She’s sung with some of the best and partied with the rest. These days she’s happiest hitting hubby with pans
Having first been a backing singer for Chaka Khan, David Bowie, Melissa Manchester and Peter Wolf, among others, New Yorker Robin Beck hit big in 1988 when First Time, a soaring power ballad originally recorded for a Coca-Cola ad, topped charts in the UK and across Europe. Since then she has released a series of albums that connect the dots between classic rock and heavy-duty soul. Her latest is Love Is Coming, co-produced by husband James Christian, frontman with House Of Lords.
What’s the story with the new album? I started writing it over a year ago, then ended up meeting a rock god; Clif Magness [Steve Perry/Avril Lavigne] was someone I’d admired for years. I’d already covered Footprints In The Rain back in the nineties, but we’d never actually broken bread together. He started to send me songs and I began to connect with them on a very personal level. They felt like pieces of my life.
What’s it like working with your other half in the studio?
He’ll just lay it on the line: “No, too much,” “Too little,” “You’re not in touch with it,” whatever . But James is a master and I trust him. We do fight, but we always make up afterwards. Some of my frying pans have taken the shape of his head, but then his golf clubs are a little crooked too. We love each other to death – we’re the perfect match.
How did the phenomenal success of First Time impact on your life?
I wouldn’t have had the balls to say it back then, but I was scared shitless. It happened really fast. I’d squeaked out an album in 1979 [Sweet Talk], which I liken to a baby footprint in a piece of clay, but First Time changed my life completely. I’d get up in the morning, go to the studio, then afterwards I’d go to the clubs and hang out with everyone from Rod Stewart to Julian Lennon. David Bowie was also part of the crowd we hung out with in New York. There were always parties and there were always rock stars. That’s how it went every single day.
How long did you manage to keep up that rock’n’roll lifestyle for?
I was doing album after album. The needle didn’t lift until my daughter, Olivia, was born in 1997. I decided I was going to take five years off, but the music business kept trying to pull me back in. New York is the greatest city in the world, but it’s hard in every way you can imagine. It’s brutal on your body. I’m not that way any more, where I have to put on my rock’n’roll regalia to walk out the door. Now I’m putting on my sweats, a baseball cap, some sneakers and I’m truckin’.
You made a big comeback when you toured Europe as part of the Rock Meets Classic tour in 2012. How was that?
I was on the same bill as Ian Gillan, Steve Lukather, Jimi Jamison and Chris Thompson. With Rock Meets Classic, I felt like: “It’s what you always wanted and now you get what you wish for.” I became very good friends with Jimi on that tour. He’d go: “C’mon, girl, you’re just so fantastic. Get out there, shake your ass and rock’n’roll!” I had the best time of my life. I literally kissed the stage floor every night. RH Love Is Coming is available now via Frontiers.
“First Time changed my life. Parties every single day.”