Famous Singers From Newcastle

Famous Singers From Newcastle

It may come as a surprise but Newcastle upon Tyne is home to an eclectic range of singers, from the likes of rock hero Brian Johnson to the nation's sweetheart Cheryl Cole. With a vibrant music scene, the city provides a wealth of opportunity and has undoubtedly played a key role in the hugely successful careers of the singers in the list that follows. Taking singing lessons in the very city where your idols made their debut is sure to influence and provide a huge amount of inspiration for any aspiring vocalist. 

So here is a short biography of some of the most profound singers to have grown up in the city...

Brian Johnson of AC/DC 

Born and bred in Gateshead, AC/DC frontman Brian Johson became a member of the infamous rock band in 1980. Following this, the band produced the second-best selling album worldwide (Back in Black) and were recognised in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. For Johson, it all began with his first bands 'The Gobi Desert Canoe Club' and 'Fresh'. He then moved on to play with cabaret/club band 'The Jasper Hart Band' in 1970. Later on, he formed the band 'Geordie', through which he produced his first solo single  "I Can't Forget You Now" in 1976 on the Red Bus label. He then went on to produce solo album Strange Man on the MCA label, which was a compilation of various songs produced by 'Geordie' in the years 1973-1976. Meanwhile, AC/DC was in search of a new singer, after the death of original frontman Bon Scott, who had praised Johnson's style to the band previously. In 1980, Johnson received a phone call inviting him to London to audition for the position of vocalist for AC/DC, and he made such a great impression that he was accepted as lead singer for the band within days. 

Sting, Gordon Sumner  

Sting, aka Gordon Sumner began his life in Wallsend, North Tyneside, England. At the ripe age of 10, he became obsessed with a Spanish guitar that fell into his possession from a friend of his father. Among his influences are guitar-hero Jimi Hendrix and infamous 60s band, Cream. His talents include singing/songwriting and playing a wide array of instruments. Most famously known as the singer for the band, The Police, Sting made his debut within this band in 1977 before launching a solo career. With The Police, he produced five chart-topping albums, the last of which (Synchronicity) included their most famous song "Every Breath You Take", released in 1983.  He incorporates various styles into his music, from Reggae to Worldbeat, creating the distinct style he has been awarded sixteen Grammys, three BRIT Awards, a Golden Globe, an Emmy, and several Oscar nominations for. As if this wasn't enough, he also has a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Cheryl Cole of Girls Aloud

Possibly the music industry's most well known Geordie lass, Cheryl Cole (aka Cheryl Tweedy) began her career as a contestant on Talent Show "Popstars: The Rivals" in 2002. She was placed in the group now known as "Girls Aloud" with band members Nadine Coyle, Kimberly Walsh, Nicola Roberts and Sarah Harding. As a band, they won a BRIT Award in 2009 for the best single "The Promise", alongside five nominations in the years 2005-2010. Now a songwriter, dancer, model, TV-show judge, and recording artist, Cheryl has expanded her empire but remains focused on singing. Having embarked on a solo career in 2009, Cole released first album  3 Words with Polydor records, with single "Fight For This Love" becoming a bestselling single of the year. Following this, the release of second album Messy Little Raindrops included the song "Promise This" which shot straight to number one. In her third solo album A Million Lights released in June 2012, Cole sold her third number one single "Call My Name". Cole has received three Brit Awards as a result of these achievements. 

Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys

Neil Tennant, member of Petshop Boys duo along with Chris Lowe, was born in a fishing port known as North Shields, near Newcastle Upon Tyne. He formed his interest in music by playing guitar and cello at school and joining a folk band known as Dust at the age of sixteen. With this band, he created a popular song "Can You Hear The Dawn Break?". In 1982, he became News Editor of the teen pop magazine Smash Hits and became Assistant Editor the following year. Through this job he gained the opportunity to interview The Police in New York, where he met producer Bobby Orlando, who agreed to record the Petshop Boys' first track "West End Girls". The duo continues to produce today, with Tennant's recording studio in County Durham still in full action. In 2009, Tennant and Lowe received a BRIT Award for 'Outstanding Contribution to British Music'.

If you found this article useful, you might also want to read about music venues in Newcastle.

Photography: Christian Bertrand



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