- Mike d'Abo
Mike d'Abo Birth name Michael David d'Abo Born 1 March 1944
Betchworth, Surrey, England
Genres Rock, pop, folk Occupations Singer-songwriter, musician Instruments Vocals, piano, guitar Years active 1960s–present Associated acts Manfred Mann
A Band of Angels
Website Official website
Michael David d'Abo, the son of a London stockbroker, was educated at Harrow School and Selwyn College, Cambridge. He was born in March 1944, is 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m), and has eyes "that honestly seem to change from blue to brown to green, depending on the light" (Pete Goodman, music journalist). D'Abo's original intention at Cambridge was to read theology and become a priest but, faced with "everything to learn" (not least Classical Greek and Hebrew), and a disconnect between the "strange, impractical philosophy" he was being taught and his idealism about "bringing comfort to people" and spreading "understanding in the world," he "became wholly disillusioned" (Rave, November 1966). He switched to economics, also unsuccessfully, and left Cambridge with "a first class jazz collection" but without completing his studies. His musical career began while he was still at Harrow School. He had minor success with a group of Old Harrovians, Band of Angels that had their own comic strip in a UK pop music weekly, Fab 208. Band of Angels didn't make the big time but d'Abo did: in August 1966 he joined Manfred Mann ['MM'], already a chart-topping group, as replacement for Paul Jones, who was leaving to go solo.
D'Abo later reflected on what had gone wrong for Band of Angels: "We weren't right for each other. We weren't a group. They didn't want me to be too outstanding, a thing that happens naturally in most groups....Also we looked old-fashioned when we started. I knew I looked wrong but I didn't want to change, I looked like me and what I am. It is just lucky that fashion now agrees with me." (Rave, November 1966)
Comparison between d'Abo and Jones was a media preoccupation at the time of the switch, but d'Abo wasted little worry on it. "I enjoy being with the group," he told Pete Goodman. "We really do have an enormously wide range of musical tastes among us."
D'Abo's first big hit with MM, "Semi-Detached Suburban Mr James," was nearly launched with "Mr Jones" in the title. It had not occurred to the group that a reference to Paul Jones might have been surmised. D'Abo first recorded the As Is album (with the attaching single "Just Like a Woman"). All of the UK Fontana and U.S. Mercury releases featured d'Abo.
He composed a hit single, "Handbags and Gladrags", for Chris Farlowe (which was also notably recorded by Rod Stewart and Stereophonics and subsequently became the theme music to the BBC television show The Office). He also wrote two songs recorded by Rod Stewart on Immediate Records: "Little Miss Understood" and "So Much to Say (So Little Time)." With d'Abo fronting, Manfred Mann enjoyed numerous hits, including "Ragamuffin Man", "Ha Ha Said the Clown," "My Name Is Jack." and the Dylan-penned number one hit, "Mighty Quinn."
In December 1968 d'Abo played the lead in Gulliver Travels (subtly, not Gulliver's Travels) at the Mermaid Theatre, Blackfriars, London. After the MM group disbanded in 1969, he also portrayed Herod on the original recording of Jesus Christ Superstar. He had a cameo role on the original recording of Evita and co-wrote the song "Build Me Up Buttercup", made famous by The Foundations. He also wrote "Loving Cup" for The Fortunes and "Mary, Won't You Warm My Bed" for Colin Blunstone. In 1970 he composed and performed the music for the Peter Sellers film There's a Girl in My Soup and played John Lennon in No One was Saved at the Royal Court Theatre Schools scheme. D'Abo also worked with Mike Smith, the former keyboard player of the Dave Clark Five. In 1976 they released an album on the CBS (UK) label, "Smith & d'Abo."
Recently, d'Abo has participated in The Manfreds, a group of original Manfred Mann members other than Mann himself, and played occasional live dates with his part-time group, The Mighty Quintet. In 2000 he briefly advised and worked with Stars in Their Eyes champion Ian Moor. He was musical director during the filming of Moor's live concert video, Naturally, at the Hull New Theatre and played keyboards for the concert.
In 1997 D'Abo presented a programme on BBC Radio Bristol, "The Golden Years," playing music from the '50's onwards; it broadcast on Saturdays on BBC Radio Gloucestershire. BBC Wiltshire Sound subsequently added the programme to their schedules.
During the '90s, he also presented "Late Night West," a popular weeknightly programme on west-of-England local radio for five nights a week he also presented 'Late Night West', a popular programme broadcast on BBC local radio in the west of England that included music, competitions, and a listener phone-in.
In the late '90s he contributed to 'The Mike d'Abo Story', a documentary written by Geoff Leonard, narrated and produced by Phil Vowels, and broadcast on BBC Radio Bristol and BBC Radio Gloucestershire.
Year Album Label 1970 d'Abo UNI 1972 Down At Rachel's Place A&M 1974 Broken Rainbows A&M 1987 Indestructible President 1988 Tomorrow's Troubador President 2001 The Mike D'Abo Collection, Vol. 1: 1964-1970 - Handbags & Gladrags RPM 2003 A Little Miss Understood: Mike d'Abo Collection, Vol. 2 RPM 2004 Handbags and Gladrags: The Mike D'Abo Songbook President 2004 Hidden Gems & Treasured Friends Angel Air
- ^ "Geocities.com". Webcitation.org. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/7501/mannnews.htm&date=2009-10-25+10:08:55. Retrieved 2011-04-05.
- Official website
- Mike d'Abo at Allmusic
- The Manfreds biography
- Radio London Fab Forty 28 November 1965 featuring A Band of Angels at #36
- New Amen Corner featuring Mike D'Abo Live 2008
- Mike D'Abo Interview
Studio albums Extended play CompilationsMann Made Hits • Soul of Mann • What A Mann • Chapter Two: The Best of the Fontana Years • Basic: Original Hits • The Best of Manfred Mann: The Definitive Collection • The Best of the EMI Years • Manfred Mann at Abbey Road, 1963-1966 • BBC Sessions • Very Best of Manfred Mann • The Story • Classic Masters • The Evolution of Manfred Mann • Complete Greatest Hits • UK singles"Why Should We Not" • "Cock-a-Hoop" • "5-4-3-2-1" • "Hubble Bubble (Toil and Trouble)" • "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" • "Sha La La" • "Come Tomorrow" • "Oh No, Not My Baby" • "If You Gotta Go, Go Now" • "Pretty Flamingo" • "You Gave Me Somebody to Love" • "Just Like a Woman" • "Semi-Detached Suburban Mr James" • "Ha! Ha! Said the Clown" • "Sweet Pea" • "So Long, Dad" • "Mighty Quinn" • "Theme from "Up The Junction" • "My Name is Jack" • "Fox on the Run" • "Ragamuffin Man" Related articles
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