Shakin' Stevens

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Shakin' Stevens
Shakin Stevens 2013.jpg
Stevens in 2013
Background information
Birth nameMichael Barratt
Also known asShaky
Born (1948-03-04) 4 March 1948 (age 71)
Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales
Genres Rock and roll
Years active1968–present
Labels Epic
Associated acts Shakin' Stevens and the Sunsets
Website shakinstevens.com

Michael Barratt (born 4 March 1948), known professionally as Shakin' Stevens, is a Welsh singer and songwriter. He was the UK's biggest-selling singles artist of the 1980s. [1] His recording and performing career began in the late 1960s, although it was not until 1980 that his commercial success began. His most successful songs were nostalgia hits, evoking the sound of 1950s rock and roll and pop.

Contents

In the UK alone, Stevens has charted 33 Top 40 hit singles including four chart-topping hits "This Ole House", "Green Door", "Oh Julie", and "Merry Christmas Everyone"; his last Top 40 single was "Trouble" in 2005 apart from his Christmas song, which has re-entered the UK Top 75 chart each December since 2007.

In the music industry, the top 40 is the current, 40 most-popular songs in a particular genre. It is the best-selling or most frequently broadcast popular music. Record charts have traditionally consisted of a total of 40 songs. "Top 40" or "contemporary hit radio" is also a radio format. Frequent variants of the Top 40 are the Top 10, Top 20, Top 30, Top 50, Top 75, Top 100 and Top 200.

Fatherly Knows Best |work=|publisher=Miller Freeman Books|year=1998|url=http://www.reelradio.com/storz/index.html%7Cdoi=%7Cisbn=0-87930-547-9%7Caccessdate=20 September 2010}}</ref> Storz invented the format in the early 1950s, using the number of times a record was played on jukeboxes to compose a weekly list for broadcast. The format was commercially successful, and Storz and his father Robert, under the name of the Storz Broadcasting Company, subsequently acquired other stations to use the new Top 40 format. In 1989, Todd Storz was inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.

"This Ole House" is a popular song written by Stuart Hamblen, and published in 1954. Rosemary Clooney's version reached the top of the popular music charts in both the US and the UK in 1954. The song again topped the UK chart in 1981 in a recording by Shakin' Stevens.

Green Door 1956 single by Jim Lowe

"The Green Door" is a 1956 popular song with music composed by Bob "Hutch" Davie and lyrics written by Marvin Moore. The song was first recorded by Jim Lowe, whose version reached number one on the US pop chart. The lyrics describe the allure of a mysterious private club with a green door, behind which "a happy crowd" play piano, smoke and "laugh a lot", and inside which the singer is not allowed.

Early life

Michael Barratt, who would later adopt the stage name "Shakin' Stevens", was the youngest of 11 children born to Jack and May Barratt. [2] His father was a First World War veteran who by 1948 was working in the building trade, having previously worked as a coal miner. The oldest of his siblings were born in the mid-1920s, and by the time of his birth some of Michael Barratt's oldest siblings had already married and started families of their own. Jack Barratt died in 1972 at the age of 75. May Barratt died in 1984 at the age of 79. [3] [4]

Construction Process of the building or assembling of a building or infrastructure

Construction is the process of constructing a building or infrastructure. Construction differs from manufacturing in that manufacturing typically involves mass production of similar items without a designated purchaser, while construction typically takes place on location for a known client. Construction as an industry comprises six to nine percent of the gross domestic product of developed countries. Construction starts with planning, design, and financing; it continues until the project is built and ready for use.

Coal mining Process of getting coal out of the ground

Coal mining is the process of extracting coal from the ground. Coal is valued for its energy content, and, since the 1880s, has been widely used to generate electricity. Steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for extraction of iron from iron ore and for cement production. In the United Kingdom and South Africa, a coal mine and its structures are a colliery, a coal mine a pit, and the above-ground structures the pit head. In Australia, "colliery" generally refers to an underground coal mine. In the United States, "colliery" has been used to describe a coal mine operation but nowadays the word is not commonly used.

He grew up in Ely, Cardiff, and as a teenager, in the mid-1960s he formed his first amateur rock and roll band with school friends and became its vocalist and frontman. Originally named the Olympics, then the Cossacks, the short-lived band finally renamed as the Denims and performed gigs in the local Cardiff and South Wales area. In the late 1960s, Stevens was associated with the Young Communist League (YCL), the youth wing of the Communist Party of Great Britain through playing at YCL events. At the time the YCL was associated with several leading music industry figures, including Pete Townshend. However, Stevens has stated that the organiser of the gigs was a member of the organisation and that the band only performed because it was a job. [5]

Ely, Cardiff town in City and County of Cardiff, Wales

Ely is a district and community in western Cardiff, capital of Wales. It lies to the north of Cowbridge Road West, with Caerau to the south. The River Ely defines the eastern and part of the northern boundary. Ely is primarily dominated by current and former council housing.

Communist Party of Great Britain communist party in Great Britain dissolved in 1991

The Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) was the largest communist party in Great Britain, although it never became a mass party like those in France and Italy. It existed from 1920 to 1991.

Pete Townshend English rock guitarist of The Who, vocalist, songwriter and author

Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend is an English musician and songwriter best known as the lead guitarist, second vocalist, and principal songwriter for the rock band the Who. His career with the Who spans over 50 years, during which time the band grew to be one of the most important and influential rock bands of the 20th century.

Stevens married his wife, Carole, on 7 October 1967, and they had three children together. They divorced in 2009 after 42 years of marriage. At the time of their marriage, his official occupation was a milkman, and they lived in a flat which formed part of an office block in inner-city Cardiff. The office block was demolished several years later. [3] He is a lifelong supporter of his local football team Cardiff City. [6]

Milkman milk delivery person

A milkman is a delivery person who delivers milk, often directly to customers' houses, in bottles or cartons.

Cardiff City F.C. association football club

Cardiff City Football Club is a professional association football club based in Cardiff, Wales. The team compete in the Premier League, the top tier of the English football league system, as of the 2018–19 season. Founded in 1899 as Riverside A.F.C., the club changed its name to Cardiff City in 1908 and entered the Southern Football League in 1910 before joining the English Football League in 1920. The club has spent 17 seasons in the top tier of English football since, the longest period being between 1921 and 1929. The team's most recent season in the top flight is the current 2018–19 Premier League season.

The Sunsets

Stevens in 1976 Shaky in 1976.jpg
Stevens in 1976

Having worked as an upholsterer and milkman, Barratt performed on weekends in clubs and pubs. Having previously followed them as a fan and then as an occasional guest vocalist, Barratt joined the existing Penarth-based the Backbeats – originally formed in 1958 – as lead singer. [7] He was spotted by South Wales impresario Paul "Legs" Barrett, who proposed repackaging the band as a 1950s-influenced rock 'n' roll outfit under a new name. Michael Barratt agreed to choose a stage name, and so borrowing from old school friend Steven Vanderwalker, he chose Shakin' Stevens.

Penarth town in the Vale of Glamorgan, south Wales

Penarth is a town and community in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) southwest of Cardiff city centre on the north shore of the Severn Estuary at the southern end of Cardiff Bay. Penarth is the wealthiest seaside resort in the Cardiff Urban Area, and the second largest town in the Vale of Glamorgan, next only to the administrative centre of Barry.

Paul Barrett British singer, songwriter, actor, agent and manager

Paul Franklyn "Legs" Barrett was a UK agent and manager of 1950s style Rock and Roll artistes, an author and previously a singer, songwriter and film actor. Barrett is the discoverer, mentor and first manager of the singer now known as Shakin' Stevens during the 1960s and 1970s, but has also represented and promoted many more of the genre's greats during a long and varied career.

Fronting the newly named Shakin' Stevens and the Sunsets, an early break for the band presented itself when they were given a support slot for the Rolling Stones in December 1969. Despite landing a recording contract with Parlophone Records the following year and releasing a Dave Edmunds-produced album, the optimistically and prematurely titled A Legend, the group found success hard to come by, at least in their native Great Britain, though they had several hit singles in other countries. The band toured Germany, Belgium, France and the Netherlands in between UK dates.[ citation needed ]

Because they only achieved minor sales,[ clarification needed ] many of the Sunsets' records with Stevens have become collectors' items in the years following his commercial breakthrough; for example a copy of their single "Honey Don't" released in Sweden on CBS Records in 1973 sold for over £340 in 2013. [8] The Sunsets continue to perform, and still tour annually in the UK, Europe and Australia, fronted in recent years by Shaky's nephew, Levi Barratt.[ citation needed ]

Elvis! and a hit record

In 1977, after seven years of constant touring and recording, "Shaky", as he was also being called by this time, had been spotted during a London Sunsets gig by Jack Good who personally invited him to attend a London audition for his planned new West End musical Elvis! . Three actors were to portray Elvis's life during the course of the show and Shaky landed one of the lead roles, playing Elvis in his prime, charting his army and film star years, with young actor Tim Whitnall covering the earlier formative years and veteran 1960s singer P.J. Proby taking over the part for Elvis's 'Las Vegas' years. [9]

The rest of the Sunsets waited in South Wales, doing occasional performances with drummer Robert 'Rockin Louis' Llewellyn taking the frontman duties, but fully expecting Stevens to return to the band and recommence touring after the show's planned short six-month run. However, the expectations were overtaken by subsequent events. The media-wise Jack Good made sure that both the audition process and the early months of the show were widely and regularly covered by the British daily press and TV shows.

During the Elvis! show's highly successful[ clarification needed ] and then twice-extended two-year run Shaky made regular TV appearances, firstly on Good's revived British ITV show Oh Boy! and later on his follow-up 30-week-long series Let's Rock that was syndicated in 32 countries, including the United States. This led almost inevitably to his first major chart success with a cleverly re-worked version of a Buck Owens song "Hot Dog", which Owens would re-record using the arrangement created by pedal steel guitar player B.J. Cole. [3]

1980s and 1990s

In late 1979, Stevens signed what was to be his most successful management deal with Freya Miller, who immediately advised Stevens to sever his association with the Sunsets and continue developing a more lucrative solo career. [10] Under Miller's hand, in 1981, Stevens scored his first UK chart-topping number 1 with "This Ole House" and would follow up with 10 more songs reaching the top five, including three number 1 hits with "Green Door", "Oh Julie" and "Merry Christmas Everyone", while "You Drive Me Crazy" and "A Love Worth Waiting For" reached number 2 in 1981 and 1984 respectively. His 1984 hit "Teardrops", which reached No. 5 in the UK, featured Hank Marvin on guitar, and since then, Stevens has often featured famous musicians such as Albert Lee, Roger Taylor, Bonnie Tyler and more recently Tony Joe White on his recordings.[ citation needed ]

Chart successes also included his album Shaky reaching number 1 on the UK Albums Chart. In the mid-1980s, Stevens re-united with former producer Dave Edmunds to record an album Lipstick, Powder and Paint, and the Christmas smash "Merry Christmas Everyone", which was a number 1 hit in 1985. Its original planned release was put back by a year to avoid clashing with the runaway success of Band Aid's charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?", to which he did not contribute, having been out of the country touring at the time of recording. [11] Despite Stevens's chart domination over the previous few years, he was not invited to perform at Live Aid on 13 July 1985. [3]

However, Stevens was one of the celebrities to appear in an advertising campaign for Heineken in the late-1980s. The slogan "refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach" was confirmed in the advert as he stops shakin' after consuming the product.

In a Record Collector magazine feature, writer Kris Griffiths wrote: "This was Shaky at the very zenith of his powers and, perhaps, the breaking-point of marketing overload from which there is only decline. Such concentrated commercial success and ubiquity came with a price." [12] The hits continued but chart placings declined throughout the later 1980s and early 1990s. It was in the 1990s that Stevens took a lengthy break from recording and was stung by a court ruling that related to unpaid royalties from the Legend album, which had been re-released to some commercial success, requiring a substantial payout to former band members of the Sunsets. In 1999, Stevens returned to performing live and undertook tours all that year and the following year.[ citation needed ]

2000–present

Stevens performing live Shakin' Stevens.jpg
Stevens performing live

Stevens was convicted in January 2002 on a drunk-driving charge and banned from driving for two years. [13] In 2004, he had a further platinum CD-DVD album in Denmark and a gold album in South Africa.

In 2005, he returned once again to the charts in the United Kingdom with his greatest hits album The Collection, which reached the UK top 5. That year, he also appeared in the video to Tony Christie and Peter Kay's No. 1 hit single "Is This the Way to Amarillo", alongside many other UK stars, including Ronnie Corbett, Jim Bowen and Michael Parkinson. Stevens was the winner on the reality television show, Hit Me Baby One More Time . This was quickly followed by a re-release of his cover and his own biggest hit sung in the show, "Trouble" (covering Pink's version)/"This Ole House", which reached No. 20 on the UK Singles Chart in June 2005, his 33rd Top 40 hit in the United Kingdom. [3]

In April 2008, it was announced that Shakin' Stevens would be performing at 2008's Glastonbury Festival as the opening act on the Pyramid stage on Saturday 28 June, opening the day at 11 am to a capacity crowd. [14]

Chris Evans featured a special Shaky Week on his Radio 2 show during early March 2008 to celebrate Stevens's 60th birthday and later in 2008, Shaky embarked on a string of major concerts in the UK and Europe that started at Lulworth Castle on 4 July. On 24 August 2008, Stevens performed at a major concert in Poland featuring many European pop stars of the 1980s, including Kim Wilde and Limahl. The concert formed a part of the Sopot International Song Festival 2008 and was presented live on the Polish television channel TVN. Stevens followed his European tour with a short tour of Ireland and an appearance at London's O2 Arena, supported by a 10-piece band.

On 10 December 2009, Stevens appeared in court in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, charged with assaulting photographer Hugo McNiece at the Tullyglass Hotel in Ballymena on 3 December. [15] In January 2010, he was convicted of the assault and criminal damage in the case. He was fined a total of £300 and ordered to pay McNiece £479 to compensate for the damage to his camera lens. [16] His conviction was overturned on appeal at Antrim County Court in May 2011. [17]

In July 2010, Stevens was rushed to hospital after collapsing at his home in Windsor, reportedly from exhaustion brought on by the stress of working on a new album. [18] It was later revealed that Stevens had suffered a heart attack, which caused him to be hospitalised for two months, after strenuous work gardening at his home. [19]

Stevens fully recovered and, in 2011, he embarked on the early part of his 30th Anniversary Tour, [20] followed by a further 26 dates in the second leg later in the year, backed by a 10-piece band. In 2013 Stevens participated in the family history programme Coming Home and discovered information about the effects of the First World War on his family. [21]

Stevens appeared live on Radio X on 17 December 2015, on The Chris Moyles Show to promote his new Christmas Single "Echoes of a Merry Christmas" with proceeds going to the Salvation Army UK. [22] The original version of the song re-entered the chart in the Top 40.[ citation needed ]

On 16 September 2016 Stevens released his 12th studio album, Echoes of Our Times. The album was recorded at Berry Hill Studios, produced by Stevens and John David, who also engineered. He then, in 2017, proceeded on a 33-date tour of the UK entitled: The Echoes of Our Time tour, and on Twitter #Echoes. [23]

He performed a concert in Sri Lanka in October 2018, his first show in Asia. [24] That same year, he announced he would be embarking on a new tour of the UK and Europe in early 2019.

Stevens lives in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. [25]

Discography

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<i>Shaky</i> (album) album by Shakin Stevens

Shaky is an album released by Shakin' Stevens in 1981. Released at the peak of his popularity, Shaky was the first and, to date, only UK number 1 album for Shakin' Stevens. The album features three top ten singles, most notably Green Door, which enjoyed a month at number one during the summer of 1981. Despite Shaky's reputation as a rock and roll cover artist, the album contained five of his own compositions as well as the original song "You Drive Me Crazy", which spent four weeks at number two in the UK singles chart in the spring of 1981. A cover of "It's Raining", released in the autumn, also managed to reach the top ten in the UK.

Shakin Stevens and the Sunsets

Shakin' Stevens and the Sunsets were a rock and roll group formed in Cardiff, Wales in 1969. Although most notable now for their lead singer Shakin' Stevens, who went on to become one of the UK's most popular artists of the 1980s, the band released several records and toured extensively throughout the 1970s. A version of the Sunsets, containing original members, still tours annually in the UK, Europe and Australia.

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Shakin Stevens discography

The discography of Welsh rock and roll singer Shakin' Stevens consists of twenty studio albums, twenty-one compilation albums, sixty-nine singles, three box sets, five video albums and thirty-seven music videos. Although the singer enjoyed his greatest period of success throughout the 1980s while recording for Epic Records, during the 1970s he was the lead vocalist for Shakin' Stevens and the Sunsets and had records issued by a variety of labels including Parlophone, CBS and Polydor in the UK and Pink Elephant and Dynamite in Europe.

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<i>The Epic Masters</i> compilation album by Shakin Stevens

The Epic Masters is a box set compilation comprising ten remastered albums by Shakin' Stevens. Released on 16 November 2009, the set contains nine albums originally released by Epic Records between 1980 and 1990, plus an exclusive CD of 12" extended mixes. The set was also made available as a download through iTunes.

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References

  1. Caroline Sullivan (22 December 2005). "Shakin' Stevens, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London". The Guardian . Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  2. "Shakin Stevens: Echoes Of Our Times". HuffingtonPost.co.uk. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Heatley, Michael (2005). Shaky – The Biography of Shakin' Stevens. Michael O'Mara Books Ltd. p. 240pages. ISBN   1-84317-177-5.
  4. Stevens' bio, Imeem.com; accessed 2 October 2014.
  5. Simpson, Dave (14 September 2016). "Shakin' Stevens: 'I'm like a Skittle. If I get knocked down I get back up again'". The Guardian .
  6. Cardiff City F.C. profile Archived 26 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine , The-football-club.com; accessed 2 October 2014.
  7. "The Sunsets Biog". Thesunsets.co.uk. Archived from the original on 3 August 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  8. "Shakin Stevens - Honey Don't *Very Rare Swedish 45* - auction details". Popsike.com. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  9. Elvis lead roles, Fumbleontheweb.com; accessed 2 October 2014.
  10. "SHAKIN' STEVENS AND THE KANGAROO - StoryVault". Storyvault.com. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  11. Brown, Laurence. "7 British Christmas Songs That Somehow Never Made it Big in the US". Lostinthepond.com. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  12. "Record Collector | Shakin' Stevens – Shakin' All Over Again". Recordcollectormag.com. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  13. "BBC News - WALES - Shaky gets two-year driving ban". BBC.co.uk. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  14. "Shakin' Stevens at Glastonbury 2008", Guardian.co.uk; accessed 2 October 2014.
  15. "Shakin' Stevens faces assault charge". Belfasttelegraph.co.uk. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  16. "Shakin' Stevens guilty of assault". Belfasttelegraph.co.uk. 12 January 2010. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  17. "BBC News – Shakin' Stevens wins Ballymena assault appeal". Bbc.co.uk. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  18. "'Exhausted' Shakin' Stevens rushed to hospital after collapsing at home". Dailymail.co.uk.
  19. "Shakin Stevens: How I nearly died from a heart attack". The Daily Record . Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  20. 2011 Tour, Warwickcourier.co.uk; accessed 2 October 2014.
  21. "BBC One – Coming Home – Episodeguide" . Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  22. "Music Icon Shakin' Stevens teams up with The Salvation Army to re-record 'Merry Christmas Everyone'" . Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  23. "Shakin' Stevens Announces New Album, "Echoes Of Our Times"". Vintagevinylnews.com. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  24. "Gold FM homepage announces concert" . Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  25. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 April 2017. Retrieved 30 October 2018.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)