Shakin' Stevens and the Sunsets - Wikipedia
Shakin' Stevens discography and songs: Music profile for Shakin' Stevens, born 4 March Genres: Shakin' Stevens & The Sunsets Release Date. +1. Find Shakin' Stevens biography and history on AllMusic - One of the Welsh rock 'n' roll singer who had many pop hits in the '80s with his '50s-spirited songs. Yet his recording career pre-dated his first hit by over a decade, struggling when he formed Shakin' Stevens & the Sunsets, his first professional band, in B, Shakin' Stevens And The Sunsets, Holy Moley , Barrett, A Tulip, Pink Elephant A release date of 2 Aug is given in booklet 'The New Singles' No.
Their replacements were bass player George Chick, who offered an exciting visual element with his wild stage performance, and Bristolian rock and roll pianist Mike 'Ace' Skudder, who was also no slouch when it came to entertaining an audience. Marchand promised the Sunsets that, with his connections in the music business, he could get them a contract with CBS Records.
Halfway through the sessions, Carl Petersen left and the album was completed with the ace Welsh rock and roll guitarist Mickey Gee. Although he remained with the Sunsets to play a few gigs after the sessions had finished, his stay with the band was short lived. However, Mickey Gee was to perform a major role in Shakin' Stevens' success of the early 80s, adding his distinctive lead guitar to many of Shaky's biggest hit records.
Early inthe band were offered the chance to record another album with Donny Marchand for the budget label Contour, a subsidiary of Polydor.
The Sunsets were reluctant to agree at first having yet to receive royalties from Marchand for I'm No J. The Sunsets were disappointed with the results and yet again the record, named Rockin' And Shakin'failed to sell. Despite their lack of chart success, Shakin' Stevens and the Sunsets were still a popular live act enjoying regular and well attended gigs across the UK. Their reputation as a live act soon spread to Europe and the group embarked on a tour of Sweden in August By this point, the line-up had changed again with Ian Lawrence replacing Blackmore on guitar and Tony Britnall previously with the Fortunes and Jigsaw becoming the new sax player.
Britnall was another showman to complement George Chick and Ace Skudder, not to mention the actual frontman Shakin' Stevens. The Sunsets had now grown into a formidable live act which was being lapped up by the Europeans who, unlike British audiences, had yet to tire of rock and roll music.
The Dutch years[ edit ] A meeting in the autumn of with a Dutchman named Cyril Van Der Hemel convinced Paul Barrett that Shakin' Stevens and the Sunsets should forget about the unprofitable one-off record deals in Britain and should instead concentrate on the much more lucrative live circuit on the European continent.
Van Der Hemel ran a production company named Tulip which focused on promoting British acts who had failed in their homeland. He promised the Sunsets professionally run tours in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe and a Dutch record contract which the band might actually be able to make some money out of.
The Sunsets were considered successful enough in the Netherlands for them to be placed above Argent on the bill at that August's Emmen Festival, much to the disgust of the progressive rock giants who were something of a big deal in the UK at the time. The album and "Honey Honey" single were eventually licensed to the Emerald Gem label for release in the UK but, perhaps predictably, both sunk without trace. It would be well over two years before Shakin' Stevens and the Sunsets were to release anymore records in Britain.
Not that the Sunsets were short of gigs in the UK. One notable appearance around this time was at the 21st birthday party for Kenneth Tynan 's daughter at the Young Vic theatre in London.
Amongst the star studded crowd were Peter Sellers and Liza Minnelli as well as the Irish novelist Edna O'Brien who apparently took a keen interest in Shakin' Stevens, inviting him back to her Chelsea flat.
The happily married Shaky only agreed on the proviso that he could bring the rest of the band with him. The irrepressible Tony Britnall also decided it was time to move on and chose to remain in the Netherlands, where he later become involved in the team behind the Stars on 45 phenomenon of the early 80s. Thanks in part to a prominent TV appearance, the single still credited to Shakin' Stevens and the Sunsets actually managed to reach the Dutch Top Later duringthe Sunsets took advantage of a friend's offer to knock up some demos in his Dutch recording studio.
Shakin' Stevens (& The Sunsets) Singles
Ironically, these rough recordings, including versions of "Tiger", "Silver Wings" and "Sugaree", were later licensed to numerous labels throughout the s and would end up as probably the most widely distributed of all the music made by Shakin' Stevens and the Sunsets. With Dureco requesting a new LP from the Sunsets, found Paul Barrett attempting to create a concept album exploring the relationship between the gangsters of the s with the 'outlaw' music created by the rock and roll stars of the s.
Taking his lead from the notorious bank robber John DilingerBarrett named the album Manhattan Melodrama a reference to the film Dillinger watched shortly before he was shot dead. However, yet again, the band felt they were not given the time to create the record they wanted and, once producer Schell Shelvekins had spent months overdubbing synthesizers and remixing the album to his satisfaction, the Sunsets had just about disowned the project. When the record was finally released later in only in the Netherlandseven the sleeve failed to gain the band's appreciation: Finding themselves in the most basic of studio facilities the Sunsets produced their most authentic sounding rock and roll recordings since A Legend.Shakin Stevens and The Sunsets - I Told You So (1975)
The first fruits of these sessions were the five track "Frantic" EP which was only released at the time in France by the Skydog label.
Nobody was particularly surprised when the single flopped but, when Hank Mizell 's original version was reissued weeks later and effortlessly made its way to number three in the UK singles chart in a manner reminiscent of their 'near miss' with "I Hear You Knocking"it seemed as if the Sunsets were fated to never make the big time.
- Shakin' Stevens
Should they try and attach the Sunsets to the emerging punk rock movement or should they just focus on making Shakin' Stevens a solo star and ditch his backing group? Track's indecision could not have been helped by the increasingly perilous financial state in which the label currently found itself.
After another recording session with the Sunsets this time produced by Charlie Gillett Track decided on option number two and brought in Mike Hurst to produce a Shakin' Stevens solo single. The result, "Never" was released by Track in March Paul Barrett wasted no time in inviting ex-roadie Johnny Chop real name Colin Hopkins to take over bass and recruiting Danny Wild to play lead guitar.
While Track offered Shaky a solo contract on the strength of "Never", Shakin' Stevens and the Sunsets were still regularly gigging as a unit, particularly in London at venues such as the Hope and Anchor, Islington and the Greyhound pub in Fulham. Contemporaries of the Sunsets on the rock and roll circuit, they informed Barrett that they had a landed a job as the in-house band for Jack Good 's upcoming Elvis - The Musical.
Shakin' Stevens and the Sunsets
With three actors portraying the KingBarrett discovered that the role of the 'middle Elvis' was still up for grabs and immediately realised that Shaky was perfect for the part. While Shaky himself was initially uninterested, he eventually accepted the part after one of Jack Good's team, Annabel Leventon, came to watch him perform at the Greyhound with the Sunsets. Paul Barrett was especially keen for Shaky to take the role, realising it was the chance of a lifetime for the singer. Even the rest of the Sunsets were happy for Shaky to take the part, despite the fact that it would most likely leave them without their front man for at least six months.
The plan was for Rockin' Louie to take over as lead singer until Shaky was ready to return, by which point the band's profile would be boosted by having a leading West End star fronting the group.
As it turned out, Shaky was never to return to the group and their gig at the Broom in Woolwich on 25 October turned out to be Shakin' Stevens and the Sunsets' last performance together. This worked fine until one evening at the Rock Garden the same venue which had proved the catalyst in Shaky's change of fortune when an audience became disappointed by the non-appearance of Shakin' Stevens as well as the crazy pianist Ace Skudder, who inexplicably failed to turn up for the gig.
Reports that they also opened for the Rolling Stones in December appear to be exaggerated, but the band gigged regularly around Germany and Holland, and scored several European hit singles. Worse was to come for the grouphowever, as Elvis went on to become one of the year's biggest musicals.
Stevens ' run was extended to two years, and exploding media attention made it clear that Shaky would not be returning to South Wales anytime soon. Stevens quit the Sunsets in late and, as a solo performer, was signed briefly to Track Records. His first attempt at recording an album for the label ended with rejection. Three singles flopped, but in February Stevens finally scored his first U.
There was even chart action for his early-'70s work with the Sunsetsgathered up on the compilation Shakin' Stevens. Litigation relating to this material would pursue Stevens through the remainder of the 80s and into the '90s, as his former bandmates battled over unpaid royalties.
The hits grew smaller as the '80s progressed; his final U. Top Five entry was a revival of "What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For" in ; other singles struggled to even approach the peaks Shaky had once dominated, and inStevens retired from recording and performing. His final hit, the previous year's "Radio," was recorded with Queen 's Roger Taylor and reached number