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Chris Rea Biography

Last updated: 11/26/2014 05:04:38 AM

Chris Rea-photo
Left handed singer/song writer Chris Rea was a late starter in anyone's terms, learning guitar (as a right hander) in his late teenage years and released his first single "So Much Love" in 1974. It was not a success.

After several years refining his skills in a local band "Magdelene" later
renamed "The Beautiful Losers", Chris Rea began work on an album with Gus
Dudgeon which finally attracted some attention. 1978's "Whatever Happened To Benny Santini" included the hit "Fool (If You Think It's Over)" which charted well in the US and prompted its re-release in the UK where it eventually cracked the Top 30. The album achieved gold status in the States and "Fool..." was nominated for a Grammy but failed to win. However in his homeland "...Benny Santini" disappeared as quickly as it came.

The follow up album also produced by Dudgeon reversed the trends. It charted in the UK but bombed in the US. The single "Diamonds" however charted well in both the US and the UK reaching both Top 50's.

The follow up albums "Tennis" and "Chris Rea" likewise had moderate success in the UK, no doubt bolstered by the many live shows Chris Rea embarked on. In the US however the albums were less successful and whilst there was some single success for "Loving You" from the self-title album, neither album charted.

In 1983 with things looking grim, a lifeline from the Continent and Ireland saved Rea from packing things in. "In 1983 it was just about rock bottom", says Chris. "I was ready to give up." It was a call from Ireland wanting to promote the album "Watersign" that changed everything. Although the US by now had permanently lost interest, and the UK was not taking much notice, Ireland and Europe were keen to hear more . The dance-beat single "I Can Hear Your Heartbeat" and the album both cracked the Top 20 of several European countries and a full scale tour was conducted to consolidate on the successes being realised.

The album "Wired To The Moon" released the following year yielded the hit
Single, "I Don't Know What It Is But I Love It". A UK Top 100 hit and another dance beat single that, along with "...Heartbeat", became club hits in Europe and were given the remix treatment. "Wired To The Moon" was Rea's most successful album to date in the UK cracking the Top 40.

In 1985 "Shamrock Diaries" was released and yielded the hit singles "Josephine" and "Stainsby Girls" reaching number 67 and 27 in the UK respectively. This success was repeated in many European countries especially Germany, Holland and Belgium. This was also the album that "broke" for Rea in Australia where it also sold well.

The follow up album and single "On The Beach" also sold very well just
failing to reach the UK Top 10 album charts and went gold in Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

"Dancing With Strangers" contained Rea's biggest selling single "Let's Dance" that peaked just outside the UK Top 10 singles and sparked a brief resurgence in the US where it reached the Top 100 singles. The album though finally reached Number 2 in the UK going gold in its first week. A tour of Australia ensured his moderate success there was maintained and the European tour after that did the same there.

With a new record company the "On The Beach" single and album was re-issued and charted better than the original placing in the UK. The re-recorded compilation "New Light Through Old Windows" was released to let those late-comers in on what they had missed. Rea felt many of his earlier recordings needed polishing. Included for completists were two new tracks. The album reached number 5 in the UK and made a brief appearance in the US Top 100 albums.

The album "The Road To Hell" released the following year was an instant smash. Number 1 in the UK and containing two more hit singles "Tell Me There's A Heaven" and "Texas". A 52-date UK and European tour followed to capitalise on this success.

Another tour the following year to promote "Auberge" was just as successful and "Auberge" debuted in the UK Number 1 album spot. Four singles from the album all sold well, three reaching the Top 50.

"God's Great Banana Skin" the following year failed to sell quite as well but still went UK Top 5 with the Top 20 Single "Nothing To Fear" also proving a success. A four-month tour of Europe followed.

In 1993 Rea got involved in his first soundtrack work for the film "Soft Top Hard Shoulder" writing the entire score. Another album went Top 10 "Espresso Logic" which contained his last Top 20 single "Julia". Chris starts to follow his other passion, motor racing.

A planned Canadian/European tour for 1995 was called off when it was discovered that Chris was not well. "First I had a collapsed colon, which needed immediate surgery, then I had a post-operational abscess which gave me full-scale peritonitis." He still managed to write a track for use by the Ford motor company and oversaw a Best of album that again charted UK Top 5 and sold well throughout Europe.

The following few years were quiet musically for Chris Rea. A film written by, acted in and scored by Chris, "La Passione", is received to mixed reviews and a less than ecstatic fan base. The acting bug bit again and saw Chris act in a film called "Parting Shots" that was fairly savaged by the critics.

Not content to leave it there, Chris wrote and performed a song for the German film series "Schimanski". The song was "The Blue Cafe" and became the title track to his follow up album which was his last Top 10 album.

The Road to Hell 2 is released the following year and marked quite a musical change. Inspired by the traps of modern living, the album was a collection of tunes dominated by drum programs and computer samples. Again the fans were mixed in their opinions.

Illness again forced Chris to reassess and whilst holidaying in the Bahamas, inadvertently wrote the lyrics to his most recent album "King Of The Beach". Two singles have so far been released but chart success now appears to be a thing of the past.

Deciding that there was nothing left to prove musically, Rea began work in 2001 on his pet project, a Chicago blues sounding album. Locking hinself away in France with his trusted bunch of muso mates, they completed “Dancing Down The Stony Road” and the accompanying Making Of documentary, available on DVD. This double CD was a dream realised. Finally, Rea had produced the album that heHad always wanted to. The fledgling lable Jazzy Blue signed Rea and the album, and fans and critics were almost unanimous in their praise. Several singles were released though none saw great chart success.

Touring was back on the cards and a small European and UK tour played to solid and loyal houses.

2003 saw the release of the mostly instrumental blues album, ”Blue Street (Five Guitars). The album was again well received, though some long-term fans still harken for the good old days of Rea’s pop/rock leanings. Released simultaneously was the album “Hoffner Blue Notes” that was a sort of companion piece, though more a jazz-blues sound, but it has
signalled a new phase of Rea’s career.

What lies ahead? Only Chris Rea possibly knows that.

In summary, Chris Rea's career spans 25 years, 23 albums and numerous singles and tours. Whilst the heady days of chart success are probably behind him now, there still exists a very large and strong fan base that eagerly awaits each release, even if some albums of late have been less commercial. Success in Europe is still guaranteed, lack of success in the States has been accepted and the UK and the rest of the world seem interested in varying degrees. I guess when you've had number one albums and success like this, it can lose its appeal. Chris Rea has been there and done that. He's still doing it but very much on his own terms.

Terry Kemp

Australia.
October 2003

Thanks to redhenry65@hotmail.com for submitting the biography.

Thanks to Terry Kemp redhenry65@hotmail.com Bio updated :-) Hope U can use it. for submitting the biography.


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I pushed his pram | Reviewer: brian yare | 11/24/14

I can go back to Middlesbrough where I knew both his grandfather and his GF brother (Cameo). As early teenagers we did not go drinking alcohol - we went to Rea's Ice Cream Parlour - the one at the Albert Park gates - only one of number of ice cream parlours owned by the brothers Rea.
Because we were almost part of the family I can even remember pushing Chris around Albert Park in his pram - not knowing he was to grow up and be so famous
His grandfather who had a beautiful Italian singing voice would regularly serenade the people in the shop. Sadly he died very young - I would guess at around 40-45. Cameo continued with the business but this could not compete with the big ice cream manufacturers and the business closed. I last saw Cameo in a deli shop in Stewart Park, when I was on a visit back to the U.K. from Australia where we now live.

fool | Reviewer: paul direlle | 6/10/13

I have always been a fan but it was back in 1978 when I left my home to begin my career as a police officer. It was then and only then that I came across the jewell "FOOL". When ever I hear or play it, it brings me so far back in the past. Thanks Chris, you changed my life for ever.

Datona | Reviewer: Roger | 7/22/12

I have several albums containing many of the numbers noted here. The rolling, rocking, and insistant beat, along with that amazing voice just keeps me coming back for more.

And "Texas." Hey, I live in Texas. That's my favorite.


Road to Hell | Reviewer: Robert Bridge | 2/6/12

I have liked Chris Rea for some years. I think the US market missed out on an amazing artist. The Album Road to Hell with that song, Texas, and Tell me there's a Heaven is still one of my favorites. The mixture of Rock and the Orchastra is very moving.

words cannot describe | Reviewer: jeff arychuk | 1/30/12

i live in winnipeg,manitoba,canada. although chris has never been within a million miles of where i live he continues to beat right next to my heart. i worry about his health battles but am equally amazed by his energy and how he keeps raising the bar with his music, his art, and most of all his genius. i am resigned to the fact that he will never perform in north america and i continue to pursue my dream of travelling overseas to see him--just once--as i feel my life would carry a void otherwise. maybe just maybe

memories | Reviewer: judy branton | 11/25/11

i just wanted to say i love your song, driving home for christmas. it brings back so many beautiful memories. plus, i love your voice, you have a special gift. not everyone, as tht gift, and for you it seems so natural. chris, thank you for the memories and keep well,judy from ottawa ontario canada

chris rea n°1 in the world for all times | Reviewer: med | 6/11/11

hello chris ,i am mohamed from morrocco a huge fan.all morrocco loves you.thanks for all this art and this high level of music.you still n°1 in the world for all times.your music give me a big feeling of entrance(waw) god bless you chris back soon we are waiting for you

chris n°1 in the world for all times | Reviewer: med | 6/11/11

hello chris ,i am mohamed from morrocco a huge fan.all morrocco loves you.thanks for all this art and this high level of music.you still n°1 in the world for all times.your music give me a big feeling of entrance(waw) god bless you chris back soon we are waiting for you

DIAMONDS! | Reviewer: Anonymous | 1/14/11

I think his song DIAMONDS was and is a great tune. The lyrics and the beat and the piano work. I bought the album Deltics just for the song Diamonds. Some of us in the United States know of him. Fool if you think it over did well with we Yanks and Driving Home For Christmas has 3 million hits on Youtube.

Perfect | Reviewer: Pouriya | 9/29/10

Hi,I've known him since last year with his song(The mention of your name).
It was perfect,Each time i listen to this song,It makes me unusual,His voice is Stunning.
i remember a night that i was in the beach and the moon was exactly in front of me,in that time i was listening to this music because i was in LOVE.
In my opinion he's number 1 in world and i hope that one day see him.
I LOVE YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOU CHRIS.

Chris Rea Apollo Manchester 2010 | Reviewer: Bob Mclintock | 3/29/10

There is one word to say about Chris EXCELLENT !! I have seen him twice at the Manchester Apollo, if you get the opportunity to see him don't miss it.
This man is the best the country has produced !, absolute genius and brilliant muscian in every detail if he could be seen every week I would get there.
The band too are the best, been to other concerts but would see Chris and the band time and time again.
VERY HIGHLY RATED BY ME .....Go & see !

Chris Rea | Reviewer: Gordon Pearce | 9/5/09

I first bought Road To Hell on the recommendation of a friend about a year after it was re(a)leased in New Zealand.
I played it when it arrived by mail.Not a huge register on the 'best music I have ever heard' o'meter.
About 3 weeks later I played it again.From that point on I was hooked.
Ever since then I have bought every Chris Rea Album,and tried to get every track that he has ever recorded.
His music speaks to me..no matter my mood,my feelings,my emotions, there is something of Chris's music which can communicate itself into my soul.
I am eternally grateful to the friend who first started me on this journey of discovery of a great and sometimes under rated artist.
Thank You Chris for all you mean to me.

Gordon.

Every song ever sung | Reviewer: Anna-Marie Michaud | 8/6/09

I have been a fan of Chris Rea since "Road to Hell." Since 1988 I have lived on the West Coast
of Canada in Vancouver. Chris' music, lyrics and
singing have kept me in rapture since then.
I cannot explain it...this feeling of total joy & love comes over me whenever I listen to him.
I find myself playing YouTube songs of his with the hope of somehow hearing his voice out loud & in person. Along with each song that I hear, comes a feeling that is indescriable & very profound.

Chris Rea's has made we weep with very deep feelings of love that come thru in almost all his songs. I cannot describe how much I relate to his songs except to say that Chris is
someone that has helped me to understand sadness
and positive reinforcement.

Should Chris ever come to Vancouver British Columbia in Canada, I would be honored to meet him & would look forward to saying "Thanks for
the happiness your songs have brought to my life."

Merci beaucoup Chris Rea.
***********************************************
Si j'avais à choisir un artiste dans tout le monde qui m'a influencer et toucher comme personne d'autre, ce serait Chris Rea.
Mon coeur ne peut supporter le plaisir que les
chansons de Chris m'ont donnés à travers les années. Je ne peux expliquer comment je suis
reconnaissante. Milles Mercis Chris pour les
heures romantiques et les rêves qui suivent tous
les moments que je t'écoute.
Anna
Vancouver B.C.

Here I am again. | Reviewer: Brunilda Sidheri | 4/17/09

Hello. This is my second opinion for Chris Rea but I can't resist without expressing my admiration for his talent. Please listen those songs and you will be taken way to heaven:
"There she goes", "Looking for the summer", "Nothing to fear", "Auberge", "Josephine", "Fool if you think is over", "The road to hell", "Blue Caffe", "Driving home for Christmas", "And you my love", ect.
All the best Chris.

Inspirational | Reviewer: Patrick Moncalieri | 9/30/08

Man..I am 43 and I find Chris Rea very Inspirational. Strongly considering to take up piano lessons again. Was very inspired by his 1978 British Video of "Fool If you think it is over."

Thanks!

Patrick Moncalieri