Graham Bell (singer)
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|Birth name||Graham Thomas Bell|
17 April 1948|
|Died||2 May 2008
|Associated acts||Skip Bifferty, Heavy Jelly, Every Which Way, Bell & Arc|
Bell's father, Jimmy, who died in 2010, was a well-known local singer, and his late mother, Leonora Rogers, was in show business prior to marriage, after which she was heavily involved in local music and dance.
Graham made a solo single in 1966 and one year later replaced Alan Hull as the singer of psychedelic rock band Skip Bifferty (later renamed Heavy Jelly). In 1969 he was singer in another psychedelic rock band Griffin. In 1970 he began his stint with Charisma Records, joining Every Which Way, a band formed by Brian Davison formerly of The Nice, as singer and principal writer. Musical style was jazzy progressive rock with guitar from John Hedley (who was later part of Last Exit, with Sting) playing call and response with Bell's blues shout vocals. Bell then rejoined his old mates from Skip Bifferty, now known as Arc, to form Bell & Arc in July 1971, with John Turnbull, Mick Gallagher, Bud Beadle, Kenny Craddock, Steve Gregory, Tom Duffy and Alan White. Bell was then tempted to leave the group to record an album as a solo artist in 1972. Featuring Tim Hinkley, Mel Collins and Ian Wallace, it was produced by Bob Dylan associate Bob Johnston.
1970s and America
After Bell's appearance in the London Symphony Orchestra version of Tommy it was reported that Pete Townshend produced an album for him, but it never saw the light of day. In 1974 he contributed backing vocals on Carol Grimes' Warm Blood also featuring Tommy Eyre, Jess Roden, John 'Rabbit' Bundrick and Henry Lowther. In the late 1970s Graham Bell was featured on the front page of Sounds music paper as a "the man most likely to", but sadly his profile was affected by the rise of punk and the new wave. Bell moved to America, where he toured with Long John Baldry, and was the co-front man along with Jackie Lomax of a band of LA Brit expatriates known as the Tea Bags, among others, before returning to his native Northeast England in the mid 1980s. He also lived for a while in Cumbria before finally heading for London again and cropping up in Snowy White's Blues Agency in 1988/89. In 2008 he died of cancer shortly after his 60th birthday.
- Skip Bifferty (RCA Victor 1967, with Skip Bifferty)
- Take Me Down To The Water (1969, promo only with Heavy Jelly; released: Psycho 1984)
- Brian Davison's Every Which Way (Charisma 1970, with Brian Davison's Every Which Way)
- Bell + Arc (Charisma 1971, with Arc)
- Graham Bell (Charisma 1972)
- Change My Live (Bellaphon 1988, with Snowy White's Blues Agency)
- Open For Business (Bellaphon 1989, with Snowy White's Blues Agency)
- (How Do You Say) I Don't Love You Anymore / If You're Gonna Go (Polydor 1966)
- On Love / Cover Girl (RCA Victor 1967, with Skip Bifferty)
- Man In Black / Mr Money Man (RCA Victor 1968, with Skip Bifferty)
- I Keep Singing That Same Old Song / Blue (Island 1968, with Heavy Jelly)
- Too Many People / Before You Can Be A Man (Charisma 1972)