A life in music by ‘a namedropper’
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tells of Chris’s encounters and working relationships with a host of global superstars and is crammed with previously unpublished photographs.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