Mr Big (UK band)

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Mr Big were a British pop rock band, active in the 1970s and 1990s. They were formed by Jeff Pain (aka Dicken) and best known for their 1977 Top 5 hit, "Romeo".[1] The band was originally active from 1972–78 and then for a second period from 1990–98.

Biography[edit]

The members of Mr Big had been playing together since the late 1960s, under the name 'Burnt Oak'. They first played under the name, 'Mr Big', in 1972, at the Marquee Club in Wardour Street, London, when the manager billed them as Mr Big instead of Burnt Oak. The manager refused to change it, so it stuck for the rest of the band's career.

In 1974, the band signed to Epic Records, releasing three singles, none of which made a significant breakthrough, but which did lead to appearances on Lift Off, a TV pop show presented by Ayesha Brough, and Softly, Softly: Taskforce, a police drama in which actor/singer Paul Nicholas had the leading role.

In 1975, Bob Hirschman, then manager of Mott the Hoople, took over as the band's manager. Their first album, Sweet Silence, was released on EMI, to greater acclaim than their previous singles. Promotional TV appearances for this album included Supersonic with Mike Mansfield and Superpop. In November 1975, Mr Big supported Queen on their A Night at the Opera tour.[2]

In 1976, Mr Big embarked on their own UK headline tour and supported Sweet on their tour of Europe, performing on TV in Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK. Mr Big were also the first British band to be signed to Clive Davis's Arista Records in America.[citation needed] They recorded their second album, Mr Big, in Los Angeles, California, with Val Garay.

In 1977, the band toured the United States in February, March and April with Tom Petty, Journey, Kansas and The Runaways. Meanwhile, the single "Romeo" reached No. 4 in the UK Singles Chart,[1] despite a temporary ban by the BBC. It also sold well in Japan, Australasia, the U.S. and parts of Europe, and was covered in 1977 by the South African band 'Pendulum'. The follow-up single "Feel Like Calling Home" failed to capitalise on the success of the previous one, and only reached No. 35 in UK.[1] The band embarked on a UK headline tour with more television appearances in the UK and Europe.

In 1978, the third album Seppuku was recorded with Ian Hunter as producer and the band again toured the UK. They appeared on Top Of The Pops with "Senora", and split up soon afterwards.

Dicken and bassist Pete Crowther went on to form another band named Broken Home, which released two albums and played the Reading Festival in 1980, also scoring a couple of minor hits in Norway and Germany. Dicken has since collaborated with a variety of different artists under various names, as well as releasing solo material and performing 'Mr. Big Greatest Hits' tours. The current Mr Big consists of originals Dicken and Eddie Carter with new members on bass, keyboards and percussion. Their last album, Rainbow Bridge, was released in 1996.

Mr Big, Dicken & Broken Home Biography[edit]

Dicken can trace his roots back to the late 1960s with his then band Burnt Oak (later to become Mr Big). They regularly performed gigs at the Marquee Club in London and other venues around the country. His first break came with Mr Big when they signed a deal with Epic (CBS) in 1974, and released three singles which led to their first TV appearances in Lift off with Ayshea and Softly Softly Task Force (with actor Paul Nicholas).

In 1975, Mr Big were signed up by Bob Hirschman, the manager of Mott The Hoople. Their first album, Sweet Silence, was released by EMI. TV appearances followed to promote the band, including Supersonic with Mike Mansfield and Superpop. In November 1975, Mr Big toured with Queen on their "Night at the Opera" tour.

In 1976, they had their own UK headline tour and later supported Sweet on their tour of Europe. Mr Big were the first British band to be signed to ARISTA Records by Clive Davis in America.[citation needed] They recorded their second album, titled Mr Big, in LA. The producer was Val Garay, who went on to produce Bette Davies Eyes for Kim Carnes.

In February, March and April, they were on tour in the US with Tom Petty, Journey, Kansas and Joan Jett and the Runaways, and made a 20-minute live TV in Boston. While this was happening the single "Romeo" reached No 4 in the UK, despite being banned for a while by the BBC because of suggestive lyrics. It sold well in Japan, Australasia, the USA and parts of Europe. The follow-up single "Feel Like Calling Home" reached No 35 in the UK. A Mr Big UK headline tour and more television in the UK and Europe took place.

In 1978, their third album, Seppuku, was recorded, with Ian Hunter as producer, and the band again toured the UK. They last appeared on the UK's Top Of The Pops TV programme with the track "Senora", and then Mr Big split up.

1979: Dicken signed to Tony Smith at Hit and Run and along with Pete Crowther from Mr Big formed a new band called Broken Home.

1980: The first album entitled 'Broken Home' was produced by Robert John Mutt Lange for Warner Music and released worldwide. The band toured the UK finishing at Reading festival August 1980.

1981: Dicken and Pete Crowther recorded the second Broken Home album called 'Life' which was produced by Greg Walsh and released in Europe only on Mercury/Polygram label. A very popular single 'Oh Yeah' was a hit in parts of Europe particularly in Norway and Germany. Shortly afterwards Broken Home split-up.

1982: Dicken worked with Mutt Lange on Demos

1983: Joined forces with Barrymore Barlow (Ex Jethro Tull), Zal Cleminson (Alex Harvey Band) and Charlie Tummahi (Be-Bop Deluxe) in the band Tandori Cassette.

1984: Dicken was to be seen on TV shows in Germany promoting his solo single 'It's All Over'.

Dicken has since appeared with various line-ups of the band Mr Big and other bands.

1996 saw the release of the album 'Rainbow Bridge' with a 4 track CD single called Broadway.

'Seppuku' [February 2001] 'Seppuku' the unreleased Mr Big LP from 1978, produced by Ian Hunter, was finally released on Angel Air Records. The album was digitally remastered, using the original master tapes, and comes with a 16-page booklet with sleeve notes by Dicken - including exclusive interviews with Dicken and John Burnip 'Broken Home' - first time on CD! Angel Air Records re issued Broken Home's self-titled 1980 debut album on CD [February 25, 2003] Broken Home - 'Life' 7 March 2004 The Angel Air edition of LIFE remastered with 8 bonus tracks! the Angel Air version has sleeve notes, plus Dicken's own comments to all the songs. Added information about Burnt Oak's appearances at London's legendary Marquee Club in 1971 - 1972. [9 April 2007]...DICKEN..Angel Air release a 2CD compilation entitled "From Mr Big to Broken Home and Back" on 6 August 2007 These 2 cds contain songs from 1977.... 2007...including the 70's hit single "ROMEO" (Angel Air SJPCD247).

Dicken update 26/6/11.…….. Dicken has been writing and recording with Paul Gibbons in their studio in Oxford Soundfactor Studio's. Produced by Jake Carter / Dicken / Paul Gibbon

The 4th album by Mr Big called Bitter Streets. …re-issued 2016 on ANGEL AIR


Dicken - Vocals -Guitar Eddie Carter - Vocals & guitar Pete Crowther - Bass Paul Gibbon - Keyboards Simon Saunders - Drums

2012 - Broken Home reform played 2 gigs in NORWAY and again in 2015

Today 2017 Broken Home are recording a new album for release in 2018

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 371. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ "Interview with DICKEN". Let it Rock. May 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2018.