Andy Leek

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Andy Leek
Born 1958
Origin The Midlands, England
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Keyboards GUITAR HAMONICA
Years active 1978–present
Labels Birds Nest, Parlophone, Beggars Banquet, Fascination, Atlantic, Undiscovered Classics, Polydor
Associated acts George Martin, Dexys Midnight Runners, The Blue Ox Babes, The Blue Angels, Wailing Cocks
Website www.andyleek.com

Andy Leek (born 1958) is a singer/songwriter, known for the George Martin quote "he has what Lennon, McCartney and Elton has." The hit song "Say Something" the writer of Frida from Abba's single 'Twist in the Dark', His work with Dexys Midnight Runners. And for leading "the best party band in the world" 'Andy Leek and the Blue Angels'.[1]

Biography[edit]

Leek began his musical career while still at school fronting progressive punk band The Wailing Cocks. The band attracted a modicum of publicity via two singles on independent label Birds Best, recording two sessions for John Peel's Radio 1 show, Kid Jensen Live and on Radio 2's In Concert Live. At the age of 21, Leek joined Dexys Midnight Runners in late November 1979, playing on early recordings such as the hit single "Geno" and four other tracks on their debut album Searching for the Young Soul Rebels. Just before the band were at No. 1 in the charts with this track, Leek left due to being physically attacked on several occasions by the drummer in the band.

Two earlier songs Leek had recorded with the Wailing Cocks were then licensed to Beggars Banquet Records for release as a double-A-sided solo single: "Move On (In Your Maserati)" / "Ruben Decides". These were both played on Radio One and were single of the week in Sounds.

In early 1981, Leek teamed up with fellow ex-Dexys member Kevin "Al" Archer in his new band The Blue Ox Babes in which Leek played piano. harmonium, harmonica. and sung backing vocals. but this new venture fell apart in 1982 due to the well publicised fact that Kevin Rowland stole the whole sound and image and even hired the violin player from the band to make his Too Rye Aye album. This devastated Kevin Archer and ruined the band's chances of success and consequently Leek then moved to Glasgow.

Some months later on the strength of a demo tape of 16 new songs, Beggars Banquet paid for an album's worth of new material but this lay dormant until their belated release as Midnight Music on Leek's own Undiscovered Classics label in 2009. One song from these sessions, Twist In The Dark, was recorded by Frida from Abba for her 1984 solo album Shine, via a recommendation from Leek's friend Kirsty MacColl. Frida's version was also issued as a single around the world and she described this song as "her favourite song she had recorded outside of Abba" [2]

For the rest of the 1980s, Leek pursued his own career as a musician, as well as writing a musical interpretation of a Dylan Thomas poem which was recorded and released by Tom Jones, and acting alongside Billie Whitelaw and David Van Day as an aspiring songwriter in the Tony Klinger-produced 1985 movie Promo-Man. A short-lived deal with indie label Fascination Records in 1984 led to two singles credited to Leek: "Soul Darling", with Specials producer Dave Jordan, and a version of Abba's "Dancing Queen" produced by Tony Visconti.

In 1988 after signing a publishing and management contract with Hit n Run music, Atlantic Records in New York. Leek was honoured that after hearing five of his tracks George Martin had considered three of the five tracks as potential number 1's and he agreed to produce his 1988 album, Say Something. It was recorded in Martin's A.I.R. Studios with such musicians as Steve Howe of Yes, Clem Clempson, Luís Jardim on percussion, Alan Murphy of Level 42 on guitar, Peter-John Vettese (keyboards, from Jethro Tull), and veteran bassist Mo Fostera 36 piece orchestra on various tracks and the London Community Gospel Choir on the Epic Golden Doors.

Although George Martin said that "Andy had what Lennon, McCartney and Elton has" the single from the album Please Please failed to do as well as expected in the UK charts due to the radio cutting the first quarter of the song so that it started from the second verse. It was also not the single Leek had wanted to release. [3]

In 2007 a Lebanese DJ/Producer, called aXess, contacted Leek to request to do a Salsa remix of the track. Say Something which had reached the number 1 position in Lebanon during the civil war. Leek had no idea of this success or that it had been adopted as an anthem of inspiration by many people there. It is still one of the most requested songs on Lebanon's Radio 1 there today. .[4]

Leek has since recorded three further albums, Eternity Beckons (including the single "All Around The World", which proved popular in Germany) the self-produced Sacrifice And Bliss (which yielded the single "Forgotten People") and Waking up the World (with the single of the same name) All of which are now being released on his own label. Eternity Beckons was also briefly available on a small Spanish label, Ouver Records. The song Forgotten people was also released on a compilation album which made it to number one in Spain. [5]

After a period studying musical composition at Cardiff University, Leek formed his own "party band" Andy Leek & The Blue Angels, who have now played many successful shows,[6] mostly at charity balls.[7] Leek has also appeared on various TV shows: The James Whale Show, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Later with Jools Holland and Children In Need three years running.

In 2010 Leek remixed the album Say Something now entitled 'Say Something Revisited' released with the single 'Whats the problem?' to critical acclaim. [8]

22 years on in May 2013 Leek released an epic 16 track double concept album Waking up the World For this album he comes up with a concept never before heard of, where each song has a sister song which reflects and explores the other side of its counterpart. This results in seven themes which tell a story of youth, experience, realisation and return. [9]

In 2013 Leek started releasing his past music on YouTube with many lyric videos created regularly which proved to be very popular. [10]

In 2014 Leek, Phil Williams (SEO/ICT Director) and David Williams (Art Director) of Acrobat Media Associates http://www.acrobatmedia.net created '&D Leek Music record label. They then opened an X Factor style competition called Andy Leek's Star Maker that anyone can enter to try and find new talent for the label. Details about the competition can be found on http://www.star-makers.com. Leek also released a new album, Andy Leek's Star Maker album, which has some of his best work on as well as the new songs 'When Baby Calls', 'On a Shooting Star' and 'Best in Everyone' with each song on the album there is an instrumental to help contestants.

Leek said: “In the past we have had American Idol, Popstars, X Factor and The Voice, all TV-based singing competitions that have had great appeal to the wanna-be public and viewers. But the biggest problem that I could see was accessibility. “If people couldn't give up the time to queue, or juggle other commitments, they were effectively excluded. “I’m convinced there is a large raft of talent out there and pretty well every modern musician has access to the web – and that’s all you need to enter my competition.” The winner gets a contract with the &D Leek Music label, a video shoot and recording studio time for the song they perform and media promotion, worth thousands. [11]

Leek is also recording songs for a new solo album called From Icarus to Phoenix, to be released in summer 2014. [12]

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • Move On (In Your Maserati) (Beggars Banquet, 1980)
  • Soul Darling (Fascination, 1984)
  • Dancing Queen (Fascination, 1984)
  • Say Something (Atlantic, 1988)
  • Please Please (Atlantic, 1988)
  • Holdin' Onto You (Atlantic, 1988)
  • All Around the World (Polydor, 1996)
  • Forgotten People (Gotham, 1999)
  • Whats the Problem?(Undiscovered Classics 2010)
  • Homeground(Undiscovered Classics 2010)
  • Waking Up The World(Undiscovered Classics 2013)
  • Here in our Youth(Undiscovered Classics 2013)

Albums[edit]

  • Say Something (Atlantic, 1988)
  • Eternity Beckons (Spanish-only release, Ouver, circa 1997)
  • Sacrifice and Bliss (unissued, 2000)
  • Midnight Music (Undiscovered Classics, 2009; recorded 1979–1982)
  • Say Something Revisited(UNDISCOVERED CLASSICS 2010)
  • Waking Up The World(UNDISCOVERED CLASSICS 2013)
  • Andy Leek's Star Maker(&D Leek Music 2014)

References[edit]

http://www.wakinguptheworld.co.uk

External links[edit]