Here you will find some short biographies (biogz) of solo artists whose surname commences with this letter or bands with names commencing with this letter (omitting any commonly used prefix such as 'The').
Click on the name below or scroll down the page at your leisure.
Dino "Dappy" Contostavlos Tula "Tulisa" Contostavlos Richard "Fazer" Rawson
Controversial British Hip-Hop band from the Camden Town area of London formed in 2000 and made their debut appearance in Scotland at Velocity on Saturday 31st January 2009. After the gig, Dappy and Fazer were escorted from their British Airways flight from Edinburgh to London by police after it touched down, after allegedly threatening other passengers. A source told The Sun newspaper "They were swearing at kids on the plane, being foul and threatening passengers. Cabin crew called ahead to the police, who were waiting when the plane landed. They were taken away by armed officers.
They have recorded and released three albums: 'Uncle B' (2008), 'Against All Odds' (2009) & 'Love.Live.Life' (2010). They won the MOBO 'Best UK Newcomer' award (2007), 'Best UK Act' (2009) 'Best Album' (2009) & 'Best Song' (2010) amongst others.
N-Dubz performance at Velocity Saturday 31st January 2009
N-trance were formed in 1990 by Kevin O' Toole & Dale Longworth who were then students studying sound engineering in Manchester. At first it was just an excuse for four or five students to get a load of free studio time & to mess about with all the college's equipment but after a while they began to produce stuff which they thought was comparable to what was in the charts at the time (with the 'rave' scene just taking off in the U.K.).
They made their first demo tape in 1991(a dance version of the theme from the childrens t.v. cartoon 'Roobarb'!), which failed to get any reaction from record companies, so they decided to try something a bit more serious. The next track to be demo'd was 'Back to the bass', a hardcore, sample-laden tune which brought them to the attention of Dead dead good records (Charlatans, Oceanic etc.). Just as they were about to sign for DDG, Pete Waterman heard the song and he came in with a better offer and the band signed to PWL's Manchester company 380 Records.
Back to the bass was re-recorded at PWL in London and was then put on hold because of sample problems. By this time the band had recorded four or five new songs, one of which being 'Set you free' featuring Kelly Llorenna (from the same college as Kev & Dale). PWL decided to put this song out and white labels were pressed and a release date set. Due to unknown problems at 380 Records the release of 'Set you free' was postponed a number of times during the next twelve months until eventually the band had had enough and they split from the record company.
In 1993 N-trance signed to new label All around the world (Love decade, 2 for joy etc.) and 'Set you free' was at last released, reaching the dizzy heights of number 81! During this time the band had started to gig regularly and the reaction to 'Set you free' in clubs (especially in Scotland) was phenomenal. This led to the song's second release, which actually made the top 40 (number 39!). The follow up to this was the more Euro style 'Turn up the power', which featured Rachel Mcfarland (later of Loveland) and rapper T-1k. This reached number 23 in October '94 but still wasn't enough to kill the buzz generated by 'Set you free'. The shops asked the record company for it daily so it was decided to give it one last try. In January '95 it reached number two, stayed in the charts for five months, sold 600,000 units and went on to be the eighth biggest selling single of the year. It also opened up new markets abroad for the band, charting in Europe and Australia.
During the summer of 95 the band recorded their debut album 'Electronic Pleasure' which features no less than seven different vocalists (Kelly Llorenna, Viveen Wray, Gillian Wisdom, Ricardo Da Force, Jerome Stokes, Rachel McFarland & T-1k) as well as David Grant & his choir. Having such a large range of artists meant that they could produce an album containing many different song styles. Rap, Techno, Pop, Gospel, Ballad, Euro, everything is covered and no two tracks sound the same.
The next single (in September 95) was a cover of the Bee-Gees' disco anthem 'Stayin' Alive'. This track was the first to feature Viveen Wray and ex KLF rapper Ricardo Da Force. N-trance have always cited the KLF as one of their biggest influences and this collaboration proved to be their biggest hit to date, charting in every European country, Japan, USA, South America and reaching number 1 in Australia, Canada & South Africa. It became the second biggest selling British single in the world that year, with only Seal's Kiss from a rose ahead of it.
In January 96 the title track from the album 'Electronic Pleasure' was released, featuring Ricardo and Gillian Wisdom. A more serious dance song than Stayin Alive with loads of club mixes, it reached number 11 in the UK chart. The video (shot in a freezing cold morgue in a disused mental hospital!) featured the band's latest toy, a World War 2 army tank!
The rest of 96 was taken up with recording their second album - 'Happy Hour'. The first single from this album was cheese anthem D.I.S.C.O. that was released in April 97 & also reached no. 11 in the U.K. This was closely followed by 'The mind of the machine', a nine minute superfast techno tune sung by Kelly (her first since 'Set you free'), & featuring scary Brit actor Steven Berkof!
It was back to the seventies for their next single - 'Da ya think I'm sexy?'. A cover of the old Rod Stewart song, it had the dubious honour of containing the longest vocal sample ever to be cleared! The video was shot on location in Japan but due to a falling out with Ricardo he had to be edited in afterwards!
1998 saw the release of two more singles from ‘Happy Hour’, the tongue in cheek cover of Guns ‘n’ Roses’ ‘Paradise City’ (complete with ‘Spinal Tap’ video), and ‘Tears in the Rain’ featuring Kelly & Jerome naked! Also in 1998 n-trance worked with Jeff Wayne on the remixed version of his classic album ‘The War of the Worlds’.
Their next single, in 2000 saw them up to their old tricks, reworking the seventies Jacksons classic ‘Shake Ya Body’. Also around this time it was noticed that there seemed to be a lot of unauthorised remixes & bootlegs of ’Set You Free’ around in the clubs. It was decided by the record company that rather than try to pursue these legally it would be a good idea to collect the best ones together & release them properly. The new remixed package was released in September 2001 & reached no. 4 in the U.K. giving the band their eleventh top 40 hit.
2002 saw the release of 'The best of n-trance', which included all the hit singles and more from the last ten years. Taken from this album were two new songs, - 'Forever' which reached number 6 in September 2002 and 'Destiny' which peaked at number 37 in July 2003.
During 2003 a new studio was built and Gillian Tennant (formally of Q-Tex) became the lead vocalist. She debuted on I’m In Heaven and is now helping to write the new album, along with guitarist Vinny Burns. Work on this album was delayed, as a side project started by Kev & Dale had a surprise hit with ‘So Much Love To Give‘. The Freeloaders have recorded an album worth of material, and now focus has shifted back to recording new n-trance tracks. Recently an old face has returned to n-trance. Mike Lewis (aka DJ Kuta) was part of the band from 1991 - 1993 after he started to play early n-trance demos at the club he was Djing at. Mike now does all the n-trance DJ sets, and also remixes & releases records under the names Kuta & Dirty Disco.
Did You Know?
1. 'Set You Free' is one of the most remixed songs ever, with 25 versions of the song released. 2. When on 'Desert Island Discs', Tony Blair picked N-trance's version of 'Stayin' Alive' as one of his choices. 3. N-trance have had No.1 records in 15 countries, but never one in the UK. 4. 'Stayin' Alive' was actually Pete Tong's "Essential new tune' on its release. 5. Don't tell the Trades Description Office but the album 'Happy Hour' is only 53 minutes long. 6. N-trance's version of 'Da ya think I'm sexy?' was Rod Stewart's last top 10 hit in the UK. 7. Pop Idol's vocal coach David Grant appears on many of N-trance's records. 8. In 1998 N-trance toured Australia with rap legends Run DMC. 9. The video for 'Set You Free' cost only £5,000 (less than most bands spend on make-up!) 10. N-trance have sold over 10 million records world-wide. 11. N-trance have had more U.K hits than Westlife, The Spice Girls, Britney Spears, Eminem and The Beatles*
Bill Dickson - vocals Davie Porterfield - lead guitar, vocals Jimmy Salmon - rhythm guitar Geoff Barker - bass Freddie Maker - drums
Arthur Owen - lead guitar, vocals
Local Dunfermline outfit, The Nameless Ones were formed in 1964. Davie Porterfield left in 1965 to be replaced by Arthur Owen. Davie was 'sacked' because he was unable to grow his hair long because he worked in the mines.
Arthur Sharp - lead vocals, guitar Ray Phillips - lead vocals John Hawken - piano Mick Dunford - lead guitar Pete Harris - bass Dave Maine - drums
Roger Groome - drums Peter lace - drums Terry Crowe - Lead vocals John Allen - lead guitar Barrie Jenkins - drums Neil Korner - bass Roger Dean - bass Len Tuckey - lead guitar Lenny Butcher - drums
Lead singers (there were 2 front men in this Weybridge in Surrey based group) were Arthur Sharp and Ray Phillips. The band (formed in 1962) were interviewed in 1964 and revealed that their first 2 hits were tracks 1 and 2 of a John D Loudermilk LP and that they intended to record track 3 as their third single. The track in question, “This Little Bird” was then picked up by Marianne Faithfull who scored the hit while the Teens version was left at the starting gate.
Formed in 1969 in Milgavie, this Glasgow-based group described themselves as "folk/jazz".
They released two albums, 'Learning to Live' (1972) & 'Branching In' (1972) after which Krysia was successful as a backing singer before going solo, and Tom and Robin went to the band 'Magna Carta' around 1975.
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Dan McCafferty - vocals (Manuel) Manny Charlton – guitar Pete Agnew - bass Darrell Sweet - drums
Later: Zal Cleminson - guitar Billy Rankin - guitar John Locke - keyboards Jimmy Murrison - guitar Ronnie Leahy - keyboards Lee Agnew - drums
Local guitarist, Watty Robertson, also 'filled in' sometimes on guitar or bass in the early days.
Nazareth evolved from The Shadettes, a hard working band based in Dunfermline Scotland with a long illustrious history of support duties at the ballroom. Manuel 'Manny' Charlton had previously played with Mike Satan & The Hellcats, The Red Hawks and The Marshmallow 400 before joining The Shadettes in 1968 and it was he who first suggested that they begin to play their own material. They changed their name to Nazareth in February 1970 as they completed a residency at the ballroom and commenced another at the Bellville Hotel just across the road where, in the foyer, they heard the source of their new name in the opening line of a song called ‘The Weight’ (Sept 1968) by ‘The Band’. (“I pulled into Nazareth, was feeling 'bout half past dead”).
Note that their name change to 'Nazareth' did not occur in 1968 as widely reported elsewhere. Manny Charlton has corroborated this to me personally and newspaper advertising proves that they were still called The Shadettes up to February 1970.
They played extensively in Glasgow and the West coast to begin with & turned professional on 1st July 1971 and upon completion of an extensive Scottish tour the band relocated to London where their first official English date was at the Marquee in Wardour Street in Soho.
Hit singles in the UK commenced with a #9 position for 'Broken Down Angel' in May 1973 followed swiftly by #10 for 'Bad Bad Boy' two months later in July and #11 for a respectable cover of Joni Mitchell's 'This Flight Tonight' only three months after that. (Joni has been quoted as having referred to it as being a Nazareth song now). This would be their last visit to the top ten though they came close with a cover of ‘Tomorrow’s’ ‘My White Bicycle’ (1975) #14 & the ‘Hot Tracks EP’ (1977) hits compilation at #15 which included another cover, this time of an Everly Brothers song ‘Love Hurts’.
They've produced a career total of 23 official albums starting with their eponymous debut in 1971 but it was albums such as 'Razamanaz' & 'Loud 'n' Proud' (both 1973 & produced by Roger Glover of Deep Purple) 'Hair of The Dog' (1975) and 'Expect No Mercy' (1977) that helped make
Nazareth one of the most important rock bands of the 1970's as they rode out the New Wave, Ska & Punk movements.
They then added Zal Cleminson from The Sensational Alex Harvey Band to the line-up in 1978 to augment the sound of ‘No Mean City’ (1979). For the next album production duties for ‘Malice In Wonderland’ (1980) fell to
Jeff "Skunk' Baxter (previously with ‘Steely Dan’ and ‘The Doobie Brothers’) resulting in a refreshing new stylistic direction before Cleminson decided to pursue other avenues and the band sought a replacement fifth member in the shape of John Locke on keyboards (ex of ‘Spirit’).
Their album product was no less impressive in the following decade with a somewhat experimental album 'The Fool Circle' (1980, again produced by Baxter) a live album, 'Snaz' (1981) and '2XS' (1982), though it became increasingly difficult to swim against the tide of the public's fickle tastes and a diversifying number of emerging genres such as New Romantic, Electronic and Disco.
During the Nineties, they remained fairly successful in mainland Europe & America though less so in the UK. Extensive touring continued though to the nineties though there were more personnel changes to contend with. Manny Charlton split in 1990 and was replaced by Glaswegian Billy Rankin (guitar then keyboards) then he and John Locke were subsequently replaced by Jimmy Murrison and Ronnie Leahy respectively. The latter half of the eighties saw a period of remission while McCafferty explored further solo ambitions in the shape of the 1986 album 'Into The Ring' to add to his 1975 eponymous effort.
Their comeback album ‘No Jive’ (1991) looked like it may well do the trick, but little came of it.
They celebrated their thirtieth anniversary in 1998 with the release of the critically acclaimed 'Boogaloo' (their first album in almost five years) and the Double Trouble Tour (with Uriah Heep).
In 1999, Castle Communications reissued the band's back catalogue; complete with added bonus tracks and alternate takes.
Just as they arrived at the first venue of the 'Boogaloo’ tour, tragedy struck when Darrell Sweet died from a massive heart attack on 30th April 1999 and the tour was cancelled.
Protracted discussions followed and the band eventually considered that Darrell’s memory would be well served if the band continued to play, especially if Lee Agnew, Pete's eldest son was to be selected for the drummer’s position. Rehearsals went well and several successful tours in Europe, in the states and a home gig in Dunfermline followed with the fans accepting Lee wholeheartedly.
Ronnie decided to leave shortly thereafter and then there was four.
Nazareth still tour and record, having recently released live performance DVDs from 2001 and 2005 as well as some historic performances. Their ballroom appearances however number only eight, from 1971 to 1984.
See them talk about their early days and the their evolution from The Shadettes.
Mike O'Neill (Nero) - lead vocals, keyboards Colin Green - lead guitar Rod Slade "Boots" - bass, vocals Laurence Joseph "Laurie Jay" - drums
Later: Don (The Yank) Adams - lead guitar Keith Charles - lead guitar Joe Moretti - lead guitar Tony Harvey - lead guitar Diz Disley - lead guitar Buddy Monroe - lead guitar Tommy Brown - drums Tommy Frost - drums John Urquhart - lead guitar James Tomkins "Big Jim Sullivan" - lead guitar Jim Cannon - bass Mick Jones - lead guitar Ralph Danks - lead guitar Alan Bugby - bass Chris Gillies - bass Richard Walsh - drums Bobby Woodman "Bobby Clarke" - drums John Barber - lead guitar Ray Smith - bass Dave Gibbson - tenor saxophone
Nero (Mike O'Neill) had previously played keyboards as a member of 'The 'Cabin Boys', the backing group of Tommy Steele's less famous brother- Colin Hicks. He and bassist 'Boots' Slade had formed the Gladiators originally with Laurie Jay on drums and Colin Green on lead guitar in January 1960. Green was then the lead with Billy Fury's backing musicians the 'Beat Boys' who would later become 'Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames'. It was this Gladiator's line up that recorded the classic guitar led instrumental, 'Entry Of The Gladiators'. The follow up - 'In The Hall Of The Mountain King', with its wonderful vocal intro- "Ah, say there Brutus, like, where is this King's pad?", featured the guitar work of Joe Moretti and drums of Tommy Brown, as did 'Bleak House'. Apart from these sessions, Joe also spent several months on the road in the band's ever changing personnel.
Despite the minor success of the first singles, the original line-up didn't last long and Green moved off to take care of what he presumably saw as a more secure future with the 'Blue Flames' shortly after recording their third offering 'Czardas'. A lot of personnel changes followed and the group managed to record only one further single, 'Tovaritch' which no longer credited 'Nero' in the roll call.
'Boots' Slade ultimately became a member of 'The Alan Price Set' and Mike O'Neil transferred his piano playing to 'The Ivy League', before joining 'Heads, Hands and Feet'.
The first phase of the band lasted from January 1960 through to April 1964 when they split only to reform in 1991 until 2005. During these 18/19 active years they went through seven distinct line-ups and twenty four musicians with O'Neill as the only constant. They released four 45s and two French EPs
They originally played in bright orange suits however, as a 'get noticed' gimmick, they donned Roman Gladiators costumes 'acquired' from the movie set where 'Quo Vadis' had been filmed while 'Nero' himself wore a toga & laurel wreath!
The BBC banned the group from performing 'In The Hall Of The Mountain King' because pop acts could not be allowed to perform versions of classical pieces!
Mick Jones ended up in 'Foreigner' and Mike O'Neill was originally planned to be a keyboard player for Jimi Hendrix!
Pat Kelly - guitar, washboard, bass drum, vocals John 'Raz' Ramage - guitar, washboard, bass drum, vocals
Later: Les Honeyman
Pat was a talented singer/guitarist but gained his success as a folk singer with the duo “New Broom”. This was formed with Raz Ramage (another Kelty boy )and consisted of the duo with guitars, washboard and bass drum. They started off playing jug band music and progressed to more mainstream folk. They were latterly joined by Les Honeyman, a well respected Perthshire musician. They played the folk circuit in Scotland and later split with Pat going to 'Joe’s Diner' and raz joining 'Scots Country Comfort'.
Les pursued a solo career until his untimely death.
Jim Condie - guitar Kip McBay - keyboards Alan Darby - bass Buck Harvey - drums
Alan Darby (from Rosyth) was a member of Cado Belle and is currently playing guitar in the West End production of 'We Will Rock You'.
Kip Mcbay (ex 'Joe's Diner') also played keyboards for Biocar and worked with 'Monolug'. He was a founder of 'Sound Control' (The UK’s biggest supplier of musical instruments and equipment). He is now with rival firm 'Guitar Guitar'.
Jim Condie has worked with: Van Morrison; Jack Bruce; SAHB; Nazareth; Lulu; Buffy Sainte Marie; Lena Zavaroni; Hercules The Bear; Spit the Dog; Rab Noakes; Michael Marra & Tam White to mention but a few!
Info from Jim Condie
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The chart topping 'Londonbeat' had a string of hits including 'You Bring On The Sun' and 'I’ve Been Thinking About You', which went to #1 in twenty-seven countries across Europe, America, Canada, Australia ,.... A global success story! In addition to his musical talents and successes, Jimmy Helms is a prolific writer, he has completed two manuscripts for novels and is now working on a concept for an animated feature, which will reveal another facet of his creative aspirations.
In their years as a partnership, Jimmy and Charles have written enough songs to complete two or three albums. There's a waiting list of mega artists, all anxious to have Jimmy and Charles write and produce their next hit. But Jimmy and Charles have saved their very best for their own stunning album, now in production with the famous Danish producers Jam & Delgado, who brought Scandinavian pop music to world domination with 'Aqua's globally massive 'Barbie Girl'.
When 'Londonbeat' disbanded, lead singer Jimmy Helms rang Charles Pierre and 'New Londonbeat' rose from the ashes. Charles Pierre had worked behind the scenes as record co-producer and programmer on many of 'Londonbeat's successful recordings. Charles has recorded 'M-People' and toured with 'Babyface', the American R&B musical giant.
'New Londonbeat's newest member, Tony Blaize, was born and raised in Liverpool - That's right! Home of The Beatles. Tony began singing at an early age. Growing up, his biggest musical influences were Lou Rawls, Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye. Starting out with his brothers in the early seventies ,they did TV and theatres including The London Palladium and Royal Theatre, two of England's most prestigious venues. Tony went on to front many bands in and around Liverpool throughout the 80s and 90s, before recently joining 'New Londonbeat'.
Listen out for the new, re-recorded, re-mixed version of 'I’ve Been Thinking About You', the new follow-up single titled 'Between Your Eyes', and the album to follow, all co-written and produced with Denmark's own golden boys - Jam & Delgado.
Watt Nicoll is a character. As a child he competed in bagpipe competitions around Scotland. He has been a speedway driver (for the Glasgow Tigers) and led a traditional jazz band for five years. He has appeared on television shows (once as "Pet Man"), had a zoological column in a national paper and has been publicity agent for Miss Scotland. More recently he has flourished in the world of motivational speaking, in which field he is regarded as a guru. He hit the headlines when England soccer manager Kevin Keegan hired him to motivate the English national side before their 1999 match against Poland (they won 3-1).
However, it is probably as a folk singer that Watt Nicoll is best known. During the late 1960s and 70s he played the folk club circuit and released several albums on the Transatlantic label. Watt plays whistle on most of these albums though also plays the ocarina.
Jimmy Warwick - guitars, vocals Barry Curtis - keyboards, recorder Scott Kirkpatrick - bass Christopher 'Fergy' Ferguson - drums, percussion, vocals Freddy Staff - trumpet John Hockridge - trumpet Jeff Evans - trumpet Roy Sidwell - tenor, baritone, soprano saxophones Allan Dilly - baritone saxophone Danny Elwood - bass trombone John Kirkland - string leader Colin Frechter - bass and string arrangements Patrick Bell - saxophone Francis Gordon - guitars Martin Clark - bass
Nite People were a prog rock outfit from Bournemouth, England with a heavy organ/guitar sound. They released 4 singles on 'Fontana' between 1966 and 1968, then 3 more and only 500 copies of an album 'P.M.' on 'Page One' in 1969.
Yes once supported them at the Marquee Club in London's Wardour Street
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Rab Noakes was born in St.Andrews in Fife, Scotland and has been at the cutting edge of contemporary song writing for over 30 years. From his first album in 1970 to his most recent releases, he has firmly established himself at the forefront of Scottish pop music as both a prolific and gifted writer of hook-laden songs and an original and affectionate interpreter of the American popular music back-catalogue. With material ranging from blues to country, from early Motown to Beck, from Sam Cooke to Radiohead, and from Felice Bryant to the inimitable Rab himself, it is easy to see why his repertoire has been described as "a roots festival in itself" (The Herald).
With a career spanning over fifteen albums and major collaborations with Lindisfarne, Gerry Rafferty, Stealers Wheel and early Dylan producer Bob Johnston, Rab displays "the expertise of someone who's done it all" (Living Tradition). In the 1990's Rab formed the Varaflames, whose members have included such luminaries as Rod Clements (Lindisfarne), guitar wizard Jerry Donahue, Ewen Vernal (Deacon Blue), Pick Withers (Dire Straits) and harmonica ace, Fraser Speirs, with whom Rab still occasionally performs.
After working for some years as Head of Entertainment at BBC Radio Scotland, he left to form his own successful media production company, Neon, with his wife Stephanie Pordage. Rab's production skills have been much in demand and his portfolio includes albums by John Watt, macAlias, Karen Dunbar and the award-winning Karine Polwart, whose Neon Records-released CD 'Faultlines' won the Best Album Category at the BBC Folk Awards in 2005.
Rab tries to get on the road as a performer at least once a year, either with harmonica player Fraser Speirs, or solo. They have developed a unique act, which covers a broad range of popular styles. As well as a helping of original Noakes material, they play a rich mixture of Blues and Country and cover often hard to access material from the like of Beck and Radiohead.
Tommy Ewing - vocals Brian Young - electric & acoustic guitars, vocals Hugh 'Shug' Barr - guitar Tom 'Tam' Brannan - bass, vocals Colin Somerville - keyboards Dave Scott - drums, percussion
Northwind were a 1970 band from Glasgow formerly known as 'Power of Music'. Rock music was changing then and this lot were well into the melodic rock that was coming into vogue at that time. Main feature was the twin Les Paul gold tops used by their guitar players.
Northwind were hugely popular in Dunoon though to start with under their former name they could only pull 50 or so into the Queen's Hall in 1969. Their then set included extraordinarily good versions of Pink Floyd's "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" and Traffic's "40,000 Headmen" but the highlight of the night was their own "Castanets". So popular did Northwind become in Dunoon that they even got booked to play the Grammar School's 6th Year dance at Christmas 1970 and put on a terrific show!
Their one and only LP 'Sister, Brother, Lover' (1971) was on the Regal Zonaphone label and sold over 20,000 copies. They split in 1972.