Morning my lovelies, and happy Monday. I hope you all had a lovely, restful weekend. Today I’m bringing you a review of the autobiography of Tony Rivers.- a musician who has has supported many well known stars!
A large section of the book is focused on the crazy Cliff Richard era. We worked not only with Cliff, but many other artists from Elton and George Michael on Live Aid to making hits including a number One with Shaky, plus studio time with Pink Floyd, Year Of The Cat album with Al Stewart, Lulu, Linda Ronstadt, INXS, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, recorded two albums with The Shadows, another with Gerard Kenny, others were with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The London Symphony Orchestra, Barbara Dixon, Sheena Easton (in Caribou Ranch Studio), toured the World several times, made the US top ten with Devil Woman, oh and I sang The Likely Lads TV Theme (and for a lad from Shildon, Co. Durham that’s great).
Where to buy: https://www.tonyriversbook.com/i-m-nearly-famous
This was a lovely and thoroughly interesting book to read! The narrative comes across as though Tony is sitting in the room with you telling his stories, which makes it a fantastic engaging read (perfect to read curled up with a cup of tea!).
He gives us the background to his childhood, and how he started singing. How he became the front man for a group, which then morphed into Tony Rivers And The Castaways, who played on the same circuits as The Beatles when they were first starting out. He takes us on his travels around the country and the RTA that sadly caused the loss of the life of one of the group members.
We experience the group going through a name change, and very nearly making it to the big time. And then we journey with Tony on his decision to leave and move on to bigger things – namely touring with Sir Cliff Richard and Shakin’ Stevens around the world! As well as being introduced by Sir Elton John on stage, LIVE at Live Aid 1985!!
There is also a wonderful collection of photos included in the book too, which helps to bring it all to life.
He shares stories with us on the behaviour of some of the big stars at the time (and how rude some can be!), and the things they used to get up to whilst touring with Sir Cliff!! And he enlightens us to just how overlooked and under appreciated him and other singers have been – rarely getting the credit they well and truly deserve.
As I say, I really enjoyed these stories and the way it was written. At times it was tough for me as (only being 36) I was unsure about who some of the stars were that were being referred to. But it still makes for an enjoyable book, giving those of us who weren’t around at the time a good insight into the music industry of the past,
If you’re in to music, or are perhaps slightly older and a fan of this sort of music, then you will adore this book. Even if you’re not and you’re looking for an interesting read and you enjoy an autobiography then definitely check this out.
Having read this I was so intrigued about Tony Rivers And The Castaways and Harmony Grass that I had to goole them, and was delighted to find that Tony has a YouTube channel with some of their songs! I found that I absolutely LOVE some of the songs, so be sure to check them out!
about the author
Tony Rivers began way back in 1961 as leader of Tony Rivers And The Castaways, a very fine harmony pop group who travelled the country amid the beat boom with all the usual suspects. A series of near-miss releases led to a name change to Harmony Grass. That did the trick, bringing them that elusive hit – which, sadly, they were unable to properly follow up.
Tony then took work producing and releasing records under various names until he hitched up with Cliff Richard’s band, initially arranging the harmonies on Miss You Nights, arguably the most sublime moment in UK harmony recordings. Staying with Cliff recording and on the road for over a decade, and also working with Shakin’ Stevens, Elton John and George Michael cemented his reputation for vocal work.
Tony tells his story in a personal and engaging style, with him maintaining a delightful, at times almost starstruck, attitude of a musician who always loved to meet and work with stars. He remained at pop’s epicentre for years, so this is a genuine insider’s view of 50-plus years of music-making, enhanced by dozens of photos from Tony’s collection.
A massive thanks again to Lorraine Duncan for inviting me to read the book, and to Tony for providing me with a copy of the book in return for an honest review.
If you’re a fan of Tony, I’d would LOVE to hear from you!
Have a wonderful day