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September 25th 2016 would have been the 80th
birthday of Stu Stevens, one of the greatest country music singers
Britain has ever produced. Sadly Stu didn’t make it to his 80th
birthday. He died in Chesterfield, England a few weeks ago from
complications of pneumonia and heart failure at the age of 79. He
leaves behind some of the best songs ever committed to tape by a
rarely gave interviews, but at his heyday in 1981, he spoke with Stuart
Cameron in an exclusive interview on BBC Radio Oxford. As far as we
know this was the only interview from his recording days with MCA, Young
Blood and his own Eagle label that survived.
1969 he was signed to Columbia Records under the name STUART STEVENS.
“Soft Is The Night” was recorded at Abbey Road Studios featuring the
world famous Norrie Paramor Orchestra.
Mid 1970s saw his career take off with visits to America to play The
Grand Ole Opry and meetings with Elvis Presley and John Wayne inspired
him to greater things. His singles on Young Blood Records were also
released in America, guaranteeing him airplay.
1979 he released an Even Stevens/Shel Silverstein song on his own Eagle
label called “The Man From Outer Space” and after Radio 2 DJ Terry
Wogan picked up on it, MCA came calling and released it as a single as
well as an album of the same name. It got into the lower reaches of the
British chart and from then on he became known as "The Voice", for
the time he was touring the UK with a full orchestra, famously selling
out the Apollo Theatre in Oxford, and one of the songs from the live
recording became an instant radio hit – his version of “The Old Rugged
Cross.” Albums like “Stu” and “Emma & I” were among his best ever
work coming out of his own studio in mid England. He was a
perfectionist, and knew what sound he wanted – a sound that would
capture his deep voice perfectly.
the 80s he would experiment with different material – he even released
“Cowboy In Paris”, a much sought after disco record which did well on
the continent – and a few novelty tracks including a traditional ditty
called “Dream It Back,” which was his final delve into the singles
market in 1986.
that the success went away as far as the music was concerned. He was
coming to terms with personal tragedy with the death of one of his sons,
Stephen, in 1984 at a very early age, and soon after his wife Daphne.
Stephen's brother and Stu's older son Stuart used to back him on stage
and were a big part of his shows from the time they were seven and ten
years of age.
retreated to his other love, sheep farming, and settled down with his
new wife Elizabeth, who was with him for some 25 years and by his side
at his death on June 13, 2016. During those years Stevens continued to
write the music he loved, as well as working to release his book "Lalla" in 2015.
he died he went back into the studio recording covers and original
songs and brought out an album called “Still Standing.” He got the bug
back again and made two further albums as well as a gospel collection,
and an old video of him performing live was re-discovered. The rare
video was dusted off and re-mastered and it came out as a DVD.
it’s his collection of greatest recordings, “The Voice”, which captured
the magic of the great man in his heyday back in the 1970s and 1980s,
and his music is sure to stand the test of time. Quite simply Stu
Stevens was one of the unsung heroes of the music business, never
getting the true recognition he deserved, but when his music is
re-assessed in the future his remarkable voice is sure to reveal to many
that he was one of the greatest singers not only in British country
music, but in any genre of music.
three-time recipient of Male Vocal of Year, Stu's return to the music
world and his hard work paid off on November 23, 2014 when he was
inducted into the "BCMA" Music Hall of Fame. (BPP expresses thanks for Obituary Contributed by Stuart Cameron/ HOTDISC Top 40 Uk)
(As the family continues to mourn in private, and appreciates and thanks
you for your kind expressions of love, it is their request
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