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.

Nowels, Rick

Rick Nowels was born in Palo Alto, California (USA) on 16 March 1960. He started writing songs when he was 13 years old. He did a lot of performing during his teens and twenties. Then Stevie Nicks heard a few of his songs, and they ended up writing together. Since then, he wrote songs for Then Jericho, Debra Cox, Marie Claire D’u Baldo and Belinda Carlisle. In 1992, he was co-writer of the songs A Miracle’s Coming, I Won’t Change the Way that I Feel and Love Is Holy for Kim Wilde. His writing partners include Billy Steinberg and Ellen Shipley.

Rick Nowels about Kim

I first met Kim and Ricki in January 1991. I was a fan of You Came and Kids in America and went out to Knebworth to meet them. We talked for a bit and I listened to some of the things they were writing and said, “well, shall we try one?”. Within an hour we had most of A miracle’s coming. It came pretty effortlessly and we were all really excited. I went back to America and wrote and produced Belinda Carlisle’s album “Live your life be free” and when I finished it I called Kim and Ricki back to see how the album was coming along. They were close to finishing all their great tracks and I said “hey, I want to work on the album too!”. I went to Knebworth where Kim and I wrote I won’t change the way that I feel. Production was set for January 1992 in Los Angeles. Kim arrived and we cut the songs with a live band. Kim seemed to really enjoy singing live with the guys – and the guys loved it!
It was great fun writing and working with Kim and I look forward to future collaborations with her. She is a truly gifted Artist and lights up the room whenever she walks in.

Holland, Dozier, Holland

Brothers Eddie Holland (Born 30 October 1939) and Brian Holland (15 February 1941) and Lamont Dozier (16 June 1941 – 8 August 2022) formed one of the most successful composing and production teams in popular music history. All three men were prominent in the Detroit R&B scene from the mid-50s; Brian Holland as lead singer with the Satintones, his brother Eddie with the Fideltones, and Dozier with the Romeos. By the early ’60s, they had all become part of Berry Gordy’s Motown concern, working both as performers and as writer/arrangers. After writing the Marvelettes’ 1961 hit ‘Please Mr Postman’, Brian Holland formed a production team with his brother Eddie, and Freddy Gorman. In 1963, Gorman was replaced by Dozier, and the trio made their production debut with a disregarded record by the Marvelettes, ‘Locking Up My Heart’.

Over the next five years, the three wrote and produced scores of records by almost all the major Motown artists, among them a dozen US number 1 hits. Although Smokey Robinson can claim to have been the label’s first true auteur, Holland/Dozier/Holland created the records that transformed Motown from an enthusiastic Detroit soul label into an international force. Their earliest successes came with Marvin Gaye, for whom they wrote ‘Can I Get A Witness?’, ‘Little Darling’, ‘How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)’ and ‘You’re A Wonderful One’, and Martha And The Vandellas, who scored hits with the trio’s ‘Heatwave’, ‘Quicksand’, ‘Nowhere To Run’ and ‘Jimmy Mack’. Subsequently they were ordered by Berry Gordy to construct suitable songs for the wispy, girl-like vocal talents of Diana Ross, they produced ‘Where Did Our Love Go?’. The record reached number 1 in the USA, as did its successors, ‘Baby Love’, ‘Come See About Me’, ‘Stop! In The Name Of Love’ and ‘Back In My Arms Again’. In 1966 the Supremes had their eighth number one hit in the USA with You Keep Me Hangin’ On, a song that would become Kim Wilde’s biggest success twenty years later.

Holland/Dozier/Holland also produced and wrote for the Four Tops: ‘Baby I Need Your Loving’ and ‘I Can’t Help Myself’ illustrated their stylish way with uptempo material; ‘(It’s The) Same Old Song’ was a self-mocking riposte to critics of their sound; while ‘Reach Out I’ll Be There’, a worldwide number 1 in 1966. Besides the Supremes and the Four Tops, Holland/Dozier/Holland found success with the Miracles, Kim Weston, and the Isley Brothers.

In 1967, when Holland/Dozier/Holland effectively commanded the US pop charts, they split from Berry Gordy and Motown, having been denied more control over their work and more reward for their labours. Legal disputes officially kept them out of the studio for several years, robbing them of what might have been their most lucrative period as writers and producers. They were free, however, to launch their own rival to Motown, in the shape of the Invictus and Hot Wax labels. Business difficulties and personal conflicts gradually wore the partnership down in the early ’70s, and in 1973 Lamont Dozier left the Holland brothers to forge a solo career. Invictus and Hot Wax were dissolved a couple of years later, and since then there have been only occasional reunions by the trio, none of which have succeeded in rekindling their former artistic fires.

Lamont Dozier sent a Telemessage on June 2, 1987 to Kim Wilde congratulating her with her number 1 hit in the USA with ‘You keep me hangin’ on’. (Pictured here)

Gurvitz, Paul

Born as Paul Anthony Gurvitz on 6 July 1947, in High Wycombe, England (UK). At the age of 15 he bought his first guitar. After only a few years he played in a few local bands. He joined the band the Londoners, who were contracted to play at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany, for six months. After returning to London the band changed their name to The Knack, then to The Gun.

Under this name they had their first notable success, a number 4 hit in the UK called “Race with the devil”. They recorded two albums, then broke up in 1971.
Paul then joined the George Martin-produced band Parrish & Gurvitz, which released one album. At the same time, Paul was recording with his brother Adrian in the band Three Man Army. They toured and recorded three albums. When the drummer left the band to work for David Bowie, the brothers found themselves in need for another drummer. Ginger Baker was recruited and the Baker Gurvitz Army started. In 1976, the BGA folded after the death of their manager as a result of a plane crash.

Paul proceeded to work with his brother, who recorded a couple of solo albums.
In 1983, he teamed up with Nicky Chinn to write the song Dancing in the Dark for Kim Wilde.
After this, he moved to America to write more songs, but now mainly for pop and R&B acts. His first successes were with Five Star, for whom he wrote “Find the time” and “R.S.V.P.”, amongst other titles.

He continued writing for artists such as Jody Watley, Jellybean, Melba Moore, Stacy Lattisaw, Jermaine Jackson, Imagination, and many more.

Crane, Vincent

Born as Vincent Rodney Cheesman on 21 May 1943. He joined Arthur Brown’s London-based psychedelic rock group, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, who had one big hit with the song ‘Fire’. Leaving the group, Crane was joined by former bandmate Carl Palmer in 1969 to form Atomic Rooster. This band experienced numerous line-up changes and gradually went from being a hard-rock to a blues-rock band. Their best known songs were ‘Tomorrow night’ and ‘The Devil’s answer’. After the band stopped in 1974, Crane returned to Arthur Brown for the album ‘Chisholm in my bosom’. A new version of Atomic Rooster was formed in 1979 and in 1983 Crane joined Dexy’s Midnight Runners, recording the album ‘Don’t stand me down’ with them. Crane apparently wrote some songs for Kim Wilde during this time as well, but these songs were not included on any of her albums.

On 4 February 1989, Crane committed suicide, after suffering a long-term depression.

Chinn, Nicky

Born May 16, 1945, in London, England (UK). Chinn was working with cars in 1970 when he first tried his hand at songwriting in tandem with Mike D’Abo, landing a bit of material on the soundtrack of There’s a Girl in My Soup. That same year he met Mike Chapman, a member of the group Tangerine Peel and a waiter at a restaurant which Chinn frequented. They teamed up and met Mickie Most, owner of RAK Records in the fall, and got the assigment to work with a new band called the Sweet. They wrote most of their hits, such as ‘Funny Funny’, ‘Little Willy’, ‘Blockbuster’ (a number one hit) and ‘Ballroom Blitz’. They subsequently became one of Britain’s most commercially productive songwriting team, writing for such acts as New World, Suzi Quatro, Mud and Smokie. After being successful in the UK for almost eight years, they finally broke the American market in 1978 with Exile’s ‘Kiss You All Over’, which went number one there.

The punk era made an end to the glamrock that Chinn and Chapman had specialized in, and so their successful writing coproductions came to an end. They started a record label in 1979, called Dreamland, but this folded after only two years. They had a final success with Toni Basil’s song ‘Mickey’, a slightly rewritten version of a tune they wrote for the band Racey a few years earlier.

Chapman started to produce work for other artists, and Chinn slowly disappeared from view. The song Dancing in the Dark, which he wrote with Paul Gurvitz was the only song he wrote for Kim Wilde, in 1983. This song was released as a single but, like some other efforts by Chinn without Chapman, didn’t make much of an impact in the charts.