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Georgie Fame (born Clive Powell, 26 June 1943, Leigh, Lancashire) is a British rhythm and blues and jazz singer and keyboard player. The one-time rock and roll tour musician, who had a string of 1960s hits, is still a popular performer; often working with contemporaries such as Van Morrison and Bill Wyman.
File:Georgie Fame 2009.jpg

Early life
Fame took piano lessons from the age of seven and after leaving Leigh Central County Secondary School at 15, he worked for a brief period in a cotton weaving mill and played piano for a band called The Dominoes in the evenings. After taking part in a singing contest at the Butlins Holiday Camp in Pwllheli, North Wales he was offered a job there by the band leader, early British rock'n'roll star Rory Blackwell.

The Flamingo and London club scene
At sixteen years of age, Fame went to London and entered into a management agreement with Larry Parnes, who had given new stage names to such artists as Marty Wilde and Billy Fury. Fame later recalled that Parnes had given him an ultimatum over his forced change of name: “ [It] was very much against my will but he said, "If you don't use my name, I won't use you in the show".

Over the following year he toured the UK playing beside Wilde, Joe Brown, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran and others. Fame played piano for Billy Fury in his backing band "The Blue Flames". When the backing band got the sack at the end of 1961, the band were re-billed as "Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames" and went on to enjoy great success with a repertoire largely of rhythm and blues numbers. Fame enjoyed residences at a number of Soho nightclubs such as "The Flamingo" and "The Whiskey-A-Go-Go" (site of the latter day WAG Club) in Soho's Wardour Street. The clientele of The Flamingo were particularly cosmopolitan. Half were West Indian while, Fame later recalled, ".. the other half were black American GIs mixed up with a few gangsters and pimps and prostitutes". The West Indian "Lucky" Gordon, and Johnny Edgecombe were, according to Fame, "... both involved with Christine Keeler ...". Gordon's brother, "Psycho" Gordon, occasionally joined Fame's group on stage.

One young musician who opened with Fame on 26 December 1966 for three weeks in the "Fame in '67 Show" at London's Saville Theatre was Cat Stevens, who at that point had released only his first hit song, "I Love My Dog". Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames were the only act from the UK to be invited to perform with the first Motown Review in the UK in the mid-1960s. The 'Tamla Motown Package Show' was a 21 date UK tour featuring, amongst others, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas.

Musical influences
Fame was heavily influenced from early on by jazz and by such blues musicians as Willie Mabon. He was one of the first white artists to be influenced by the ska music he heard in Jamaican cafes in and around Ladbroke Grove. Fames' trumpeter at this time, Eddie Thornton (to be heard playing on Lily Allen's 2006 hit single Smile), was Jamaican. Fame performed also at "The Roaring Twenties" club near Carnaby Street which was run by Jamaican DJ Count Suckle.

The many black American soldiers who visited the Flamingo became friends with Fame and would play him the latest jazz and blues releases from America. Of particular note were "Midnight Special" by Jimmy Smith, "Grooving With Jug" by Gene Ammons and Richard "Groove" Holmes, and "Green Onions" by Booker T and the MGs These affected him so powerfully that he was inspired to change instrument from the piano to the Hammond organ. Fame Later reacalled his three year residency at The Flamingo and the influence it had on him:

“ .. it was a great place to play, a midnight to 6am thing on Fridays and Saturdays, and it was full of American GIs who came in from their bases for the weekend. They brought records with them and one of them gave me "Green Onions" by Booker T and the MG's. I had been playing piano up to that point but I bought a Hammond organ the next day."  ”
American Air Force authorities were to ban servicemen from the nightclub following a stabbing, but the club was soon to thrive again as a part of the emerging Mod scene. Other musicians performing at the Flamingo at the time included British jazz saxophonist Tubby Hayes and the Johnny Birch Quartet which included drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Jack Bruce. Members of Duke Ellington's orchestra and Count Basie's group would also frequent the club when touring England.

Chart success
In August 1963 the band took a weekly Friday night spot at "The Scene" on Great Windmill Street. In September 1963 the band recorded its debut album Rhythm And Blues At the Flamingo live at The Flamingo Club, produced by Ian Samwell, who had previously played with Cliff Richard and engineered by Glyn Johns. The album was released, in place of a planned single, on the EMI Columbia label. Although it failed to reach the chart, the October 1964 follow-up album Fame At Last achieved No. 15 on the UK chart and, in 1964, Fame and the band appeared on five episodes of ITV's Ready Steady Go!.

Fame also appeared on television in 1965 in the "New Musical Express Poll Winners' Concert" held at the Empire Pool, Wembley on 11 April 1965. The show, which was transmitted in two parts on the consecutive Sundays of 18 and 25 April, featured Fame and his band, introduced by Jimmy Saville (himself an award winner that year), playing their hit single "Yeh Yeh" and the Rufus Thomas number "Walking The Dog".

Fame enjoyed regular chart success with singles in the late 1960s, having three Top 10 hits, which all made number one in the UK Singles Chart.

Fame's version of the song "Yeh Yeh", released on 14 January 1965, spent two weeks at No. 1 on the UK singles chart and a total of 12 weeks on the chart. The single "Get Away", released on 21 July 1966, spent one week at No. 1 on the UK chart and 11 weeks on the chart in total. The song, originally recorded with a view to using it as an television jingle for a petrol advertisement, was later used as the theme tune for a quiz show on Australian television. Fames' verion of the Bobby Hebb song "Sunny" made No. 13 in the UK charts in September 1966  The follow-up "Sitting In The Park" made No. 12.

Fame's greatest chart success was "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde" in 1967, which was a number one hit in the United Kingdom, and No.7 in the United States. Both "Yeh Yeh" and "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde" each sold over one million copies, and were awarded gold discs.

Fame continued playing into the 1970s, having a hit, "Rosetta" with his close friend Alan Price, ex-keyboard player of The Animals in 1971, and they worked together extensively for a time. In 1974, Fame reformed The Blue Flames and also began to sing with Europe's finest orchestras and big bands, a musical tradition he still currently pursues. During the 1970s, he also wrote "jingles" for several UK radio and TV commercials, and composed the music for the feature films, Entertaining Mr Sloane and The Alf Garnett Saga (1972).

Recent work
Fame has collaborated with some of the most successful performers in the world of popular music. He has been a core member of Van Morrison's band, as well as his musical producer. Fame also played keyboards and sang harmony vocals on such tracks as "In the Days before Rock 'n' Roll" from the album Enlightenment, whilst still recording and touring as an artist in his own right. Fame played organ on all of the Van Morrison albums between 1989 and 1997, and starred at Terry Dillon's 60th birthday party on 10 May 2008. Morrison refers to Fame in the line "I don't run into Mr. Clive" in his song "Don't Go to Nightclubs Anymore" featured on the 2008 Keep It Simple album. Fame appeared as a special guest on Morrison's television concert show presented by BBC Four series on 25 April and 27 April 2008.

Fame was also founding member of friend Bill Wyman's early band Rhythm Kings, from the late 1980s until their 1997 album The Healing Game, touring with the band. He has also worked with Count Basie, Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Joan Armatrading and The Verve.

Fame has frequently played residences at jazz clubs, such as Ronnie Scott's. He has also played organ on Starclub's album. He was the headline act on the Sunday night at the Jazz World stage at the 2009 Glastonbury Festival, this following a headline gig the night before at the "Midsummer Music @ Spencers" festival in Essex.

On 18 April 2010 Fame, together with his two sons Tristan Powell (guitar) and James Powell (drums), performed at the Live Room at Twickenham Stadium, as part of the 10th birthday celebrations of "The Eel Pie Club". Part of the proceeds from the concert will benefit The Otakar Kraus Trust, which provides music and voice therapy for children and young people with physical and mental difficulties. The trio performed later that same year at the opening night at Towersey Festival.

Fame has made several albums on his own Three Line Whip label since the late 1990s, mostly new original compositions with a jazz/R&B framework.

Radio Caroline
According to Irish businessman Ronan O'Rahilly, Fame attained a place in broadcasting history when O'Rahilly, who then managed him, could not get Fame's first record played by the BBC. When he was also turned down by Radio Luxembourg, O'Rahilly claims that he announced he would start his own radio station in order to promote the record. The station supposedly became the offshore pirate radio station, Radio Caroline.

Personal life

In 1972, Fame married Nicolette, (née Harrison), Marchioness of Londonderry, the former wife of the 9th Marquess. Lady Londonderry already had given birth to one of Fame's children during marriage to the marquess; the child, Tristan, bore the courtesy title Viscount Castlereagh and was believed to be heir to the marquessate. When tests determined that the child was actually Fame's, the Londonderrys divorced. The couple had one son, James, after their marriage. Nicolette Powell died on 13 August 1993, after jumping off the Clifton Suspension Bridge.