B A Robertson

B A Robertson


January 2008

Multiple Grammy nominee, PRS, and BMI award winner. Scots born, composer, lyricist BA Robertson was educated at Allan Glen's School Glasgow, and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music. His professional career began at twenty one when he signed a publishing deal with Steve Morris, son of legendary Broadway music publisher EH 'Buddy' Morris.

He recorded his first album "Wringing Applause", for Ardent Records in 1973. It enjoyed modest critical acclaim, and a nomination in Down Beat Magazine wís year end poll. He made four further albums, "Shadow Of A Thin Man", (1976) for Arista, "Initial Success" (1980), "Bully For You" (1981), and "R&BA" (1982), for Asylum.

During these years, he combined his career as an artist in a writing and production partnership with bassist Herbie Flowers. BA wrote and produced with Herbie, and worked with an eclectic crowd, including Lionel Bart, Joe Brown, Jim Cregan, Ray Cooper, Micky Dolenz, Gillian Gregory, Georg Kajanus, Harry Nilsson, Phil Pickett, Annie Ross, Sandie Shaw, and Chris Spedding.

He made his first television appearance with Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel (1976), played piano on the B side of "Come Up And See Me Make Me Smile". Gave occasional live performances in support of his records. This included opening for Van Der Graaf Generator on their farewell tour of 1977.

The band he put together to promote "Shadow Of A Thin Man", included George Fenton, Tony Hymas, and Frank Ricotti, also featured guitarist Terry Britten. BA formed an ongoing writing partnership with Terry, which resulted in his first major cover on Cliff Richard's "Green Light" (1978).

More than twenty international hits followed, including, "Carrie" and "Wired for Sound" for Cliff. "Wired For Sound" nominated Ivor Novello Song of the Year, (1981). He enjoyed chart success in Europe, with six hit singles as an artist. The first, "Bang Bang" (1979), achieved sales over 1 million, the last Flight 19, in 1982, a #1 in Iceland! This track inspired a ground breaking music video directed by Brian Grant. BA was nominated Ivor Novello Songwriter of the Year 1980, UK Male Vocalist, Daily Mirror Rock & Pop Awards 1980, JVC Scottish Musician of the Year 1982. He recorded with Maggie Bell in 1982, Frida from Abba, 83, and Lulu in 84.

As well as appearing in concert, he also featured on radio and television. Was a frequent guest broadcaster for the BBC, from 1980 to 1985. Hosted his own music series "BA In Music". Guests include, Sir Malcolm Arnold, Jack Bruce, Ray Charles, and Buddy Guy. BA conducted the last on camera interview with Alex Harvey before Alex died in 1982. In 1983 He played the lead in British feature "Living Apart Together", directed by Charlie Gormley, for which he also wrote the score. He appeared at The Lyric Theatre London opposite Elaine Paige, in "Abbacadabra", the same year.

In 1986 he was commissioned to compose the music for The Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh. He has written more than 30 themes, songs, and scores, for film, television and special events. These include "The Other Side of The World" by Chaka Khan for the motion picture "White Nights", music for one of the UK's longest running talk shows "Wogan", and "We Have A Dream" for Scotland's World Cup Football Squad of 1982.

Throughout the 80's and 90's he continued to write and work in the studio with another diverse group, including Sam Brown, Roger Daltrey, Lonnie Donegan, Dave Edmunds, Bernard Edwards, Peter Frampton, Alan Gorrie, John Jarvis, Maz + Kilgore, Joe Sample, Helena Springs, and Andy Taylor (Duran Duran).

He met Genesis guitarist Mike Rutherford in 1985, and began a second long term writing collaboration. He introduced Paul Carrack to the embryo Mike & The Mechanics. As writer and musician, he featured on six of their studio albums. Wrote their first hit single "Silent Running", Billboard's #1 Rock Song of 1986, and the international success, "The Living Years". This most celebrated of his lyrics written when his father died twelve weeks before the birth of his son.

At the 1990 Grammy Awards, "The Living Years" had four nominations, including Song of the Year. BA was pipped for the statuettes by good friend Arif Mardin and "The Wind Beneath My Wings". In London, at The Ivor Novellos, 'The Living Years' topped 1991 Grammy winner "Another Day in Paradise" for Best Song.

He was invited to set up offices at The Walt Disney Studio, by Michael Eisner, and Jeffrey Katzenburg. BA moved with his family to Los Angeles. He remained a feature on the lot for over three years. Was Creator, and Producer of Grammy nominated, multi-platinum, music video, "Simply Mad About The Mouse". Artists include Harry Connick Jnr., LL Cool J., Billy Joel, and Bobby McFerrin.

1991 saw "Silent Running" and "The Living Years", awarded "MillionAir" status by BMI, for more than one million broadcast performances in the US. "Silent Running" has now reached almost three million plays, and 'The Living Years' over four.

From 1993 through 1995, he put together, "With Your Hand on My Heart" for Patti LaBelle and Michael Crawford. Michael's album had a double Grammy nomination and world wide sales of more than 2 million. Wrote music for "Baywatch", the world's most popular television show and collaborated on a musical with Burt Bacharach.

He continued to work with Mike & The Mechanics, had six songs in the "Beggar On A Beach of Gold" project including the title song, and another six on their, multi-platinum CD, "Hits". He worked as writer, and musical associate to Phil Ramone on the stage production "EFX”, at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. The opening song "Somewhere in Time”, a collaboration with John Barry.

In 1996, BA slipped quietly away to Ireland. There he composed the score for independent movie "Bloodlines (Legacy of a Lord)". In 1998 he wrote and produced the title track of the Omagh tribute album, "Across The Bridge Of Hope", helping to raise more than half a million dollars for the victims of the Omagh bombing.

1998 also saw five songs on the last Mike & The Mechanics album to feature Paul Young. This included "All The Light I Need", the eighth single he recorded with the band. He also wrote occasionally with Alex James of Blur, and Jorgen Elofsson.

He got up at the Sugar Club in Dublin on his father's anniversary, January 4 2001, and sang "The Living Years" in public for the first time. He subsequently played a handful of club dates in Ireland. Initially with singer Leslie Dowdall, then as a solo. Ending up as Paul Carrack's guest at the Albert Hall in London, May 2001.

In 2004, at the encouragement of New York producer Arnold Engelman, BA made a committed return to live performance. He presented a critically acclaimed one man show for ten nights, on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and returned the following year for twenty five performances. He also undertook tours of Scotland, and Ireland.

At the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh 2006, he debuted a one hour presentation of 'Too Close To The Sun'. An intimate chamber musical, inspired by the life of John F. Kennedy, as seen through the eyes of Danish beauty Inga Arvad. He played this opposite Norwegian actress Katrine Lunde.

Over the winter, BA expanded the piece to two acts. This was performed during 2007 in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bergen, Glasgow, and London.

He is currently redrafting the script, with director Gregory Thompson and recording the score for audio release in 08. He is at work on a new piece destined for Edinburgh in August. There is a multi-disc anthology in the pipeline, with a possible series of one man performances in 2009.

Over the years, BA has accumulated more than 70 silver, gold, and platinum record awards. He lives with his wife, designer Karen Manners, they have two adult children.

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