Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel

Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel were a UK rock band from the early 1970s. Their music covers a range of styles from pop to progressive rock, and while they were contemporary with the glam rock period, their music is not truly classifiable as such.

Steve Harley was born as Steve Nice in February 1951 in London. His musical career began in the late 1960s when he was busking, performing his own songs, some of which were later recorded by him and the band. The original Cockney Rebel were put together in 1972, consisting of drummer Stuart Elliot, bassist Paul Jefferies, violinist Jean Paul Croker, and guitarist Milton Reames James. Their first single Sebastian, a soaring rock epic, was an immediate success, and led to their first album, The Human Menagerie, released in 1973.

Harley managed to irritate a significant part of the music press with his self-aggrandisement, even as the music itself was getting rave reviews and gaining a wide audience. It was becoming clear that Harley regarded the band as little more than accompaniment to his own agenda, and already there were signs that things would not last, despite having a big hit with their second single, Judy Teen. There then followed the album The Psychomodo, an adventurous and ambitious production which showed that there was real talent in the group. A second single from the album, Mr. Soft, was also a big hit. By this time the problems within the band had already reached a head, and most of the band with the exception of Stuart Elliot quit. An appearance on Top of the Pops by the group in fact largely consisted of session musicians drafted in for the show.

From then on, the band was a band in name only, being more or less a Steve Harley solo project. In 1974, a further album, The Best Years of Our Lives was made, produced by Beatles producer Alan Parsons. This included the track Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me) which would go on to be a number one single and the band's biggest hit. From then on, Steve Harley struggled to match that success, and the band faded away. After a brief appearance in the 1980s with a song from Andrew Lloyd-Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, Steve began touring again with his old Cockney rebel songs in the late 80s and 90s.

Harley now presents a show on BBC Radio 2 called The Sounds of the Seventies