Mike and the Mechanics

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Mike and the Mechanics
Mike and the Mechanics 2012.jpg
Mike + The Mechanics in 2012
L-R: Ben Stone, Andrew Roachford, Tim Howar, Luke Juby, Mike Rutherford and Anthony Drennan
Background information
Origin Dover, Kent, England
Genres Rock, pop rock, soft rock
Years active1985–2004, 2010–present
Labels Virgin, Atlantic (US/Canada), Rhino (US/Canada), Arista, WEA, BMG
Associated acts Genesis, Sad Café, Roachford
Website mikeandthemechanics.com
Members Mike Rutherford
Anthony Drennan
Tim Howar
Luke Juby
Andrew Roachford
Gary Wallis
Past members Paul Carrack
Adrian Lee
Peter Van Hooke
Paul Young

Mike and the Mechanics (stylised as Mike + The Mechanics) is an English rock supergroup formed in Dover in 1985 as a side project of Mike Rutherford, the bassist/guitarist in Genesis. The band is known for hit singles "Silent Running", "All I Need Is a Miracle", "Taken In", "The Living Years", "Word of Mouth" and "Over My Shoulder".


Initially, the band included Rutherford, vocalists Paul Carrack and Paul Young, keyboardist Adrian Lee, and drummer Peter Van Hooke. After a decade together, Lee and Van Hooke dropped out in 1995 and were not replaced. Following Young's death in 2000, Carrack became the band's sole lead vocalist until 2004 when the band (essentially a duo at this point) dissolved, with Rutherford and Carrack both later saying the band had "run its course". [1] In 2010, the band was revived with Rutherford headlining a completely new set of musicians, including vocalists Andrew Roachford and Tim Howar.


Formation and commercial breakthrough

During hiatuses from Genesis, Mike Rutherford had been pursuing a solo career, releasing Smallcreep's Day in 1980 and Acting Very Strange in 1982. However, he found the process of recording a solo album excessively difficult, and the results artistically unsatisfying. He recalled, "I had a revelation, too, in this time period ... that I'm not complete on my own. ... I'm much more creative and inspired when there are other people around me and I'm bouncing ideas off." [2] However, he still felt that working only with Genesis would leave him unfulfilled, and to satisfy both his desire to create music outside the format of Genesis and his desire to collaborate with other musicians, he set about forming his own band. [2]

Rutherford had already started a songwriting partnership with Scottish singer/writer/composer B. A. Robertson, and for the band's self-titled debut album he enlisted the services of producer Christopher Neil. Besides producing, Neil co-wrote most of the songs, selected the material for inclusion, and performed backing vocals. He would continue to play a key role in the band's albums for their first decade of existence.

Similarly to Steely Dan, in the studio Mike and the Mechanics were not a tight-knit band but a vehicle for the songwriting of Rutherford, Robertson, and Neil, and session keyboardists, drummers, guitarists, and even lead vocalists often performed on the songs in place of the official band members. Indeed, the line-up of Mike and the Mechanics only came together over the course of recording their first album; Paul Young, who was recommended for the group by Neil and his manager, said that by the time he joined, all the backing tracks for the album had been recorded. [2]

Rutherford was more than satisfied with the resulting album and decided to continue the band indefinitely, rather than leaving it as a one-off project. [2] When the album was released in 1985, his decision was further bolstered by its immense commercial success. While Rutherford's solo albums had been moderately successful, he had never managed a Top 40 hit (except in Canada, where "Maxine" from Acting Very Strange reached No. 39); Mike + the Mechanics scored three of them, including two US Top 10s, "Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground)", "All I Need is a Miracle" and an additional No. 32 hit with "Taken In". [3] "Silent Running" was featured in the movie On Dangerous Ground, released in North American cinemas in 1986 as Choke Canyon . [4]


The single "The Living Years" (US#1, UK#2) became the band's biggest hit, and featured on the band's second album Living Years . The song was written by Rutherford and Robertson after both of their fathers had recently died, but the lyrics were written solely by Robertson and centered on the unresolved dissension between Robertson and his father. The song was sung by Carrack, who also had an emotional attachment to the song, having lost his own father when he was 11 years old. The album also featured the song "Nobody's Perfect", sung by Young; it served as the background music to a television advertising campaign for Tennent's bitter.

At this point Carrack began to take a much larger role in the band, joining their stable of songwriters and adding keyboards. The group's third album, Word of Mouth , followed in 1991. It was less successful than its predecessors, particularly in the US, but scored another trio of charting singles in the UK, with the lead single becoming one of their most popular songs yet.

Their fourth album, Beggar on a Beach of Gold , did not appear until 1995. It yielded both a UK top 40 hit in the title track, and a number 12 hit in "Over My Shoulder". The latter, which was their first hit to be co-written by Carrack, became arguably their most aired song on British radio.

Their run of successes was capped with 1996's Hits , which compiled most of their hit singles with a new reworking of "All I Need is a Miracle" that reached number 27 in the UK, a higher placing than that of the original version. The album was certified platinum in the UK within two months of its release. [5]


In 1995, the band began to fall apart: Adrian Lee and Peter Van Hooke left (before and after Beggar on a Beach of Gold, respectively), and Christopher Neil's long tenure as songwriter/producer for the group ended. However, Rutherford opted to continue Mike and the Mechanics as a singer/songwriter trio. The group's fifth studio album was released in 1999, Mike & The Mechanics . It is generally known as M6, the Hits album being their fifth release. As the band no longer had a distribution deal with an American record label, M6 was available to the American market as an import only. Its only hit, "Now That You've Gone", peaked at No. 35 in the UK. [6]

Another blow struck the following year: On 15 July 2000, Paul Young died from a heart attack. [7] The band regrouped in 2004 as Mike and the Mechanics featuring Paul Carrack. As implied by the new name, Carrack played a larger role than before, performing all the band's lead vocals and keyboards and co-writing all the songs. They released the album Rewired , which became their first album to lack a hit. Van Hooke briefly worked with the band again during this time, not as an official member but as a co-producer of Rewired. He also performed drums and percussion on the album and its tour.

Shortly after, Carrack became too involved with solo work to devote time to the group. In a 2007 interview Rutherford stated that Mike and the Mechanics had "run its course."

Second incarnation

Mike and the Mechanics at Sofia Rocks Fest 2011. Mike + The Mechanics - Sofia Rocks Fest 2011.jpg
Mike and the Mechanics at Sofia Rocks Fest 2011.

Over several months of 2009 and 2010, Rutherford formed a new band. Since there was no hope of the original group ever reforming, he opted to again use the Mike and the Mechanics name. In a December 2009 interview, Rutherford stated that "I'm actually doing a new Mike and the Mechanics album. I kind of thought I had put it to bed, but I still enjoy songwriting. Working with a few new co-writers and a couple of new faces for the band. Paul Carrack is doing some solo stuff, so we have a guy called Andrew Roachford, an R&B kind of singer. It's a little different, but the soul seems to be there." [8]

A new album, The Road , and the 'Hit the Road Tour 2011' were announced in November 2010. The album was released in April 2011. It featured both Roachford and Tim Howar on vocals, Luke Juby on keyboards, Gary Wallis on drums, and Anthony Drennan on guitar and bass. Though it became the first album not to feature B.A. Robertson as a co-writer, the album also marked the return of Christopher Neil as songwriter/producer. The tour included performances across the UK, Germany, and various other European cities. [9]

In April 2017, this incarnation of the band released another album, Let Me Fly . It continues to tour. [10]

In April 2019, Mike and the Mechanics released their ninth studio album Out of the Blue, [11] via BMG.


In a 1996 article for Q magazine, critic Peter Kane said that while the band 'fly in the face of fashion', their music has a 'basic decency' and 'unquestionably speaks to more people than many of us are sometimes prepared to accept'. He stressed, 'Mike and the Mechanics: they're quite good, really.' [12]


Awards and nominations

Grammy Awards

Year AwardedNominee/workCategoryResultRef.
1987 "All I Need Is a Miracle" Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals Nominated [13] [14]
1990 "The Living Years" Record of the Year (shared with Christopher Neil)Nominated [15] [16]
Song of the Year (for B. A. Robertson & Mike Rutherford)Nominated
Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals Nominated
Best Music Video, Short Form Nominated

Ivor Novello Awards

Year AwardedNominee/workCategoryResultRef.
1990"The Living Years"Best Song Musically And Lyrically (for B. A. Robertson & Mike Rutherford)Won [17]




Mike and the Mechanics

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<i>Acting Very Strange</i> 1982 studio album by Mike Rutherford

Acting Very Strange is the second and final solo album by Genesis guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford and the only album to feature him on lead vocals. It was released on 7 September 1982. Unlike the previous album Smallcreep's Day, Acting Very Strange uses a very raw and unpolished sound. None of the album's singles charted in the US or UK top 100, but the lead single "Maxine" did make US Billboard charts' Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart at No. 37. The song was also a top 40 pop hit in Canada, peaking at No. 39. The album itself was much more successful, reaching number 23 in the UK.

<i>Beggar on a Beach of Gold</i> 1995 studio album by Mike + The Mechanics

Beggar on a Beach of Gold is the fourth album by Mike + the Mechanics, released on 6 March 1995. This album contained three UK hits, the No.12 hit "Over My Shoulder", the No.33 hit "A Beggar on a Beach of Gold", and the No.51 hit "Another Cup of Coffee". All three songs charted in Germany as well, and "Another Cup of Coffee" was also popular in Russia; "Over My Shoulder" was particularly successful in France, reaching No.9. The album was certified Gold by the BPI for sales of 100,000 copies. Adrian Lee performed on this album as a session musician following his departure from the band, and this was drummer Peter Van Hooke's last album as an official member of the band as he left the band shortly after the album's release.

<i>Mike + The Mechanics</i> (1985 album) 1985 studio album by Mike + The Mechanics

Mike + The Mechanics is the debut album by the Genesis bassist and guitarist Mike Rutherford's band Mike + The Mechanics in 1985. The album reached number 26 on the Billboard 200 album charts and had three hit singles. "Silent Running", featuring lead vocals by Paul Carrack, and the uptempo "All I Need Is a Miracle", featuring lead vocals by Paul Young, both reached the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at numbers 6 and 5 respectively, with the former also peaking at number 1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The third single off the album, "Taken In", was a lesser hit, reaching No. 32 on the Hot 100 and No. 7 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Singles chart. "Silent Running" and "All I Need is a Miracle" were also hits in the UK, reaching numbers 21 and 53 in the UK Singles Chart respectively.

<i>Living Years</i> 1988 studio album by Mike + The Mechanics

Living Years is the second album by Mike + The Mechanics, released in 1988. The album reached number 13 on the Billboard 200 and number 2 on the UK Albums Chart.

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The Living Years 1988 single by Mike + The Mechanics

"The Living Years" is a ballad written by B. A. Robertson and Mike Rutherford, and recorded by Rutherford's British rock band Mike + The Mechanics. It was released in December 1988 in the United Kingdom and in the United States as the second single from their album Living Years. The song was a chart hit around the world, topping the US Billboard Hot 100 on 25 March 1989, and reaching number-one in Australia, Canada and Ireland and number 2 in the UK. It spent four weeks at number-one on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. Paul Carrack sings lead vocals on the track.

<i>Word of Mouth</i> (Mike + The Mechanics album) 1991 studio album by Mike + The Mechanics

Word of Mouth is the third album by Mike + The Mechanics, released in 1991. There was some overlap with the marketing of the album and the making of Genesis's We Can't Dance, with Mike Rutherford being committed to both. As such, there was no tour for Word of Mouth.

<i>Mike & The Mechanics</i> (1999 album) 1999 studio album by Mike + The Mechanics

Mike & The Mechanics is the fifth studio album by Mike + The Mechanics, released in 1999. As the name is easily confused with the 1985 album Mike + The Mechanics, it is also referred to as M6. It includes the top 40 hit "Now That You've Gone".

<i>Rewired</i> (Mike + The Mechanics album) 2004 studio album by Mike + The Mechanics + Paul Carrack

Rewired is the sixth studio album by Mike + The Mechanics, released in 2004. This was the first album released by the band following the death of the co-lead singer Paul Young. Partly because of this, the album was credited to "Mike + The Mechanics + Paul Carrack". It is the only Mike + The Mechanics album to date with only one lead vocalist.

<i>One Good Reason</i> (album) 1987 studio album by Paul Carrack

One Good Reason is the third solo studio album by the English singer-songwriter Paul Carrack, then a member of the supergroup Mike + The Mechanics. It was originally released in November 1987, on the label Chrysalis, five years after his previous album, Suburban Voodoo. In the interim between solo albums, Carrack had been a member of Nick Lowe and his Cowboy Outfit, which issued two albums in 1984 and 1985, and joined Mike + The Mechanics for their 1985 self-titled debut.

All I Need Is a Miracle 1986 single by Mike + The Mechanics

"All I Need Is a Miracle" is a song performed by English pop rock band Mike + The Mechanics. Written by guitarist Mike Rutherford and producer Christopher Neil, it was first included on their 1985 self-titled debut album, and later released as a single in early 1986 in the USA, where it reached number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was sung by Paul Young on both the original recording and the 1996 re-recording for the band's Hits compilation album.

Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground) 1985 single by Mike + The Mechanics

"Silent Running " is a song performed by Mike + The Mechanics. Written by Mike Rutherford and B. A. Robertson, it was the first track from their 1985 self-titled debut album. It was also released as the band's first single, peaking at number 6 on 8 March 1986 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and number 1 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, where it stayed for five weeks. It reached No. 21 in the band's native United Kingdom.

<i>Satisfy My Soul</i> 2000 studio album by Paul Carrack

Satisfy My Soul is the seventh solo studio album by the English singer-songwriter Paul Carrack, then a member of the supergroup Mike + The Mechanics. It was originally released in 2000 on Carrack's own Carrack-UK label.

<i>The Road</i> (Mike + The Mechanics album) 2011 studio album by Mike + The Mechanics

The Road is the seventh studio album by Mike + The Mechanics, released in 2011 by Sony Music. This was their first album to feature an entirely new lineup, retaining only Mike Rutherford.

<i>Blue Views</i> 1995 studio album by Paul Carrack

Blue Views is the fifth solo studio album by the English singer-songwriter Paul Carrack, then a member of the supergroup Mike + The Mechanics. It was Carrack's first solo album in seven years; in the interim period between solo albums, he had recorded one album as a member of Squeeze, one album as a member of Spin 1ne 2wo, and two albums as a member of Mike + The Mechanics. Blue Views was originally released in 1995 on I.R.S. Records in the UK and most other territories. In the US, it appeared on the Ark 21 label.


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