Get this crazy baby off my head!


Steve Harley

Steve Harley - Poetic Justice - 1996 - Castle Records

This reissue of the 1996 album of the same name is actually as very solid and subdued set for Stefan Harley. He's in fine voice here, and his own songs are pretty much top of the heap for having been some "20 years past his prime" as some jive Brit journo called him. It's nonsense, of course, since Harley may not have had the hits in the '90s, but certainly had the requisite taste, musicianship and elegance to put a collection of songs together like this one. His covers of Bob Dylan's "Love Minus Zero/No Limit," and Van Morrison's "Crazy Love" both put on offer his roots as a musician and his own, dare we say it, pedigree. Poetic Justice is fine work top to bottom, and should be owned by any fan, or investigated by the curious. © Thom Jurek © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/poetic-justice-r595430

Some really talented and genuine bands and artists were caught up in the notorious "Glam Rock" net in Britain in the mid seventies. Many of these bands were overnight sensations, or one hit wonders, and many were studio manufactured. Some of these bands were also hugely successful, due to clever management and by recording songs written by top class songwriters. It is well known that many of these artists couldn't play, or sing, (the perfect recipe for success in the glitzy seventies!). However, some of these artists had predated the "Glam Rock" era, and were hugely talented. Just to name a few - T.Rex, David Bowie, Mott The Hoople, Abba, Elton John, Roy Wood & Wizzard, and Roxy Music. All these artists could sing, play, write brilliant songs, and they would have made the grade regardless of the ridiculous studio trickery that went into other "Glam Rock" bands that eventually fell by the wayside..... "You can fool some of the people, etc, etc....". Anyway, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel were one of THE great "Glam Rock" bands, and without a doubt, one of the most talented bands to emerge in the seventies. You may not like Rod Stewart's later music, but some of his 70's work with the Faces was terrific rock 'n' roll. He penned some great songs, and he remains a very respected artist. Rod said that Steve Harley was "one of the finest lyricists the UK has ever produced". Very true, but Steve is also a great musical composer, and his music included some of the best pop rock songs ever to come out of the UK. His songs included "Make Me Smile", "Judy Teen", "Mr. Raffles", "Mr. Soft", "The Best Years Of Our Lives", and "Psychomodo". These are all intelligent, well written songs, with great hooks. These, and many more Harley songs stamped Cockney Rebel with a very individual musical style. "Poetic Justice" was recorded with acoustic musicians at a country studio in Sussex, England, and presents Steve in fine voice on a selection of original songs, together with some intriguing 'cover' versions, including 'What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted', Van Morrison's 'Crazy Love', and Bob Dylan's 'Love Minus Zero - No Limit' which Steve recorded as a tribute to the artist who has inspired him so much. In 1999 on a day when the rain poured down, Steve was visiting a pop festival in Stratford, England where Van Morrison and Bob Dylan were topping the bill. Steve has said “I wasn’t actually performing, but my guitar player Alan Derby was playing for Van Morrison who was on the show before Dylan. So I got an ‘Access All Areas’ pass from Alan and watched the show from wings. I was right next to the mixing desk watching Dylan and his band.” After the show Steve found himself sharing the same hospitality tent as Bob Dylan. Steve says, “An hour later they were still there and as they passed by on their way out, I just knew I had to introduce myself. I’d been listening to him since he changed my life when I was 12 years old. I’d got to stand up and say ‘hello.’ So I put my hand out and said: ‘Bob…Steve Harley.’ And he said ‘Oh, yeah, hey, ah, um…’Love Minus Zero.’ “He’d heard my version on the album! Then he sat down with me and we were all alone, no bodyguards, no one except my friend Alan Derby and myself sitting at a table with Bob. Alan is tongue tied and Dylan doesn’t talk. So after five minutes of me telling him how I liked his set and loved the songs, he just sort of grunted replies.” When the rain suddenly stopped, Steve said Bob stood up, took him by the hand, looked at him and said ‘The weather….the weather…’ !! Bob always let his songs do the talking! In Spring 2010 Steve began his UK tour and said: “It was a huge thing for me and it still excites the hell out of me to perform ‘live’. On tour I call it ‘Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel’ because it lets the public and promoters know it’s a big rock band. I also tour quite a lot acoustically with a three piece outfit.” Steve confesses the effects of his childhood polio still haunt him. “As you know, I’m never going to run the marathon. I can’t walk very far these days and have to go at my own pace. Joni Mitchell won’t fly anywhere and that’s because she too had polio. One of her legs was affected. She said ten years ago that there’s something called ‘secondary polio’ and that kind of depressed me. As I’m getting older I don’t feel any worse but I can’t walk as well as I did ten years ago. It doesn’t stop me going on stage but when the weather is bad I just can’t walk in the snow and ice because I’m afraid of slipping. What I most enjoy is going on the road and performing with the band which has my old Cockney Rebel pal Stuart Elliott on drums. It’s just like the old days.” "Poetic Justice" is a great solo album with a unique folk-pop/soul sound from the legendary Cockney Rebel main man, and despite receiving little promotion, is one of his best albums. The album is HR by A.O.O.F.C. Steve Harley was, and still is a superb songwriter, singer, and showman who retains a loyal and enthusiastic international following. Listen to CR's brilliant "The Psychomodo", and "The Human Menagerie" albums, and Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel's "Love's a Prima Donna" album. Search this blog for related releases


1."That's My Life in Your Hands" - Steve Harley, Hugh Nicholson 3:51
2."What Becomes of the Broken Hearted" - James Dean, Paul Riser, William Weatherspoon 4:14
3."Two Damn'd Lies" - Steve Harley 5:08
4."Loveless" - Steve Harley, Bernard Sumner, Gillian Gilbert, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris 4:47
5."Strange Communications" - Steve Harley 4:07
6."All in a Life's Work" - Steve Harley 4:58
7."Love Minus Zero/No Limit" - Bob Dylan 6:09
8."Safe" - Steve Harley 3:43
9."The Last Time I Saw You"- Steve Harley, E. Osser 5:13
10."Crazy Love" - Van Morrison, Paul Anka 3:24
11. "Riding the Waves (For Virginia Woolf)" (live bonus track) - Steve Harley - 6:09 *

* N.B: Track issued as a bonus track on the 2002 Castle Music Ltd CD release


Steve Harley - lead vocals, harmonica
Nick Pynn - acoustic guitar, 12-String guitar, mandocello, dulcimer
Phil Beer - acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bottleneck guitar, violin
Richard Durrant - classical guitar
Andrew Brown - bass, double bass
Herbie Flowers - double bass
Thomas Arnold - piano, Hammond B-3 organ, percussion
Ian Nice - piano, keyboards
Mark Price, Paul Francis - drums
Susan Harvey - vocals


British rocker Steve Harley was born Steven Nice in London on February 27, 1951; the son of a jazz singer, he was stricken with polio at age two and spent the better part of his adolescence in and out of hospitals. After trying his hand at journalism, by the early '70s Harley was busking throughout London, forming the band Cockney Rebel in 1973 with guitarist Jean Paul Crocker, bassist Paul Jeffreys, keyboardist Milton Reame James, and drummer Stuart Elliott. Signing to EMI, the group debuted with The Human Menagerie; the single "Judy Teen" followed in early in 1974, becoming Cockney Rebel's first hit. Psychomodo was also a success, but as Harley's combative relationship with the press worsened he dissolved the group soon after. A Harley solo single, "Big Big Deal, " preceded the formation of a new Cockney Rebel lineup, which again featured drummer Stuart Elliott in addition to new guitarist Jim Cregan, bassist George Ford and keyboardist Duncan McKay. 1975's The Best Years of Our Lives generated Harley's first U.K. chart-topper, "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me), " on its way to selling over a million copies; the follow-up Love's a Prima Donna also launched a Top Ten hit with its cover of the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun." But in the wake of 1977's Face to Face -- A Live Recording, Harley again disbanded Cockney Rebel and relocated to the U.S., recording the better part of Hobo With a Grin in Los Angeles before returning to Britain. 1979's The Candidate failed to restore his commercial lustre, and with the exception of a minor 1983 hit "Ballerina (Prima Donna)" he spent the better part of the '80s removed from the pop scene. When his recording of "Mr. Soft" experienced a rebirth thanks to its use in a television commercial, Harley assembled a hits collection of the same name. Soon after he formed a new incarnation of Cockney Rebel and regularly toured into the following decade. 1999's Stripped to Bare Bones documents an acoustic set recorded the year previous. Yes You Can was issued in summer 2000. © Jason Ankeny © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/steve-harley-p84327/biography


Steve Harley (born Stephen Malcolm Ronald Nice, 27 February 1951,Deptford, London, England) is a English singer and songwriter, best known for his work with the 1970s rock group Cockney Rebel, with whom he still occasionally tours (albeit with many personnel changes through the years). As a child, Harley suffered from polio, spending four years in hospital up to the age of 16. It was in hospital that he first heard Bob Dylan, inspiring him to a career of words and music. At the age of 10, he received a guitar from his parents, and he played violin with the school orchestra. He left the Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College with no O levels. In 1968, at the age of 17, Harley began work as an accountant with the Daily Express, from which he progressed to become a reporter in a number of local Essex newspapers for a duration of three years. Later, he returned to London to work for the East London Advertiser. Harley first started out playing in bars and clubs in the early 1970s, mainly at folk venues on open-mike nights. He also busked around London on the Underground and in Portobello Road. While auditioning for folk band Odin in 1971, he met violinist John Crocker, with whom he formed Cockney Rebel in late 1972. Cockney Rebel went on to release The Human Menagerie and The Psychomodo before splitting up in 1974. However, Harley carried on with drummer Stuart Elliot, renaming the band Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, with whom he had more success. From the next album, The Best Years of Our Lives, came the number one and million selling single, "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)". Harley had two more hits during the mid 1970s with "Mr Raffles" and "Here Comes the Sun" which were both Top 20 hits, but he did not have any further major successes, and in the 1980s he all but faded from the public eye, relocating to the United States. He was set to star as the Phantom in the London premiere of The Phantom of the Opera, and recorded the promotional single of the title song, but was surprised to be replaced close to rehearsals by Michael Crawford. In the early 1990s, Harley released several solo albums. His songs "Sebastian", "Tumbling Down", and "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)" were included in the Todd Haynes 1998 rock musical Velvet Goldmine. The soundtrack album included "Make Me Smile", but omitted "Sebastian", yet included a cover version of "Tumbling Down" with vocals by Jonathan Rhys Myers. "Make Me Smile" was also included in the 1997 film, The Full Monty. In 1999, Harley began presenting a BBC Radio programme The Sounds of the Seventies, of which the last programme aired on 27 March 2008. In 2005, The Quality of Mercy was released under the Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel name, and Harley began touring more frequently, although mainstream success remained elusive. Harley lives in Suffolk with his wife, Dorothy. They have two children, Kerr and Greta


A.O.O.F.C said...


p/w aoofc

ratso said...

A much under-rated composer and artist. It's so good to see this one posted. You are replete with pleasant surprises, Master Fingal!

I can also thoroughly recommend his Timeless Flight album, especially the edition with two bonus tracks including "Throw Your Soul Down Here".

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,ratso! I like that "Master Fingal" title. That's the kind of reverence I deserve!! (LOL!). "Timeless Flight" is great. His "Stranger Comes To Town" from last year is also good. Good music, and as old Rod said, great lyrics. Cheers,ratso! TTU soon