Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra
EXPIRED:Thu 20 December 20127.30pm
Jools Holland is - somewhat unfairly, it should be said - often viewed as little more than an arch-fan, albeit one with his finger firmly on the musical pulse and committed to bringing his more intriguing and exciting finds to his audience’s attention. His well-established BBC?TV?show has long been an eclectic mixture of styles and genres, encompassing music from across the world. His own talent on the piano is immense, and his attitude towards his famed rhythm and blues orchestra friendly and egalitarian. The result is a joyous celebration of music, and a sound to which you can’t help but tap your feet. The band are quite a hit on the summer festival circuit for this very reason, with Holland’s familiarity with a bewildering range of material inevitably feeding into the group’s music-making endeavours.
Although he’s nowadays well established as a solo artist and international DJ specialising in electro-clash, the elfin Marc Almond nonetheless remains best known for his Soft Cell collaborations - particularly 1981’s Tainted Love - with the far more anonymous-looking Dave Ball. Drug addiction, alcoholism and a major nervous breakdown brought the Soft Cell days to an end, and save for a brief reunion a decade ago - and a chart-topping collaboration with Gene Pitney in the late 1980s - Almond’s pretty much been flying solo ever since.
‘Sporty Spice’ Mel C (or Melanie Jayne Chisholm, as she was Christened) was the Ringo Starr of the Spice Girls - a talented performer who was somewhat overshadowed by the other, more headline-grabbing, members of the group. Melanie and the Spice Girls sold a staggering eighty million-plus records during their career, making them the most successful female group of all time. As a solo artist, Mel’s sold in excess of twelve million records (releasing her sixth album in 2012) and has also found time to cut her teeth in the world of acting, playing Mrs Johnstone in?Blood Brothers and starring as Mary Magdalene in the UK arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar.