Richard Oakes (guitarist)

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Richard Oakes
Richard Oakes on stage with Suede London 2010
Richard Oakes on stage with Suede London 2010
Background information
Birth nameRichard John Oakes
Born (1976-10-01) 1 October 1976 (age 47)
Perivale, London, England
OriginPoole, Dorset, England
GenresAlternative rock, Britpop
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
Instrument(s)Guitar, piano, strings
Years active1994–present

Richard John Oakes (born 1 October 1976) is an English musician and songwriter, best known as the guitarist, occasional pianist, backing vocalist and co-songwriter of the English band Suede.

Early life[edit]

Richard Oakes was born in Perivale, West London, and grew up in the Parkstone area of Poole, Dorset in southwestern England.[1] He first started playing when he came across a Spanish guitar that his sister owned. The album that initially influenced him to pursue a career in music was The Story of the Clash, Volume 1, which he heard when he was 12. Prior to joining Suede, Oakes played in a band called "TED" along with his friends Peter Field (vocals) and Colin Forbes (Rhythm guitar). The band was actually originally titled 'PIPATED' – 'Plug in Peter and the Electric Daffodils'.[2]


The first gig Oakes attended was one of Suede's at the Poole Arts Centre in May 1993. Upon hearing that guitarist Bernard Butler had left the band and that the band were auditioning for a replacement, he recorded versions of Suede songs and some of his own material on a 4 track recorder, which he sent to the band's fanclub along with a note that read "Take me or leave me." When drummer Simon Gilbert heard Anderson playing back the tape whilst going through audition tapes, he mistakenly believed it to be an early Suede demo. After the second audition Oakes was invited to join the band.[3]

At the age of 17, and after beating approximately five hundred candidates, Oakes officially joined Suede on 17 September 1994 (2 weeks before his 18th birthday). Oakes first public appearance with the band was on Top of the Pops, while his first full live appearance was at a secret fan club gig at London's Raw Club on 10 October 1994. The first song he performed live, and the first video he appeared in, was "We are the Pigs".

His first co-writing credits were the B-sides of single "New Generation", "Together" and "Bentswood Boys". Oakes went on to co-write many songs with Anderson on subsequent albums and B-side material, several of which went on to become hit singles in the UK.

Oakes joined his former bandmates for three UK Suede concerts in 2010,[4] followed by a concert at London's O2 Arena in December of that year, then festival appearances in Sweden, Hultsfredsfestivalen in July and Denmark and Norway in August. Suedes's reunion continued with their sixth album, Bloodsports, on which Oakes co-wrote all but two of the songs, released in March 2013.

Suede released their seventh album Night Thoughts on 22 January 2016 to widespread critical acclaim. Oakes co-wrote all but four of the songs. It was accompanied by a feature film, directed by Roger Sargent. During their 2016 tour the band performed the first half of their set from behind a screen onto which Sargent's film was projected.[5]


Artmagic is a duo formed by Oakes and producer/singer Sean McGhee in 2008. Their debut EP, I Keep on Walking, was released on 23 May 2011, followed by a single, "Forever in Negative" on 25 June 2012. Their debut album, Become The One You Love, was released on 2 July 2012. A further single, "Down in the River" followed on 21 October 2012.

A new song, "Sing For The Snowfall" was released on Christmas Day 2017. A single, "The Clean Room", was released on 27 April 2018. The duo's second album, The Songs of Other England, was released on 15 June 2018.[6]


One of Oakes's main influences is John McGeoch of Siouxsie and the Banshees.[7]


  1. ^ "Suede by stardom". Bournemouth Echo. 15 November 2002. Retrieved 6 February 2010.[dead link]
  2. ^ "Richard John Oakes". The Essential Suede. Archived from the original on 6 April 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  3. ^ "The Oakes Playground". Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  4. ^ Suede play first gig in seven years,, 21 March 2010 (retrieved 16 April 2010)
  5. ^ Thomas, Helen Meriel (9 December 2016). "2016's best live bands – as voted by team NME". NME. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  6. ^ Artmagic cast a collaborative spell on ‘The Clean Room‘,
  7. ^ Earms, John (16 September 2022). "Brett Anderson on Suede's new album, reissues [interview]". superdeluxeedition. Retrieved 28 September 2022.