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Georgie Fame

Fame playing with Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings in 2009 Photo: Jacco Barth
Background information
Birth name Clive Powell
Born 26 June 1943 (1943-06-26) (age 66)
Leigh, Lancashire
England
Genres R&B, jazz
Occupations Musician, musical director
Instruments Vocals, piano, keyboards
Associated acts Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings
Blue Flames
Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames

Georgie Fame (born Clive Powell, 26 June 1943, Leigh, Lancashire) is a British rhythm and blues and jazz singer and keyboard player. The one-time rock and roll tour musician, who had a string of 1960s hits, is still a popular performer; often working with contemporaries such as Van Morrison and Bill Wyman.[1 ]

Contents

Early life

Fame took piano lessons from the age of seven and after leaving Leigh Central County Secondary School at 15, he worked for a brief period in a cotton weaving mill and played piano for a band called The Dominoes in the evenings. He also took part in a singing contest at the Butlins Holiday Camp, Pwllheli and was offered a job there by the band leader, early British rock'n' roll star Rory Blackwell.

Career

At sixteen years of age, he went to London and entered into a management agreement with Larry Parnes, who gave artists new names such as Marty Wilde and Billy Fury. Fame was already playing piano for Billy Fury in a backing band called the Blue Flames, which later became billed as "Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames". The band had great success with rhythm and blues. One young musician who opened with Georgie Fame on 26 December 1966 for three weeks in the "Fame in ’67 Show" at London’s Saville Theatre was Cat Stevens, who at that point had released only his first hit song, "I Love My Dog".[2]

Fame's greatest success was "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde" in 1967, which was a number one hit in the United Kingdom, and No.7 in the United States; Fame also had UK number one hits with "Yeh Yeh" (1964) and "Get Away" (1966).

Georgie Fame at Gröna Lund, Stockholm, 1968

He enjoyed regular chart success with singles in the late 1960s, having three Top 10 hits, which all made number one in the UK Singles Chart.[1 ]

Fame continued playing into the 1970s, having a hit, "Rosetta" (with Alan Price), in 1971. He suffered from some bad publicity, as a result of being convicted of possessing drugs and then being named as co-respondent in the divorce case of the Marquess of Londonderry.

Georgie Fame recorded "Rosetta" with a close friend, Alan Price, ex-keyboard player of The Animals, and they worked together extensively for a time. He has also toured as one of the Rhythm Kings, with his friend, Bill Wyman, playing bass.

From the late 1980s, until the 1997 album The Healing Game, Fame was a core member of Van Morrison's band, as well as his musical producer, playing keyboards and singing harmony vocals on tracks like "In the Days before Rock 'n' Roll", whilst still recording and touring as an artist in his own right. Morrison refers to Fame in a line: "I don't run into Mr. Clive" on his song, "Don't Go to Nightclubs Anymore" featured on his 2008 album, Keep It Simple. Fame appears as a special guest on Morrison's television concert show presented by BBC Four series on 25 April, and 27 April 2008.

Fame frequently plays residences at jazz clubs, such as Ronnie Scott's. He has also played organ on Starclub's album. He was the headline act on the Sunday night at the Jazz World stage at the 2009 Glastonbury Festival, this following a headline gig the night before at the Midsummer Music @ Spencers festival in Essex.

Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames were the only act from the UK to be invited to perform with the first Motown Review when it hit London in the mid-1960s.

Fame has also collaborated with some of music world's most successful music names. He played organ on all of the Van Morrison albums between 1989 and 1997, and served as the musical director as well as starring at Terry Dillon's 60th birthday party on 10 May 2008. Fame was also founding member of Bill Wyman's early band Rhythm Kings and he has also worked with the likes of Count Basie, Alan Price, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Joan Armatrading and the band The Verve.[3]

Radio Caroline

According to Ronan O'Rahilly, Fame attained a place in broadcasting history when O'Rahilly, who then managed him, could not get Fame's first record played by the BBC.[4] When he was also turned down by Radio Luxembourg, O'Rahilly claims that he announced he would start his own radio station in order to promote the record.[5] The station supposedly became the offshore pirate radio station, Radio Caroline.[6]

Personal life

In 1972, Fame married Nicolette, Marchioness of Londonderry, the former wife of the 9th Marquess. Lady Londonderry, née Nicolette Harrison, already had given birth to one of Fame's children during marriage to the marquess; the child, Tristan, bore the courtesy title Viscount Castlereagh and was believed to be heir to the marquessate. When tests determined that the child was actually Fame's, the Londonderrys divorced. The couple had one son after their marriage, James. Nicolette Powell died on 13 August 1993, after jumping off the Clifton Suspension Bridge.[7]

Views and advocacy

Fame is a supporter of the Countryside Alliance and has played concerts to raise funds for the organisation. [8]

Discography

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Hit singles

  • "Do the Dog" (1963)
  • "Green Onions" (1964)
  • "Bend a Little" (1964)
  • "Yeh Yeh" (1964)
  • "In the Meantime" (1965)
  • "Like We Used to Be" (1965)
  • "Something" (1965)
  • "Get Away" (1966)
  • "Sunny" (1966)
  • "Sitting in the Park" (1966)
  • "Because I Love You" (1967)
  • "Try My World" (1967)
  • "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde" (1968)
  • "Peaceful" (1969)
  • "Seventh Son" (1969)
  • "Rosetta" (1971)

[1 ]

Albums

  • Rhythm and Blues at the Flamingo (1964)
  • Yeh Yeh (1965)
  • Fame at Last! (1965)
  • Sweet Things (1966)
  • Sound Venture (1966)
  • The Two Faces of Fame (1967)
  • The Third Face of Fame (1968)
  • Seventh Son (1969)
  • Shorty featuring Georgie Fame (1969-live album not issued in the UK)
  • Georgie Does His Thing with Strings (1970)
  • Fame and Price, Price and Fame: Together! (1971)
  • All Me Own Work (1972)
  • Georgie Fame (1973)
  • Going Home (1974)
  • Right Now (1979)
  • Closing the Gap (1980)
  • In Hoagland (1981)
  • No Worries (1988)
  • Cool Cat Blues (1989)
  • Three Line Whip (1994)
  • The Blues and Me (1996)
  • Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison (1996)
  • Name Droppin': Live at Ronnie Scott's, Vol. 1 (1997)
  • Walkin' Wounded: Live at Ronnie Scott's, Vol. 2 (1998)
  • Poet in New York (2000)
  • Relationships (2001)
  • Charleston (2007)
  • Tone-Wheels 'A' Turnin' (2009)

Compilation albums

  • Hall of Fame (1967)
  • Fame Again (1979)
  • On the Right Track: Beat, Ballad and Blues (1992)
  • The Very Best of Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames (1998)
  • Funny How Time Slips Away (2001)
  • Somebody Stole My Thunder: 1967-1971 (2007)

References

  1. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 194. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.  
  2. ^ Calendar of Events, Cat Stevens 1966 Cat Stevens Concerts, TV & Radio gigs and other important dates Accessed 25 October 2008
  3. ^ Georgie Fame - information on music collaborations including Motown Review http://www.thepoint-online.co.uk/thepoint-702 Retrieved 01/09/07
  4. ^ Radio Caroline Story - the 60s OFFSHORE ECHOS
  5. ^ Don't Get Mad, Get Even History of Radio Caroline
  6. ^ The Offshore Radio Revolution in Britain 1964 - 2004 Created: 31 August 2004 - Published by the H2G2
  7. ^ Hoggard, Liz (24 September 2006). "High Society: Whatever happened to the last of the debs?". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/high-society-whatever-happened-to-the-last-of-the-debs-417273.html. Retrieved 13 February 2009.  
  8. ^ "Bryan Ferry to play Countryside Alliance Benefit Concert". http://www.roxyrama.com/classic/cgi-bin/2006/cginews.cgi?record=41.  

External links


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