Barbara Dickson Biography

27 September 1947, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. Dickson earned her initial reputation during the 60s as part of Scotland’s flourishing folk scene. An accomplished singer, she tackled traditional and contemporary material and enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Archie Fisher. In the 70s she encompassed a wider repertoire and became a popular MOR artist in the wake of her contributions to Willy Russell’s John, Paul, George, Ringo... And Bert, a successful London West End musical. She enjoyed a UK Top 10 single in 1976 with ‘Answer Me’, while two later releases, ‘Another Suitcase In Another Hall’ (1977) and ‘January February’ (1980), also broached the UK Top 20. In 1983, the Dickson/Russell combination scored again when she won a Laurence Olivier Award for her portrayal of Mrs. Johnstone in his widely applauded musical Blood Brothers. Dickson maintained her popularity through assiduous television and concert appearances and in 1985 had a number 1 hit with ‘I Know Him So Well’, a duet with Elaine Paige from the London musical Chess. Its success confirmed Dickson as one of Britain’s leading MOR attractions.

In 1993, Dickson received renewed critical acclaim when she recreated her original role in current West End revival of Blood Brothers. Two years later she played in cabaret in the Green Room at London’s Cafe Royal, and appeared in two highly rated television dramas, the gritty Band Of Gold (as Anita Braithwaite) and Taggart, as well as several other small screen films. In 1998, she toured her one-woman musical, The 7 Ages Of Woman, and in the following year returned to the West End in the musical as Viv Nicholson in Spend Spend Spend!, for which she won Laurence Olivier and Variety Club Awards for Best Actress.

Dickson’s acting career is shared with her recording work and she is able to choose her projects. 1995’s Dark End Of The Street was a personal selection of songs she wanted to record, most notably her credible interpretations of Dan Penn’s title track and Boudleaux Bryant’s ‘Love Hurts’. She was made an OBE in the 2002 New Year Honours List for services to music and drama.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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