Swain, Tony

Born 20 January 1952, London, England. Record producer, musician and songwriter Swain started his career as a television cameraman, where he met Steve Jolley in 1975. They worked together on the “Muppet Show” until Tony left to work in a recording studio as a writer/producer. In 1981 reunited with Jolley they built a reputation when their song ‘Body Talk’ became a major hit for Imagination. The formula continued through a run of eight further hit singles, including “Just An Illusion” which narrowly missed the UK number 1 spot. In addition to four albums with Imagination, their high standing in the music business gave them an impressive list of productions with major success with Bananarama, Spandau Ballet and Alison Moyet, including the multi-million selling number 1 albums “True”, “Parade” (Spandau Ballet) and “Alf” (Alison Moyet). Swain co-wrote all the tracks bar one on the last, and played keyboards on this classic pop album including the major hit Love Resurrection. Swain with Jolley were nominated for a BPI award following its success. Since then they have worked with the Truth, Diana Ross, Tom Robinson, Errol Brown, Wang Chung and Louise Goffin, and following their mutual break Tony went on to produce Kim Wilde’s “Close” which became another million-seller. Towards the end of a highly lucrative decade, Swain saw the completion of his own ‘state of the art’ recording studio at his home in Hertfordshire. He was a major contributor to quality British pop music throughout the ’80s.
Tony continued to work with Kim, co-writing songs like Love (Send Him Back To Me), Storm in our Hearts and This I Swear.
Swain is now an A&R manager for Universal Records.


Most, Mickie

Mickie Most was born as Michael Peter Hayes, 20 June 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. 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 30 May 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), 3 November 1984


Masterson, Ian

Ian Masterson was born in Belfast, Ireland. His work started out when he stumbled across a remix-ready tape of a Pet Shop Boys track – ‘Discoteca’ – in his manager’s office. With a copy of that he started working, ending up with a remix that turned more than a few heads. He came up with the name ‘Trouser Enthusiasts’, working with one David Green. Together they made more than fifty remixes and productions in two years (between 1996 and 1998), working with artists like Saint Etienne, Kylie Minogue, Gloria Estefan, Donna Summer and many others.

In 1999, Trouser Enthusiasts became a pop group, but David Green was replaced by female singer Mitch Stevens for this occasion. Their single ‘Sweet Release’ did not make an impact on the UK chart, however it was a club favourite for a while. The track was written by Ian and Terry Ronald, who was to become an important partner for Ian in subsequent projects.

They collaborated on the production of Sheena Easton‘s 2000 album ‘Fabulous’.
Together with Ricky Wilde they produced Kim Wilde’s first new track in years, Loved, released in November 2001.


Heil, Reinhold

Born on 18 May 1954, Reinhold Heil studied for tone master at the HDK in Berlin and played besides in a Fusion Jazz Band. In 1976 he became acquainted with the guitarist Bernhard Potschka, who introduced him a year later to Nina Hagen, Herwig Mitteregger and Manfred Praeker. They formed the Nina Hagen Band together, which had a lot of success with their debut album.
Nina Hagen went solo in 1979, whereas the band continued themselves under the name Spliff. After one album in English, ‘Spliff Radio Show’, they decided to sing in German again and had a lot of success in Germany with the hits ‘Carbonara’ and ‘Das Blech’, both written by Reinhold. In the end, Spliff consisted of four producers, who made it possible for newcomers to have success in the music business. Out of these four men, Reinhold was probably the most successful, as he produced Nena, who enjoyed European success with the song ’99 Luftballons’ (or ’99 Red Balloons’, in the English version).
In 1986, Reinhold briefly worked with Kim Wilde, producing the song Schoolgirl together with Ricky Wilde.
Reinhold then went on to work with artists like Annette Humpe and the Rainbirds. In 1996 he started a new career as a composer of film music together with Johnny Klimek. They composed music for films like ‘Winterschläfer’ (1997) and ‘Lola rennt’ (1998).
Since the end of the 1990’s Reinhold lives in Santa Barbara, California (USA), where he has built his own studio.

Kim about Reinhold Heil

Initially it came about because Ricky was going to be working with Nena’s band, except that he couldn’t work with them in Berlin, because his wife was having a baby. So he had to postpone that project. But through Nena he met Reinhold and I met him too. They came over to England. He’s a wizard on the Fairlight and we just bought the new Fairlight, and it made a lot of sense that he came over and worked with Ricky and myself. And he was a lovely person. He produced two of the tracks and couldn’t finish it off because he had a commitment to his girlfriend who he also produces. Rosa. (1)

Interview source

(1) Europa Countdown, Europa TV (Netherlands), 8 July 1986


Friedman, Aron

Born in South Africa, Aron Friedman studied classical piano and later formed Nyanga, singing in English and Zulu and performing at the only non-segregated gigs available – in the so called black townships!
Later forced to flee the troubles and avoid army service, Aron arrived in the UK and applied for political asylum. His first major break was a publishing deal with EMI which led to an award at the Tokyo Music Festival for his song “Time”. He then started producing tracks for many independent acts before setting up his own labels Perception International and Doctor Vibe.
Aron Friedman has been responsible for some of the most influential club records of the last five years such as ‘Happiness’ and ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’. He first became established with his mixes of acts including Take That, Urban Hype, Junior Giscombe, Worlds Apart and Nomad.
Through these jobs he met Damon Rochefort (from Nomad), with whom he formed Serious Rope, a writing and production duo.
Together, they produced some tracks of the Kim Wilde album Now & Forever. On this album, Alan Friedman is also credited for keyboards & programming on Breakin’ Away, High on You, Heaven, You’re All I Wanna Do and for keyboards & programming and the string arrangement on This I Swear and Hold On.
Aside from the very successful Serious Rope team, Aron continues to remix by himself, a.o. for Ant & Dec (‘Falling’), and with DJ Maxie B for Technotronic and the Back Street Boys.


Fahrenkrog-Petersen, Uwe

Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen was born on 10 March 1960 in Berlin (Germany). He claimed the top spot all over the world when he wrote ’99 Luftballons’ (a.k.a. ’99 Red Balloons’ in non-German speaking countries) in 1983. He wrote and produced many more singles while he was part of the band Nena, named after the singer Nena Kerner.
After the band Nena split up, Uwe continued to work with Nena Kerner, who pursued a solo career. He also writes music for films.

In 2006, he produced and co-wrote songs for Kim Wilde, included in her album Never Say Never.