Be-Bop Deluxe Biography

During the comparatively barren times for progressive music in the early 70s, guitarist Bill Nelson (William Nelson, 18 December 1948, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England) recorded the limited edition Northern Dream. Tapes of this collector’s item were played by the pioneering disc jockey John Peel on his legendary BBC Radio programme, Top Gear. The line-up of Nelson, Nicholas Chatterton-Dew (drums), Robert Bryan (bass/vocals) and Ian Parkin (d. July 1995; guitar) recorded Axe Victim as Be-Bop Deluxe. Nelson soon disbanded the outfit, and following a tour supporting Cockney Rebel, he formed a new band, taking members from that fragmented unit. This short-lived combo also broke up. With the addition of bass player Charles Tumahai (b. New Zealand, d. 21 December 1995) and drummer Simon Fox, Nelson released Futurama and Sunburst Finish. The latter included a surprise hit single, ‘Ships In The Night’. Nelson’s undeniable talent as a guitarist began to dominate the band and as his technical virtuosity grew, the songs became weaker. Nelson abandoned the name in 1978 for the more radical Red Noise, retaining keyboard player Andrew Clark from the old band, although he now records under his own name. During their peak, Be-Bop Deluxe was an exciting and refreshing band that was ultimately unable to find a musical niche that suited its varied styles.

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

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