Shakin’ Stevens: ‘You’re never too old to rock and roll’

Michael Barratt, also known as Shakin´ Stevens, was number 1 on the UK charts 14 times in the 1980s, scoring 34 hit singles. He is still the record holder for that decade. In many other countries, he topped the charts with, among others, ‘Oh Julie’ and ‘This Ole House’. This month the beautiful box ‘Fire In The Blood’ will be released, on which the artist looks back on his career and oeuvre with 19 CDs, as well a ‘Singled Out’ collection, containing 3 CDs and 2 LPs. “A nice Christmas package,” said the singer in a Maxazine exclusive interview.

Corona

Corona, it keeps us all busy. We haven’t started our conversation yet when Shaky, as he is called by his manager and fans, announces: “I am still healthy, follow the rules, have a lot of respect for the people in health care and stay indoors as much as possible. I am very annoyed by the people who do not obey the rules.”

Fire in the blood

Shaky stays indoors as much as possible, so performances are not on the agenda. Yet his agenda is quite busy. For example, he has interviews with media from all over the world, because Shakin ‘Stevens is still a well-known name with worldwide fans. ”The “Fire in the blood” box is a big project. We’ve been on it for almost a year. The box also contains unique live recordings of one of my first shows, up to and including a live show in 2019. Together with the collection of 54 singles, I think it’s a worthy look back.”

Christmas package

When asked whether there was a particular reason to look back in such a grand and comprehensive way, an answer with a businesslike approach followed. “The record company likes it, and frankly, it’s also a good time to release a box, just before Christmas. Moreover, it is also a kind of compensation to my fans. After all, they cannot see me live now. Just like many other artists, I hope to give them a nice Christmas with this box, including some songs they may never have heard before. See it as a nice Christmas gift ”

Marie Marie

The box contains hundreds of songs and dozens of singles. But when asked, Shaky has the fondest memories of ‘Marie Marie’. “It all started with that. The song was my breakthrough in Europe. Not long after that I was on stage as Shakin’ Stevens and The Sunsets for example in Paradiso in Amsterdam.”

Sleeping in a van

As mentioned earlier, Shakin’ Stevens topped the charts several times in multiple countries and was the artist with the most number 1 hits in England in the 1980s. “I look back on that with a certain pride, especially when I think about the time when I left school and we founded Shakin ‘Stevens and The Sunsets with friends. A name that was coined by a friend. We did not compete in talent shows and left for London at random. I remember that after gigs we slept in a van because we had no money for hotels.”

Bonnie Tyler

During his long career, Shakin’ Stevens has collaborated with a great number of artists, like Albert Lee, Rod Argent, former frontman of The Zombies, Roger Taylor, drummer for Queen and of course Bonnie Tyler, with whom he scored a hit in duet with ‘A Rockin’ Good Way’. “I still have regular contact with Bonnie. We text or email and recently I recorded a song with Tony Joe White in Nashville, USA.”

No studios

With the release of the box we mainly look back, but what about the present. What about possible new recordings and the release of a new record? Shaky: “Good question. I recently recorded 9 new songs, but because only 2 studios are open in England due to the corona measures, that has now come to a halt. And yes, I am also writing songs. As soon as we can, we’ll move on and I will release my next album with new songs. But when, nobody knows!”

You never too old to Rock and Roll

Although his dance steps and hip movements may no longer be the way they used to be, 72-year-old Shaky is looking forward to his return to the stage. “To keep myself in shape I eat and drink healthy, I don’t use alcohol and I don’t smoke anymore. I take care of my life. Of course I adapted my style and presentation slightly to my age. But it’s such a good feeling to be on stage and entertain people. Nothing beats that. As long as I can, I will continue to perform. You’re never too old to Rock and Roll!”


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