London born singer-songwriter Steve Harley returns to Southport for one night only at The Atkinson on Friday May 27, with his Acoustic Band show. The band includes Barry Wickens on violin and piano; Oli Hayhurst on double bass, with Dave Delarre on lead guitar.
Harley, with Cockney Rebel, released his debut album The Human Menagerie way back in 1973 to limited success. However, this was followed up by the non-album single Judy Tee in 1974, the band’s first UK hit, and this saw the band beginning to hit their stride. Mr Soft would be the next hit single, off the second album The Psychomodo, and this album itself peaked at number 8 in the UK album charts. But still, their greatest success was yet to come. Not until 1975 did the band reach the number 1 spot of the singles charts with their career defining classic Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me). This was a life changing event for Harley and company, and the band has since totalled sales of over 1.5 million copies worldwide.
More recently Harley’s Acoustic Band have set about playing what have been described as intimate, atmospheric gigs, although they have not totally eschewed the catchy pop rock that brought about their considerable success. Rather, Harley attests, that playing ‘the songs in an acoustic format gives me time and space to enjoy every second… It gets pretty exciting’. And to this end it is important to point out that the acoustic sets are built around tracks from his whole body of work, not least the crowd pleasers.
Rod Stewart has described Harley as ‘One of the finest lyricists Britain has ever produced’ and who are we to argue with that assessment? So, the question remains, why would you pass on the opportunity to see such a consummate performer, who is still having fun and tearing it up?