Limahl

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Limahl
Limahl.jpg
Limahl live in England, 2007.
Background information
Birth name Christopher Hamill
Also known as Limahl
Born (1958-12-19) 19 December 1958 (age 56)
Pemberton, Wigan, Lancashire, England
Genres Pop, synthpop, new wave
Occupation(s) Vocalist
Instruments Vocals, Keyboards
Years active 1978–present
Labels EMI, Bellaphon
Associated acts Kajagoogoo
Vox Deus
Crossword
Brooks
Website Official British Website
Official German Website
Limahl in England, 2007

Christopher Hamill (born 19 December 1958), better known by his stage name Limahl (an anagram of Hamill), is an English pop singer. He rose to fame as the lead singer of the 1980s pop group Kajagoogoo, before embarking on a briefly successful solo career, which reached its peak with the 1984 hit "The NeverEnding Story", the theme song for the film of the same name.

Early years and Kajagoogoo[edit]

Hamill was born in Pemberton, Wigan, a town in Greater Manchester in the north west of England to Eric and Cynthia Hamill.[1] He has one sister and two brothers.[1] He attended Abraham Guest High School, where he was later expelled at age 13[1] in Wigan,[2] and worked in a hair salon in Bolton [3] before eventually enrolling at the Westcliff-on-Sea Palace Theatre Repertory Company. With aspirations to be an actor, Hamill toured with the company in a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.[4] In 1980, he was given a small role in an episode of the ITV police series The Gentle Touch playing a schoolboy.[5] In 1981, Hamill appeared as an extra in the promotional video for Adam and the Ants' number one UK single "Stand and Deliver".

Although his acting career never really took off, Hamill also had a keen interest in music, forming a short-lived punk band called Vox Deus.[2] Next he joined Crossword, but after a brief period left them to form Brooks with Mike Nolan.[2] He adopted his stage name (an anagram of his surname) at the time he was recruited by the existing members of Kajagoogoo, who were then performing under the name Art Nouveau.

The four members of Art Nouveau, the band who were yet to become Kajagoogoo, had placed an advertisement in the music magazine Melody Maker, asking for a 'front man who could sing and look good'.[6] Hamill attended the audition and subsequently joined the band which was then, after some deliberation, renamed Kajagoogoo. Soon after he had joined, Limahl met Nick Rhodes, keyboardist of the group Duran Duran, while Limahl was working as a waiter at the Embassy Club in London. Rhodes agreed to co-produce the band's first single, "Too Shy".

Limahl later said: "I met Nick Rhodes and it changed my life."[7] Kajagoogoo signed a deal with EMI, due in part to Rhodes' involvement with the band, and the single "Too Shy" was released in January 1983. It went to Number 1 in the UK Singles Chart and made the Top 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

The band had further hits with "Ooh to Be Ah" (UK No. 7) and "Hang on Now" (UK No. 11), with their debut album White Feathers reaching UK No. 5. Their first major UK tour was attended by 60,000 people,[8] and the final show at the Hammersmith Odeon in London was recorded and released on home video/Laserdisc (the 16-track White Feathers Tour).

In mid-1983, soon after the end of the White Feathers concert tour, the band fired him by telephone. Limahl accused the other bandmembers of being jealous of his prominence as lead singer, and was quoted in the press as saying that "I've been betrayed!", and that "I was sacked for making them a success".[6]

Limahl later said of his sacking: "I was in utter disbelief but the overwhelming emotion was anger, mainly towards the manager at first but later as I mulled over the 'betrayal', I was especially angry at my four professional colleagues who I had viewed not only as friends but almost as family."[9] The band themselves stated that Limahl had become something of an egomaniac and increasingly difficult to work with as they didn't share his vision for the band's future. Soon after Limahl's departure, bassist Nick Beggs commented that "It was a business decision and not one we took lightly. He wanted the band to go in a different direction to the rest of us. Eventually, we realised we were on a different planet to Limahl."[10] Beggs also stated that the band harboured no ill-will towards Limahl, and blamed the press for sensationalising the matter. Guitarist Steve Askew commented "At first...we did everything possible to make Limahl feel like part of the furniture but, you know, his lifestyle is so different from ours. We're very normal people whereas Limahl likes the bright lights."[10]

Solo career[edit]

After leaving the band, Limahl launched a solo career, achieving hits with "Only for Love" (UK No. 16) in 1983, and with "The NeverEnding Story" (UK No. 4) in 1984. The latter was the title theme from the film of the same name, composed by Giorgio Moroder. The English version was sung with Beth Anderson, though public appearances were performed with David Bourke. The French version (titled "L'Histoire Sans Fin") was performed with Ann Calvert, with translated lyrics by Pierre-André Dousset. The single reached the Top 5 in several countries and was number one in Spain, Sweden, and Norway.[11]

His debut album, 1984's Don't Suppose, was a commercial failure in the UK, peaking at No.63, though was better received in Continental Europe with it topping the Norwegian album chart[12] and reaching the Top 10 in Austria, Sweden and Switzerland.

Following this, Limahl released two more albums: 1986's Colour All My Days and Love Is Blind in 1992, which were commercial failures in the UK but found moderate success in Italy, Spain and Germany.

Unable to replicate the success of his earlier career, Limahl hit hard times and was later photographed coming out of an unemployment office in the UK. The pictures were published in a British Sunday newspaper, highlighting how "the once mighty can fall". He was also ridiculed by the British Viz comic, which satirised him as 'Limahl, whose hit includes "Too Shy"'.

In the late 1990s, Limahl started making club appearances. Wearing an orange wig similar to his original Kajagoogoo hairstyle, he performed hits from his time with Kajagoogoo and from his solo career.

Recent years[edit]

In late 2003, Limahl briefly reunited with the other members of Kajagoogoo for the VH1 special Bands Reunited (which aired in 2004), but this did not lead to a permanent reunion. Also in 2004, Limahl took part in the musical reality show Comeback on German TV channel Pro7. A year later, in 2005, he appeared in a similar UK show, Hit Me Baby One More Time on ITV. The episode in which Limahl appeared also featured Howard Jones, who had enlisted the services of Kajagoogoo bass player Nick Beggs to support him during his own performance.

Limahl eventually reunited with Kajagoogoo again in 2008. Now reformed in their original five-piece line-up, the band took part in various music festivals in Europe. For the next few years he continued performing live with Kajagoogoo and solo.

In 2011, fan site KajaFax initiated the release of "Death Defying Headlines" as a digital single, taking on all the promotion themselves. Limahl and drummer Jez Strode both appeared on television to promote the release with the KajaFax administrators. Limahl as a solo artist released a new single in 2012 called "1983", co-written/produced with Norwegians Tommy Olsen, Rune Maurtvedt and Stig Antonsen. The track was released worldwide by Dig Music (Norway) on 10 January 2012. The release date was the same as "Too Shy" 29 years earlier.

In November 2012, he appeared on ITV's I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! and he came in as a late-entrant contestant alongside Rosemary Shrager, spending a night together in an overnight challenge, to win the camp tea and biscuits. He did not form any great relationships with anybody in the camp, with many camp mates arguing with him at some point during the show. He was voted out of the jungle on 22 November 2012 and was the second celebrity to leave (after Nadine Dorries), finishing in 10th place out of 12 celebrities.

Personal life[edit]

Now openly gay, Limahl once shared a flat with disc jockey Paul Gambaccini (who is also author of the first official Kajagoogoo biography), leading to rumours in the tabloid press that the two were lovers. Limahl says that while both of them were gay, they never had an affair.[13][14]

Discography[edit]

Solo albums[edit]

Solo singles[edit]

  • 1980: "Angel" [released as Chris Hamill]
  • 1980: "It's Christmas" [released as Chris Hamill]
  • 1983: "Only for Love" (UK No. 16, U.S. No. 51, GER No. 8, Switzerland No. 5)
  • 1984: "Too Much Trouble" (UK No. 64, GER No. 26)
  • 1984: "The NeverEnding Story" (UK No. 4, US No. 17, GER, ITA, Austria No. 2, Sweden No. 1, Norway No. 1, Switzerland No. 3)
  • 1984: "The NeverEnding Story (L'Histoire Sans Fin)" (FRA No. 7) [French version – France only]
  • 1985: "Tar Beach (7" Remix)" (GER No. 30) [Germany only]
  • 1986: "Love in Your Eyes" (UK No. 80, GER No. 28, ITA No. 22, Switzerland No. 26)
  • 1986: "Inside to Outside" (GER No. 57)
  • 1986: "Colour All My Days" [Spain only]
  • 1986: "No lo pienses más" [Spanish version of "Colour All My Days" – Spain only]
  • 1986: "Don't Send For Me"
  • 1992: "Stop (7" Version)" [released as 'Bassline featuring Limahl' – Germany/Japan only]
  • 1992: "Maybe This Time" [released as 'Bassline featuring Limahl' – Germany/Japan only]
  • 1992: "Too Shy '92" [Germany/Japan only]
  • 1992: "Love Is Blind" [Germany/Japan only]
  • 1996: "Walking in Rhythm" [cover version of the 1970s hit by The Blackbyrds – released as 'Shy Guy featuring Limahl']
  • 2002: "Love That Lasts"/"Lost in Love" (Limahl/Tina Charles double A-side single) [released as 'Discobrothers Presenting Stars of the Eighties featuring Limahl & Tina Charles' – Germany only]
  • 2004: "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" [released as a duet by Limahl & Dynelle from CD2 of the double greatest hits Best of Comeback United – Germany only]
  • 2006: "Too Shy (Club Mix – Extended Version)"/"Too Shy (Club Mix – Remix)" [released as Limahl vs. Julien Créance – France only]
  • 2006: "Tell Me Why" (GER No. 96) [Germany only]
  • 2012: "1983"
  • 2012: "London For Christmas"[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Gay History, Gay Celebrities, Gay Icons - Limahl ( Christopher Hamill )". Circa-club.com. 19 December 1958. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Limahl". Artistbookingagents.com. 19 December 1958. Retrieved 15 December 2012. [dead link]
  3. ^ "My first holiday by Limahl". The Sun. 4 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "Theatre Part 2". Limahl. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "miscellaneous: Playing the part of a schoolboy in 'The Gentle Touch' for London Weekend Television, in the plot we were caught watching porn movies by his mother". Limahl.com. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Limahl - Latest festivals, news, tickets and more". Ukfestivalguides.com. 19 December 1958. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "Kajagoogoo - Finding Success Part 2". Limahl. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "KajaGooGoo Tour Review Friars Aylesbury May 1983 «". Kajafax.co.uk. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "Kajagoogoo - The Split". Limahl. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Steels, Deborah (15 September 1983). "The Fruit Case (Kajagoogoo interview))". Smash Hits (EMAP Metro) 5 (19): p41–42. 
  11. ^ Norwegian Charts.com
  12. ^ Steffen Hung. "Limahl - Don't Suppose". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  13. ^ Dingwall, John (21 February 2008). "I've had surgery to look good for my fans, admits Limahl". Daily Record. Archived from the original on 13 June 2008. Retrieved 14 July 2008. 
  14. ^ "Geburtstagskinder" (PDF). GAB (in German). p. 4. Retrieved 22 March 2009. 
  15. ^ "Limahl’s seasonal tune bid". Wigan Today. 3 December 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]