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Georgie Fame
Pride of Manchester's guide to...  
born Clive Powell, in Leigh, in 1943
Biggest Songs...
Get Away listen to soundbites - UK no.1 (Jun 1966)
Yeh Yeh listen to soundbites - UK no.1 (Dec 1964)
Ballad Of Bonnie & Clyde listen to soundbites - UK no.1 (Dec 1967)
Pride Of Manchester's Guide to Manchester Music
Buy Georgie Fame 's Right Now
Georgie Fame

Clive Powell was born in Leigh, Greater Manchester, on 26th June 1943. He started playing piano at an early age for various local groups, including The Dominoes (named after his hero, Fats Domino), before he moved to London in 1959.

Songwriter, Lionel Bart, spotted the brilliant 16 year old and recommended him to pop manager, Larry Parnes, who immediately signed the youngster, renaming him Georgie Fame in the process.

Georgie played piano in many of Larry Parne's backing bands for the likes of Marty Wilde and Vince Eager before joining Billy Fury's The Blue Flames in June 1961. When Billy Fury replaced The Blue Flames with The Tornadoes, Georgie decided to front the band himself.

Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames secured a residency at a London jazz club called The Flamingo where they built up a huge following, earning a contract with EMI 1963. They recorded their debut album, "Rhythm & Blues At The Flamingo", live at the club although it was released without success. The album, along with the "Rhythm & Bluebeat" EP, featured West Indian set-works that had been in his stage set since1962.

The follow-up album, "Fame At Last", reached No 15 in the UK Album Charts (1964) and spawned Georgie's first hit single; his cover of Jon Hendrick's "Yeh Yeh". reached UK Number 1 (it reached No.21 in USA) and sold over a million copies, knocking The Beatles' "I Feel Fine" off the Number One spot after a six week stint.

Hit single after hit single followed; "In The Meantime" (No.22), "Like We Used To Be" (No.33) and a cover of John Mayall's "Something" (No.23) were surpased by Georgie's second UK Number 1, "Getaway" in 1965, whilst his cover of Bobby Hebb's "Sunny" reached Number 13.

Despite their early success, Georgie Fame disbanded The Blue Flames in 1966 to pursue a solo career. With backing musicians including the brilliant John McLaughlin, Jon Hiseman and Mitch Mitchell, he adapted a less complimentary commercial pop sound. Meanwhile ex-Blue Flame, Mitch Mitchell, joined the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

His first single with the new line-up, a cover of Billy Stewart's "Sitting In The Park" reached Number 12 and heralded the Top Ten album, "Sweet Thing" (UK No.6) which noted Jazz legends Stan Tracey and Tubby Hayes. The follow-up singles also scored chart success; "Because I Love You" reached No.15 although "Try My World" failed to go any higher than No.37.

His next albums also scored impressive chart success; "Sound Venture", reached Number 9 in the UK, whilst "Hall Of Fame" charted at Number 12. His 1967 "Two Faces Of Fame" album was recorded both live and in the studio, capturing both sides of Georgie at his best. It reached No.22. He also performed with the Count Basie Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Inspired by the movie 'Bonnie & Clyde', Georgie recorded "The Ballard of Bonnie & Clyde" in December 1967, and despite his rather annoying false American accent, scored his third UK No 1 hit single (No.7 in USA), becoming his all-time best-seller in the process, shifting over a million copies. It was also included on the album "The Third Face Of Fame".

In 1968, Georgie sang the theme song for the Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton film, 'Goforth'. The singles "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" and the UK No.16 hit, "Peaceful", followed whilst the 1969, No.25 single "Seventh Son" was included on the album of the same name, which also spawned "Somebody Stole My Thunder".

"Fire and Rain" failed to break the singles chart whilst the albums "Georgie Fame Does His Own Things With Strings" (1969), and "Going Home" (1971) also flopped.

Teaming up with organist Alan Price (ex-Animals), Georgie continued to release very lightweight pop singles, and their album "Fame and Price" failed to sell as a result. The partnership was ended in 1973 after three mediocre singles (the UK Number 11 "Rosetta", "Follow Me" and "Don't Hit Me When I'm Done").

The albums "All Me Own Work" and "Fame Again" failed to sell as did a string of singles and possibly as a result of heavy criticism, poor sales and a dwindling fan-base, Georgie decided to revive his old R&B days. He re-instated The Blue Flames (of which only Colin Green remained from the original line-up) and signed to Island Records releasing the album, "Georgie Fame", to little success in 1974. The band again fizzled out without failing to rediscover any of their original roots.

Disappearing from the public eye, Georgie even took to writing jingles for television advertisements and appeared in coffee commercials whilst his albums, "Daylight" (1977), "Right Now", "That's What Friends Are For" (both '79), and "Closing The Gap" (1979) all failed to sell.

The 1980's saw Georgie Fame strengthen his jazz connections and the 1981 "In Hoagland" album included a collaboration with Hoagy Carmichael and Anne Rice. The 1985 "Together" album was soon followed by a further collaboration, this time with Lena Ericson and Lasse Samuelson. 1988's "No Worries" and "Selection Of Standards" failed to win any recognition, although he did reappear in a television advertisement for orange juice. He did however return in 1991, better than ever, with "Cool Cat Blues".

1995's "Three Line Whip" saw Georgie form an interesting collaboration with his sons, James and Tristan, whilst "The Blues & Me" in 1996 also won praise. It was his work as keyboard player and musical producer for Van Morrsion however that pushed the talented musician back into the limelight. Together they recorded "How Long Has This Been Going On" and "Songs Of Mose Allison: Tell Me Something" whilst Georgie has also contributed to all of the Irish star's albums since 1990. These include "Enlightment", "Hymns To The Silence", "Too Long In Exile", and "Healing Game".

1997 saw Georgie release "Go Jazz Stars" with Ben Sidran and he also recorded three tracks ("Melody", "Motorvatin' Mama" and the brilliant "Hole In My Soul") with Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings for the amazing "Struttin' Our Stuff" album before releasing the highly acclaimed CD's "Name Droppin'" and the live "Walking Wounded" in 1998.

Georgie Fame's music can not be labelled as either jazz nor rythm and blues - it is somewhere between the two, and his albums in the 1990's have gathered fans from all musical tastes.

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