He was born to Reginald and Julia Speare in Romford, Essex. He attended Dagenham County High School where he started playing drums, piano and viola when he was 15 years of age. At 16 he took up the flute, and tenor saxophone soon followed. He went on to study flute at the London College of Music and played saxophone in various pop and jazz bands during this time. Later, he moved to Birmingham and became heavily involved in the Midlands music scene for many years as a session musician, band leader and music producer.
Speare has played in many bands over the years, the most famous being Dexys Midnight Runners. He later formed a horn section called The TKO Horns, along with Jim Paterson and Brian Maurice from Dexys. Another former Dexys saxophone player Geoff Blythe soon replaced Brian and Dave Plews was added on trumpet. The TKOs featured prominently on Elvis Costello's 1983 album Punch The Clock. It was during a recording session for Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook's album, Difford & Tilbrook, that he was unexpectedly asked by producer Tony Visconti to add a baritone saxophone part to "Actions Speak Faster". From that moment he discovered his love of the instrument and has specialised in it since. Speare later featured on the single "Nelson Mandela" by the Special AKA.
From the early 1990s, Speare was a music and media lecturer in a number of further education colleges until 2005. Since then he has worked as a freelance arranger and session musician.
In 1981, Speare joined Dexys Midnight Runners. He featured on the singles "Plan B", "Show Me", "Liars A to E", "Celtic Soul Brothers" and their worldwide hit "Come On Eileen". He also featured on their album Too-Rye-Ay.
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