Monday, September 19, 2011

20th Century Musical Man

Quite intrigued by a singer/songwriter from Tredegar called Alan Phillips. In the early ‘70s Alan knocked around in various bands which did precisely zip, such as Steppin Out and The Uncertain Kind. Legend has it that at one point he was set to become a guitarist for Mott the Hoople but - at the last minute - the guy he was meant to be replacing changed his mind. Bad luck seemed to dog him. When he opened a folk club in Chepstow it folded within a year – that town not being especially famed for its love of the genre. Then he got a proper showbiz break. He was signed up as a songwriter by the Robert Stigwood Organisation. He didn’t manage to write any hits for them but he did put together a demo of 12 of his own songs which he hawked around various record companies. The upshot was that at the grand old age of 23, EMI, Decca and RCA all offered him a recording contract. He plumped for RCA and in 1972 released an album grandly titled 20th Century Musical Man. One track, Like in a Movie, was released as a single. It was remixed by Andrew Powell who later did production work on Kate Bush’s debut album The Kick Inside. Also featured on the single was renowned session musician Big Jim Sullivan. Phillips released another couple of singles before slipping off the radar altogether, so I’m presuming they all bombed commercially. If you have any idea of what became of Alan Phillips get in touch.

Update: Alan is alive and well and has been living in Los Angeles since the late 1970s. During that time he has been involved in numerous musical projects and made many friends in the industry over there. Alan has a wife and two sons and still makes the occasional visit to Wales. Many thanks to David Phillips (Alan's nephew) for the update.

Further Update: Alan has just done a radio interview in the US about his career. Check it out - it's interesting stuff.