Cockney Rebel Steve Harley is going unplugged in Fife

The songwriter who wrote the 1970s pop classic Make Me Smile will be coming to Fife later this year.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 2:23 pm
Steve Harley (Pic by Darren Robinson)
Steve Harley (Pic by Darren Robinson)

He might be promoting a new album – the all acoustic Uncovered due for release on February 21 – but the chances are Steve Harley will be persuaded to perform Make Me Smile at some point during the set at Rothes Halls in Glenrothes on May 2.

The song, which he reportedly referred to as a “finger-pointing piece of vengeful poetry” about the break up of the first incarnation of his band Cockney Rebel, has secured his place in history, but he’s done a lot more than just write the perfect pop tune.

Steve has been playing live shows around the world for over 45 years.

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“We have real adventures on tour,” he said. “I’ve seen the Northern Lights, the Midnight Sun and dozens of wonderful galleries, museums and great cities, all on my down-time. I have a great life as a wandering minstrel.”

Steve’s acoustic band will feature his guitar and vocals along with Barry Wickens (violin/guitar), Oli Heyhurst (double bass) and Dave Delarre (guitar).

The acoustic sets will be a mix of songs from the new album – which includes Absolute Beginners by David Bowie, Out of Time by the Rolling Stones and How Can I Tell You by Cat Stevens, plus a selection from the ever growing Harley songbook – Mr Soft, Judy Teen, Sebastian and, of course, Make Me Smile.

The new album features songs by some of Steve’s favourite artists, including one of his main inspirations for becoming a songwriter Bob Dylan.

Steve said: “I was roaring with stamina and passion when I went in to sing the final versions. Sang all 11 in one-and-a-half days. The hunger and desire to perform was almost primitive. Engineer Matt Butler has recorded my voice up-close and unaffected.”

He believes the new recording is more of an almanac than an album, because he has such close links with all the songs and was influenced by every one of the songwriters, Dylan, Bowie, McCartney and Stevens.

The songs were chosen for that fact and because they have a “heft and honesty” to them which he has always admired.

He admits the songs on the album are ones he has always wanted to perform and some he actually wished he had written.

One song Steve created, Love, Compared With You, now features a newly-composed third verse, while another one of his many compositions, Only You, has finally been captured on record for the first time after he had played it at gigs for a number of years.

Critics have called Steve’s acoustic concerts “an intimate night in the presence of a great musician – an individual whose passion for live performance and perfection remains undiminished”.

Visit www.onfife.com or call (01592) 611101 for tickets and more information.