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Chris Rea

Christopher Anton Rea (born 4 March 1951) is a singer-songwriter from Middlesbrough, England, recognisable for his distinctive, husky voice and slide guitar playing. Rea has sold over 30 million albums worldwide.

Early career

Rea first picked up the guitar relatively late, at the age of 22. He had not played the local music scene around Middlesbrough much, and had no real history of playing with any local bands. However, under the guidance of local club owner, and promoter John B. McCoy he managed to gain a record deal with Magnet Records. Whatever Happened to Benny Santini? was Rea’s debut album, released in 1978 . The first single lifted from the album, “Fool (If You Think It’s Over)”, is his biggest hit in the United States, peaking at number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100 and reaching number one on the Adult Contemporary Singles chart. “Fool (if You Think It’s Over)” was nominated for a Song of the Year Grammy, losing out to Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are”. Unlike most of Rea’s other singles, “Fool…” failed to appear on the UK Singles Chart on its first release and only reached #30 when re-released in late 1978 to capitalise on its US achievement. UK singer Elkie Brooks enjoyed greater success with “Fool..” in 1981 when she charted a single at #17. It was also the first record played by Radio Caroline, after a long period off the air. A cover of “Fool…” by Kenny Craddock was used as the theme for BBC sitcom Joking Apart.

The title of the album is a reference to a name Rea’s UK record label (Magnet) had considered christening him with to make him sound more attractive commercially.

Whatever Happened to Benny Santini? was produced by Gus Dudgeon. Rea was reportedly dissatisfied with the final mix of the album; he later went some way to supposedly rectify this to his satisfaction, starting with 1988′s greatest hits compilation New Light Through Old Windows, which featured a re-recorded version of “Fool…” and several other of his back-catalogue tracks. Dudgeon went on to produce Rea’s next effort, Deltics. It is rumoured within the music-industry however, that this ‘dissatisfaction’ was merely a clever way of dispensing with royalty, or contractual, payments on the original recordings that would have been due under an agreement with his first Manager John McCoy, with whom Rea had subsequently dispensed.

European breakthrough

By 1983 Rea’s record company had become so disinterested in him that they released the raw demo tapes as his fifth studio album. The album, entitled “Water Sign”, became a surprise hit in Ireland and mainland Europe, selling over half a million in just a few months and the single “I Can Hear Your Heartbeat” taken from it entered the top 20 across Europe .

With the success of “Water Sign” Rea began to focus his attention on touring continental Europe and built up a significant fan base there. It was not until 1985′s Shamrock Diaries and the songs “Stainsby Girls” and “Josephine” that UK audiences began to take notice of him. His following albums were On The Beach (1986) and Dancing with Strangers (1987). The Dancing with Strangers tour in 1987, saw Rea sell out stadium size venues for the first time across the world, and Rea played Wembley Arena twice. His following album was the New Light Through Old Windows compilation album, which saw studio reworkings of his earlier work.

His next full album was to be his major breakthrough. The Road to Hell (1989) enjoyed massive success and became his first #1 album in the UK. This accomplishment could not be mirrored in the US, where it only reached #107, in spite of the single track “Texas” achieving extensive radio airplay. The title track was released as a single and reached the UK Top 10. Rea appeared on the Band Aid II project’s single in December 1989. His next album, Auberge, was also a European hit, reaching the top spot in the UK.

Current Discography

Studio Albums

1978 Whatever Happened to Benny Santini? – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/chris-rea-whatever-happened-to-benny-santini/

Deltics – Coming soon 01/02/2015

Dancing With Strangers – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/chris-rea-dancing-with-strangers/

The Road To Hell http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/chris-rea-the-road-to-hell/

Expresso Logic – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/chris-rea-expresso-logic/

Wired To The Moon – http://bopping-elf.co.uk/chris-rea/chris-rea-wired-to-the-moon/

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