Most, Mickie

Mickie Most was born as Michael Peter Hayes, June 20, 1938, Aldershot, Hampshire, England.

Early career

In the late '50s Most toured and recorded for Decca as the Most Brothers with Alex Wharton who later produced the Moody Blues hit 'Go now'. From 1959 to 1963 he worked in South Africa, producing his own hit versions of songs such as Chuck Berry's 'Johnny B. Goode' and Ray Peterson's 'Corrina Corrina'.

Production work

He returned to Britain aiming to develop a career in production and after scoring a minor hit with 'Mister Porter', he became producer of the Newcastle R&B group the Animals. Beginning with 'Baby let me take you home' in 1964, Most supervised seven hit singles by the group and was now in demand as a producer. Much of his skill at this time lay in his choice of songs for artists such as the Nashville Teens and Herman's Hermits, for whom he found 'Silhouettes', 'I'm into something good' and 'Wonderful world'.

After his earliest UK successes Most was given a five-year retainer production deal by CBS in America, under which he produced records by Lulu, Terry Reid, Jeff Beck and Donovan, for whom he created a new electric sound on Sunshine Superman (1966). He had later successes with artists such as Mary Hopkin (the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest entry, 'Knock knock who's there') and Julie Felix ('El Condor Pasa').

RAK Records

After 1969 Mickie Most concentrated on running the label RAK Records. For over a decade, RAK singles were regularly to be found the the UK Top 10. The roster included Hot Chocolate, Alexis Korner's CCS, Smokie, Chris Spedding, New World, Suzi Quatro, Mud and of course Kim Wilde. During the '70s Most was a member of the panel on the UK television talent show New faces and with the arrival of punk, he presented 'Revolver', a short-lived show devoted to the new music. However, he was out of sympathy with much of punk and the subsequent New Romantic trend. Among his few later productions was Me And My Foolish Heart, an early record by Johnny Hates Jazz which included his son Calvin Hayes.
After the RAK back catalogue was sold to EMI Records in 1983, Most was less active.

Most and Kim Wilde

Most has repeatedly been credited for "discovering" Kim. When Ricky was recording new tracks for a single, Kim was originally attracted to sing backing vocals on Falling out. The story goes that Mickie Most walked in when Kim was singing her backing vocals and thought she had a good voice and good image. One month later, Kids in America was recorded.

Death

Most died on May 30, 2003 after battling for a year with mesothelioma, a rare cancer possibly caused by the asbestos used in recording studios.

Kim about Mickie Most

Anyone who has a song written about them by Joni Mitchell is alright by me. The song was "A free man in Paris" which was about Mickie Most... listen to the lyric. If the only reason he lived was to have a song written about him by Joni Mitchell, then it's good enough reason. (1)

Interview source

(1) Shrink rap (Melody Maker (UK), November 3, 1984