Amen Corner

Hailing from Cardiff, Wales, this R&B-styled sextet comprised Andy Fairweather-Low (vocals) b.1948, Blue Weaver (organ), Neil Jones (guitar), Clive Taylor (bass),  Allen Jones (baritone sax), Mike Smith (tenor sax) and Dennis Bryn (drums). After hitting the charts with the bluesy "Gin House" in 1967, Fairweather-Low became a pin-up and the group swiftly ploughed more commercial ground with a succession of hits including "World Of Broken Hearts," "Bend Me Shape Me" and "High In The Sky." What the pop press failed to reveal was the intense power-struggle surrounding the proprietorship of the group, and the menacingly defensive tactics of their manager Don Arden. After all the drama, the group moved from Decca to Andrew Oldham's Immediate label and enjoyed their only UK number 1 with "Half As Nice" in 1969. After one final Top 10 hit, the energetic "Hello Suzie," they split. Ironically, their pop star career ended on an anti-climactic note with the inappropriately-titled Beatles' cover "Get Back." Lead singer Andy Fairweather-Low formed Fairweather and then went solo while Blue Weaver found his way into Strawbs. His keyboard work on their GRAVE NEW WORLD was particularly noteworthy. The brass section became Judas Jump. © 1996 Microsoft Corporation and/or its suppliers. All rights reserved.


This hard rock group was formed in Cardiff, Wales, by John Burke Shelley (b. 10 April 1947, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales; bass/acoustic guitar/lead vocals) and Ray Phillips (drums) in 1968. Joined by Tony Bourge (b. 23 November 1948, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales; lead guitar/vocals) the trio established a substantial following in the south Wales college and club circuit and were subsequently signed to MCA Records. Plying their trade in a basic, heavy riffing style, the standard was set with the first single, charmingly entitled "Crash Course To Brain Surgery." The vagaries of early '70s British album artwork were typified by the treatment given to Budgie's releases and promotional material, depicting a ludicrous image of a budgerigar variously posed dressed as a fighter pilot (staring nobly out into the far horizon), a Nazi Gestapo officer, or as a squadron of fighter budgies flying in formation, tearing into combat. Founder member Phillips quit in 1974 before the recording of their fourth album and was replaced by Pete Boot (b. 30 September 1950, West Bromwich, Staffordshire, England), who in turn departed that year before Steve Williams took over. The exiled drummer would form Ray Phillips' Woman back in Wales, then Tredegar in 1982. With the success of IN FOR THE KILL, Budgie won over a wider audience, although they were held in higher esteem in Europe during this period. Their sixth album, IF I WAS BRITTANIA I'D WAIVE THE RULES, their first on A&M Records, was the last to feature Bourge, who left in 1978, joining Phillips in Tredegar. He was replaced by former George Hatcher Band guitarist John Thomas. The group's popularity grew in the USA resulting in Budgie concentrating on touring there for two years. Returning to Britain, and now signed to RCA, Budgie found themselves fitting in well with the new heavy rock scene, and despite being label less for much of the mid-'80s, their reputation and influence on a younger generation of musicians brought them consistent work until Shelley wound up the group in 1987. He subsequently worked with a new trio, Superclarkes. Phillips would use Budgie's original nom de plume, Six Ton Budgie, for a new line-up featuring his son, Justin, on guitar, who still play out regularly with versions of his former group's standards. © 1996 Microsoft Corporation and/or its suppliers. All rights reserved.

The New York Dolls

One of the most influential rock bands of the last 20 years, the New York Dolls pre-dated the punk and sleaze-metal movements which followed long after their own demise. Formed in 1972, the line-up stabilized with David Johansen (vocals), Johnny Thunders (b. John Anthony Genzale Jnr., 15 July 1952, New York City, New York, USA, d. 23 April 1991, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; guitar), Arthur Harold Kane (bass), Sylvain Sylvain (guitar/piano) and Jerry Nolan (drums), the last two having replaced Rick Rivets and Billy Murcia (who died in November 1972). The band sported an outrageous, glam-rock image: lipstick, high-heels and tacky leather outfits offering their visual currency. Underneath they were a first rate rock 'n' roll band, dragged up on the music of the Stooges, Rolling Stones and MC 5. Their self-titled debut, released in 1973, was a major landmark in rock history, oozing attitude, vitality and controversy from every note. It was met with widespread critical acclaim, but this never transferred to commercial success. The follow-up, TOO MUCH TOO SOON, was an appropriate title—and indicated that alcohol and drugs were beginning to take their toll. The album is a charismatic collection of punk/glam-rock anthems, delivered with a chaotic coolness, that has yet to be equalled. It received a unanimous thumbs down from the music press and the band began to implode shortly afterwards. Johansen embarked on a solo career and Thunders formed Heartbreakers. The Dolls continued for a short time before eventually grinding to a halt in 1975. Jerry Nolan died as a result of a stroke on 14 January 1992 whilst undergoing treatment for pneumonia and meningitis. RED PATENT LEATHER is a poor quality and posthumously-released live recording from May 1975. © 1996 Microsoft Corporation and/or its suppliers. All rights reserved.


Originally recording as the 'N Betweens, this UK quartet comprised Noddy Holder (b. Neville Holder, 15 June 1946, Walsall, West Midlands, England; vocals/guitar), Dave Hill (b. 4 April 1952, Fleet Castle, Devon, England; guitar), Jimmy Lea (b. 14 June 1952, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England; bass) and Don Powell (b. 10 September 1950, Bilston, West Midlands, England; drums). During the spring of 1966, they performed regularly in the Midlands, playing an unusual mixture of soul standards, juxtaposed with a sprinkling of hard-rock items. A chance meeting with producer Kim Fowley led to a one-off single, "You Better Run," released in August 1966. Two further years of obscurity followed until their agent secured them an audition with Fontana Records' A&R head Jack Baverstock. He insisted that they change their name to Ambrose Slade and it was under that monicker that they recorded BEGINNINGS. Chaff on the winds of opportunity, they next fell into the hands of former Animals' bassist turned manager, Chas Chandler. He abbreviated their name to Slade and oversaw their new incarnation as a skinhead group for the stomping "Wild Winds Are Blowing." Their image as 'bovver boys', complete with cropped hair and Dr Marten boots, provoked some scathing press from a media sensitive to youth culture violence. Slade persevered with their skinhead phase until 1970 when it was clear that their notoriety was passe. While growing their hair and cultivating a more colourful image, they retained their aggressive musicianship and screaming vocals for the bluesy "Get Down Get With It," which reached number 20 in the UK. Under Chandler's guidance, Holder and Lea commenced composing their own material, relying on distinctive riffs, a boot-stomping beat and sloganeering lyrics, usually topped off by a deliberately misspelt title. "Coz I Luv You" took them to number 1 in the UK in late 1971, precipitating an incredible run of chart success which was to continue uninterrupted for the next three years. After the average "Look Wot You Dun" (which still hit number 4) they served up a veritable beer barrel of frothy chart-toppers including 'Take Me Bak "Ome," "Mama Weer Al Crazee Now," "Cum On Feel The Noize" and "Skweeze Me Pleeze Me." Their finest moment was 1977's "Merry Xmas Everybody," one of the great festive rock songs. Unpretentious and proudly working class, the group appealed to teenage audiences who cheered their larynx-wrenching singles and glorified in their garish yet peculiarly masculine forays into glam rock. Holder, clearly no sex symbol, offered a solid, cheery image, with Dickensian side whiskers and a hat covered in mirrors, while Hill took tasteless dressing to marvellous new extremes. Largely dependent upon a young, fickle audience, and seemingly incapable of spreading their parochial charm to the USA, Slade's supremacy was to prove ephemeral. They participated in a movie Slade In Flame, which was surprisingly impressive, and undertook extensive tours, yet by the mid-'70s they were yesterday's teen heroes. The ensuing punk explosion made them virtually redundant and prompted in 1977 the appropriately titled, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SLADE. Undeterred they carried on just as they had done in the late '60s, awaiting a new break. An appearance at the 1980 Reading Festival brought them credibility anew. This performance was captured on the SLADE ALIVE AT READING '80 EP which pushed the group into the UK singles chart for the first time in three years. Their festive "Merry Xmas Everybody" was re-recorded and charted that same year, (the first in a run of seven consecutive years, subsequently in it's original form). Slade returned to the Top 10 in January 1981 with "We'll Bring The House Down" and they have continued to gig extensively, being rewarded in 1983 with the number 2 hit, "My Oh My," followed up the next year with "Run Run Away," a UK number 7 and their first US Top 20 hit, and the anthemic "All Join Hands" (number 15). Slade are one of the few groups to have survived the heady days of glitter and glam with their reputation intact and are regarded with endearing affection by a wide spectrum of age groups. © 1996 Microsoft Corporation and/or its suppliers. All rights reserved.