Alex Harvey

Alex Harvey

'Alex Harvey’s rock ‘n’ roll band is one of the scariest, most exciting and dynamic outfits ever to come out of the British Empire’ – (Circus Raves, 1974)

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A showman in the classical sense Alex Harvey’s live performances owed as much to vaudeville as they did to rock. Using the stage to the full while blending rock and theatrics, an Alex Harvey show (that may include showgirls, Alex breaking down walls or doing an impression of Marlon Brando) would always capture the audience’s attention.

Alex worked his way through the music industry the hard way. While his first ‘gig’ was playing trumpet at a wedding reception aged 19, he was to work through numerous music styles before developing his own style and niche in the rock world.

By the time the Sensational Alex Harvey Band arrived on the music scene in 1972 Alex had already played in Dixieland and jazz groups, played skiffle and pop covers, backed Gene Vincent, John Lee Hooker and others with his Big Soul Band, released singles in the US and UK, been a folksinger and dabbled in psychedelia. While his success in these ventures had been variable they had the cumulative effect of making him a fully rounded entertainer.

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band was created by the joining of Alex and the progressive rock group Tear Gas. The theatrical style of rock they produced found a ready audience with both the standard rock and glam rock fans; the group rapidly built a formidable reputation on the live circuit. The essence of Alex was also captured on record and resulted in the hit singles “Delilah” (1975) and “Boston Tea Party” (1976). With the first being an ‘interesting’ (maybe even eccentric) version of the Tom Jones hit and the second being a great rock number the range of Alex’s work was now being seen on television screens by millions and not just in concert by the lucky few - the Sensational Alex Harvey Band became stars on the international stage.

While Alex was forced to retire from fulltime rock due to back problems, caused by his energetic stage act, in 1977, he had left his mark on live music at an international level. His style of theatrics coupled with rock (always well performed and not in the ‘shock rock’ vein) were ultimately his own and, while they have been imitated, the style that Alex brought has never been matched.

  • According to some reports Alex was, at one point, a lion tamer – another string to the legends bow or just some well placed PR?

  • In 1956 Alex won a newspaper competition to become Scotland’s answer to the then English teen sensation Tommy Steele

  • Always one to work at the edge, Alex once arrived on stage in Germany dressed as Hitler and then proceeded to lecture the crowd on the dangers of fascism.



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