Richard Hawley may be best known as an acclaimed solo artist but he’s enjoyed an equally glittering career as studio hand/guitar player for hire over the last 20 years.
Our playlist draws on the finer moments from his solo career as well as other less known contributions to the world of pop – a family tree illustrating his long and winding passage through contemporary music can be found on his website
Musical appearances have ranged from C86 indie kids Treebound Story to the raw blues and riffs of The Feral Cats. He’s also played guitar for Sheffield chums Pulp between stints as a session musician for the likes of All Saints, Robbie Williams and Nancy Sinatra. It’s an eclectic CV unrivalled by few others… M pick out some of his finer moments below…
The Longpigs – On and On (1996)
The Longpigs were a Sheffield alternative rock band who exploded during the first wave of Britpop and imploded not long afterwards. On and On was one of their most anthemic and heartfelt songs – it earnt them comparisons with U2 and saw them bruising the top 20 singles chart.
All Saints – Under the Bridge (1998)
A song about drug addiction may seem an incongruous choice for a girl band but the appearance of Richard Hawley on guitar on this cover version may seem just as odd to his fans. Originally written by US rockers Red Hot Chilli Peppers about singer Anthony Keidis’ drug addiction, the song’s testy subject matter didn’t stop this new version from topping the charts.
Richard Hawley – Coles Corner (2004)
Coles Corner was the first Hawley album to confirm him as a solo artist on the brink of mainstream success. He may not have won the 2006 Mercury Music Prize, but it heralded his arrival as one of our great British songwriters. The title track is a snapshot of him at his best – lush strings, aching romance and a timeless croon all wrapped up in a homage to his beloved Sheffield – it’s got it all…
Lisa-Marie Presley – Weary (2009)
With his quiff, timeless vocals and trademark ‘Teddy boy’ look, Hawley is already channelling the spirit of ‘the King’. So writing songs with Elvis’ daughter Lisa-Marie Presley was perhaps unsurprising. Weary was one of three collaborations between the pair on Presley’s third studio album, Storm& Grace. It was her first album in more than seven years and brought her back into the public eye.
Richard Hawley – Down in the Woods (2012)
Hawley reached 2012 and opted to plug in his guitar on a solo record for perhaps the first time. The instrument is very much the focus of his seventh studio album, Standing at the Sky’s Edge, and propels a much more frenetic sound not dissimilar to his rockier work with his part-time blues band, The Feral Cats. The album gained him a second Mercury nomination, his highest selling record to date and sold out appearance at Brixton Academy.