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|A UK blues/rock and country male vocalist.
Michael Barratt was born in 1948 in Ely, Cardiff, the youngest of 11 brothers and sisters, and he would grow up to be the most successful UK singles chart entry in the 1980’s, Shakin Stevens.
As an artist he did not follow the trend of the early 1980’s, (New Romantic) but choose to follow his love of rock’n’roll which inspired not only his wardrobe but his dancing. In the late 1960’s he started his career in a rock’n’roll band Shakin Stevens and the Sunsets and in 1972 they were voted ‘Best Live Band’ in an NME readers' poll. He later had to pay them over half a million pounds, after they sued for unpaid royalties on record sales.
In 1977 Shaky went solo after getting a big break as the lead in the West-End musical ‘Elvis’. In 1980 he released his debut single ‘Hot Dog’ which peaked at No24 and his second single ‘Marie Marie’ peaked in the Top20. It was going to be his third single though that would change his life, for in February 1981 he released his version of the fifties classic ‘This Ole House’, which peaked at No1 in the British singles chart. The big British hits just kept coming ‘Green Door’ (1981) peaked at No1, ‘Oh Julie’ (1982), also peaked at No1 and at the end of 1982 ‘The Shakin’ Stevens EP, peaked at No2. 1983 was a quite year in comparison with the release of only two singles but both were a hit and Shaky did continue touring.
In 1984 Shaky was back with 4 Top10 British singles, the first being a duet with the Rock legend Bonnie Tyler, ‘ A Rockin’ Good Way ’, which peaked at No5. The following year he would have his final No1 in the British charts and that was with his Christmas single ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’. He would still continue to have Top20 British singles though with songs like, ‘Because I Love You’ (1986), which peaked at No14 and ‘What Do You Wanna Make Those Eyes At Me For’, which peaked at No5. Sadly then the hits started to dry up but from 1988 to 1991 he still managed to achieve 6 British Top30 single. In October 1992 he released his last single ‘Radio’, which peaked at Number 37, however he continued to tour until 1995.
Shaky was also very successful in the albums chart and in one year he notched up 3 chart albums, including 'Shaky', a release that not only topped the UK charts but remained in the best-selling listings for 28 weeks. This success was mirrored throughout Europe and Internationally. Throughout Shaky’s career he was awarded a multitude of Gold, Platinum and Double Platinum Discs, and a plethora of global honours and prestigious industry.
In 1999 Shaky returned to the music scene when he returned home to perform in Cardiff at the opening of the Welsh Assembly and a free city centre concert on the night of the Millennium. It is rumoured that he has been recording in the studio again, planning an album of songs by Bruce Springsteen.
|Shake it, baby!
You might think that it would be almost impossible to top last week’s Hit Me Baby line-up. Well, two words for you my friend: Shakin’ Stevens!!!!
Yes, the man that defied the times and rocked and rolled his way to 15 top-10 singles is here for one night only (well, it could be more that’s your choice). And what’s more, Shaky will be covering the delectable Pink!
But that’s not all.
‘What is love?’ Haddaway once pondered. It’s one heck of a question, but has he found the answer? Well, find out on Saturday as the dance-floor-filling dude throws out the shapes and has you bouncing round your bedroom.
Still, if that isn’t enough, Jaki Graham’s preparing to do justice to a Will Young tune, and Dr & The Medics go hunting for a ‘Spirit in the Sky’.
And then there’s Belinda Carlisle. The lovely, gorgeous Belinda Carlisle. She might be adding a touch of style to a Coldplay classic, but really it’s all about her classic hit, ‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’.
And heaven really will be a place on earth this Saturday night as this five line-up to do battle in yet another classic round of Hit Me Baby One More Time.
|Ein Interiew mit Shaky vom 1.4.2005 aus der waliser Presse....|
|Cheese and denim
Apr 1 2005
Hannah Jones, Western Mail
THIS is how important he was. Aged about 11, with rock 'n' roll streaming through my veins as a result of my father's constant playing of Elvis and Bill Haley, anything that sounded as if it came from America and looked liked it would fit into a scene from the film Grease was an immediate hit in our house.
So when it came to playing dress up and pretending to be in a pop video or mime to song eons before karaoke was even born, along came Shakin' Stevens.
Not only did he look the part - all stonewashed denim, tar-black hair, turned-up collar and elastic legged - he sounded great; his fragmented howls of Julie loving him ta'roo'lee and wonderment of what was lurking behind the Green Door were manna from rock heaven.
And, here was the clincher, he was also Welsh.
Shaky was the man we dreamed about, whose music we sang to, whose hairstyle my cousin tried to copy with beef dripping and a bucket load of his mother's hairspray.
He was the coolest man in music, the Robbie Williams of his day, the fella who put the glam into rock but who preferred white slip-on shoes to six-inch platforms.
From 1981, where he scored his first number one with This Ole House - he's solely responsible for teaching me that shingles wasn't just an illness - to 1985 when he recorded Merry Christmas Everyone, he was a familiar face on the music scene.
He was anti-punk, not at all New Romantic and the only thing he knew about electronica was how to spell it.
Shaky was the unfashionable face of the '80s, but still the hits continued to flow.
And if you think he was just simply some one-hit wonder, a mere Z-lister with a Welsh accent, think again.
Because Shaky, to this day, is the 16th-highest-selling artist in the UK. Ever. Full stop.
He's the most successful British singles chart performer achieving 30 Top 30 hits, a record which is still unsurpassed, and has more number ones than any other Welsh artist.
And, according to the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles, he shares with the Beatles and Elton John the distinction of being the most successful UK chart performer of a decade, in his case the '80s.
Not bad for a kid from Cardiff who had to find his voice living in a house with 12 others.
"Yeah, can you believe it?" he says.
"I only found out about some of those things the other day.
"That means I've outsold Tom (Jones), Shirl (Shirley Bassey), the Stereophonics and Manic Street Preachers.
"Amazing, isn't it?"
What's even more amazing, of course, is the realisation that he stopped making records in 1992 because he was fed up of being the centre of attention.
"Some people will go to the opening of envelopes and I'm not like that at all," says Shaky, whose real name is Michael Barrett.
"Everything that happened to me in the '80s happened so fast and people around me should have stopped me after a few years and told me to stand back and look at what was happening.
"I was doing TV, I was putting out records as fast as bullets, I was doing massive tours - I was doing too much.
"And I'd had enough, simple as that."
Despite putting a halt to his recording career, Shaky continued to tour Europe where he still has a loyal and growing fan base.
And it's all because of his ease at playing abroad that he's agreed to make a return to the British limelight.
As he puts it, "Rod Stewart doesn't wear the leotards anymore, Elton John has taken off the platforms and Tom Jones's trousers are a bit looser.
"I look different and I sound different now, and it would be nice to show people what I can do in a more contemporary way.
"Look at Kylie (Minogue) - she's changed since she was in Neighbours but she's still Kylie. She's changed and adapted but still kept her fans. And that's what I want to do."
So despite shutting himself off from the British music scene and with fans more likely to see him wiggling his hips in a concert abroad, Shaky has decided to show people what he can do again.
This year he celebrates 25 years since he released his first hit, Hound Dog, and he's back with a vengeance - with an album of his greatest hits, a bit part in the video for Peter Kay's current number one song (Is This The Way To) Amarillo and a role in the ITV nostalgia fest which starts tomorrow, Hit Me Baby One More Time.
And he's ready for the comeback - as long as he's in control of it.
"I've moved on and I want my music to move on in a new way," says the man who still refers to himself as a "flag-flying Welshman".
"And for people to know about me, you've got to do a certain amount of telly.
"I turned down a part in I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! twice as I'm not interested in that kind of exposure.
"Besides, I'd have no pride in myself at the end of it and I can't imagine having the cameras on you for that amount of time.
"But when I was asked to go on Hit Me Baby One More Time it seemed right.
"You've got to sing one hit and one contemporary song and then the public get to vote on which artist does the contemporary song the best.
"It's not a talent show as such - I wouldn't be at all interested in that at my time of life - but when you've got an album to promote you've got to do some telly.
"And it just kind of felt right, you know?
"I don't mind doing my hits but it does get a bit frustrating to be known for just a handful of songs. There's more to me than Green Door, and maybe the show will prove that to people."
Although he won't say which songs he's going to perform on April 9, Shaky feels the time is right to head back into the limelight.
"I want to do new things," is how he puts it.
"I'm never going to lose the feel-good factor to my music, but, as I said, there's more to me than the songs I did in the '80s.
"I'm writing new material at the moment, and although I'm never going to be politically minded I want to record songs which will surprise people.
"It will be good for people to see that I'm much more than white shoes and denims."
Although the past few years have been relatively quiet ones for the married father-of-three, they've not been without controversy.
First up was his court battle with his ex-band, the Sunsets.
After leaving the group to go solo there were arguments over royalties and he later had to pay former band mates £500,000, a period which he now describes as "a headache".
Then last year, it was reported that he was suffering from major heart problems when in fact the 57-year-old simply caught a chest infection which led to a brief spell in hospital.
Now, having given up "the occasional" cigarette, he's back on track and feeling stronger than ever.
"There's a new future for me out there, I'm sure of it," he said.
"And I can promise you it isn't cheesy or dressed in denim."