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Tony Butler (musician)

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Tony Butler
Butler in 1981
Butler in 1981
Background information
Birth nameAnthony Earle Peter Butler
Born (1957-02-13) 13 February 1957 (age 67)
White City, London, England
  • Bass
  • vocals
Years active1981–present

Anthony Earle Peter Butler (born 13 February 1957)[1] is a British bassist, best known for his work with Scottish rock band Big Country. He has also worked with On the Air, The Pretenders, Roger Daltrey, and Pete Townshend, among others.[2]

Early life[edit]

Butler was born at Hammersmith Hospital in White City, London, England.[1] His parents had emigrated to England from the Caribbean island of Dominica.[1]


In the late 1970s Butler joined the short-lived band On the Air which also included drummer Mark Brzezicki and Simon Townshend (the younger brother of The Who's guitarist Pete Townshend). On the Air released two singles in 1980 and toured with the Scottish band The Skids, which was where Butler met Stuart Adamson. In 1982 Butler joined Adamson's new band Big Country with his drumming partner Mark Brzezicki, which went on to enjoy success internationally during the 1980s and 1990s, he remained in the band until the end of 2000.[1][3]

He also did session work with other artists including Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and The Pretenders among others, and declined an invitation by Chrissie Hynde to join The Pretenders.[1] A warm-up bass riff Butler used was incorporated into The Pretenders' "My City Was Gone"[4] and was also co-opted by The Rush Limbaugh Show as its opening theme.

In 2007, to celebrate 25 years of Big Country, Butler reunited with founder members Bruce Watson and Mark Brzezicki to embark on a tour of the UK. He became lead vocalist for the first time, taking over from the deceased Stuart Adamson. The band toured during 2010–11 with Mike Peters of The Alarm on vocals. Butler left Big Country again in 2012, citing differences with his bandmates, to be replaced by former Simple Minds bassist Derek Forbes.[3]

Butler moved to Cornwall with his family in the 1980s and became a further education teacher in the 2000s.[1] As of 2017, Butler ran courses in music at Petroc College in Devon.[5]

While Butler did not join The Pretenders permanently, he did a couple of sessions with them, out of which came the 1982 singles "My City Was Gone" and "Back on the Chain Gang".[6]

In 2018, Butler released an autobiography and a solo album, My Time.[3]


Solo albums[edit]

Tony Butler has released three solo albums:

  • The Great Unknown (1997)[7]
  • Life Goes On (2005)[8]
  • My Time (2018)


  1. ^ a b c d e f "From Tony Butler". NoiseTrade. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Anthony Earle Peter Butler". Country Club Fanzine (Issue 1 & 2). Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Rowley, Scott (18 November 2017). "Tony Butler: Why I Left Big Country After Over 30 years". Louder Sound. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  4. ^ Pushkin, Richard (September 2005). "Classic Tracks: The Pretenders: Back On The Chain Gang". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  5. ^ "THE COOL LIST: Devon's 50 coolest people". DevonLive. 18 August 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Back on the Chain Gang by Pretenders - Track Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  7. ^ "Tony Butler – The Great Unknown". Discogs. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  8. ^ "Tony Butler – Life Goes On". Discogs. Retrieved 17 September 2018.

External links[edit]