman’ record label.

In the early 2000s, the band’s current line-up appeared on retro-themed British TV shows such as ITV1’s Hit Me Baby One More Time, and a Top of the Pops Christmas special celebrating 50 years of the UK Singles Chart. In 2003, Jackson left the UK to live in Mexico, although frequently returned to the UK and, in June 2006, appeared on Channel 4’s Bring Back One Hit Wonders with a new line-up. Around this time they released an EP called Timewarped. In 2008, Jackson moved back to the UK.

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FLOCK OF SEAGULLS

FlockOfSeagullsA Flock Of Seagulls was started by Mike Score in 1980 in Liverpool. The name was taken from The Stranglers song “Toiler on the Sea”,. The inaugural line-up of the band featured Mike, who was previously a hairdresser, on keyboards and lead vocals.

A Flock Of Seagulls are an English new wave and synthpop band Mike Score Keyboards, Vocals, and his brother Alister “Ali” James Score Drums, with most famous line-up consisting of the Score brothers along with Francis Lee “Frank” Maudsley Bass, and Paul Reynolds Guitar.

They began to release singles through Jive Records. The Group released their debut single `Talking` (Produced by Nelson), on Bill Nelson`s Cocteau label. They were then signed to major label Jive, distributed through CBS records, where they released their second single `Telecommunication` The single was also produced by Nelson and became a club hit. Their third release was the EP `Modern love is Automatic`. Originally released as a 4 track EP on both 7” and 12”, the 12” edition was soon reissued adding `Telecommunication`. This 5 track EP was also their first release in the US. In 1982, the groups fourth single `I Ran (So Far Away)`, produced by Mike Howlett, the former bass player of the band Gong, became a worldwide hit, reaching number 1 in Australia and the Top 10 in both the US and New Zealand. Their debut album and another single, `Space age Love Song`, were both also successful. In late 1982, the band finally found major success in their home country with “Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You)`, the first single from their next album Listen, which reached the Top 10. Later the band was praised for having broken the ground for other musical acts during the advent of the video music area, but as it turned out, 1982 was the year of their commercial success.

The group had a string of international hit singles including “I Ran (So Far Away)” 1982, “Space Age Love Song” 1982, “Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You)” 1982, and “The More You live, the More You Love” 1984. The became notable in the 1980`s for their video for “I Ran (So Far Away)”. The band has also won a Grammy Award.

Brothers Mike and Ali Score decided that they wanted to base the band out of Philadadelphia, Pennsylvania. With past success in the USA, both brothers thought leaving the UK and a new life in America was a perfect solution. With the popularity of first two albums and the name “A Flock Of Seagulls” still having some equity, they had 4 straight sell-out shows in Philadelphia.

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