Chris Spedding

Chris Spedding
Chris Spedding

Spedding performing in Toronto, May 18, 1979
Background information
Birth name Peter Robinson
Born 17 June 1944 (1944-06-17) (age 67)
Staveley, Derbyshire
England, United Kingdom
Genres Rock, Pop, Jazz
Occupations Musician
Instruments Guitar, Vocals, Piano, Violin, Bass guitar
Years active Late 1960s – present
Labels RAK, Harvest, CBS
Associated acts John Cale, Roxy Music, Mike Gibbs, Sharks, Robert Gordon, Nucleus
Website Chris

Chris Spedding (born Peter Robinson, 17 June 1944,[1] Staveley, Derbyshire) is an English rock and roll and jazz guitarist, best known for his session work. Allmusic states - "Spedding is one of the UK's most versatile session guitarists, and has had a long career on two continents that saw him tackle nearly every style of rock and roll, as well as sporadically attempting a solo career. The fact that he never quite broken through to stardom, except in his native England and parts of Europe, and in professional music circles, is more a result of bad timing and worse luck than any lack of talent or commitment on his part."[1]



Spedding was raised in Sheffield and Birmingham by adoptive parents Muriel and Jack Spedding, and renamed Christopher John Spedding.

Whilst still with the Battered Ornaments, which without the departing Pete Brown left Spedding as the frontman, he joined the Frank Ricotti Quartet, and played guitar on the album Our Point of View, released in July 1969. He was also invited to play on Jack Bruce's first and third solo albums, Songs for a Tailor (1969) and Harmony Row (1971).[1]

Spedding then recorded his own instrumental album, Songs Without Words (1970) for Harvest Records, which was only released in Europe and Japan.[1]

During this time he was also playing jazz with Nucleus and recorded and toured with Mike Gibbs. He played guitar on the Pete Atkin / Clive James album “Driving Through Mythical America”.[2][3] He was a session player on Harry Nilsson's breakthrough album, Nilsson Schmilsson, recorded in London. During 1972-74 Spedding played a central role in Sharks, initially with ex-Free bassist Andy Fraser.[1] They recorded two albums and toured with Roxy Music. After that, he toured and recorded with John Cale. He also played with Roy Harper's occasional backing band Trigger, notably on 1975's HQ album.

In 1975 Spedding had a Top 20 solo hit in the UK with "Motorbikin'",[4] which he promoted with popular television appearances on Top of the Pops and Supersonic, dressed in leather motorcycling gear, with greased hair.[5] When further hits failed to materialise he subsequently became better known as a session guitarist, appearing and recording with Bryan Ferry, Roxy Music, Elton John, Brian Eno, Jack Bruce, Nick Mason and Katie Melua, amongst others. During the mid 1970s, he even took part in the Wombles' UK tour in full furry costume, whilst wielding his trademark Gibson Flying V.[1] His own album Chris Spedding (1975) was produced by Mickie Most. Spedding recorded a version of the American singer-songwriter Garland Jeffreys' song, "Wild In The Streets", on his own Hurt album. The song has since been covered by the Circle Jerks and is featured on Tony Hawk's American Wasteland.

He also was the producer of the Sex Pistols first demos, which were recorded on 15 May 1976.[1] The three tracks recorded were "Problems", "No Feelings" and "Pretty Vacant". Spedding featured extensively on the album Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds issued in 1978, and much later toured with Jeff Wayne and the cast between 2006 and 2010. Spedding moved to New York joined the Necessaries as a guitarist and songwriter, then worked extensively with Robert Gordon. Before long he was back in the UK and recorded another album of his own, I'm Not Like Everybody Else (1980).[1] His live album, Friday the 13th was released in 1981.[1] Over the next few years he continued his session work on such albums as Tom Waits', Rain Dogs, while periodically releasing solo material (Mean and Moody (1985), Enemy Within (1986) and Cafe Days (1990).[1]

He made an appearance in Paul McCartney's Give My Regards to Broad Street in 1984, playing guitar in a session with McCartney and his wife, Linda.[1] Spedding was producer of the first two albums by the Canadian rockabilly band, The Razorbacks, entitled Go to Town (1988) and Live a Little (1989). In 1995, he played on Willy DeVille's Big Easy Fantasy, and later that year, on his album Loup Garou.

Spedding also toured with a re-formed Roxy Music in 2001. By now in his sixties, Spedding's own blues rock offerings One Step Ahead Of The Blues (2002, reissued in 2009) and Click Clack (2005) were released, followed by It's Now Or Never in 2007.[1]

In the late 1990s Spedding reunited with Robert Gordon and has toured with him on and off since. They released "It's Now or Never" a collection of Elvis Presley songs recorded with The Jordanaires in 2007 and a live DVD Rockin' the Paradiso in 2006. A book, Chris Spedding: Reluctant Guitar Hero, by Kimberly J Bright was released in 2006.

Spedding continues to tour and record. He guested as lead guitarist with the Wombles in their appearance at Glastonbury Festival 2011

In 2011 Spedding and Steve Parsons, vocalist with Sharks, are back together, with Martin Chambers (Pretenders) on drums, Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols) on bass , and a new mysterious guitarist named Sixteen making a five-piece. Their first record release and live gigs are coming November 2011.




  • "Motor Bikin'" (1975) UK #14[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Biography by Steve Huey & Bruce Eder". Retrieved 6 February 2009. 
  2. ^
  3. ^;action=display;num=1280157649
  4. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 519. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  5. ^ Chris Spedding at Glitter Suits & Platform Boots
  6. ^ Allmusic - Discography
  • Kimberly Bright, Chris Spedding: Reluctant Guitar Hero. Lincoln: iUniverse, Inc., 2006. [1]

External links

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