Monday, 26 March 2012

Featured artist Chris Rea

(born Christopher Anton Rea, 4 March 1951)
British singer and guitarist Chris Rea has enjoyed a run of popularity in Europe during the late '80s and early '90s after almost a decade of previous recording. Rea started out performing with a local group called Magdalene, taking David Coverdale's place; the band won a national talent contest in 1975 as the Beautiful Losers, but still failed to get a record contract. Rea left the band and recorded the album “Whatever Happened to Benny Santini?”, which alluded to a discarded stage name. The album went gold on the strength of the U.S. Top 20 hit "Fool (If You Think It's Over)." Rea then spent some time, concentrating his efforts on his main fan base of Europe.
A compilation of tracks from Rea's '80s albums, “New Light Through Old Windows”, was released in 1988 and sold well in the U.K. and Europe and charted in the U.S. Rea followed it up with the critically acclaimed “The Road to Hell”, which many regarded as his best album. It and its follow-up, “Auberge”, went to the top of the U.K. album charts, but did not prove as successful in the U.S., where he has failed to chart with his subsequent releases.
After being diagnosed with pancreatitis, Rea underwent an operation called a Whipple procedure (pancreaticoduodenectomy), with a predicted 50% chance of survival. In 2001, Rea promised himself that if he recovered, he would be returning to his blues roots. This near brush with death was the catalyst for a change in musical direction and motivation.
In 2005 he released “Blue Guitars”, an eleven CD collection of 137 blues-inspired tracks recorded in eighteen months, complete with his own paintings as album covers. It is seen by himself as his finest work to date.
The fun “The Return of the Fabulous Hofner Blue Notes” appeared in 2008, and he released “The Santo Spirito Blues” in 2011.

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