The Rubettes

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The Rubettes
The-rubettes-2013-1383466330.jpg
The Rubettes in concert, 2013
Background information
Also known asThe Rubettes featuring Alan Williams (2000–Present)
The Rubettes featuring Bill Hurd (2000–present)
The Rubettes featuring John, Mick, & Steve (2019-present)
OriginEngland
Genres Pop rock, glam rock, rock and roll
Years active1974–1980, 1982–1999, 2000–present
Labels Polydor Records, State Records, Sobel Nation Records
Website http://www.rubettes.com/<Alan Williams> http://www.rubettesfeaturingalanwilliams.com<Alan Williams> https://www.therubettesuk.com/<Bill Hurd>
MembersThe Rubettes featuring Alan Williams
Alan Williams
Mark Haley
Laurie Haley
Glyn Davies
Spencer Lingwood

The Rubettes featuring John, Mick, & Steve
John Richardson
Mick Clarke
Steve Etherington

Contents

The Rubettes featuring Bill Hurd
Bill Hurd
John Summerton
Damian Fisher
Dave Harding
Chris Staines
Past membersSee Personnel section

The Rubettes were an English pop band put together by musician John Richardson in 1974 after the release of "Sugar Baby Love", a recording assembled of studio session musicians [1] in 1973 by the songwriting team of Wayne Bickerton, then the head of A&R at Polydor Records, and his co-songwriter, Tony Waddington, after their doo-wop and 1950s American pop-influenced songs had been rejected by a number of existing acts. [2] Waddington paired the group with manager John Morris, the husband of singer Clodagh Rodgers and under his guidance, the band duly emerged at the tail end of the glam rock movement, wearing trademark white suits and cloth caps on stage. [2] Their first release, "Sugar Baby Love" was an instant hit remaining at number one in the United Kingdom for four weeks in May 1974, while reaching number 37 on the US chart that August, [3] and remains their best-known record. [2] Subsequent releases were to be less successful, but the band continued to tour well into the 2000s with two line-ups in existence. [2] [4] [5]

History

Classic era (1974–1980)

The Rubettes' first and biggest hit was "Sugar Baby Love" (1974) which was a number one in the United Kingdom, going on to sell around 500,000 copies in the UK and three million copies globally. [6] With three more songs, "Sugar Baby Love" was recorded for Polydor in October 1973 at Lansdowne Studios in Holland Park, London, by a group of session musicians featuring the distinctive falsetto and lead vocals of Paul Da Vinci (born: Paul Leonard Prewer). However, Da Vinci did not join the others to become a member of the band put together by John Richardson, and instead pursued solo work, having signed a contract with Penny Farthing Records. [7] "Sugar Baby Love" was their only UK No. 1 and sole US Top 40 entry. [8] In November 1974, NME music magazine reported that The Rubettes, The Glitter Band and Mud were among the UK bands who had roles in a new film titled Never Too Young to Rock. [9]

The Rubettes, namely Alan Williams (whose vocals never appeared on the original 1973 recording of "Sugar Baby Love", but would front the group in 1974 and sing lead on all remaining songs), John Richardson, Pete Arnesen, Tony Thorpe, Mick Clarke and Bill Hurd, [10] went on to have a number of other top ten hits across Europe during the mid-1970s, such as "Tonight", "Juke Box Jive" and "I Can Do It" sung by Alan Williams, mostly written by the Bickerton–Waddington songwriting team. The Rubettes' success encouraged Bickerton and Waddington to set up State Records, so that ten months after the release of "Sugar Baby Love", the fourth Rubettes single "I Can Do It" was on State (catalogue reference STAT 1). [7] Two further singles, "Foe Dee Oh Dee" and "Little Darling", both minor hits followed on State records also sung by frontman Alan Williams.

In 1976 the band abandoned glam nostalgia to enter more serious territory. [2] "Under One Roof" (1976) sung by John Richardson was a portrayal of a gay man disowned and later murdered by his father; along with Rod Stewart's "The Killing of Georgie" (1976), it was one of the few songs that tackled the topic of homophobia. [2] Their most successful self-composed hit was the country rock styled ballad "Baby I Know" (1977) sung by Tony Thorpe, which reached number 10 in the UK and Germany in 1977. During this period the band continued to cater for the much bigger European market by continuing to release the more commercial pop singles all featuring lead vocals by Alan Williams [10] such as "Julia" (1976), "Allez Oop" (1976), and "Ooh La La" (1977). [10] The band became a quintet in early 1975 with the departure of Arnesen, and later became a quartet in mid-1976 when Hurd departed the band; to this day the original band has never expanded its line-up beyond four members. Whilst the band continued as a four-piece; Hurd joined Suzi Quatro's band, touring and playing on a number of worldwide hits, which included the Top 20 success "She's in Love with You" in 1979, before re-joining the Rubettes in 1982. [11] [12]

In another attempt to get away from the 'doo-wop' glam image, Thorpe insisted that the trademark vocal harmonies were left off of his composition, "You're the Reason Why". Gerry Shury and the band out-voted him. The version with no vocal backing has been available as a bootleg recording in certain parts of Europe. In 1979, Thorpe departed the band in uncertain circumstances; whilst the band has always maintained that he left due to ill health, [13] Thorpe himself has stated that he was fired over musical differences, while Alan Williams maintains there are always two sides to every story. According to Thorpe, Williams then insisted that all of his lead vocals were taken off the upcoming album Still Unwinding . (Thorpe can be heard on lead vocals on the last Still Unwinding track, "Does It Gotta Be Rock 'N' Roll"). His guitar parts and backing vocals remained. [14] After Thorpe's departure, the group's success began to dwindle. [2] The band replaced Thorpe with Bob Benham; but he departed shortly thereafter and the band dissolved in 1980. [15]

Reformation (1982–1999)

The band reformed in 1982, with a line-up consisting of Williams, Clark, Hurd, and drummer Alex Bines to exploit the German market for 1970s nostalgia. [2] This line-up remained relatively stable until 1999, with the only line-up changes being the departure of Clark in 1987, to be replaced first by Steve Kinch and then by Trevor Holliday, before he returned to the fold in 1993. In 1994, the group's profile was raised by the inclusion of "Sugar Baby Love" in the hit movie Muriel's Wedding . This song was also featured in the 2005 Neil Jordan film Breakfast on Pluto soundtrack, and in a popular Safe Sex commercial.

Separate projects (2000–present)

In 2002, the group hit the headlines once more when, following an acrimonious split and legal action, the Rubettes became the latest in a long line of bands (including the Beach Boys and Spandau Ballet) to end up in the courts in a dispute over ownership of the band's name. The court ruled that both Williams and Hurd could tour as the Rubettes, as long as it was clear which member was fronting the band. [4]

All was well until 2005 when Williams and Hurd were back in court following an appearance by Hurd's band on the German television station ZDF, with Williams claiming Hurd had breached the terms of the original agreement. On 2 February 2006, a High Court judge found that Hurd and Williams had both been guilty of breaching the 2002 agreement. Costs of the trial were, however, awarded to Williams in view of the severity of Hurd's breaches. [4] Hurd appealed against this decision, but on 3 November 2006 the Appeal Court in London ruled against him, awarding the costs of the appeal to Williams. [4] Hurd has since gone bankrupt. [4]

On 28 March 2008, "Sugar Baby Love" was declared to be the most successful oldie of all time by the German television station RTL.

In March 2012, Thorpe digitally released the No Hits, No Jazz Collection and performed at Darwen Library Theatre with a live eight-piece band for his '50th Anniversary 1-Gig-Tour'. It featured session musicians Iain Reddy, Liam Barber, Justin Randall and Greg Harper. [16] [17] "You're the Reason Why" was played. [16]

The Rubettes featuring Alan Williams

In 2000 Williams formed his version of the band along with Clarke, Richardson, and ex-Kinks keyboardist Mark Haley. [4]

In May and June 2008, The Rubettes were part of the 'Glitz Blitz & 70s Hitz' tour of the UK alongside Sweet and Showaddywaddy.

On 21 September 2014, as part of the Rubettes' 40th anniversary, it was announced that Alan Williams, John Richardson and Mick Clarke would return to the Olympia in Paris, the same venue at which the Rubettes made their first appearance in France in 1974 when "Sugar Baby Love" topped the French and European charts. [18]

In early 2015 this version of The Rubettes underwent their first line-up change when Mark Haley departed the band and was replaced by Steve Etherington.

On 15 April 2016 at 'Theatre Severn' in Shrewsbury, UK they embarked on their first ever solo theatre tour with 40 dates throughout the UK. then continuing on to the 'Arena Loire', Angers, France on 4 November 2016 the first of 60 appearances at major 'Zenith' venues in France and Belgium as part of the 'Age Tendre, Tournée des Idoles' Tour, cumulating at the 'Forest National' in Brussels, Belgium's biggest venue, on 17 February 2017. Their latest compilation album 'La Légende Continue' (CLCD003) was released to coincide with the tour 31 November 2016.

The band broke up in February 2019. A new Rubettes was formed with the original members John Richardson, Mick Clarke and Steve Etherington (producer/arranger since 1995). [19]

Alan Williams is still singing The Rubettes hits all over Europe with his new band, with Mark Haley ex Kinks returning on keyboards, Glyn Davies ex Alvin Stardust on lead guitar, Lawrie Haley ex Monkees on bass and Spencer Lingwood returning to The Rubettes featuring Alan Williams on drums.

The Rubettes featuring Bill Hurd

Following the dissolution of the original band; Hurd formed his version of the group with longtime drummer Alex Bines, vocalist Paul Da Vinci (who had performed lead vocal on "Sugar Baby Love"), bassist Billy Hill, and guitarist Rufus Rufell. Da Vinci departed the band in 2006 and was replaced by George Bird, and guitarist Rufell leaving in 2009 and replace by Ian Pearce. [20]

In June 2009, Bill Hurd's Rubettes played at the East Kilbride ArtBurst Festival. [4] [21]

In 2010, Bill Hurd's Rubettes covered the 1997 Thorpe composition "Where the Angels Fear to Tread" on their album 21st Century Rock 'n' Roll on Angel Air Records. [4] [22]

2013 saw the beginning of the most turbulent period in the band's history, as line-up instability was common for the next two years. First Bines, Hill, and Pearce all left the band to be replaced by Paul Callaby (drums), Ray Frost (guitars), and John Sorrell (bass) respectively; leaving Hurd as the last remaining 'founding member' of his version of the group left in the band. Late 2013 saw Bird depart the band to be replaced by Yvan Silva. By mid-2013 the band underwent a major personnel upheaval again, as everyone other than Hurd departed the band. The line-up then solidified with the arrival of vocalist Ken Butler, drummer Martin Clapson, and guitarist Dave Harding; with Mike Steed joining them on bass (on loan from The Marmalade) for a few months. The current line-up was completed in late 2014 with the departure of Steed and the arrival of Chris Staines in the bassist role. The band line up has remained fairly settled since 2014 with the only changes following the death of Ken Butler in 2018 saw the appointment of John Summerton (ex Flintlock) on guitar & vocals, and the arrival of drummer Damian Fisher in> https://www.therubettesuk.com<Bill Hurd>

The Rubettes featuring John Mick & Steve

Founding members John Richardson, Mick Clarke, and Steve Etherington decided to break away from Alan Williams, and formed the Rubettes featuring John, Mick, and Steve on 15 February 2019.

The band signed with Sobel Nation Records (distributed by Warner Brothers) and released a single on 20 June 2019 entitled "Ya Lovin' Rocks."

The band has their own radio station playing only music from John Richardson, Mick Clarke, and Steve Etherington. "Jukebox Jive Radio" is a licensed radio station located on the official website for the Rubettes ft. John, Mick & Steve at www.therealrubettes.com. [23] [24]

Personnel

Current members

Former members

Discography

Studio albums

TitleAlbum detailsPeak chart positions
UK
[27]
AUS
[28]
GER
[29]
Wear It's 'At
  • Released: 1974
  • Label: Polydor
  • Formats: LP, K7, CD
8532
We Can Do It
  • Released: 1975
  • Label: Polydor
  • Formats: LP, K7, CD
4131
Rubettes
  • Released: 1975
  • Label: Polydor
  • Formats: LP, K7, CD
Sign of the Times
  • Released: 1976
  • Label: Polydor
  • Formats: LP, K7, CD
Baby I Know
  • Released: 1977
  • Label: Polydor
  • Formats: LP, K7, CD
Sometime In Oldchurch
  • Released: 1978
  • Label: Polydor
  • Formats: LP, K7, CD
Still Unwinding
  • Released: 1978
  • Label: Polydor
  • Formats: LP
Shangri'la
  • Released: 1992
  • Label: Dice Records
  • Formats: LP
Riding on a Rainbow
  • Released: 1992 [30] [31]
  • Label: Dice Records
  • Formats: LP, K7, CD
Making Love in the Rain
  • Released: 1995
  • Label: Dice Records
  • Formats: CD
Other Albums

Singles

YearTitlePeak chart positionsAlbum
UK
[27]
AUS
[28]
AUT
[34]
BEL
[35]
GER
[29]
NET
[36]
NOR
[37]
SWI
[38]
US
[39]
1974"Sugar Baby Love"1211112137Wear It's 'At
"Tonight"1298133445
"Juke Box Jive"3468142We Can Do It
1975"I Can Do It"78975356
"Foe-Dee-Oh-Dee"158767Rubettes
"Little Darling"3072219
1976"You're the Reason Why"286227Sign of the Times
"Julia"
"Under One Roof"402830Baby I Know
"Allez Oop"25
"Dark Side of the World"Rubettes
"Rock Is Dead"Wear It's 'At
1977"Baby I Know"102534Baby I Know
"Ooh La La"16
"Ladies Of Laredo"
"Come on Over"Sometime In Oldchurch
"Cherie Amour"39N/A
1978"Little 69"37
"Sometime in Oldchurch"Sometime In Oldchurch
"Goodbye Dolly Gray"Still Unwinding
"Movin"
1979"Lola"N/A
"Stay With Me"N/A
"Kid Runaway"Shangri'la
1981"Stuck on You"N/A
"Rockin' Rubettes Party 45"
"I Can't Give You Up"
1982"Don't Come Crying"
1985"Rockin' Rubettes Party 45"
1989"New Way Of Loving You"Making Love In The Rain
"Megamix"N/A
1992"I Never Knew"Shangri'la
"Radio Mix"N/A
1993"Oh So Lonely"Riding on a Rainbow
2019"Ya Lovin' Rocks" (The Rubettes ft. John, Mick & Steve)N/A

See also

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Sugar Baby Love 1974 single by The Rubettes

"Sugar Baby Love", recorded in autumn 1973 and released in January 1974, is a bubblegum pop song, and the debut single of The Rubettes. Written by Wayne Bickerton and Tony Waddington and produced by Bickerton, engineered by John Mackswith at Lansdowne Recording Studios, and with lead vocals by Paul Da Vinci, "Sugar Baby Love" was the band's one and only number one single in the UK Singles Chart, spending four weeks at the top of the chart in May 1974.

Paul Da Vinci is a British singer and musician. He is best known as the lead singer on the 1974 hit recording by the Rubettes, "Sugar Baby Love", although he did not perform with the group at the time. He worked as a demo and session singer before and after his own successful solo career, which included the UK hit "Your Baby Ain't Your Baby Anymore", which peaked at number 20 in the UK Official Charts, week ending 17 August 1974 and number 54 in Australia. In the 80s, Paul sang most of the voices backing and lead on the Tight Fit hit "Back to the Sixties, Part 2", and performed on Top of the Pops with the group.

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State Records

State Records is a British independent record label, established by Wayne Bickerton, Tony Waddington and John Fruin in 1975. The label released hits by many successful artists including The Rubettes, Mac & Katie Kissoon and Delegation.

Tony Waddington (songwriter)

Anthony Brandon Waddington is an English singer-songwriter, record producer, film producer, screenplay writer, and creative media executive. He became well known, with Wayne Bickerton, as writer and producer of a series of UK chart hits in the 1970s for The Rubettes. He also received an Ivor Novello Award as "Songwriter of the Year".

<i>We Can Do It</i> (album) 1975 studio album by The Rubettes

We Can Do It is the second studio album by the English pop band The Rubettes, released on the State Records label in March 1975. The album reached no 41 in the UK charts and contained two UK top 10 hits – "I Can Do It" and "Juke Box Jive".

<i>Wear Its At</i> 1974 studio album by The Rubettes

Wear It's 'At is the debut album by English pop band The Rubettes assembled in 1973 by the songwriting team of Wayne Bickerton, then the head of A&R at Polydor Records, and his co-songwriter, Tony Waddington, after their doo-wop and 1950s American pop-influenced songs had been rejected by a number of existing acts. Tracks from this album also exhibited the doo-wop style. The album title was a reference to the group's wearing trademark white suits and white cloth caps on stage, a white cap being shown on the album front cover.

<i>Rubettes</i> (album) 1975 studio album by The Rubettes

Rubettes is the third studio album by the English pop band The Rubettes, released on the State Records label in November 1975, their third studio album release within 12 months. It was the last Rubettes album produced by Wayne Bickerton and Tony Waddington.The album contained two UK top 40 hits - Foe Dee O Dee and Little Darling.
In 1992, Dice Records (France) released the Rubettes' third and fourth albums as a double CD set. In 2015, Caroline Records released the album Rubettes, with three bonus tracks, as part of a box CD set of the Rubettes' first five studio albums.

Tonight (Rubettes song) 1974 single by The Rubettes

"Tonight" was the second single released by The Rubettes from their debut album Wear It's 'At. Written by Wayne Bickerton and Tony Waddington and produced by Bickerton, the single reached number 12 in the UK charts.

Juke Box Jive 1974 single by The Rubettes

"Juke Box Jive", by English band The Rubettes, was the lead single from their second album We Can Do It. As with their two previous singles, it was written by the songwriting team of Wayne Bickerton and Tony Waddington and produced by Bickerton. The single reached number 3 in the UK charts.

<i>Sign of the Times</i> (Rubettes album) 1976 studio album by The Rubettes

Sign of the Times is the fourth studio album by the English band The Rubettes. It was released on the State Records label in June 1976. The album represented a significant change in direction for the band, as it was the first not produced by Wayne Bickerton and Tony Waddington – instead the Rubettes took on production responsibilities themselves, with Alan Blakley as co-producer. The band made the decision due to the disappointing sales of their previous two Bickerton/Waddington singles and the desire to forge new musical directions.

<i>Still Unwinding</i> 1978 studio album by The Rubettes

Still Unwinding is the seventh studio album by the English band The Rubettes. It was released on the Polydor label in October 1978, just seven months after their previous studio album Sometime In Oldchurch. It was the last album the band released in the 1970s - their next album Shangri'la, despite being recorded in 1979, was not released until 1992.

<i>Baby I Know</i> 1977 studio album by The Rubettes

Baby I Know is the fifth studio album by the English band The Rubettes. It was released on the State Records label in April 1977.

<i>Sometime In Oldchurch</i> 1978 studio album by The Rubettes

Sometime In Oldchurch is the sixth studio album by the English band The Rubettes. It was released on the Polydor Records label in March 1978.

<i>Shangrila</i> (Rubettes album) 1992 studio album by The Rubettes

Shangri'la is a studio album by the English band The Rubettes. It was recorded in 1979, however was not released in its entirety until 1992, as part of the Rubettes "Albums 7 & 8" double CD set. Three of the album's tracks featured on single releases in 1979, with the other seven tracks remaining unreleased until 1992. It is regarded as the band's eighth studio album, despite being released after "Riding On A Rainbow".

Riding on a Rainbow is a studio album by the English band The Rubettes. It is the band's ninth studio album, despite being released approximately six months before the eighth album Shangri'La.

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