SHAKIN' STEVENS

Born in Ely, Cardiff, South Wales, Shakin' Stevens, the Singer/Songwriter also known as Shaky, started his career as a rock 'n roll singer, covering all genres of music, eventually forming a band that became known as Shakin' Stevens And The Sunsets. In 1969 they turned professional, and Shaky continued to perform with the band until 1977. They played the London circuit and Colleges, Universities and venues throughout the UK and Europe, on the same bills as such artists as Ian Dury (then performing as Kilburn And The High Roads), Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup, Deep Purple, Chuck Berry, Georgie Fame, David Bowie and The Stones, to name but a few.

During 1970-76 they recorded albums and singles for labels which included EMI (the album 'A Legend' being produced by Dave Edmunds) and CBS in the UK, with Dureco and Dynamite in Holland (where the band had a large following). Despite being voted The Top Live Band of 1972 in a New Musical Express poll the band did not achieve major recording success, due to lack of marketing commitment. Finally, their last recording was in April 1976, a cover version of the formerly obscure track 'Jungle Rock', released by Hank Mizell in the same year, who took it into the charts.

Prior to the band breaking up in late '77, Stevens signed as a solo artist to Track Records in mid-'76 (Track Records were well known for such artists as Jimi Hendrix and The Who) and released the single 'Never' in March 1977, followed in September by 'Somebody Touched Me': both of which received good music reviews but failed to chart in the UK, although 'Somebody Touched Me' was a Top 40 hit in Australia.

In October 1977, Stevens was approached by Jack Good to co-star in his West End musical Elvis - a tribute to the artist - which ran for 19 months as a multi-award-winning musical; accolades included Evening Standard 'Best Musical' Award and the SWET Awards. In 1978, a single 'Justine', and then an album entitled 'Shakin' Stevens' were released by Track Records, featuring members of Sounds Incorporated (previously managed by Brian Epstein) which showed Stevens with a harder-edged vocal performance. The album was recorded in one day, at Island Studios. But at that time Track Records was experiencing difficulties and there was no commitment behind the album; Track Records subsequently going into liquidation in the same year.

In mid-'78 Shaky signed to CBS on the Epic label, on a long term, world-wide basis. The singles 'Treat Her Right' (1978), 'Endless Sleep' and 'Spooky' (1979), produced by Mike Hurst, were then released by Epic, which failed to dent the charts. Continuing in his role in the West End musical, 8 shows a week, Stevens then featured in Jack Good's live version of the revamped hit shows 'Oh Boy' at the Astoria, performing 2 shows on his 'day off' each Sunday; which later led to similar shows being televised in '79 and throughout the following year..

After many years of touring and making records, the beginning of the 80's was to become a major turning point in Stevens' career, establishing him as a unique international artist - despite the trend out of the Punk era and into New Wave, Electronic and the New Romantics. He was to work with producers including Stuart Colman, Christopher Neil, Peter Collins, Pete Hammond, Dave Edmunds, and Rod Argent.

His first album released on the Epic label, in 1980, was 'Take One', featuring the renowned lead guitarist, Albert Lee. From this album the long awaited hit single, 'Hot Dog', was released in the same year - reaching #24 in the charts. Six months later he had a top 20 hit with 'Marie, Marie'. The following year Stevens achieved his first, and long-awaited No. 1, when 'This Ole House' - a new arrangement of Stuart Hamblen's classic song - topped the UK chart and was also a major international hit.. This same year he was to have two number # 1 hit singles, one # 2, and his first ballad, 'It's Raining', which was a top 10 hit; and two hit albums - a # 1 ('Shaky') and a # 2 ('This Ole House'). The following year marked his first self-penned # 1 single, 'Oh Julie'. With many more hit singles and albums to follow, in the UK and internationally, Stevens was now firmly established on the trail to become the most successful UK singles chart performer of the decade.

Biography

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