Fame playing with Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings in 2009 Photo: Jacco Barth
|Birth name||Clive Powell|
|Born||26 June 1943
|Occupations||Musician, musical director|
|Instruments||Vocals, piano, keyboards|
|Associated acts||Bill Wyman's Rhythm
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 ]
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.
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".
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).
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.
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. 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. The station supposedly became the offshore pirate radio station, Radio Caroline.
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.