Labi Siffre Biography

25 June 1945, London, England. Siffre was born and brought up in Bayswater, London, the son of an English mother and Nigerian father. He first took employment as a minicab driver and delivery man but practised guitar whenever he could, going on to study music harmonics. He played his first gigs as one of a trio of like-minded youngsters, before taking up a nine-month residency at Annie’s Rooms. His tenure completed, he travelled to Cannes, France, and played with a variety of soul musicians and bands. He returned to the UK in the late 60s and enjoyed Top 20 solo hits in the early 70s with ‘It Must Be Love’ (later covered by Madness) and ‘Crying, Laughing, Loving, Lying’. Although ‘Watch Me’ in 1972 was his last hit of the 70s, he made a spectacular comeback in 1987 with the UK Top 5 hit, ‘(Something Inside) So Strong’. In recent years Siffre has devoted most of his time to his poetry and has shown a sensitive and intelligent grasp of world issues, campaigning against homophobia and racism. His relaxed nature and engaging personality has made his poetry readings more popular than his songs.

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