Alex Harvey: Last of the Teenage Idols
Seventies rock icon Alex Harvey is set to enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the revered establishment adds a photobook about his life to its collection.
The move comes just days before fans gather in the singer’s native Glasgow, Scotland, to mark the 30th anniversary of his death.
Harvey, leader of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band and widely regarded as one of the best rock frontman of all time, passed away on February 4, 1982, a day short of his 47th birthday.
Acts as varied as Def Leppard, the Cure, the Sex Pistols, Nick Cave and AC/DC have cited him as an influence. SAHB released eight albums between 1972 and 1977 and are remembered for stand-out tracks including Next, Boston Tea Party, Give My Compliments to the Chef, Gang Bang, Vambo and Framed.
Photographer Janet Macoska, whose work is showcased in the hardback Alex Harvey: Last of the Teenage Idols, says: “He was my mentor and my friend. Alex gave me my first paying gig and believed in my talent long before I did.
“I followed SAHB’s American tours in 1974 and 1975, then when I visited London Alex and his family had me as a house guest. I shot their last show together when they headlined the Reading Festival in 1977, and I kept shooting him after he’d left SAHB. I’m still friends with his wife and sons – he gave me so much, including a second family.
“Now he’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Not inducted, but still a part of it for ever. The Rock Hall’s library is meant to be of service to the public and music scholars alike – so it goes to show how important Alex’s influence was. I’m honoured to have my book as part of their permanent collection.”
In a long-lost interview Macoska conducted in 1974, Harvey revealed he was planning to make a horror movie with his band – and he hoped to work with Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein director Mel Brooks.
Harvey said: “I have and we have no aspirations to make another rock’n’roll movie, even a movie like Tommy or anything. It would have to be a new way of doing it – and I think there is a new way of doing it.
“I think a horror movie would be good. Not necessarily a rock horror movie; a gothic horror movie, but real. Not one like Young Frankenstein.
“I think Mel Brooks is fantastic. I think he’s brilliant. If we made a movie, Mel should direct it. Somebody told me he’d go crazy over us and that would be marvellous. I respect his work very much.”
Ray Conn, who worked in a managerial and artistic capacity with Harvey towards the end of his life, tells Rock News Desk: “Alex and I were talking about a film – a Dracula film, Out for the Count. I’d written lyrics for several songs and SAHB keyboardist Hugh McKenna had written music. I still have tape recordings of Alex advising Hugh.”
A celebration of Harvey’s life, including talks by SAHB members Zal Cleminson, Chris Glen and Ted McKenna, will take place in Glasgow’s People’s Palace on Saturday, February 4.
Alex Harvey: Last of the Teenage Idols can be ordered via www.alexharveybook.com