Thursday, 22 September 2016
Dixieland/My Minds Eye/That Moon/Stay With Me/Howl/Paris/Turn My Heart Around/Shine A Light/The Devil In Disguise/Angeltown/Real Life
Australian singer/songwriter Richard Clapton played with several bands during the late '60s and '70s as he traveled across Europe before returning to Australia in 1972 to begin his solo career.
His debut single, "Last Train to Marseilles," released in October 1972, was not commercially successful and he joined the jazz-rock band Sun for a six-week stint. His debut album, Prussian Blue, was released in November 1973, but his first chart success was with the single "Girls on the Avenue," which reached number two nationally in March 1975. He released the Girls on the Avenue album followed by the album Main Street Jive in July 1976. A European tour followed at the end of the year. Clapton's contribution to the 1977 Highway One soundtrack album, "Capricorn Dancer," peaked at number 20.
A new record deal with WEA in 1982 produced The Great Escape, which peaked at number seven in March. The single, "I Am an Island," peaked at number 20 while the compilation album, The Very Best of Richard Clapton, peaked at number 15 during the same time. Another national tour followed which included bassist Garry Gary Beers and drummer Jon Farriss from INXS as part of his backing band; an association that began when Clapton produced their 1981 album, Underneath the Colours. In 1983, Clapton joined the Party Boys for a short time and appeared on their Greatest Hits (of Other People) album. In 1984, Clapton released his next solo album, Solidarity, and again toured the country. Glory Road followed in 1987, produced by Jon Farriss in return for Clapton's work on Underneath the Colours.
In 1983, Clapton joined The Party Boys, taking over lead vocals from James Reyne (Australian Crawl), the live album Greatest Hits (Of Other People) and a single, "I Fought the Law"—a cover of the Sonny Curtis song—resulted from an extensive tour of the east coast of Australia. Clapton left the band to re-focus on his solo career and handed over vocals to Shirley Strachan (ex-Skyhooks).
In September 1984, Clapton released Solidarity on Mushroom Records which was produced by Opitz, Ricky Fataar, Tim Kramer and Moffatt. For the album he used Graham Bidstrup on drums (ex-The Angels, The Party Boys), James Black on keyboards (ex-Mondo Rock), Kevin Borich on guitar (ex-La De Das, The Party Boys), Fataar on drums, Allan Mansfield on keyboards (Dragon), Graham Thompson on bass guitar (ex-Stars), and backing vocals from Mary Bradfield, Venetta Fields and Mark Williams. Clapton and Borich released the duet single, "Spirit of Sydney" in 1986.
Clapton rejoined WEA in 1987 for his next album, Glory Road, released in October, and its three singles, which were produced by Jon Farriss of INXS as a return favour for the production of Underneath the Colours. A live album, The Best Years of Our Lives was recorded on 16 April 1989 and released in September. His band were Hegerty, Lorange, Moffatt on guitar, Jeff Bartolomei on keyboards, Ben Butler on guitar, and Steve Sowerby on drums. The album peaked in the top 30 on the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Albums Chart.
Clapton was without a recording contract for four years from 1989 and had a few changes of his management until he signed with Sony Music/Columbia Records for the release of Distant Thunder in May 1993. The album spawned four singles and was produced by Clapton. It charted in the top 40 but no single reached the top 50 on ARIA's Singles Chart. His second album for Sony, Angeltown appeared in May 1996 with a single, "Dixieland" in March—neither appeared in their respective top 50 charts. In September 1999, Clapton released a compilation album, "Definitive Anthology", which peaked in the top 30. He was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame on 12 October.
In 2008, on Australia Day (26 January) Clapton appeared in a performance held at Parliament House, Canberra. To celebrate 35 years of recording, Clapton held a one off concert at the Sydney State Theatre on 28 June. The event was sold out in days and featured a line-up of Australian musicians who had played with him including Jon Farriss from INXS. The performance was recorded for Live at the State Theatre released in October.
In August 2012 Clapton's first studio album in eight years, Harlequin Nights, was issued on his own label and distributed by MGM. He was assisted on the album by Danny Spencer on guitar, who also co-wrote some tracks. The Australian's reviewer noted that Clapton "hasn't lost his touch as a songwriter" as the album "veers between the heady optimism of opening track 'Sunny Side Up' and the poignant autumnal reflection of the beautiful 'Blue Skies'" while Clapton is a "troubadour buffeted by uncertain winds and still searching for answers in songs such as the epic 'Vapour Trails' but pushing on regardless in the folksy 'Run Like a River'".