Where are they now? Elkie Brooks

We catch up with Sev­en­ties and Eight­ies singing su­per­star ELKIE BROOKS who has no in­ten­tion of hang­ing up her mi­cro­phone just yet

YOURS (UK) - - Contents - By Peter Robert­son

At the age of 73, Elkie Brooks is still as busy as ever, tour­ing the world with her unique voice that gave us iconic in­ter­na­tional hits such as Pearl’s a Singer, Lilac Wine and Gaso­line Abbey.

It all started in 1945 when Elkie was born Elaine Book­binder into a Pol­ish Jewish fam­ily in Sal­ford. Mu­sic was in the blood as Elkie’s ma­ter­nal grand­mother, Maude New­ton, was a fine clas­si­cal pi­anist, vi­olin­ist and singer and it wasn’t long be­fore Elkie was try­ing her hand at singing, too.

“Nei­ther of my par­ents were mu­si­cal, but my broth­ers were; Tony played drums for Billy J Kramer, and Ray played bass and trum­pet. And of course, I sang and played pi­ano,” ex­plains Elkie, who used to sing at Bar Mitz­vahs and wed­dings as a lit­tle girl. “I’ve al­ways had a nat­u­ral low singing voice and my head­mistress said to me, ‘Won­der­ful voice, dar­ling, but you sound like a boy.’”

At the age of 13 Elkie did her first pro­fes­sional show at the Manch­ester club The Laronde and her mu­sic man­ager, Don Ar­den (Sharon Os­bourne’s fa­ther) per­suaded her to change her name.

Elkie learned her trade on the cabaret cir­cuit, sup­port­ing bands from The Bea­tles to The An­i­mals, be­fore she be­came front­woman of the rock group, Vine­gar Joe, fea­tur­ing Robert Palmer and her first hus­band, Pete Gage.

Af­ter the band split up in 1974, a solo ca­reer beck­oned for Elkie and she re­leased her first al­bum, Rich Man’s Woman, in 1975. She was also asked by Tim Rice and An­drew Lloyd Web­ber to do the con­cept al­bum for Evita, in­clud­ing Don’t Cry For Me, Ar­gentina. But af­ter a meet­ing I was told they felt I had far too much to say for my­self and I thought ‘Your loss!’.”

In 1977, Elkie’s ca­reer rock­eted up an­other notch when she made the al­bum Two Days Away with the sin­gle, Pearl’s a Singer, be­ing re­leased on her birth­day that year. “I liked mak­ing mu­sic and be­ing in the busi­ness but I never thought it would take off.”

Since 1978, Elkie has been mar­ried to her sec­ond hus­band, sound en­gi­neer Trevor Jor­dan. The cou­ple share a home in the West Coun­try with their sons, Jay and Joey. As a fam­ily, they en­joy paraglid­ing and handg­lid­ing. In re­cent years, Jay has also be­come Elkie’s man­ager, pro­duc­ing her al­bums on their own la­bel, Event­ful.

“I still en­joy per­form­ing my old hits live,” says Elkie who has just re­cently fin­ished her lat­est tour. But she’s also keen to point out there’s more to her life than her mu­sic. The im­por­tant thing is I’ve got my health and a great fam­ily around me. I do the Ja­pa­nese mar­tial art Aikido ev­ery day and I can’t see my­self re­tir­ing for quite a few years.

“I’ve still got lots to do and I’m singing well. It’s when I lose my fit­ness lev­els and start war­bling that will be time to hang up my mi­cro­phone.”

■ Elkie’s au­to­bi­og­ra­phy Find­ing My Voice is pub­lished by Bite­back.To find out her lat­est con­cert dates, visit www.elkiebrooks.com

Elkie in the Six­ties (top) and singing with Vine­gar Joe, above

Singing sen­sa­tion: Elkie, pic­tured re­cently, is still reg­u­larly on tour

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