Maggie Bell Biography

12 January 1945, Glasgow, Scotland. Bell’s career began in the mid-60s as the featured singer in several resident dancehall bands. She made her recording debut in 1966, completing two singles with Bobby Kerr under the name Frankie And Johnny. Bell then joined guitarist Leslie Harvey, another veteran of the same circuit, in Power, a hard rock outfit that evolved into Stone The Crows. This earthy, soul-based band, memorable for Harvey’s imaginative playing and Bell’s gutsy, heartfelt vocals, became a highly popular live attraction and helped the singer win several accolades. Bell’s press release at the time insisted that she would loosen her vocal chords by gargling with gravel! Harvey, who was Bell’s boyfriend at the time, was tragically electrocuted on stage in 1972. The band, still rocked by his death, split up the following year. Bell, now managed by Peter Grant, embarked on a solo career with Queen Of The Night, which was produced in New York by Jerry Wexler and featured the cream of the city’s session musicians. The anticipated success did not materialize and further releases failed to reverse this trend. The singer did have a minor UK hit with ‘Hazell’ (1978), the theme tune to a popular television series, but ‘Hold Me’, a tongue-in-cheek duet with B.A. Robertson, remains her only other chart entry. Bell subsequently fronted a new group, Midnight Flyer, but this tough, highly underrated singer, at times redolent of Janis Joplin, has been unable to secure a distinctive career and can still be seen on the blues club circuit. Her interpretations of songs such as Free’s ‘Wishing Well’ and Lennon / McCartney’s ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ are excellent. Bell’s greatest asset remains her uncompromisingly foxy voice.

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

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