A life in mu­sic by ‘a name­drop­per’

The Chronicle - - Nostalgia -

CHRIS Phipps is a man who knows the mu­sic and en­ter­tain­ment busi­ness in­side out.

Birm­ing­ham-born broad­caster, Chris, has worked in ra­dio, TV, and film for five decades and has strong links to the North East.

In 1982, he was re­cruited for Chan­nel 4’s hit new mu­sic show The Tube which was pro­duced here in New­cas­tle.

And last year, Chris au­thored For­get Carter, the de­fin­i­tive story of the North East on screen.

Now, he has pub­lished an un­ortho­dox au­to­bi­og­ra­phy told through 50 years of the mu­sic and en­ter­tain­ment busi­ness.

Ap­pro­pri­ately named Name­drop­pers, it tells of Chris’s en­coun­ters and work­ing re­la­tion­ships with a host of global su­per­stars and is crammed with pre­vi­ously un­pub­lished pho­to­graphs.

He says to­day: “I’ve worked with an ex­tra­or­di­nary roll call of fa­mous names, but I also wanted to give the reader a glimpse be­hind the cam­era and mi­cro­phone - the buzz, the chaos and the fragility of fame.

“Im­por­tantly, it’s also a homage to my lo­cal broad­cast­ing roots - you only get to film Tina Turner in front of thou­sands

when you’ve recorded a stand-up Black Coun­try co­me­dian in Tip­ton!”

Writ­ten from the per­spec­tive of an in­sider’s work­ing en­coun­ters and packed with great pic­tures, this com­pelling and en­ter­tain­ing com­pen­dium of anec­dotes, is a rec­om­mended for any­one who ap­pre­ci­ates the sounds and sights of the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

Fas­ci­nat­ing en­coun­ters and work­ing re­la­tion­ships with over 50 global su­per­stars - from Madonna to Miles Davis, David Bowie, Lit­tle Richard, Ozzy Os­bourne, Bryan Ferry, Mal­colm Ma­claren, St­ing, El­ton John, Jane Fonda and many more, are de­scribed with wry hu­mour.

Amongst many, there are first-hand tales of the great Miles Davis be­ing or­dered to stop play­ing his trum­pet (“that thing”) in a New­cas­tle pub; Chris pay­ing Madonna’s train fare (stan­dard class) with cash in brown en­ve­lope; the Red Hot Chilli Pep­pers play­ing on top of a gi­ant hot dog in Hol­ly­wood; and a meet­ing with Grace Jones wear­ing a Mickey Mouse hat in Birm­ing­ham Botan­i­cal Gar­dens.

A typ­i­cal anec­dote re­lates to fe­ro­cious, heavy metal band Twisted Sis­ter, whose front man Dee Snider “looked like the prog­eny of Widow Twanky and Frank N. Furter” when one mem­ber of the band, known as Mark “the An­i­mal”Men­doza, asked for a copy of the Sun­day Times, to do the crossword.

‘Name­drop­per – an un­ortho­dox bi­og­ra­phy’ is jam-packed with sim­i­lar ob­ser­va­tions and anec­dotes on the rich and fa­mous of the day and is writ­ten with warmth and wit by the broad­caster, film­maker and for­mer pro­ducer of Chan­nel 4’s The Tube, Chris Phipps.

Tellingly, the fore­word was writ­ten by the great TV writer, Whit­ley Bay-born Ian La Fre­nais, fa­mous for What­ever Hap­pened To The Likely Lads, Por­ridge, and Auf Wieder­se­hen, Pet among other clas­sic se­ries.

La Fre­nais writes: “If Chris Phipps is drop­ping names, these are names re­ally worth drop­ping...”

■■Name­drop­per, by Chris Phipps, Tyne Bridge Pub­lish­ing, is on sale now, £10.99.

Chris Phipps with Black Sab­bath’s Tony Iommi

Chris Phipps with Ozzy Os­bourne

Chris Phipps with Du­ran Du­ran

Chris Phipps with Tina Turner Chris Phipps worked with Jools Holland, pic­tured, on The Tube Chris Phipps with Lit­tle Richard (All im­ages from Name­drop­per, Tyne Bridge Pub­lish­ing)

Chris Phipps with Miles Davis

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