My Life Story
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My Life Story are a British indie pop group who peaked in the mid to late 1990s, when they were regarded as part of the Britpop movement. Fronted by singer/songwriter Jake Shillingford, the group was formed in London around 1991, and inherited their name from an earlier group in which Shillingford had appeared. A cross between a pop group and a chamber orchestra, the band's sound was heavily oriented toward orchestral instruments.
At the time of their debut single, "Girl A, Girl B, Boy C" (1993) produced by Giles Martin son of George, the group had a regular line-up of twelve members. Though the membership fluctuated continually, it rarely dipped into single figures until 1999, when their third album credited just four regular members, though most of the former line-up were still used as session musicians. Their orchestral sound led them to be compared to groups such as Tindersticks and especially The Divine Comedy, the latter of whom would effectively replace My Life Story on the Parlophone roster.
My Life Story enjoyed the most success at the time of their second album The Golden Mile, which spawned five singles that entered the lower half of the UK Singles Chart, but finally disbanded after a series of farewell concerts in December 2000.
On 26 May 2006 the band reformed with the full line-up of thirteen members, to play at the Mean Fiddler on Charing Cross Road in London, in support of their forthcoming Best Of album. The gig got a review rating of 10/10 from Planet Sound. A second reunion show took place at the Astoria in London on 8 December 2006. Further reunions have taken place every two years on 13 December 2007 at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, and Koko on 26 November 2009, where the band performed their debut album, Mornington Crescent, for the first time in its entirety. In 2009, it was announced that, to mark 15 years since their debut album, the group would reform and perform the album in full, together with later songs. This concert took place at KOKO which is next door to Mornington Crescent tube station.
My Life Story announced that they were to reunite again to perform The Golden Mile at the Shepherds Bush Empire on 3 March 2012 to celebrate fifteen years since the album's release.
In mid-2013 the group announced their first UK tour in 14 years. Singer Jake Shillingford is reported to have said: "For many years we have only been able to play a big London show due to the sheer size and scale of the band. Now I am able to take my songs out on the road with a stripped down tight rocking outfit."
"I will be joined by various members of My Life Story along my journey around the UK, culminating in our traditional annual London concert with the original bunch, I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone again, expect a big, bold and brash performance, all foxy horns and horny foxes."
The spirit of the band lived on in Shillingford's next project, ExileInside, which drew its influences from 1980s electronica, replacing the lush orchestral sounds of My Life Story with a quirky retro synth based sound. Former band members Aaron Cahill and Mal Campbell appear in the line-up, and the material is engineered by George Shilling. Shilling also produced many My Life Story tracks, including most of the Golden Mile album.
Shillingford also released an acoustic solo album in 2009 called Written Large, which featured two new tracks, plus acoustic versions of My Life Story and ExileInside songs.
More recently, Shillingford has taken on the moniker of Choppersaurus, and been involved in writing tracks such as "You Are Not Alone" by dance outfit Mason.
Dan Turner the band's keyboard player went on to form the band MacArthur with singer Dom Chapman after the group split in 2000. He landed a recording contract with Artist Network and recorded the Northern Soul influenced album MacArthur working with musicians such as Gary "Mudbone" Cooper (Funkadelic) and Chris Sharrock (The La's, World Party, Robbie Williams, Oasis). As the band were about to release their first single the record company went bankrupt. The music has now been taken on by Fairwood Music.
- Studio albums
- Mornington Crescent (Mother Tongue Records - 1995) UK No. 115
- The Golden Mile (Parlophone - 1997) UK No. 36
- Joined Up Talking (it Records 2000) UK No. 126
- Compilation albums
- Sex & Violins (The Best of My Life Story) (Exilophone Records 2006)
- Megaphone Theology (B-Sides and Rarities) (Exilophone Records 2006)
- "Home Sweet Zoo" (1986)
- "Girl A, Girl B, Boy C" (1993)
- "Funny Ha Ha" (1994)
- "You Don't Sparkle (In My Eyes)" (1995) UK No. 155
- "The Mornington Crescent Companion EP" (1995)
- "12 Reasons Why I Love Her" (1996) UK No. 32
- "Sparkle" (1996) UK No. 34
- "The King Of Kissingdom" (1997) UK No. 35
- "Strumpet" (1997) UK No. 27
- "Duchess" (1997) UK No. 39
- "If You Can't Live Without Me Then Why Aren't You Dead Yet?" (1998) - Download-only single in Windows Media format (later available as an MP3)
- "It's A Girl Thing" (1999) UK No. 37
- "Empire Line" (1999) UK No. 58
- "Walk/Don't Walk" (2000) UK No. 48
- "Sparkle" was a re-arranged and re-recorded version of "You Don't Sparkle (In My Eyes)".
- My Life Story produced promotional CDs for a planned single of "You Can't Uneat The Apple" but "Duchess" was released in its place.
- Official My Life Story site
- Checkmate - unofficial fan site
- Twelve Reasons Why - unofficial fan site
- MacArthur's official Myspace Account
- Chøppersaurus site