Labi Siffre

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Labi Siffre
Birth name Claudius Afolabi Siffre
Born (1945-06-25) 25 June 1945 (age 71)
Hammersmith, London, England
Genres Soft rock, soul, Jazz, funk
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter,
poet and writer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, keyboards
Years active 1970–
Labels EMI/Pye/China

Labi Siffre (birth name Claudius Afolabi Siffre; (born 25 June 1945) is a British singer, songwriter, musician and poet. Siffre released six albums between 1970 and 1975, and four between 1988 and 1998. He has published essays, the stage and TV play Deathwrite and three volumes of poetry - Nigger, Blood On The Page and Monument.

Early life and education[edit]

Born the fourth of five children, at Queen Charlotte's Hospital in Hammersmith, London to a British mother of BarbadianBelgian descent and a Nigerian father, Siffre was brought up in Bayswater and Hampstead and educated at a Catholic independent day school, St Benedict's School, in Ealing, west London.[1] Despite his Catholic education, Siffre has stated that he has always been an atheist.[2]

Musical career[edit]

Siffre played jazz guitar at Annie Ross's jazz club in Soho in the 1960s as part of a Hammond organ, guitar, drums house band.[2]

He released six albums between 1970 and 1975. In the 1970s he released 16 singles,[citation needed] three of which became hits: "It Must Be Love" (No. 14, 1971) (later covered by and a No. 4 hit for Madness, for which Siffre himself appeared in the video); "Crying Laughing Loving Lying" (No. 11, 1972); and "Watch Me" (No. 29, 1972).[3] In 1978, Siffre took part in the UK heats of the Eurovision Song Contest. He performed his own composition "Solid Love", which placed fifth of the twelve songs up for consideration at the A Song for Europe contest. Additionally, he co-wrote the song "We Got It Bad" performed by Bob James, which came tenth.

Siffre came out of self-imposed retirement from music in 1985, when he saw a television film from apartheid South Africa showing a white soldier shooting at black children.[4] He wrote "(Something Inside) So Strong" (No. 4, 1987)[3] and released four more albums between 1988 and 1998.

The 1975 track "I Got The..." was released as a single in 2006, having been sampled in the Eminem track "My Name Is" in 1999.

Personal life[edit]

Siffre met Peter John Carver Lloyd in July 1964. They remained together until Lloyd's death in 2013,[5] having entered a civil partnership in 2005, as soon as this was possible in the UK.[2]


Singles which reached the UK charts[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

  • The Last Songs (Re-mastered)" (2006)

Cover versions[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

The song, "Watch Me," was featured on the NBC pilot for This Is Us.

Labi Saffre was sampled in Eminem's "My name is"

His song "My Song" was also sampled in Kanye West's "I Wonder".



  • Nigger (Xavier Books 1993)
  • Blood on the Page (Xavier Books 1995)
  • Monument (Xavier Books 1997)


  • DeathWrite (Xavier Books 1997)


  • Choosing the Stick They Beat You With (Penguin 2000)


  1. ^ Larkin, Colin (2002) The Virgin Encyclopedia of 70s Music p.398. Virgin, 2002, ISBN 978-1852279479
  2. ^ a b c "Q&A: Labi Siffre". New Humanist. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 498. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ Mathur, Paul (August 1989). "So Strong". Spin: 32. ISSN 0886-3032. Retrieved 2015-05-23. 
  5. ^ Rolle, Elisa (25 June 2015). "Labi Siffre & Peter Lloyd". My reviews and Ramblings. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  6. ^ [1] Archived 13 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]