Steve Harley has been producing music and touring the world since 1973, the year cockney rebel first signed to EMI records with a contract that guaranteed the recording of three albums. Now aged 63, Steve shows no signs of easing off from his hectic schedule, and continues to play up to 80 concerts each year.
Harley often refers to his touring band as “a moveable feast”, since the members are all freelance session-players, so faces can vary from tour to tour. However, four members of the current cockney rebel have played with Steve for at least 14 years.
Barry Wickens (violin/guitar/vocals) has shared a stage with Steve more times than any other musician; they have been band-mates since the mid-1980s.
Robbie Gladwell (lead guitar/vocals), James Lascelles (keyboards/percussion), Adam Houghton (drums) and Marty Prior, (bass) complete the line-up.
As well as taking the six-piece rock band on-the-road, Harley also tours in a three-man acoustic set-up, with James and Barry alongside him.
Recently, Steve Harley & cockney rebel played five sold-out concerts augmented by an orchestra and choir, at four of the IK’s 2,000-seat concert halls, as well as the prestigious royal albert hall in London, to five-star reviews.
In recent years, Harley has led two treks in aid of the mines advisory group, for whom he has long been an ambassador, helping to raise in excess of £100,000, travelling through Cambodia in 2003 and California’s death valley in 2007.
That year also saw Steve make his London west end acting debut when he starred at the new London theatre, St Martin’s Lane, in “rough for theatre, parts 1 and 2”, a play written by one of his literary heroes, Samuel Beckett.
The latest studio album is “stranger comes to town”, and several of the songs from that cd feature in the live shows, along with most of the hits, such as “Judy Teen”, “Mr Soft”, “Mr Raffles”, “Love’s A Prima Donna,” “Here Comes The Sun,” and the evergreen “Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)”. That song has been covered more than 100 times by performers as diverse as Duran Duran, The Wedding Present, Suzi Quattro and, most recently, The Cadbury Sisters.
“Make me smile” is recognised by the performing rights society as one of the UK’s most-played singles.
Steve Harley has been described by Rod Stewart as “one of Britain’s finest lyricists” and mojo magazine cites his work as “melodically rich, playful and charismatic” and “a consummate performer, a man at the top of his game”