Andy Ellison – Lead Vocals

January 1977 – January 2010 (played occasional keyboards Nov’ 1988,

occasional 12 string guitar April & June 1995 & occasional guitar Mid’ April - Early May 2000)


Visit Andy Ellison's online eBay store at
http://stores.ebay.com/Andy-Ellison-Radio-Stars
where he is selling paintings, posters and CDs.

 

Andy joined his first band, the Clockwork Onions in 1963 as harmonica player, but was soon promoted to lead vocalist after just one gig. By 1965 they had changed their name to The Few as well as their direction into more of a mod vain and come 1966, the nucleus of the band, and previous ones – Andy, Chris Townson & Geoff McClelland had been joined by John Hewlett and the four piece changed their name to The Silence. After building up a good local following, acquiring Simon Napier Bell as their manager, the band changed their name again, this time to John’s Children.

 

Two singles were released on Columbia Records during 1966 and 1967. Their debut release – “Smashed Blocked” became a minor hit in America and an album was recorded during 1966 for the American market only. But sadly it got shelved at the time and wasn’t released over there until 1970. Guitarist Geoff McClelland was replaced by Marc Bolan during March 1967 and the band also moved to Track Records where they released four singles. “Midsummer Night’s Scene” though was withdrawn shortly after it’s release and now sells for anything around £6,000+. During April, the band was thrown off a German tour with The Who because of their wild stage antics and Marc left the band around June. Along the way they did manage to film three promotional video’s. But after a tour of the South West the band split up.

 

Still managed by Simon Napier Bell, Andy studied mime and acrobatics, continuing in a solo vain and releasing three singles in six months – “It’s Been A Long Time” from the film ‘Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush’, “Fool From Upper Eden” and The Beatles “You Can’t Do That”. Lack of publicity helped them to become collector’s items.

 

Having had enough of the music business for a while, Andy left the country to persue adventures in Europe. But returned during 1973 and the following year joined up with his old mate Chris Townson and ex-Sparks bassist Martin Gordon to form Jet. The band signed to CBS Records and released two singles and an album during 1975, as well as toured with Hunter-Ronson. By 1976 they had been released from their contract.

 

All was not lost though, as Andy got Ted Carroll at Chiswick Records interested in Jet’s final demo’s and come 1977 Radio Stars were born. Six singles, two albums, numerous gigs, a few TV appearances and a hit single – “Nervous Wreck” happened over a two year period. Andy was even insured for £250,000 in case of injury to any member of the audience. But during 1979 the band were forced into splitting up as funds had run out and they received no support from the record company. The band did reform for a short time during 1982 and released a single on Martin’s own Snat label. Andy revived the band during 1988 and a few years later during 1992 until 1996. Chiswick issued a compilation album of old songs and unreleased songs during 1992 titled “Somewhere There’s A Place For Us”.

 

During the early 80’s Andy wrote quite a few songs and “To The Beat Of A Different Drummer” was eventually released on a cassette album many years later during 1991. A new version of the John’s Children song “Desdemona” was recorded in 1988 with Boz Boorer and this appeared on a Marc Bolan compilation album during the same year.

 

1992 saw John’s Children return to the stage making their debut in Darmstadt, Germany 25 years after their last gig. The band have done quite a few gigs since playing in and around London as well as in America, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Germany again.  

 

Andy was involved in the ‘Nothing To Do With Us Tour’ of London, Berlin and Amsterdam during 2000 promoting the re-release of Jet’s album from 1975. The band featuring Chris Townson, Martin Gordon, Ian MacLeod and Trevor White who performed songs by Radio Stars, Jet and John’s Children. Boz Boorer was a guest on the night of the London gig and a live album was released during 2001.

 

Come 2005, Andy was featured on an album by Andy Lewis called “Billion Pound Project”. He sang lead vocals on “Heather Lane”. The song was also featured on a compilation album called “Sugarlumps”. Acid Jazz Records issued both albums.

June 2006 saw John's Children release a song over the internet for the World Cup titled "Come On England (Our English Sons)". The song is available as a free download from www.myspace.com/johnschildren3 August 1st saw John’s Children start recording a punk version of “Maybe It’s Because I’m A Londoner”, and also during September Voiceprint Group of Companies released a solo album by Andy titled “Cornflake Zoo” and this album features songs from the 60’s to the present day, and some of them have never been released before. Andy has his own ‘My Space’ site at www.myspace.com/andyellison

John’s Children played a gig in Manchester on March 9th 2007 at the Night And Day Café. Acid Jazz Records released a compilation album titled “Sugarlumps 2” on April 16th. The Andy Lewis song “Disappear Across The Sky” features Andy on lead vocals. “I’m A Londoner” (shortened title) is now available as a download from the above John’s Children site. Two months after the last gig, John’s Children did a gig in London at the Inn on the Green (Parliament Club) on May 19th as a three piece.

On September 4th Andy was asked to unveil a plaque for the Small Faces in Carnaby Street, London below where their ex-manager Don Arden used to have his office. For the 30th anniversary of Marc Bolan’s death, Andy & Chris appeared on a documentary filmed by BBC 4. This was shown on September 14th. A gig also took place at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London on September 15th. Andy performed three John’s Children songs – “Mustang Ford” & “Sara Crazy Child” with his electric guitar, and for his third song “Desdemona”, he fronted the T-Rex tribute band T-Rextasy. The band featured a second drummer, Clem Burke from Blondie. This was the highlight of the gig as Andy climbed up the PA speakers and teased the audience the only way he knows how !!  

The Andy Lewis album “You Should Be Hearing Something Now” was released on October 15th on the Acid Jazz label and features one song with Andy on lead vocals tiled “Top Of The Tower”.

On March 1st 2008 Andy teamed back up with Martin Gordon and Ian MacLeod to do a 31st anniversary Radio Stars gig at the Blow Up Metro Club in London. This was the first time since November 5th 1978 that Andy, Martin and Ian had performed a set together consisting of Radio Stars songs. The same date saw a live CD issued called “Something For The Weekend” on the Radiant Future label.

Andy released a 4 track solo CD EP on the evening of the Radio Stars 31st anniversary gig. Tracks are “Anyway Goodbye”, “She’s Trying To Kill Me”, “Cold Light” and “Cluster Bombs”.

On September 29th the DVD of the Marc Bolan celebration gig (1947 – 1977 – 2007) from the previous year was released. This features the three songs Andy performed on the night – “Mustang Ford”, “Sara Crazy Child” (just Andy with his electric guitar) and “Desdemona” (with T-Rextasy and Clem Burke from Blondie as a second drummer). Andy was also involved in the two encores – “Get It On” and “Hot Love”. There is also an interview with Andy and this was filmed during the soundcheck. His evenings water spraying activities can be seen perfectly, along with his bongo playing !!

Radio Stars played at the Forum in London on December 13th as part of the Rebellion Punk Festival, and they also played in Southampton the following night at Talking Heads.

During May 2009 Acid Jazz Records released the album “Rare Mod” in CD and LP format. The album features two songs by The Silence from 1965 - “Down Down” and “Cold On Me”.

On September 18th Andy did an acoustic set at The Standard in Walthamstow, London supporting T-Rextasy. He also came on for the encores with the T-Rextasy performing a blistering version of the Radio Stars nugget “No Russians In Russia” (click here to see it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VuZjSvcf5s), “Desdemona” and “Hot Love”.

Radio Stars made an appearance at the legendary 100 Club in London on January 22nd 2010 when they supported Eddie & The Hot Rods.

Early February saw the promotional video for “The Love I Thought I’d Found” by John’s Children from 1966 turn up in Germany. The video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT6E-XtU6nc

Come March 1st, Jet’s concert from the Colston Hall in Bristol on April 1st 1975, and most of their gig from Hammersmith Odeon the night before was made available on iTunes and Amazon.

On March 16th, Andy recorded the vocals for a new Andy Lewis song titled “Mr. Camera”. This was at Paul Weller’s studio in Surrey.

During June, Andy flew to Finland to do two shows, one in Helsinki at the Bar Loose on June 4th and the other at the Bar Kuka in Turku on June 5th. Andy also did a short acoustic set in Fatty Sounds Records store prior to the Helsinki gig.

October 25th 2010 saw RPM Records issue Jet's album. Only this time the album has been re-mastered, along with the additional B side, “Quandary”. The package is complemented by a second CD titled "Even More Light Than Shade", which contains a few unreleased songs. The double CD comes with an excellent booklet that contains even more information and photographs than ever before !!

Acid Jazz Records released the compilation album “Rare Mod Vol. 3” on February 21st 2011 and this features the second version the “Desdemona” from 1967. Apart from keyboards being added to the song, possibly by Simon Napier Bell, “Desdemona” also features the rerecorded line by Andy, ‘why do you have to speak’. This replaced ‘lift up your skirt and fly’, because it offended quite a few radio stations and they banned the record at the time !!

The John’s Children album “Black & White”, which had been sitting around gathering dust for the last 10 years, finally saw the light of day on June 6th by Acid Jazz Records. In support of the album’s release, the band that had supported Andy in Finland came over to the UK to back Andy again for a show at the Barfly in London on July 28th.

Before the year was through, Andy made a couple of guest appearances at a couple of Andy Lewis shows and also made a guest appearance at T-Rextasy’s appearance at The Standard in London on December 3rd. This turned out to be the final appearance by any band at the venue, because it sadly by the end of the month it had closed down.


 

If you want to read a more detailed version of Andy’s career, click on his photograph below.

 

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