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Mike Harrison


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Born in Carlisle in 1942, at 14 Harrison heard the future in Elvis Presley’s Don’t Be Cruel floating over the pirate radio waves and found his own voice and consuming passions somewhere between Ray Charles and Etta James. In 1963, he and his mates, including future Humble Pie bassist Greg Ridley, formed The VIPs, tasted local success and tried their luck in Swinging London.

Chris Blackwell signed The VIPs as one of the first bands on his fledgling Island label, they had a chart topping single in Europe - I Wanna Be Free – before morphing into the prog rock Art with a couple of personnel changes.

American Gary Wright, later to have the massive 1976 US Number 1 Dream Weaver, joined and the band again changed into the celebrated, hard rock Spooky Tooth.

Acclaimed debut 1968 album It’s All About followed and a year later Spooky Two confirmed the band’s reputation and commercial popularity, if only in the USA and Europe.

Legends everywhere else, Spooky Tooth remained cult heroes in the UK, feted by their peers and university students, known as one of the great live bands of the day in the right circles.

Despite sold out tours of America, sales into the hundreds of thousands, Harrison quit to pay the mortgage in 1976.


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