Spedding performing in Toronto, 18 May 1979
|Birth name||Peter Robinson|
17 June 1944 |
Staveley, Derbyshire, England, United Kingdom
|Genres||Rock, pop, jazz|
|Instruments||Guitar, vocals, piano, violin, bass guitar|
|Years active||Late 1960s–present|
|Labels||RAK, Harvest, CBS|
|Associated acts||John Cale, Roxy Music, Mike Gibbs, Sharks, Robert Gordon, Nucleus, Mike Mc Clintock, Jeff Wayne|
|Gibson Flying V|
Chris Spedding (born Peter Robinson, 17 June 1944) is an English rock and roll and jazz guitarist, best known for his session work. AllMusic has described Spedding as – "one of the UK's most versatile session guitarists, and has had a long career on two continents that saw him tackle nearly every style of rock and roll, as well as sporadically attempting a solo career. The fact that he never quite broke through to stardom, except in his native England and parts of Europe, and in professional music circles, is more a result of bad timing and worse luck than any lack of talent or commitment on his part."
Whilst still with the Battered Ornaments, which without the departing Pete Brown left Spedding as their frontman, he joined the Frank Ricotti Quartet, and played guitar on the album Our Point of View, released in July 1969. He was also invited to play on Jack Bruce's first and third solo albums, Songs for a Tailor (1969) and Harmony Row (1971).
During this time he was also playing jazz with Nucleus and recorded and toured with Mike Gibbs. He played guitar on the Pete Atkin / Clive James album Driving Through Mythical America. He was a session player on Harry Nilsson's breakthrough album, Nilsson Schmilsson, recorded in London. In 1971 he also played on Coming from Reality by Sixto Rodriguez, who was later the subject of the 2012 documentary Searching for Sugar Man. During 1972–74 Spedding played a central role in Sharks, initially with ex-Free bassist Andy Fraser. They recorded two albums and toured with Roxy Music. After that, he toured and recorded with John Cale. He also played with Roy Harper's occasional backing band Trigger, notably on 1975's HQ album. In 1972–76 he played in Mike Batt's novelty band The Wombles, occasionally performing on television in a Womble suit.
In 1975 Spedding had a Top 20 solo hit in the UK with Motor Bikin, which he promoted with popular television appearances on Top of the Pops and Supersonic, dressed in leather motorcycling gear, with greased hair. When further hits failed to materialise, he subsequently became better known as a session guitarist, appearing and recording with Bryan Ferry, Roxy Music, Elton John, Brian Eno, Jack Bruce, Nick Mason and Katie Melua, amongst others. During the mid-1970s, he even took part in the Wombles' UK tour in full furry costume, whilst wielding his trademark Gibson Flying V. His own album Chris Spedding (1975) was produced by Mickie Most. Spedding recorded a version of the American singer-songwriter Garland Jeffreys' song, Wild in the Streets, on his own Hurt album. The song has since been covered by the Circle Jerks and is featured on Tony Hawk's American Wasteland.
He also was the producer of the Sex Pistols first demos, which were recorded on 15 May 1976. The three tracks recorded were Problems, No Feelings, and Pretty Vacant. The following year, Spedding featured extensively on the concept album Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, issued in 1978.
Spedding moved to New York City, joined the Necessaries as a guitarist and songwriter, collaborated with drummer/percussionist David Van Tieghem, and worked extensively with Robert Gordon. Before long he was back in the UK and recorded another album of his own, I'm Not Like Everybody Else (1980). The same year he appeared on Joan Armatrading's album Me Myself I, playing lead guitar on a number of tracks, including the chart-hit title track. His live album, Friday the 13th was released in 1981. Over the next few years he continued his session work on such albums as Tom Waits' Rain Dogs, while periodically releasing solo material (Mean and Moody (1985), Enemy Within (1986) and Cafe Days (1990).
He made an appearance in Paul McCartney's Give My Regards to Broad Street in 1984, playing guitar in a session with McCartney and his then-wife, Linda. And in 1984, he played on Roger Daltrey's solo album Parting Should Be Painless. Spedding was producer of the first two albums by the Canadian rockabilly band, The Razorbacks, entitled Go to Town (1988) and Live a Little (1989). In 1995, he played on Willy DeVille's Big Easy Fantasy, and later that year, on his album Loup Garou.
Accepting an invitation, Spedding toured with a re-formed Roxy Music in 2001. By now in his sixties, Spedding's own blues rock offerings One Step Ahead of the Blues (2002) and Click Clack (2005) were released, followed by It's Now Or Never in 2007. Accepting another invitation, Spedding began to tour Europe in Jeff Wayne's Black Smoke Band, becoming one of only two musicians from the 1976 album Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds to return to be a part of that 2006–2012 tour. He then featured on the 2012 album Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds – The New Generation, touring with them through 2014.
- Our Point of View for Frank Ricotti Quartet, CBS (1969)
- Songs Without Words (Japan) Toshiba EMI (1970)
- Nilsson Schmilsson (1971) and Son of Schmilsson (1972) for Harry Nilsson, RCA Victor
- Backwood Progression (UK) Harvest (1971)
- Only Lick I Know (UK) Harvest (1972) – engineered by Alan Parsons at Abbey Road Studios
- Nowhere Road (1973) by ex-Savoy Brown vocalist Chris Youlden
- First Water (1973) and Jab it in Yore Eye (1974) as a member of Sharks, Island Records
- Chris Spedding (UK) RAK (1975) – produced by Mickie Most
- Hurt (UK) RAK (1977) – produced by Chris Thomas includes "Hurt By Love"
- Guitar Graffiti (UK) RAK (1978)
- I'm Not Like Everybody Else (UK) RAK (1980)
- Friday the 13th (US) Passport (1981)
- Enemy Within (France) New Rose (1986)
- Like Satin (France) New Rose (1988)
- Tightrope Walker (France) New Rose (1989)
- Cafe Days (France) New Rose (1990)
- Just Plug Him In! (France) New Rose (1991)
- Gesundheit! (France) Versailles/Sony (1995)
- Big Easy Fantasy (1995)
- Loup Garou (1995)
- One Step Ahead of the Blues (Belgium) Music Avenue (2002)/(UK) Repertoire (2009)
- Click Clack (Germany) SPV GmbH (2005)
- It's Now Or Never (US) Ryko (2007)
- Pearls (2011)
- Joyland (2015)
- "Rock and Roll Band // Goodbye We Loved You (Madly)" (1969) A side credited to Chris Spedding's New Band/B side credited to Chris Spedding & The Battered Ornaments UK Harvest HAR 5013
- "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It // I Can't Boogie" (1975) UK Island WIP 6225
- "Motor Bikin' // Working for the Union" (1975) UK Rak RAK 210 No. 14
- "Jump in My Car // Running Round" (1976) UK Rak RAK 228
- "New Girl in the Neighbourhood // Truck Drivin' Man" (1976) UK Rak RAK 232
- "Guitar Jamboree // Sweet Disposition" (1976) UK Rak RAK 236
- "Pogo Dancing // The Pose" with The Vibrators (1976) UK Rak RAK 246
- "Get Outta My Pagoda // Hey Miss Betty" (1977) UK Rak RAK 261
- "Silver Bullet // Wild Wild Women" (1977) UK Rak RAK 268
- "Bored Bored // Time Warp" (1978) UK Rak RAK 274
- "Gunfight // Evil" (1978) UK Rak RAK 282
- "Video Life // Frontal Lobotomy (Live)" (1979) UK Rak RAK 290
- "The Crying Game // Counterfeit" (1980) UK Rak RAK 323
- "I'm Not Like Everybody Else // Contract" (1981) UK Rak RAK 326
- "Biography by Steve Huey & Bruce Eder". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- S J Birkill (9 October 2011). "Smash Flops: The Pete Atkin Home Page". Peteatkin.com. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
- "Midnight Voices: The Pete Atkin Web Forum". Peteatkin.com. 2 August 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 519. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Chris Spedding at Glitter Suits & Platform Boots". Alwynwturner.com. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
- "Joan Armatrading – Me Myself I CD" at cduniverse.com
- "Discography". Allmusic. 17 June 1944. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
- Kimberly Bright, Chris Spedding: Reluctant Guitar Hero. Lincoln: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
- Guitar Graffiti, the official Chris Spedding website
- Chris Spedding biography at the AMG website
- Chris Spedding Official Web Radio Sub-site – includes links used above in Discography
- The Professional. Interview with Chris Spedding edited by Toni D'Angela, "La furia umana" (www.lafuriaumana.it), n° 3, winter 2010
- "Sound Your Funky Horn: Chris Spedding" (Interviewed on March 3, 1996) at davedimartino.wordpress.com