Is yours up to date? Or is it a sore subject (like it is with me)? With job hunting very much in mind we’ve been thinking as to has has the best CV in pop. Not that it quite works like that in showbiz but I think you know what we mean.
Now, first we disqualify Jimmy Page. Everyone knows he played on 93% of everything that came out of Britain in the 60s. Stepped into Clapton’s shoes in the Yardbirds then formed his own band…
Next we disqualify Eric Clapton. The Yardbirds, Cream, Derek & the Dominos and a cash cow solo career (do we forgive him Wonderful Tonight? No, I’m not sure that we do). Basically, this is not a game for the aristocracy, regardless of how many bands, duos or solo projects they have been involved with. These people do not need a CV. So, we’re not considering the likes of Macca, Stevie Wonder, Tom Jones, Bowie or Damon Albarn.
Also, this is not a game for session musicians, though some be revered names in their own right. Thus, hats off to the likes of Nicky Hopkins, Hal Blaine, the Funk Brothers, Rico and Big Jim Sullivan.
No, we’re thinking of the musicians who have played in a band or two, perhaps written for, managed or produced others, and have over the years built a pretty impressive CV.
1. Billy Preston: Played with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Nuff said? More than just asession man, though he did also play with Dylan, Sly Stone, Aretha, Elton, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and a whole bunch of others. Dig this great slab of clavinet-powered funk, which was a huge hit Stateside, but only a minor one here, with the Stones as his backing band. What a showman to boot.
2. Chas Chandler: The big, amiable, straight-talking Geordie was bassist in the Animals. Then he discovered Jimi Hendrix, put him with Mitch and Noel to form the Experience bailed out during the recording of Electric Ladyland, produced Soft Machine and managed both Nick Drake (apparently) and Slade in the 70s (with varying degrees of commercial success). Oh, and he also married Miss UK 1977.
3. Rob Davis: Mud were bloody ace. That’s not just a ten year old from 1975 speaking. When have you ever seen an empty dance floor with Tiger Feet being played? Rob Davis was the guitarist with Mud, the one with a poodle barnet, dangly ear-rings and a catsuit more flouncy than Alison Steadman’s Abigail’s Party frock. He joined Darts briefly, when they were past their best, then wrote and produced two of the biggest selling anthems of the current millennium; Kylie’s can’t Get You Out of My Head and Spiller’s Groovejet.
4. Robert Wyatt: Should really be disqualified under the ‘superstar’ rule. Multi-instrumentalist and founder member of Soft Machine, a main player in the early 70s Canterbury Scene (before my time, but just beginning to get acquainted with Kevin Ayers). Has gone on to a solo career with watertight street cred. Collaborated with Ivor Cutler, Bjork, Scritti Politti, Eno and Weller among others and is currently signed to Domino Records.
5. Elvis Costello: Again, a superstar in his own right, but a man who has always striven to tread his own path and normally attempts the artistic rather than the commercial. No doubt nice when the two coincide. He’s been good and indifferent but rarely bad over the last 30 years. Don’t forget too that he’s recorded with Bacharach and produced the first Specials album and was almost a 2Tone act (I can’t stand up for falling down is highly sought after).
6. Ivor Cutler: Definitely his own man, but had street cred and artistic integrity by the sackload. Worshipped by John Peel, Andy Kershaw, Lennon and the Bonzos, appeared in the Magical Mystery Tour, worked with Robert Wyatt, released by both Rough Trade and Creation and surely the coolest school teacher ever?
7. Kenney Jones: Drummer with The Small Faces, The Faces (I think of them as two different bands ~ you couldn’t imagine either without Marriott or Rod) and The Who, who I can’t imagine without Moon! (though Zak Starkey was very good on the only occasion I saw them). Formed The Jones Gang, a dinosaur-rock supergroup, and scored a US number one in 2005. Guested with Wings, The Stones, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis. Owns his own polo club.
8. Bernie Rhodes: Controversial choice maybe, not a musician for a start, but he managed The Clash, the original Subway Sect, The Specials and Dexys. As a poker hand that is not going to be beaten, not even by Alan McGee. Imortalised by Neville Staples at the beginning of one of the greatest singles of all time; “Bernie Rhodes knows, don’t argue”.
9. Brian Eno: Similar career path to Wyatt, although he has concentrated more on production following iconic success with Roxy Music, notably with Devo and U2. Collaborator with David Byrne, John Cale and Bowie on his Berlin albums plus a solo career.
10. Joe Foster edges out Bobby Gillespie: Former member of the Television Personalities, Biff Bang Pow and Creation co-founder, he produced the Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream and My Bloody Valentine, and has released discs by the likes of BMX Bandits, Brian Jonestown Massacre and plenty of 60s folk, pop, psych and exotica worthies via his Rev-Ola label.