Monday, August 16, 2010

70s Artist Watch: Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel


Steve's first hit was "Sebastian " in 1973,but the bigger hit "Judy Teen" was to come in 1974.
Judy Teen lyrics
Steve Harley: "When the first album came out, the record company said, 'We don't have a single.' And I said very arrogantly, 'I'll write one, I know how to do it.' That's exactly what I said and exactly what I did. Now I think - what an arrogant young man, fearless! Judy Teen was a boy/girl story, a teenage romance, a bit of sex in there, interesting drum rhythm, hooks all over the place - lo and behold big hit!






Still in 1974, and also from the album "The phycomondo" came the single "Mr Soft"




One more single that year "Big Big Deal", which was not a big big hit, but THEN a Seventies music classic here, this was No1 (UK) from February and March 1975,and  is one of a few records that has many gaps of pure silence during the record, which was done at the very last minute in the studio. It was recorded without any breaks originally, and yet this is what most people were drawn to when it appeared on the radio, thinking was that a transmission break?

The DJ's loved it , as it allowed station jingles to run inside the record, or for everyone in the school to shout "guitar" as one of the breaks went into a guitar solo.

The must successful album to come from the group is agreed to be "The Best Years of Our Lives", which was released in 1975, and recorded at the famous Abbey Road studios, made famous by the British music legends The Beatles. The album included the No.1 single "Come Up and See Me", along with a further successful single called "Mr Raffles".

"Come up and see me" was inspired by the unfriendly break up of the original members of the band, and the guitar breaks were added as an after thought, and did not belong to the original recording. A sure sign that things were not going well is that the first Top of the Pops appearance had Steve on stage with very quickly hired session singers. Tina Charles was one of those singers, who had a huge UK hit with "I Love to Love", along with her close friend Linda Lewis, who had her hit "Its in His Kiss." Both 70s music artists in the making.

Steve says "“I don’t consider myself a rock star…What I am is a poet…”

Being assumed as a real rebel it was not until later in life he achieved awards for his music, although going platinum with "Make Me Smile" was a huge flick to the establishment.

Although there have been so many cover versions of this song, in its original form it only reached number 96 in the US in 1976.

Here is the full top twenty from 1975 featuring Cockney Rebel

Steve Harley lyrics
You've done it all, you've broken every code
And pulled the rebel to the floor
You spoilt the game, no matter what you say
For only metal - what a bore!
Blue eyes, blue eyes, how come you tell so many lies?

Here is the Steve Harley video


The original Cockney Rebel crew with Harley, were Jean-Paul Crocker; Paul Jeffreys ; Milton Reame-James ; Stuart Elliott . The band collapsed in '74 and '75; Cregan replaced by Jo Partridge for the band's last tours before Harley dropped the 'Cockney Rebel 'and started a solo career

Harley himself had a reputation of being a very difficult and upfront guy, maybe that has a little to do with his first career as a journalist before he formed the band.

The song has been re-issued several times and remains the groups biggest selling record, and its last chart appearance was back in 2005 as a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the record, and he still performs and tours even to this day.

Other hits followed in 1975 "Mr Raffles" and "Black or White" and in 1976 "White,White Dove" all of which cannot be called classic records, so he then covered a Beatles record "Here comes the Sun" and had another good quality hit.

A few minor hits followed in the late 1970s, nothing that really stands up but Steve stayed focused on the 1970s by hosting for many years on BBC Radio Two a weekly 30 minute spot called the "sounds of the 70s". But he will always be remembered by a certain seventies music generation as the man that did it with attitude."

He in later years stared in "The Phantom of the Opera" and has recently said he does not like Wikipedia.



 Steve Harley Official website 
Also see Steve Harley Guitar Chords






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