Andy McClusky (OMD)

English musician, songwriter and record producer Andy McCluskey was born 24 June 1959 in Heswall, Cheshire. He is best known as the singer, bass guitarist and co-founder of synthpop band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD). Within OMD, McCluskey is noted for his baritone voice, manic onstage dancing, multi-instrumentation, and unconventional lyrical subjects. McCluskey also founded girl group Atomic Kitten, for whom he served as a principal songwriter, and has collaborated with various popular acts. A pioneer of electronic music in the United Kingdom, McCluskey is an Ivor Novello Award-nominated songwriter whose work has topped charts in the UK and internationally.

McCluskey met Paul Humphreys at Great Meols Primary School, in Elwyn Road, and played with him in several bands, including Hitlerz Underpantz, VCL XI and the Id. McCluskey then attended Calday Grange Grammar School in West Kirby. McCluskey briefly joined Dalek I Love You as their lead singer, but left because he wanted to sing his own songs. McCluskey teamed up with Humphreys again to form OMD in 1978, achieving global success. Humphreys and the rest of the band split with McCluskey in 1989, with McCluskey retaining the OMD name: he disbanded the group in 1996. McCluskey single-handedly wrote the OMD hits “Enola Gay”, “Joan of Arc” and “Maid of Orleans”, and co-wrote the successful singles “Locomotion”, “Talking Loud and Clear”, “If You Leave” and “Sailing on the Seven Seas”.

McCluskey developed a popular and distinctive onstage dance routine, dubbed by the BBC’s Stuart Maconie as the “Trainee Teacher Dance Rock group ZZ Top, who shared a studio with OMD on a 1980 edition of BBC2 show The Old Grey Whistle Test, adopted the routine as part of their live set (and also played OMD’s self-titled debut album over the PA prior to concerts). In live shows, McCluskey often plays bass guitar and occasionally, keyboard instruments and guitar. He is right-handed, but originally learned to play bass guitar on a left-handed model. As a result, he plays with the strings “upside down” (i.e., with the lowest-pitched string on the bottom and the highest-pitched one on top), counter to normal practice.

McCluskey and Humphreys reformed OMD for a performance on German TV in June 2005, with the promise of more gigs to follow. 2007 saw the first tour of the reformed OMD, including Martin Cooper and Malcolm Holmes, commemorating the twenty-sixth anniversary of the release of their seminal album Architecture & Morality. The album itself was remastered and re-released to coincide. The band released a CD and DVD of their Hammersmith Apollo (London) live gig from the 2007 reunion tour in the spring of 2008 before undertaking a short tour to celebrate thirty years as a band in the autumn of 2008, concluding at London’s historic Roundhouse venue on 7 October 2008. A compilation of their singles and videos, Messages: Greatest Hits, was released to coincide with the tour. On 20 September 2010 Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark released their 11th studio album History of Modern, their first in 14 years.

In 1998, McCluskey founded the UK pop group Atomic Kitten. Their song “Whole Again”, co-written by McCluskey, was his first UK No.1, and he and his fellow songwriters were nominated for the Ivor Novello Award for excellence in songwriting. McCluskey was also a writer of the Atomic Kitten hits “Right Now”, “See Ya”, “I Want Your Love” and “Cradle”. He parted ways with the group during the recording of their second album, Feels So Good. McCluskey subsequently formed the White Noise records and publishing label where he worked with Liverpool girl group, the Genie Queen.He also bought a recording studio, the Motor Museum, in Liverpool.

McCluskey has written with, and provided session musicianship for, various artists. Some of his collaborators include: Gary Barlow, with whom McCluskey wrote the song “Thrill Me” for the soundtrack of the film Eddie the Eagle, The Lightning Seeds, for whom he played keyboards on their debut album Cloudcuckooland (1990); and Karl Bartos, whose record Esperanto (1993) – released under the Elektric Music moniker – features McCluskey as co-writer on “Show Business” and “Kissing the Machine” (and as lead vocalist on the latter track). Bartos also co-wrote the song “The Moon & the Sun”, which featured on OMD’s Universal (1996). “Kissing the Machine” would later appear in a reworked form on the OMD album English Electric

Curt Smith (Tears for Fears)

English American musician Curt Smith was born 24 June 1961, Bath, Somerset, England. Smith grew up in Bath, England, and lived on the Snow Hill council estate (subject of the track “Snow Hill”). He attended the Beechen Cliff School. He is best known for forming the band Tears for Fears, along with childhood friend Roland Orzabal. As a solo artist, he has released four full-length albums.Smith met Roland Orzabal when both were teenagers. They first formed a band in their teens, for which Smith taught himself to play bass guitar. They next formed the ska influenced band Graduate, releasing an album in 1980 achieving minor success in Europe. Smith and Orzabal also became session musicians for the band Neon. Fellow band members included Pete Byrne and Rob Fisher who went on to become the duo Naked Eyes. After Graduate and Neon disbanded, Smith and Orzabal founded Tears for Fears in 1981. Their debut album, 1983’s The Hurting, reached no.1 in the UK and produced three international hit singles – “Mad World”, “Change”, and “Pale Shelter” – each with lead vocals performed by Smith.

Their 1985 album Songs from the Big Chair was even more successful, yielding hits including “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (with Smith again on lead vocals), “Shout,” and “Head Over Heels” (which Smith co-wrote). The duo spent the next several years recording their 1989 album The Seeds of Love, which proved to be another international best-seller. Smith’s last single as a lead vocalist with the group (and his only lead vocal track on the album) was “Advice for the Young at Heart”. Following another world tour, increasing tensions between himself and Orzabal prompted Smith to leave the band in 1991 and he moved to New York.

In 2000, routine legal paperwork obligations led to Orzabal and Smith’s first conversation in nearly a decade. The two patched up their differences and, along with Smith’s associate Charlton Pettus, began writing a new album – Everybody Loves a Happy Ending – released in 2004. Prior to this, “Mad World” was covered by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules for the soundtrack of film Donnie Darko. It was released as a single and reached no.1 in the UK during Christmas 2003. The single re-ignited interest in the group’s earlier work and their 1992 Greatest Hits album was re-released and re-entered the UK Top 10 for several weeks, garnering its second UK platinum disc.

After leaving Tears for Fears, Smith released his first solo album, Soul on Board, in 1993. The album was unsuccessful in the UK, and was not released at all in the U.S. After moving to New York, Smith formed the band Mayfield with guitarist-producer Charlton Pettus and which also featured Russ Irwin. According to Smith, the name of the band was a play on words (Curt is Mayfield) based on the name of the legendary American soul singer Curtis Mayfield. The band was mostly a live act but did release a self-titled album in 1997, which met with little success. Smith later released the album Aeroplane under his own name. In the U.S., this was a six song EP, but in Canada and elsewhere, it was essentially the earlier Mayfield album combined with additional songs from the U.S. EP. In October 2011, Smith announced on his website that he will re-release the Mayfield album on 15 November 2011. The new release, on his KOOK Media label, will include a bonus version of the song “Trees” featuring Janice Whaley

In April 2007, French record label XIII Bis Records released Halfway, Pleased in France. Its 14 tracks included the original version of “Who You Are” (which was recorded by Tears for Fears on Everybody Loves a Happy Ending); a live version of “Snow Hill” from the 2005 Tears for Fears UK tour; the single version of “Seven of Sundays” (also recorded as a duet with French singer SO); and a cover of “On Ira Tous au Paradis” (also available on A Tribute to Polnareff). Two music videos were made for “Seven of Sundays” – one as a solo track, and one as the duet with SO. All the songs except “Seven of Sundays” were co-written by Smith and Pettus. The solo version of “Seven of Sundays” was co-written by Pettus and Chesney Hawkes; Smith released the album in the U.S. and the rest of the world in May 2008. The KOOK release features a slightly different track listing, eliminating the Polnareff tribute and adding two new acoustic tracks (“Coming Out” and “Seven of Sundays”).

Smith has made limited live concert appearances in the Los Angeles area to support Halfway, pleased. In January 2009, he announced that he will perform a weekly residency at The Standard Hollywood in West Hollywood, CA during the month of February 2009.In July 2013 Smith released his fourth solo album, his first since 2008. In January 2010, Smith released the standalone single “All Is Love (featuring Zoë Keating),” The second track in the series, “Perfectly…Still (featuring Universal Hall Pass)” was released in August 2010.mSmith occasionally collaborates with other artists. He worked with the French singer So (Sophie Saillet) providing vocals on her track “Les Autres”, and the pair worked together again on Smith’s track “Seven of Sundays” (Saillet also appeared in both videos for the song). Smith is also featured on The Shadow Bureau’s 2011 track “Don’t Give Yourself Away” with artist Linda Strawberry, inspired by the 2010 Australian film Griff the Invisible. Smith and longtime collaborator Charlton Pettus also composed and recorded the score for the 2011 film Meth Head, starring Lukas Haas. Smith contributed an original song, “This Is Christmas”, to an episode of the fifth season of the TV series Psych.

In August 2010, Smith debuted a live music web series, “Stripped Down Live With Curt Smith”,which he produces along with his manager Arlene Wszalek and Streamin’ Garage CEO Mike Rotman. Each episode is devoted to a single featured artist. The band or musician plays acoustic versions of their songs (the show is streamed live via UStream), Smith interviews them between sets. guests have included Hypnogaja, Carina Round, Chris Pierce, Peter Himmelman, Common Rotation, Gary Jules, All Day Sucker, The Daylights, Matthew Sweet, The Fallen Stars, Nightmare & The Cat, Whiskey Saints, Fitz & The Tantrums and Friendly Indians. In 1988, Smith appeared at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute performing “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, with accompanying musicians Phil Collins, Midge Ure, and Mark Brzezicki on stage.In 1989, Smith appeared onstage with various other performers at Stevie Wonder’s birthday concert at London’s Wembley Arena.

Smith has also tried his hand at acting. He had a minor role as a desk clerk in The Dead Connection (1994), had a more significant role as a professor in 2000’s The Private Public and made a surprise appearance to open Psych’s 2010 Comic Con panel, singing onstage with Psych co-stars James Roday and Dulé Hill. He appeared, in the “Psych” episode “Shawn 2.0”,and also wrote a variation of the opening theme. His single “This is Christmas” appeared in the episode “The Polarizing Express”. He again appeared as himself in the show’s 100th episode, “100 Clues”, and the episode “A Nightmare on State Street” as himself. In May 2009, Smith performed at the Artist for the Arts Foundation benefit at Barnum Hall, Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica, California. Performing live, alongside Colin Hay (Men at Work), Fee Waybill (The Tubes) & Venice (Crazy on You) and over 70 members of the Santa Monica High School (SaMoHi) Orchestra and Girls Choir. In 2014, Smith appeared in the horror film Crazy Bitches as a Police Detective.The song “Mannequin”, from the album Deceptively Heavy, was also used as the theme song for the movie.

John Illsley (Dire Straits)

Best known for being the bass guitarist with rock group Dire Straits, John Illsley was born 24 June 1949. Formed in 1977 by Brothers Mark (lead vocals and lead guitar)and David Knopfler (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), and friends John Illsley (bass guitar and backing vocals, and Pick Withers (drums and percussion), Dire Straits recorded a five-song demo tape which included their future hit single, “Sultans of Swing”, as well as “Water of Love”, “Down to the Waterline”, “Wild West End” and David Knopfler’s “Sacred Loving”.

The group’s first album, was intitled Dire Straits and had little promotion when initially released in the United Kingdom. However, the album came to the attention of A&R representative Karin Berg, working at Warner Bros. Records in New York City. She felt that it was the kind of music audiences were hungry for, That same year, Dire Straits began a tour as opening band for the Talking Heads after the re-released “Sultans of Swing” which scaled the charts to number four in the United States and number eight in the United Kingdom. The song was one of Dire Straits’ biggest hits and became a fixture in the band’s live performances.

The group’s second album, Communiqué, Was released in June 1979. It Featured the single “Lady Writer”, the second album continued in a similar vein as the first and displayed the expanding scope of Knopfler’s lyricism on the opening track, “Once Upon a Time in the West”. In 1980, Dire Straits werenominated for two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for “Sultans Of Swing. In July 1980 the band started recording tracks for their third album. Making Movies which featured longer songs with more complex arrangements, a style which would continue for the rest of the band’s career. The album featured many of Mark Knopfler’s most personal compositions. The most successful chart single was “Romeo and Juliet” and was released in October 1980.

Dire Straits’ fourth studio album Love Over Gold, an album of songs filled with lengthy, experimental passages, was well received when it was released in September 1982, going gold in America and spending four weeks at number one in the United Kingdom, its main chart hit, “Private Investigations”, gave Dire Straits their first top 5 hit single in the United Kingdom, where it reached the number 2 position despite its almost seven-minute length, and became another of the band’s most popular live songs. along with “Industrial Disease”, a song that looks at the decline of the British manufacturing industry in the early 1980s. In 1983, a four-song EP titled ExtendedancEPlay was released while Love Over Gold was still in the album charts. It featured the hit single “Twisting By the Pool”. Dire Straits also embarked on a world tour. A recording of two live concerts at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in July 1983, was subsequently released in March 1984 as the double-album Alchemy Live.

Dire Straits returned to the recording studios at the end of 1984 to record their biggest selling album to date, Brothers in Arms, which has so far sold over 30 million copies and contains the songs “Money for Nothing”, “Walk of Life”, “So Far Away”, “Your Latest Trick” and “Brothers in Arms”. Released in May 1985, Brothers In Arms entered the UK Albums Chart at number 1 and spent a total of 228 weeks in the charts, It went on to become the best-selling album of 1985 in the UK, “Money for Nothing” was also the first video ever to be played on MTV in Britain and featured guest vocals by Sting, who is credited with co-writing the song with Mark Knopfler, although in fact, it was just the inclusion of the melody line from “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”. Brothers in Arms was among the first albums recorded on digital equipment due to Knopfler pushing for improved sound quality The album’s title track is reported to be the world’s first CD single. The album is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first compact disc to sell a million copies, and has been credited with helping to popularise the CD format.

The sound of Many of Dire Straits’ compositions drew from a variety of musical influences, including jazz, folk, blues, and came closest to beat music within the context of rock and roll. Despite the prominence of punk rock during the band’s early years, the band’s stripped-down sound contrasted with punk, demonstrating a more “rootsy” influence that emerged out of pub rock. Dire Straits went on to became one of the world’s most commercially successful bands, with worldwide album sales of over 120 million. making them One of the world’s best selling music artists, and their fifth album, Brothers in Arms, has won many accolades. In November 2009, Dire Straits were honoured by the new PRS for Music Heritage Award. A special blue plaque was erected at Farrer House, Church Street, Deptford in south London, where the original group, Mark Knopfler, David Knopfler, John Illsley and Pick Withers once shared a council flat and performed their first ever gig in 1977. PRS for Music has set up the Heritage Award to recognise the unusual “performance birthplaces” of famous bands and artists. Dire Straits have also won numerous music awards during their career, including four Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards—winning Best British Group twice, and two MTV Video Music Awards. The band’ most popular songs include “Sultans of Swing”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Tunnel of Love”, “Private Investigations” .Dire Straits’ career spanned 18 years. There were several changes in personnel over that period, leaving Mark Knopfler and John Illsley as the only two original bandmates who had remained throughout the band’s career. Dire Straits disbanded in 1995 when Mark Knopfler launched his career full time as a successful solo artist.

Jeff Beck

English rock guitarists Jeff Beck was born 24 June 1944. He is one of the three noted guitarists to have played with The Yardbirds (the other two being Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page). Beck also formed The Jeff Beck Group and Beck, Bogert & Appice.

The Yardbirds were formed in London in 1963 and had a string of hits during the mid-1960s, including “For Your Love”, “Heart Full of Soul”, “Shapes of Things” and “Over Under Sideways Down”. The group launched the careers of guitarists Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, all of whom ranked in the top five of Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 100 greatest guitarists. A blues-based band noted for their signature “rave-up” instrumental breaks, the Yardbirds broadened their range into pop, pioneering psychedelic rock and early hard rock; and contributed to many electric guitar innovations of the mid-1960s, such as feedback, distortion and “fuzztone”. The bulk of the band’s most successful self-written songs came from vocalist and harmonica player Keith Relf, drummer Jim McCarty and bassist and producer Paul Samwell-Smith, who, with rhythm guitarist and bassist Chris Dreja, constituted the core of the group.

The band’s influence on both the music of the times and genres to come was great, and they inspired a host of imitators such as the Count Five and The Shadows of Knight. Rock critics and historians credit the Yardbirds with heavily contributing to, if not inventing, “the birth of psychedelic music” and sowing the seeds of punk rock, progressive rock and heavy metal, among other genres.

After the Yardbirds broke up in 1968, lead guitarist Jimmy Page founded what became Led Zeppelin, while Relf and McCarty formed the symphonic rock group Renaissance. The Yardbirds reformed in the 1990s, featuring McCarty, Dreja and new members. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.[9] They were included in Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”, and ranked No. 37 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.

Much of Beck’s recorded output is instrumental, Focussing on innovative sound, and his releases have spanned genres ranging from blues rock, hard rock, jazz fusion, and an additional blend of guitar-rock and electronica. Although he recorded two hit albums (in 1975 and 1976) as a solo act, Beck has not established or maintained the sustained commercial success of many of his contemporaries and bandmates. Beck appears on albums by Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Morrissey, Jon Bon Jovi, Malcolm McLaren, Kate Bush, Roger Waters, Donovan, Stevie Wonder, Les Paul, Zucchero, Cyndi Lauper, Brian May, Stanley Clarke, Screaming Lord Sutch and ZZ Top.

He was ranked fifth in Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and the magazine, upon whose cover Beck has appeared three times, has described him as “one of the most influential lead guitarists in rock”. He is often called a “guitarist’s guitarist”. Beck has earned wide critical praise and received the Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance six times and Best Pop Instrumental Performance once. In 2014 he received the British Academy’s Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. Beck has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: as a member of the Yardbirds (1992) and as a solo artist (2009).

Patrick Moraz(Yes) Clint Warwick(Moody Blues)

Musicians Patrick Moraz and Clint Warwick were born 24 July 1948 and 25 June1940 respectively they were both members of the Moody Blues and Moraz was also a member of progressive Rock band Yes, who achieved worldwide succes with their progressive music, mystical lyrics, elaborate album art, live stage sets and symphonic style of rock music. They are regarded as one of the pioneers of the progressive genre. They were Formed in 1968 by Jon Anderson and Bill Bruford and released two albums together but began to enjoy success after the release of The Yes Album and Fragile,which featured new arrivals Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman. They achieved further success with the albums Close to the Edge and Tales from Topographic Oceans.Wakeman was replaced by Patrick Moraz, who played on Relayer (1974). Wakeman returned on Going for the One (1977) and Tormato (1978). Anderson and Wakeman left the group due to musical differences amongst the band in 1980, and both went on to pursue solo careers. Their replacements, Trevor Horn and Stee Downes, featured on Drama (1980) and its supporting tour before disbanding in 1981. Howe and Downes went to form Asia.

Yes reformed in 1982 after Squire and White were joined by the returning Jon Anderson and T0ny Kaye, with the addition of guitarist Trevor Rabin. They adopted a pop rock sound and released the number one single “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and 90125 (1983), their best-selling album to date, followed by Big Generator (1987). Anderson left and co-formed the side project Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe with the named members in 1989. Following a legal battle amongst both Yes groups, they formed an eight-man band to perform on Union (1991) and its supporting tour. Rabin and Kaye featured on Talk (1994) before leaving, while Wakeman and Howe returned with Keys to Ascension (1996) and Keys to Ascension 2 (1997). Wakeman wasthen replaced by Igor Khoroshev, who was featured on Open Your Eyes (1997) and The Ladder (1999) along with guitarist Billy Sherwood. The release of Magnification (2001) marked the first album since 1970 to feature an orchestra.In 2002, Wakeman returned for the band’s 35th anniversary tour. The band ceased to tour in 2004, partly due to health concerns regarding Anderson and Wakeman. Following a hiatus, Yes restarted in 2008 with keyboardist Oliver Wakeman and singer Benoît David. After the release of Fly from Here (2011), which saw Downes returning on keyboards, David was replaced by Jon Davison, lead singer of progressive rock band Glass Hammer, on vocals. The band’s current line-up consists of singer Jon Davison, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, and keyboardist Geoff Downes, and they continue to perform to this day, more than 40 years since their formation.

Moody Blues-On the Threshold of a Dream

The Moody Blues formed on 4 May 1964, in Erdington, Birmingham, England containing Ray Thomas, John Lodge, Graeme Edge and Michael Pinder The name was a a subtle reference to the Duke Ellington song, “Mood Indigo. They released a single, “Steal Your Heart Away” in 1964 and appeared on the cult UK series “Ready Steady Go!” singing the uptempo “Lose Your Money (But Don’t Lose your Mind)”. But it was their second single, “Go Now” which launched their career & became a hit in the United Kingdom. Their debut album The Magnificent Moodies contained the hit singles “Go Now” and “Bye Bye Bird” together with one side of classic R&B covers. including a cover of “I Don’t Want To Go On Without You”,”From The Bottom of My Heart (I Love You)”, “Everyday”,”This is My House (But Nobody Calls)” and and “Boulevard de la Madeleine”.The group released the singles “Fly Me High” and “Really Haven’t Got the Time” in 1967 followed by “Love And Beauty” & “Leave This Man Alone”.

The Moody Blues were then offered a deal to make a rock and roll version of Antonín Dvořák’s New World Symphony, and although executives were initially skeptical about the hybrid style of the resulting concept album. Days of Future Past became one of the most successful pop/rock releases of the period, earning a gold record award. It takes place over the course of a single day & drew inspiration from the pioneering use of the classical instrumentation by The Beatles. It includes the songs “Nights in White Satin” & “The Sun Set” “Another Morning”, “Twilight Time”,”Peak Hour” and “Evening (Time To Get Away)”. The 1968 follow-up LP, In Search of the Lost Chord included the songs “Legend of a Mind”,”House of Four Doors”,”Voices in the Sky”, “Ride My See-Saw” and “The Best Way To Travel”.The 1969 album On the Threshold of a Dream contained the songs “In The Beginning”,”Lovely To See You”,”Never Comes The Day”,”Dear Diary” and “Lazy Day”,”So Deep Within You”,”The Dream”&”Have You Heard”. The band’s music continued to become more complex and symphonic,resulting in 1969′s To Our Children’s Children’s Children which was inspired by the first moon landing.and contained the songs “Higher And Higher” “Floating” and “Eternity Road” “Gypsy”,”Out And In” the two part “Eyes of A Child” and “Candle of Life””Sun is Still Shining”. and “Watching and Waiting”.

The Moodies had a somewhat psychedelic style and progressive rock sound, the group next album was A Question of Balance (1970) & contained the songs “Question” and “Melancholy Man”. For their next two albums, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1971) and “Seventh Sojourn”the band returned to their signature orchestral sound.These contained the songs “Procession”, “Story in Your Eyes” “Our Guessing Game”,”You Can Never Go Home”, “One More Time To Live”, “My Song” and “Nice To Be Here”. The Album “After You Came” (1971) featured “Isn’t Life Strange ?” “I’m Just A Singer (in A Rock ‘n’ Roll Band)”,”Sojourn”,”Lost in A Lost World” “When You’re A Free Man”, “For My Lady”, and “New Horizons”. In late 1972, a re-issue of the five-year-old Nights in White Satin became the Moody Blues’ biggest US hit.

The Moodies were also among the pioneers of the idea that a successful rock band could promote itself through their own label, so following the Beatles’ creation of Apple Records, they created Threshold Records. However it proved unsuccessful although They did lay the groundwork for other major acts to set up similar personal labels and distribution deals including The Rolling Stones’ own label and Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song Record label.In the spring of 1974, after completing a vast world tour that culminated with a tour of Asia, the group took an extended break and released a compilation album This Is The Moody Blues. Justin Hayward and John Lodge then released the album, Blue Jays, and a single, “Blue Guitar”. Mike Pinder released a album The Promise.” Edge produced two albums with guitarist Adrian Gurvitz, Kick Off Your Muddy Boots and Paradise Ballroom; Hayward composed the albums Songwriter, followed by Night Flight, Moving Mountains, Classic Blue, The View From The Hill and Live In San Juan Capistrano; Lodge released Natural Avenue; Pinder produced The Promise; and Thomas produced From Mighty Oaks and Hopes, Wishes and Dreams.

In 1977, the group reunited and despite many problems The album Octave was released in 1978 contining “Steppin’ in a Slide Zone” & “Driftwood”. Around this time Justin Hayward enjoyed a solo hit with the song “Forever Autumn” from Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. The next album ,Long Distance Voyager,was released in 1981 and yielded two hits, “The Voice” &”Gemini Dream”. and the band embraced a more modern, less symphonic approach, while still retaining a lush keyboard-led sound. The next album The Present yeilded the singles “Blue World” and”Sitting at the Wheel”. In 1986 they released the album The Other Side of Life, containing “Your Wildest Dreams”which garnered a Billboard Video of the Year award,as well as the songs “House of Four Doors”, “Candle of Life” and “One More Time To Live” “Here Comes The Weekend”, “Rock and Roll Over You”, “Love is On The Run (From Me)”, “The Actor”, “Dawning is the Day”, “You Can Never Go Home”& “The Land of Make Believe”.

The Moody Blues also performed live at the Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert 1986 which raised money for the Birmingham Children’s Hospitals, and also provided backup with the Electric Light Orchestra for George Harrison.The Moodies released Sur La Mer in 1988 containing the single, “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere”.In 1991 they released the album Keys of the Kingdom contained the songs “Say It With Love”, “Never Blame The Rainbows For The Rain”,”Bless the Wings (That Bring You Back)”,”Magic” “Shadows On the Wall” “Lean On Me (Tonight)”and “Say What You Mean.”They also played at the Montreux Jazz Festival and remained. a steady concert draw, They also made a series of recordings of their Night at Red Rocks concert.The next album Strange Times, was released in 1999 with the songs”English Sunset”,”Nothing Changes” and”This is The Moment”.The Moody Blues also appeared in one episode of “The Simpsons” called “Viva Ned Flanders”.In 2000, the band released “Hall of Fame”, a new live concert from Royal Albert Hall. In 2001, an IMAX film was released, entitled Journey into Amazing Caves. In 2006, the first five of the band’s ‘Core Seven’ albums ( Days of Future Passed to Seventh Sojourn) were re-released featuring bonus songs and previously unreleased tracks.Remastered versions of Octave, Long Distance Voyager and The Present soon followed. The Moodies also released a compilation of sessions recorded at BBC Studios, rarities & various TV appearances, entitled Live at the BBC: 1967-1970. The Moody Blues have sold more than 70 million albums worldwide and have been awarded 14 platinum and gold discs. As of 2012 they remain active and continue to tour,

Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac)

Mick Fleetwood from Fleetwood Mac was born 24 June 1947. The band were formed in 1966 in London. Founder Peter Green named the group by combining he surnames of two of his former bandmates (Fleetwood, and John McVie) from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Christine Mc vie joined the band in 1970 while married to John McVie, Green asked drummer Mick Fleetwood to join. Soon after, Green cotacted Fleetwood to form a new band suggesting McVie on bass guitar and even named the band ‘Fleetwood Mac’ as a way to entice him. Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood then enroled slide player Jeremy Spencer and bassist Bob Brunning. The band made its debut on 13 August 1967 at the Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival. Shortly after John McVie agreed to join the band. fleetwood Mac’s first album, Fleetwood Mac, was released in February 1968. The album was successful in the UK, though it did not have any singles on it. The band soon released two singles “Black Magic Woman” (later a big hit for Santana) and “Need Your Love So Bad”.The band’s second album, Mr. Wonderful, was released in August 1968. This was another -blues album, but with a few changes .

Sadly Peter Green left and In September 1970, Fleetwood Mac released Kiln House. Kirwan’s songs sounded more “rocky”, while, Spencer’s songs resembled the country-tinged “Sun Sound” of the late 1950s. Christine Perfect, contributed to Kiln House, by singing backup vocals, and drawing the album cover, and was asked to join the band. They also released a single at that time; “Dragonfly” b/w “The Purple Dancer” . At this time Christine Perfect was also married to bassist John McVie. an album of previously unreleased material from the original Fleetwood Mac called The Original Fleetwood Mac was also released. Then While on tour in 1971, Jeremy Spencer disappeared And joined a religious group, the Children of God. So the band hired Bob Welch as guitarist. In September 1971, the band released Future Games, which gained them many new fans in America. six months later the band released the album Bare Trees. Though mostly composed by Kirwan, Bare Trees featured Welch’s “Sentimental Lady”. It also featured “Spare Me a Little of Your Love”, a bright Christine McVie tune that became a staple of the band’s live act throughout the early to mid-1970s, sadly Danny Kirwan developed an alcohol dependency and became alienated from Welch and the McVies until Fleetwood eventually sacked Kirwan. The next two and a half years proved to be the most challenging for the band. In the three albums they released in this period, they constantly changed line-ups.

In September 1972, the band added guitarist Bob Weston and vocalist Dave Walker, and also hired Savoy Brown’s road manager, John Courage. Mick, John, Christine, Welch, Weston, and Walker recorded Penguin, which was released in January 1973. After the tour, the band fired Walker The remaining five carried on and recorded Mystery to Me six months later, containing the song “Hypnotized” which became one of the band’s most successful songs to date. However, things were not well within the band. The McVies’ marriage at this time was under a lot of stress, which was aggravated by their constant working with each other, and John McVie’s considerable alcohol abuse. During the tour, Weston had an affair with Fleetwood’s wife, Jenny Boyd Fleetwood, the sister of Pattie Boyd Harrison. Fleetwood soon fired Weston and the tour was cancelled.

Then bizarrely the band’s manager, Clifford Davis, claimed that he owned the name Fleetwood Mac and recruited a “fake Mac” consisting of Elmer Gantry (vocals, guitar), Kirby Gregory (guitar), Paul Martinez (bass), John Wilkinson (keyboards) and Craig Collinge (drums). Gantry and Gregory went on to become members of Stretch, Gantry later joined The Alan Parsons Project and Martinez eventually became a bassist for Robert Plant. Fans were told that Bob Welch and John McVie had quit the group, and that Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie would be joining the band at a later date. So Fleetwood Mac’s road manager, John Courage, hid the real Fleetwood Mac’s equipment, to shorten the tour by the fake band. But a subsequent lawsuit concerning the ownership of the name Fleetwood Mac delayed Fleetwood Mac even more, although the band was obviously named after Fleetwood and McVie they signed contracts forfeiting the rights to the name. The “real” Fleetwood Mac were in fact Fleetwood, Welch and the McVies. While this did not end the legal battle, the band was able to record as Fleetwood Mac again.

Fleetwood Mac, released the album Heroes Are Hard to Find in September 1974 and added a second keyboardist Doug Graves for the subsequent tour. Then Bob Welch left and while looking of a replacement Mick Fleetwood heard the song Frozen Love by Buckingham Nicks and liked it and later met guitarist Lindsay Buckingham at Sound City and asked him to join Fleetwood Mac and he agreed on condition that his musical partner and girlfriend, Stephanie “Stevie” Nicks, also join, Fleetwood agreed. Then In 1975, Fleetwood Mac released the album Fleetwood Mac. Containing the songs “Over My Head” and “Say You Love Me”, and Stevie Nicks’ “Rhiannon” and “Landslide” . Sadly by this point John and Christine McVie’s marriage, and Buckingham and Nicks’ long term romantic relationship both broke up and Fleetwood was in the midst of divorce proceedings from his wife, Jenny. This combined with the immense pressure to record another successful album led to creative and personal tensions, fuelled by high consumption of drugs and alcohol.In 1977 Fleetwood Mac released the classic album Rumours. Which despite the emotional turmoil the band were going through, won Grammy Award for Album of the Year for 1977. Hit singles included Buckingham’s “Go Your Own Way”, Nicks’s U.S. No.1 “Dreams” and Christine McVie’s “Don’t Stop” and “You Make Loving Fun”. Buckingham’s “Second Hand News”, Nicks’ “Gold Dust Woman” and “The Chain”.

Fleetwood Mac’s next album was the ambitions and experimental 20-track double album, Tusk, which contained “Tusk”,”Think About Me” and Stevie Nicks’ 6½ minute opus “Sara” . The band embarked on an 18-month tour to support and promote Tusk. including the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom and even shared the bill with reggae superstar Bob Marley. It was on this world tour that the band recorded music for the Fleetwood Mac Live Album(1980). The next album, 1982′s Mirage, following 1981 solo turns by Nicks (Bella Donna) and Buckingham (Law and Order), was more conventional and included The songs “Hold Me”,”Love In Store”,”Gypsy”, and Lindsey Buckingham’s “Oh Diane”, “Eyes Of The World” and “Can’t Go Back”. Following Mirage, Stevie Nicks released two solo albums (1983′s The Wild Heart and 1985′s Rock a Little), Lindsey Buckingham released Go Insane in 1984, and Christine McVie released her solo album featuring the songs “Got A Hold On Me” and “Love Will Show us how”.

Fleetwood+Mac+-+Tango+In+The+Night+(1987)Sadly there were further personal traumas Mick Fleetwood was declared Bankrupt and Nicks was admitted to the Betty Ford Clinic for addiction problems, and John McVie had suffered an addiction-related seizure—all attributed to their excessive lifestyles. It was even rumoured that Fleetwood Mac had finally broken up. However Fleetwood Mac recorded one more album for the time being, Tango in the Night, in 1987. Which become their best-selling release since Rumours and contained the songs “Little Lies”, “Everywhere”,”Seven Wonders”, “Big Love”. “Family Man”and “Isn’t It Midnight”. Lindsey Buckingham left and Following his departure, Fleetwood Mac added two new guitarists to the band,Billy Burnette and Rick Vito. Burnette had already worked with Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham and, Fleetwood and Christine McVie played on his Try Me album in 1985. Rick Vito, was a Peter Green admirer, Who had previously played with Bonnie Raitt, John Mayall, and John McVie. In 1988 Fleetwood Mac released a Greatest Hits album featuring singles from the 1975–88 era, plus two new compositions: “No Questions Asked” and “As Long as You Follow” And was dedicated to Buckingham by the band, with whom they had now reconciled. Following the Greatest Hits collection, Fleetwood Mac recorded the album Behind the Mask, which included the songs “Save Me”. The subsequent “Behind the Mask” tour saw the band play sold out shows at London’s Wembley Stadium, and Los Angeles.

Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks, both decided that the tour would be their last (McVie’s father died during the tour) and in 1991, both Nicks and Rick Vito left Fleetwood Mac altogether. In 1992, Fleetwood himself arranged a 4-disc box set spanning highlights from the band’s 25 year history, titled 25 Years – The Chain. Plus new songs, “Paper Doll”,”Heart of Stone” and “Love Shines” and “Make Me a Mask”. Mick Fleetwood also released a deluxe hardcover companion book to coincide with the release of the box set, titled My 25 Years in Fleetwood Mac, which featured many rare photographs and notes (written by Fleetwood himself) detailing the band’s 25 year history. The Buckingham/Nicks/McVie/McVie/Fleetwood line-up also reunited at the request of U.S. President Bill Clinton for his first Inaugural Ball in 1993. Clinton had made Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” his campaign theme song. Inspired by the new interest in the band, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Christine McVie recorded another album as Fleetwood Mac, with Billy Burnette on lead guitar, however he was replaced by singer/guitarist Bekka Bramlett and Traffic’s Dave Mason, who had worked with Bekka’s parentsDelaney & Bonnie twenty five years earlier. By March 1994, Billy Burnette, himself a good friend and co-songwriter with Delaney Bramlett, returned and the band, minus Christine McVie, toured in 1994, performing classic Fleetwood Mac songs from the initial 1967–1974 era On 10 October 1995, Fleetwood Mac released Time. Then Bramlett and Burnette left and formed a country music duo, Bekka & Billy.

In May 1996, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks made an appearance at a private party in Louisville, Kentucky prior to the Kentucky Derby. Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham composed the duet, “Twisted” for the film “Twister” with Mick Fleetwood on drums. The band reformed in March 1997. The regrouped Mac performed a live concert which was recorded as a live album, they also released the 20th anniversary of their Rumours album. In 1998, Fleetwood Mac (Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and performed at the Grammy Awards program that year. They were also the recipients of the “Outstanding Contribution to Music” award at the BRIT Awards(British Phonographic Industry Awards)

In 2003 Fleetwood Mac released the album, Say You Will, containing the songs “Peacekeeper” and “Say You Will” followed by a WorldTour. In 2009 Fleetwood Mac embarked on a ‘greatest hits’ show entitled Unleashed and Stevie Nicks wrote a song to raise funds for Hurricane Katrina. The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac was re-released on an extended two-disc format together with a new one-hour documentary, Fleetwood Mac: Don’t Stop. An episode of Glee entitled “Rumours” featured six songs from the band’s 1977 album Rumours sparking renewed interest in the band. Stevie Nicks’ released a new solo album In Your Dreams. Fleetwood Mac reunited for a 2013 sellout tour minus the late Bob Brunning, Bob Weston or guitarist Bob Welch and performed two new songs. (“Sad Angel” and “Without You”), The band released Extended Play, on 30 April 2013 and announced that John McVie had been diagnosed with cancer, and cancelled their New Zealand and Australian performances. However McVie’s prognosis was described as “really good.” In 2014 Christine McVie rejoined Fleetwood Mac and they embarked on a 33 Date North American Tour. In 2015, Buckingham suggested that the new album and the new tour might be Fleetwood Mac’s last act, although Mick Fleetwood was more enthusiastic.

Severn Valley Railway 1940’s Weekend

The Severn Valley Railway’s enjoyable “Step back to the 1940’s” event takes place on 24-25 June and 1-2 July 2017, giving visitors a taste of wartime Britain. I saw the Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight fly over the Severn Valley Railway Station at Bridgnorth at 2:58pm Saturday 24 June. There are a host of other attractions up and down the line, including a battle at Highley Engine House, costumed re-enactors at every station, military and Classic vehicle displays including tanks, DUKWS, jeeps, Scout Cars and many other 1940’s Vehicles. Musical entertainment including the Big Band Show, there will also be a Flypast by the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, possibly featuring an Avro Lancaster, A Supermarine Spitfire and a Hawker Hurricane. Winston Churchill & King George VI will also be in attendance. There is also a Dig for Victory garden and privy , more Classic vehicle displays , Replica air-raid shelter, Bombed out building , ARP post, ID card checkpoint, an Allotment, replica Operations Room, conscientious Objectors Display, replica air Raid Shelter and themed Replica Blackout Air-Raid shelter a Dig-for-victory Garden plus a Privy and a bombed out building.

The National Fire Service & AUxiliary Fire Service Vehicles Group will also be at the Severn Valley Railway’s Step Back to the 1940s event To display an array of firefighting equipment and take part in an exciting reenactment at Kidderminster Signalbox to demonstrate the vital work carried out by the National Fire Service and the Auxiliary Fire Service during the Second World War. Visitors to Kidderminster Station will also be able to Visit the Hairdresser to get ‘Victory Rolls’ or take Free Vintage Bus Rides and watch the Exhilarating firefighting reenactment each afternoon and a display of firefighting vehicles, courtesy of the National Fire Service & Auxilary Fire Service Vehicles Group. There will also be an All-new shop display at Kidderminster including a Vintage clothing stall, tobacconist and a sweet shop, an Air Raid Shelter and ARP Post plus many Vintage vehicles will be on display and Paul Harper will be performing 1940’s songs.

At Bewdley station there will be a Mechanical horse and vintage vehicle display, plus a Vintage stall selling clothing and memorabilia. At Arley station there will be a Hospital train housing the Royal Army Medical Corps Field Hospital, a Vintage caravan and vehicle display and a wartime wedding on the platform at 2.30pm. 1940s Crooner’, Kevin Mack, will also be entertaining with his repertoire of catchy and nostalgic 1940’s numbers. At Highley station and the Engine House There will be a Battle reenactment: set two days after the Normandy Invasion, and featuring a German Troop train which is about to be attacked by Allied Paratroopers and members of the French Resistance. There will also be a Vintage Marketplace in The Engine House selling memorabilia, nostalgic 1940’s clothing and Army uniforms, Wartime newsreels will also be shown, Paul Harper will be entertaining each morning. There will also be a Display of military vehicles adjacent to the signal box and the Allied’s Encampment next to the station. Visitors will also have the chance to see King George VI’s Royal Saloon on display in the Engine House.

At Hampton Loade station there is a German presence, and you may find their military civilian police demanding to see your travel documents and identity cards. There is also the Paddock Miniature Railway and Classic vehicles from the period will be on display, as well as motorcycles. Entertainment will be provided by the D-Day Darlings at Bridgnorth Station and the ‘Big Band Show’ at Kidderminster features a fantastic jazz orchestra alongside special guests playing tunes from the 1940s. The show begins at 7.30pm on both evenings