Gallagher and Lyle
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|Gallagher and Lyle|
Gallagher & Lyle at the MOARE Festival in Faversham, Kent, UK, in September 2011
|Genres||Pop rock, folk rock, country rock, blues rock, soft rock, blue-eyed soul, Celtic rock|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards, bass, piano accordion, mandolin, ocarina, harmonica (Gallagher); vocals, guitar, mandolin, banjo, violin, bass, drums (Lyle)|
|Years active||1972–1980 , 2010 –present|
|Associated acts||McGuinness Flint, Ronnie Lane's Slim Chance|
Gallagher and Lyle are a Scottish musical duo, comprising singer-songwriters Bernard Joseph "Benny" Gallagher (born 10 June 1945, Largs, Ayrshire) and Graham Hamilton Lyle (born 11 March 1944, Bellshill, Lanarkshire). Their style consists mainly in pop, soft and folk rock oriented songs.
Their first recognition came in 1968, when they were signed by The Beatles to write for Apple Records' artists. They were founding members of the band McGuinness Flint and wrote the 1970 UK chart hit "When I'm Dead and Gone". In 1972 they formed the duo Gallagher and Lyle, whose fifth album Breakaway charted well and included the hit songs "Heart on My Sleeve" and "I Wanna Stay with You". Don Williams took their song "Stay Young" to No. 1 on the US Country charts. The duo split in 1980, but re-formed in 2010. Gallagher and Lyle have worked, jointly and individually, on records with, among others, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Ronnie Lane, Ronnie Wood, Joan Armatrading, Ralph McTell, Sandy Denny, Fairport Convention and Jim Diamond. Artists who have released Gallagher and Lyle songs include Bryan Ferry, Elkie Brooks, Fairport Convention, Art Garfunkel and Joe Brown.
They joined forces in 1959, initially as members of a local Largs-based band, The Bluefrets. They began writing original material for the band, while Gallagher also co-wrote "Mr Heartbreak's Here Instead" for Dean Ford and the Gaylords (later to become Marmalade). When they were signed by Apple Records, they wrote for musicians such as Mary Hopkin ("Sparrow", "The Fields of St. Etienne", "International", "Heritage" and "Jefferson").
There was a rare one-off single issued on UK Polydor 56093 in 1967; "Trees" b/w "In The Crowd" issued under the name 'Gallagher-Lyle', which preceded their success as songwriters at Apple. They also backed singer James Galt, a friend of theirs from Largs, on two singles for Pye Records that are now highly prized by northern soul collectors: "Comes The Dawn"/"My Own Way" and "With My Baby"/"A Most Unusual Feeling", both of which were composed by permutations of Gallagher, Lyle and Galt. These tracks have appeared on various CD compilations of 1960s rarities.
In 1970 Gallagher and Lyle were original members of McGuinness Flint, writing nine of the 11 songs on the group's debut album, including the UK Singles Chart success "When I'm Dead and Gone" as well as the follow-up non-album single "Malt and Barley Blues", both of which were produced by Glyn Johns.
They recorded a second album, Happy Birthday Ruthy Baby, with McGuinness Flint—again writing most of the songs—before leaving to form the duo Gallagher and Lyle in 1972, signing to A&M Records after their initial solo album was first released on UK and US Capitol**. They recorded four albums: Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle, Willie and the Lapdog, Seeds and The Last Cowboy, again under the auspices of Glyn Johns. But it was not until they teamed up with US producer David Kershenbaum for their fifth album Breakaway, in 1976, that they charted again, with the hits "Heart on My Sleeve" and "I Wanna Stay with You", both of which reached Number 6 in the UK Singles Chart and also charted in the US.
Their mellow sound was only briefly in vogue, and elusive further success (another minor hit in the UK was "Every Little Teardrop") prompted their split in 1980, by which time three more albums had been issued: Love On The Airwaves (which went silver in the UK), Showdown and Lonesome No More. The latter was issued on Mercury; a further album recorded for that label, Living On The Breadline, has never been released. The duo's original version of "A Heart In New York", which was to have been included on that set, appeared on 1991's compilation album Heart On My Sleeve – The Very Best of Gallagher and Lyle.
(** The UK Capitol and the UK A&M issue of their first album included their musical version of the poem "Desiderata". The US Capitol album is missing that track.)
Graham Lyle formed his own publishing company Goodsingle Publishing (later to become goodsingle.com) in 1980, chiefly to administer his own copyrights, and began writing for other artists. His earliest post-Gallagher & Lyle compositions included the singles "Our Love" for Elkie Brooks and "Listen to the Night" for Climax Blues Band. Since then Lyle's songs have been recorded by some of the biggest names in music including Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Diana Ross, Etta James, Patti LaBelle, Anita Baker, Joe Cocker, Wyclef Jean, Fat Joe, Rod Stewart, Tom Jones, The Neville Brothers, Hall & Oates, Kenny Rogers, Crystal Gayle, Jim Diamond, The Judds, Wet Wet Wet, Paul Young, Bucks Fizz, Eros Ramazzotti and Warren G, but it is for his work with Tina Turner that he has become best known.
Lyle formed a new songwriting partnership with Terry Britten, and their hits included the Grammy-winning Song of the Year and Record of the Year "What's Love Got to Do with It?" and the multi-Ivor Novello-winning "We Don't Need Another Hero" for Tina Turner; and "Just Good Friends" for Michael Jackson. He also recorded an album with Tom McGuinness, credited to the Lyle McGuinness Band: Acting on Impulse (1983), as well as a solo portfolio album, Something Beautiful Remains (2003). A solo single, "Marley", was issued on Red Bus in the UK in 1983, while "Taking Off" – a TV advertising jingle, co-written with prolific session keyboardist Billy Livsey and credited to the Lyle-Livsey Band – was released on the Dolphin label in 1984 but only in Ireland, where it became a Top 20 hit.
Gallagher is a featured artist and co-owner of OnSong (an internet-based record label) with Derek Wilson. Gallagher has released two albums as a solo artist – Benny Gallagher on Stage, and more recently At the Edge of the Wave. The latter set features his tribute to Robert Louis Stevenson, "Tusitala"; this song has also been included on the Greentrax CD The Great Tapestry of Scotland, which was released in late 2012 to accompany the launch of what will be the largest tapestry in the world.
Gallagher and Lyle sang and performed as members of Ronnie Lane and The Slim Chance Band on the hit single "How Come" and the ensuing album Anymore for Anymore, and they have worked, jointly and individually, on records with Mary Hopkin, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Ronnie Lane, Ronnie Wood, Elkie Brooks, Joe Egan, Andy Fairweather Low, Gary Brooker, Dennis Coulson, Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, Champion Jack Dupree, Joan Armatrading, Ralph McTell, Sandy Denny, Fairport Convention and Jim Diamond.
Other artists who have recorded Gallagher and Lyle songs include: Bryan Ferry, Colin Blunstone, Donavon Frankenreiter, Elkie Brooks, Fairport Convention, Fury in the Slaughterhouse, Joe Brown, Judith Durham, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Phil Everly, Ricky Nelson, Ringo Starr, Rita Coolidge, Status Quo, The Fureys, Lemon Jelly, and Jim Capaldi.
The seeds for a reunion were sown in 2007 when both Gallagher and Lyle, as session musicians, appeared on an album by Canadian singer-songwriter Chris Tassone; this was recorded at London's Abbey Road Studios. In April 2009, the two Scots attended the opening of the Largs Heritage Centre. The following year, the duo re-formed.
In October 2010 the pair staged two charity concerts in Largs in aid of Haylie House, a residential care home in the town. This was followed in June 2011 by 'The Big Gig', an all-star charity concert at Glasgow's Barrowland nightclub, in which they performed alongside Midge Ure, Jim Diamond and Marti Pellow. In September of that year, the duo appeared at the outdoor MOARE Festival in Faversham, Kent, which was headlined by former Average White Band stalwart Hamish Stuart.
2012 saw Gallagher and Lyle undertake their first tour since 1979, consisting of 9 dates at 8 Scottish venues. Their two dates at The Green Hotel in Kinross, a large golf resort, earned them the Mundell Music Award for Best UK Performance of the year, to add to their Tartan Clef Award for Lifetime Achievement, which they had received in November 2010.
The soundtrack to the 2012 documentary film "We Went To War", directed by Michael Grigsby and relating the stories of three Vietnam War veterans, features the song "I Was A Soldier", which was written and performed by Gallagher and Lyle.
"Caledonia USA", a musical based on the songs of Gallagher and Lyle, was staged in Largs in April 2016. Originally titled "When I'm Dead and Gone", it was subsequently retitled after a new song written specially for the show by Gallagher and Lyle.
References in popular culture
The late British comedian and broadcaster Kenny Everett staged an outrageously literal visual interpretation of "Heart on My Sleeve" on his BBC TV show in the early 1980s.
The Variety Club of Great Britain has used "Heart on My Sleeve" to promote its Gold Heart Appeal.
As members of McGuinness Flint:
- McGuinness Flint (1970, Capitol)
- Happy Birthday, Ruthy Baby (1971, Capitol)
- McGuinness Flint: The Capitol Years (compilation album) (1996, Capitol; includes some non-album tracks)
- McGuinness Flint in Session at the BBC (2009, BBC; includes some tracks by the post-Gallagher and Lyle line-up)
As a duo:
- Gallagher and Lyle (1972, Capitol; reissued in 1973 on A&M; titled Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle in some countries)
- Willie and the Lapdog (1973, A&M)
- Seeds (1973, A&M)
- The Last Cowboy (1974, A&M)
- Breakaway (1976, A&M)
- Love on the Airwaves (1977, A&M)
- Showdown (1978, A&M)
- Lonesome No More (1979, Mercury)
- The Best of Gallagher and Lyle: 20 Beautiful Songs (1980, Warwick)
- The Very Best of Gallagher & Lyle (compilation album) (1991, A&M; includes previously unreleased "A Heart in New York", which was recorded for Mercury)
- The Best of Gallagher & Lyle (compilation album) (1995, Spectrum)
- Live in Concert (live album, recorded by the BBC Radio) (1999, BBC/Strange Fruit)
- The River Sessions (recorded for Radio Clyde 1974) (2004, River Records)
NOTE: All the duo's original studio albums for A&M and Mercury, excluding the eponymous debut, were reissued on CD in 2004 by River Records (see note below). Universal Music Japan reissued the duo's first four albums as limited edition CDs, including the debut, with bonus tracks in 2016, thus making the rare A&M B-sides "Joie De Vivre" and "All I Wanna Do" available on CD along with both sides of the duo's Polydor single, "Trees" and "In The Crowd". Tracks still to be released on CD are the B-sides "Golden Boy", "Sunny Side Up" and "Take the Money and Run", as well as 1980's non-album A-side "Living On The Breadline". (The River reissues suffered from less than ideal sound quality with reduced highs. Although these were legal reissues, it is not known if they had access to the original master tapes or not.)
As members of Ronnie Lane's Slim Chance:
- Anymore For Anymore (1974, GM; reissued in 1998 on See For Miles with the additions of non-album tracks "How Come" and "Done This One Before")
Compilations featuring rare early tracks:
- Footsteps to Fame, Vol.2 (1991, Repertoire)
- Soul For Sale (1998, Sequel)
- Ripples, Volume 8 (2002, Sanctuary)
- An Apple A Day (2006, RPM)
- Fairytales Can Come True (2007, Psychic Circle)
- Treacle Toffee World (2008, RPM)
Benny Gallagher solo albums:
- On Stage (2006, OnSong)
- At The Edge Of The Wave (2007, OnSong)
Graham Lyle solo album:
- Something Beautiful Remains (2003, Hypertension)
NOTE: Lyle's solo single "Marley"/"Down The Subway" (1983, Red Bus) and the Lyle-Livsey Band's one-off single "Taking Off"/"Taking Off (Instrumental)" (1984, Dolphin; Ireland only) have never appeared on any CD.
Lyle McGuinness Band album:
- Acting On Impulse (1983, Cool King/Polydor)
- Elise, Elise (1997, Diamond Recordings; reissue of Acting On Impulse with additional non-album tracks, plus previously unreleased Gallagher/Lyle composition "Fighting For The Cause")
- "Biography by Craig Harris". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 28 April 2009.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 220. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Climax Blues Band – Listen to the Night / Church – Virgin – UK – VS 576". 45cat. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- "The Lyle / Livsey Band – Taking Off / Taking Off (Instrumental) – Dolphin – Ireland – DOS 175". 45cat. 12 October 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2014.