|Birth name||James Alan Hull|
|Born||20 February 1945|
Benwell, Newcastle upon Tyne, England
|Died||17 November 1995 (aged 50)|
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
|Years active||Mid 1960s–1995|
The Chosen Few
James Alan Hull (20 February 1945 – 17 November 1995) was an English singer-songwriter and founding member of the Tyneside folk rock band Lindisfarne.
Hull was born at 68 Sutton's Dwellings, Adelaide Terrace, Benwell, Newcastle upon Tyne. He began piano lessons at the age of nine, and guitar lessons two years later. He attended Rutherford Grammar School, Newcastle after passing the eleven-plus in 1956 and was given a guitar at the age of twelve. Hull wrote his first song soon afterwards.
He became a member of the band The Chosen Few alongside keyboard player Mick Gallagher. He supported himself by working as a window cleaner, one year by working as a nurse at a mental hospital and as a driver for Newcastle Co-op TV Department while appearing as a folk singer and guitarist in local clubs before helping to form Brethren and Downtown Faction, which evolved into Lindisfarne in 1970. He also released a one-off solo single, "We Can Swing Together", which was re-recorded with the group on their first album, Nicely Out of Tune, and became a regular favourite in their stage performances.
As the group's most prolific songwriter and joint lead vocalist, Hull came to be regarded as its leader. In 1972, dissatisfied with the sound and critical reception of their third album Dingly Dell, he considered leaving the group but instead he and joint lead vocalist Ray "Jacka" Jackson formed a new six-piece Lindisfarne the following year, leaving the three other original members to form Jack The Lad. He also released his first solo album, Pipedream, the same year and published a book of poems, Mocking Horse. Alan Hull appeared in "Squire", an episode of the BBC's Second City Firsts drama series.
Lindisfarne disbanded in 1973 and Hull released a second solo album, Squire, then formed the short-lived Radiator, which also included drummer Ray Laidlaw of Lindisfarne and Jack the Lad. In March 1977 the original line-up of Lindisfarne reformed after a well-received series of sold-out Christmas shows at the Newcastle City Hall in 1976 which was broadcast on local radio. Thereafter he combined his musical career as front man of the group with a solo career.
He was also a staunch Labour Party activist. For a time he was secretary of his local constituency Labour Party. He performed in Blackpool to coincide with the Labour Party conference in 1990, and played at numerous benefit concerts for striking or redundant miners and shipyard workers.
In January 1994, he recorded Back to Basics, a live all-acoustic survey of the best of his songwriting from 1970 onwards.
On the night of 17 November 1995, Hull suddenly collapsed at his home in North Shields and was pronounced dead on arrival at North Tyneside General Hospital at 11.30pm. A post-mortem held on 20 November revealed his death to be the result of a Coronary thrombosis. Hull's funeral was held on 24 November at North Shields Crematorium. Musician Chris Rea and actor Tim Healy were among those to attend. Hull's ashes were later scattered at the mouth of the River Tyne.
At the time of Alan’s death a new album, Statues & Liberties, was being completed; it was released in 1996.
On 19 July 2012, following a public campaign led by Barry McKay, Lindisfarne's manager during the 1970s, an Alan Hull memorial plaque was unveiled on the front of Newcastle City Hall, at a ceremony attended by hundreds of fans, and broadcast and filmed by Sky and ITV Tyne Tees.
He married Patricia Sharp on 22 August 1966, and they had three daughters.
A BBC 4 documentary on the life of Hull, called Lindisfarne’s Geordie Genius: The Alan Hull Story, was first broadcast on 26 November 2021. In the hour-long film Sam Fender follows the career and personal life of Hull. Archive footage of performances and interviews features in the programme, some of it previously unseen. There are also tributes from fans of the songs including Sting, Elvis Costello, Mark Knopfler, Dave Stewart and Peter Gabriel. Drummer Ray Laidlaw expressed the view that, despite Lindisfarne's success, Hull had not received sufficient recognition as "a 'world-class' songwriter", and he hoped to establish Hull's place in music history.
- Pipedream (1973) UK No. 29, AUS No. 51
- Squire (1975)
- Phantoms (1979)
- On The Other Side (1983)
- Another Little Adventure (1988)
- Statues & Liberties (1996)
- When War Is Over - The BBC Recordings 1973 & 1975 (1998)
- We Can Swing Together: The Anthology 1965-1995 (2005)
- Back to Basics (1994)
- Alright on the Night - Live at Clifton Poly 1975 (2009)
- "We Can Swing Together" / "Obadiah's Grave" (1970)
- "Numbers" / "Drinking Song" / "One Off Pat" (1973)
- "Justanothersadsong" / "Waiting" (1973)
- "Dan The Plan" / "One More Bottle of Wine" (1975)
- "One More Bottle of Wine" / "Squire" (1975)
- "Crazy Woman" / "Golden Oldies" (1975)
- "I Wish You Well" / "Love Is The Answer" (1979)
- "A Walk in the Sea" / "Corporation Rock" (1979)
- "Malvinas Melody" / "Ode to a Taxman" (1983)
- Isn't It Strange (1977)
- ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 262. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- ^ a b c d e Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - Dave Laing
- ^ Obituary - The Times - 20 November 1995
- ^ "On this day: Howay the lad | Properganda Online". Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
- ^ a b c d "OBITUARY: Alan Hull". The Independent. 20 November 1995. Archived from the original on 6 May 2022. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
- ^ "Alan Hull - Statues & Liberties (1996)". Simon Jones, Folk Roots, quoted at archive.robertianhawdon.me.uk. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
- ^ "Lindisfarne Founder's Memory Honoured at City Hall. – Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
- ^ Lindisfarne's Geordie Genius: The Alan Hull Story, retrieved 26 July 2022
- ^ "BBC Four - Lindisfarne's Geordie Genius: The Alan Hull Story". BBC. Retrieved 26 July 2022.
- ^ Jones, Damian (22 November 2021). "Sam Fender to host BBC documentary on late Lindisfarne frontman Alan Hull". NME. Retrieved 26 July 2022.
- ^ Geraghty, Hollie (22 November 2021). "Sam Fender to host documentary about late Lindisfarne singer Alan Hull". Rolling Stone UK. Retrieved 26 July 2022.
- ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 143. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.