7th: Brian Spence is born in the Clermiston area of Edinburgh, Scotland
to Margaret and Tom Spence. Also amongst his family are brothers
Kenny, Stuart (who later played bass in Brian's touring band around
the time of the "Brothers" album) and Douglas.
||Ricky Stevens, Debbie's father, has a hit with "I
Cried For You" in December. It reaches number 34 in the British
Whilst growing up in his teens, Brian's musical influences were
Peter Green (of Fleetwood Mac fame) and Jimi Hendrix and was soon
in a number of local groups including his first band called Expo
at the age of 14. The members of the band include Brian on bass
guitar, Bob Creamer on rhythm guitar, Roy Martin on lead guitar,
Brian Gordon on vocals & Tom Wight on drums. They gigged for
a year or so in and around Edinburgh before splitting. Roy was the
only other one who stayed within the live music industry. Bob started
his own successful mobile disco, OSB, which is still going.
||Expo appears at the International Club on Princes Street
Brian leaves Broughton Secondary School (Broughton Road) in Edinburgh,
Brian, now playing electric guitar, joins the group Bilbo
Baggins at the age of 17. The band comprises of Colin Chisholm
(vocals), Jimmy Devlin (bass), Gordon Liddle (drums), Gordon McIntosh
(guitar) plus Brian (of course). The group was managed by Tam Paton,
who also looked after The Bay City Rollers at the same time.
Bilbo Baggins start to have success, releasing two singles this
year, "Saturday Night" and "The Sha-Na-Na-Na Song".
Bilbo Baggins success continues with the release of the "Hold
Further single releases for Bilbo Baggins with "Back Home"
and It's A Shame". They also appear on Granada TV's music show
"Supersonic", performing "Hold Me". The b-side
of "Hold Me" features the first Brian Spence written track
"What's Goin' On" to see vinyl.
After the quiet year of 1977, and a change of record label Bilbo
Baggins release "I Can feel Mad".
After a slight name change from Bilbo Baggins to Bilbo
the group releases "She's Gonna Win" (which reaches number
42 in the UK singles chart), "Don't Blame It On Me" and
"America". Also of note is that all tracks are now written
Bilbo also split up this year.
Brian starts writing tracks that will eventually appear on the
"Chisholm and Spence" album. The songs are published under
the name of April Music.
By 1980 Brian is in the duo called "Chisholm
and Spence" with Colin Chisholm, the former lead vocalist
of Bilbo. They released a self-titled album, and a couple of singles
from it on both sides of the Atlantic. The singles from the album
include "You Can't Get Near Enough To The One You Love"
and "Your Last Letter".
Brian writes and performs along with Colin on Kenny and The Car
Parks "Top Speed" single. Colin plays on the drums whilst
Brian performs on guitar and bass, with both of them adding harmony
By 1984 Brian had gone solo. He toured constantly to create his
own unique sound and it was during this period that Brian formed
the basis for his two superb solo albums; full of great music and
A band called The Mood release a Spence penned track called "I
Don't Need Your Love Now" and produced by Paul Cobbold. Sounding
similar to A Flock of Seagulls it doesn't bother the charts.
||The album "Brothers"
released in September. The first single is "Hear It From The
Heart" followed by "Brothers".
1st: Brian appears at "Musikcafe'n", Copenhagen.Brian
was performing with a band of local musicians, including his brother
(I'm assuming Stuart), who lived in Copenhagen at that time.
Of Shadows", a single to promote the film "P.I. Private
The album "Reputation"
released in May. Singles from the album include "Reputation",
"Come Back Home" and "Without Your Love".
In June Brian supports Ray Davies (The Kinks) on a short UK tour.
Between 8th and 16th June they play at the following venues. Also
in support is The Storm:
- 8th Apollo Theatre, Manchester
- 9th Town & Country Club, Kentish Town, London
- 11th Guildhall, Portsmouth
- 12 Hippodrome, Bristol
- 13th Wessex Hall, Poole Arts Centre, Poole, Dorset
- 15th Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool
- 16th Royal Court Centre, Nottingham
Debbie release a single called One Love, with Lover Boy on the
B side. Both tracks are penned and produced by Brian.
Brian supports Tommy Conwell on a 13 date tour of the USA during
November. The venues are mainly along the east-side taking in Florida
through to Maryland states. The tour is supported by heavy rotation
plays on USA local radio stations. These include WLLZ, WYNF, KSHE,
KEZE, KJOT, WMRY plus others.
- 7th Cleveland, Ohio
- 9th Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- 10th Washington, DC
- 11th Washington, DC
- 12th Norfolk, VA
- 14th Miami, Florida
- 15th Jacksonville, Florida
- 16th Atlanta, Georgia
- 17th Charlotte, North Carolina
- 18th Raleigh, North Carolina
- 20th Louisville, Kentucky
- 21st Indianapolis, IN
- 23rd Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- 24th Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- 26th Baltimore, Maryland
Chisholm and Spence release a single called "Hibernian"
under the name of "Hibs Heroes". It is a football song
about the Hibernian football club.
Other tour dates include:
October 2nd: Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sweden supporting John Farnham
October 4th: Brian appears at "Valby Hallen", Copenhagen
(John Farnham had the headline).Brian was performing solo, warming
up for John Farnham.
||January 31st: "Mean Fiddler",
London Brian was preforming a solo show which was not focused on "Reputation".
Within the show Brian performs some Jimi Hendrix plus other material
from the 60s.
Man", a single released (in February) was intended to herald
a new album. Unfortunately, the album did not get made.
In May Dusty
Springfield releases her cover version of "Reputation",
a huge compliment to Brian's writing skills, which reaches number
in the UK singles chart.
Brian releases a new album called MacGregor's Trap. It is a musical
version of Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped and released only
to cassette tape through Little Big Foot Records. Apart from Brian,
others performing on the album are Debbie McKenna, Colin Chisholm,
Tam White, Maggie Reilly and Jackie Hayes.
Brian and Debbie form the group The Cheeky Buffaloes and release
Brian works with Michael
Ball on four tracks, "From Here To Eternity", "The
Lovers We Were", "When We Began" and "My Arms
Are Strong". Brian wrote, performed and produced the tracks.
||In August Brian's musical based on Robert Louis Stevenson's
"Kidnapped", called "McGregor's Trap", finally
makes it to the stage at the Edinburgh Festival. Amongst the cast
are Brian are Debbie McKenna, Colin Chisholm, Joanne Ramsey, Louise
Kenny and Chesney Hawkes. The show was brought together by Dominic
"One Love" is released by Debbie McKenna, written and
produced by Brian. The b-side "Lover Boy" was also done
Chisholm and Spence reunited as the support act for the UK tour
of Don Williams, an American country artist.
Allstar Tribute Acts web site is created by Brian to help promote
acts that perform tributes to music stars.
Brian spends any spare time writing and producing music for younger
R&B and garage acts based around London. One act Brian helps
is a London-based garage group called 4-Play by producing a number
of tracks in his recording studio.
Brian works with East London garage group 4-Play to produce some
songs for them.
I was looking for a unique topic to base a web site on. Sue (My
partner) asks me where Brian Spence comes from. I do not know, but
the musical style suggests Scotland, but I vow to find out. In asking
this, what appears to be a simple question, I realise that there
are no sites dedicated to Brian Spence. In November the predecessor
to Spence Music is born. It is a basic site, that does not have
a name, and discusses the albums Brothers and Reputation. Over time
it gradually builds into a (hopefully) more informative site.
On December 30th I see Brian and Debbie for the first time.
Early in 2002 Bill Kenwright, a theatre producer, announces that
he hopes to be able to bring "Jeanie
Skye", previously known as "MacGregor's Trap"
and a historical musical by Brian Spence, based on Robert Louis
Stevenson's classic novel "Kidnapped" to the Edinburgh
stage in 2002.
In April I meet up with Brian for the first time. We discuss web
site design and musical influences. He lists Kate Bush among his
Brian announces a project called "The Cheeky Buffaloes",
which also includes Debbie McKenna and Stuart Irving. The work is
linked to "Jeanie Skye".
5th November: Virginia Irving announces the name of a new group
that comprises Stewart Irving, Debbie McKenna and Brian Spence.
The group had been known, for a brief time, as The Cheeky Buffaloes
(a name that had been previously used by Brian and Debbie) but were
now to be called The
Wish. They create enjoyable, catchy acoustic pop. Dates and
an album of new tracks will follow.
February 7th: Brian hits the BIG 5-0. That's officially old (in
my book - until I get to that age).
SpenceMusic web site is born in March of this year.
August 23rd: Brian and Debbie marry after being together for 20
years. The ceremony was good humoured and took place at the Belvedere
and Erith Congregational Church, London. For more information click
September: "Postcards" the album by The Wish is offically
released on an unsuspecting public. It is well received by everyone
who listens to it.
In December Brian and Debbie split away from The Wish due to conflicting
February: The premiere of Picnic at Hanging Rock in Chichester.
A really great show, a video of which can only hint at how good
April 2nd: Bilbo Music website launched. This is a joint venture
with Ritchie Finney to highlight the fun that was Bilbo Baggins,
one of Brian's previous bands.
||October 29: Picnic at Hanging Rock plays at the Maddermarket
Theatre in Norwich.
||July 23rd: Picnic at Hanging Rock plays at the Wilde
Theatre in Bracknell, Berkshire.
||November 6th: Brian plays his first concert with a
full band in many a year at Campo Pequeno in Lisbon, Portugal. EVeryone
there really enjoyed it (including Brian) and hoped for a repeat performance.