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|Born||19 November 1945|
|Origin||Workington, Cumberland, England|
|Occupation(s)||Songwriter, record producer, musician|
|Instruments||Bass guitar, keyboards, guitar|
|Labels||A&M Records, Bradley's Records|
|Associated acts||James Taylor Move, The Shadows, Tarney/Spencer Band, Cliff Richard, a-ha, Leo Sayer|
Alan Tarney (born 19 November 1945) is an English songwriter, record producer and bass guitarist. He was born in Northside, Workington, Cumberland, England, but spent his teenage years in Adelaide, Australia, where he met his songwriting and musical partner Trevor Spencer. He is best known for his association with Cliff Richard and producing Take On Me by a-ha.
Tarney was part of the influx of British migrants who settled in Adelaide during the height of the 1960s pop music boom. His first major group in Australia was James Taylor Move, a four-piece outfit regarded as one of Australia's first psychedelic rock bands; the original line-up in 1967 comprised Tarney on bass, his longtime collaborator Trevor Spencer on drums, Kevin Peek on lead guitar and Robert (R.J.) Taylor on vocals. Both the James Taylor Move and their rising-star contemporaries the Twilights were formed by various members of two earlier Adelaide bands, Johnny Broome and the Handels, and the Hurricanes.
James Taylor Move's (JTM) early concerts were in support of the Twilights, who soon moved to Melbourne. JTM built up a solid following in Adelaide and in early 1967 they won the South Australian final of the Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds. They headed to Melbourne in July for the national finals, and although they were defeated by the Groop they decided to remain there.
Securing a deal with Festival Records they released their debut single "And I Hear the Fire Sing" / "Magic Eyes" in August 1967. The A-side was apparently considered too radical for local radio, but the B-side was picked up, received plenty of airplay in the southern states and became a Top 40 hit in Melbourne. In October, Festival released their second and final single, "Baby Jane", backed by the raga-influenced "Still I Can Go On".
Peek left the band in May 1968, and was replaced by two new members, John Pugh and organist Lance Dixon. Lead singer Robert Taylor left the following month, and he was replaced by the 18-year-old blues/soul singer Wendy Saddington. This second line-up lasted only a few more months and made no commercial recordings before their split at the end of 1968.
Tarney and Spencer were next reunited with Kevin Peek in the Kevin Peek Trio (1968–69). They moved back to the UK in 1969, where they recruited an old Adelaide friend Terry Britten (ex Twilights) to join the group, which was then renamed Quartet (1969–70). Quartet recorded one album with Decca Records which remains unreleased, but two singles were issued on Decca: "Joseph" / "Mama Where Did You Fail" (F13072, 1970) and "Now" / "Will My Lady Come" (F12974, 1970).
After the demise of Quartet, the four members became session musicians and songwriters, recording and writing for many top UK acts including Cliff Richard, Ray Martin Hoskins, GTO Records/the Springfield Revival and Olivia Newton-John. Around this time Tarney also joined the Shadows and was a member from 1973 to 1977. In 1975 he was one half of Tarney/Spencer Band along with Trevor Spencer. They signed a 10-album deal with A&M Records, but met with little success and after three album releases, the group disbanded and discontinued their contract with agreement by the record label.[better source needed]
In 1979, Tarney began the biggest period of his career when he wrote and arranged the Cliff Richard No. 1, "We Don't Talk Anymore". This led to him becoming Richard's record producer of his next two albums, I'm No Hero (1980) and Wired for Sound (1981). At this time he also wrote and produced Barbara Dickson and Leo Sayer – his distinctive sound being heard on the hit singles "January February" and "More Than I Can Say".
Tarney went on to bigger success in the mid-1980s when he teamed up with Norwegian pop band A-ha. Producing the second version (after Tony Mansfield) of their first single "Take On Me" (1984), the song went on to become a worldwide hit. He worked on the band's biggest selling first three albums, being a co-Producer of Hunting High and Low (1985), and Producer of Scoundrel Days (1986) and Stay on These Roads (1988). He renewed his working relationship with the band in the production of their album release Cast in Steel (2015).
He produced David Cassidy's comeback 1985 album Romance, which included the top ten hit "The Last Kiss" co-written by Raymond Hoskins and David Cassidy. The song had previously been written for Cliff Richard for his 1981 album Wired for Sound. The Richard version however, contained different lyrics and was titled Young Love.
Alan Tarney wrote two numbers for the Sky album Cadmium (1983) - "Return to Me" and "A Girl in Winter" - at the request of long-time associate, and Sky member, Kevin Peek.
With the Tarney/Spencer Band
- 1974 "Something out of a dream.Musical Rock Show Joe Brown & Introducing Ray Hoskins as Sparrow producer Alan Tarney Brian Eno.Polydor MGM Curb
- 1976 Tarney and Spencer (Bradley's)
- 1978 Three's a Crowd (A&M)
- 1979 Run for Your Life (A&M)
- UICY-90680: A&M 60s & 70s Single Box [Japanese Import] – features two tracks by the Tarney/Spencer band. 5-CD box set
- 2003 Tarney and Spencer (Castle Communications plc), UK with four bonus tracks
- 1993 Run for Your Life (Polydor), German. 1,500 copies
- 19?? Three's a Crowd, Canada
- 19?? Run for Your Life, Canada
- 2009 Three's a Crowd (Tone Arm, Digipak), Sweden with four bonus tracks
- 2009 Run for Your Life (TONE TA 0004, Digipak), Sweden with four bonus tracks
All chart placings refer to UK Singles Chart only unless indicated otherwise.
- "Living in Harmony" by Cliff Richard (1972, No. 12)
- "Hey Mr. Dream Maker" by Cliff Richard (1976, No. 31)
- "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" by John Farnham (1977)
- "Green Light" by Cliff Richard (1979, No. 57)
- "We Don't Talk Anymore" by Cliff Richard (1979, No. 1, US No. 7)
- "January February" by Barbara Dickson (1980, No. 11)
- "Dreaming" by Cliff Richard (1980, No. 8, US No. 10)
- "More Than I Can Say" by Leo Sayer (1980, No. 2, US No. 2)
- "Pilot of the Airwaves" by Charlie Dore (1980, No. 13)
- "A Little in Love" by Cliff Richard (1981, No. 15, US No. 20)
- "Living in a Fantasy" by Leo Sayer (1981, US No. 23)
- "Wired for Sound" by Cliff Richard (1981, No. 4)
- "Annie Get Your Gun" by Squeeze (1982, No. 43)
- "Orchard Road" by Leo Sayer (1983, No. 16)
- "You Don't Need Someone New" by the Lotus Eaters (1983, No. 53)
- "The Love Parade" by the Dream Academy (1985, No. 68, US No. 40)
- "The Last Kiss" by David Cassidy (1985, No. 6)
- "Take On Me" by a-ha (1985, No. 2)
- "The Sun Always Shines on TV" by a-ha (1985, No. 1)
- "Train of Thought" by a-ha (1986, No. 8)
- "Hunting High and Low" by a-ha (1986, No. 5)
- "I've Been Losing You" by a-ha (1986, No. 8)
- "Cry Wolf" by a-ha (1986, No. 5)
- "Manhattan Skyline" by a-ha (1987, No. 13)
- "My Pretty One" by Cliff Richard (1987, No. 6)
- "Some People" by Cliff Richard (1987, No. 3)
- "Remember Me" by Cliff Richard (1987, No. 35)
- "Two Hearts" by Cliff Richard (1988, No. 34)
- "Stay on These Roads" by a-ha (1988, No. 5)
- "Touchy! " by a-ha (1988, No. 11)
- "You Are the One" by a-ha (1988, No. 13)
- "Lean On You" by Cliff Richard (1989, No. 17)
- "Stronger Than That" by Cliff Richard (1990, No. 14)
- "You're in a Bad Way" by Saint Etienne (1993, No. 12)
- "Disco 2000" (7" remix) by Pulp (1995, No. 7)
- "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"/"What a Wonderful World" medley by Cliff Richard (2001, No. 11)
- "Let Me Be the One" by Cliff Richard (2002, No. 29)
- Living in a Fantasy by Leo Sayer (1980, No. 15)
- The Barbara Dickson Album by Barbara Dickson (1980, No. 8)
- I'm No Hero by Cliff Richard (1980, No. 4)
- You Know it's Me by Barbara Dickson (1981, No. 39)
- Wired for Sound by Cliff Richard (1981, No. 4)
- Romance by David Cassidy (1985, No. 20)
- Hunting High and Low by a-ha (1985, No. 2)
- Scoundrel Days by a-ha (1986, No. 2)
- Always Guaranteed by Cliff Richard (1987, No. 5)
- Fortune and Men's Eyes by Jennifer Hall (1987)
- Stay on These Roads by a-ha (1988, No. 2)
- Stronger by Cliff Richard (1989, No. 7)
- Cool Touch by Leo Sayer (1990)
- Wanted by Cliff Richard (2001, No. 11)
- 3 songs on Cast In Steel by a-ha (2015, No. 8): "Door Ajar", "Shadow Endeavors", "Goodbye Thompson"
Studio session musician for:
- The Hollies 1983 Album "What Goes Around" (guitar and keyboards)
- Olivia Newton-John
- The Real Thing
- Bonnie Tyler
- Cilla Black
- Cliff Richard
- The Drifters
- The New Seekers
- Bow Wow Wow
- "Alan Tarney (Biography) | MusicMinder". MusicMinder. 19 November 1945. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
- Thomas Anders tribute. "Alan Tarney page". Retrieved 1 March 2009.
- The Shadows archive. "Alan Tarney Biography". Archived from the original on 21 June 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2008.
- "Alan Tarney Discography at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
- Allmusic. "Tarney-Spencer group". Retrieved 5 January 2009.
- Gajagaja. "Cliff Richard chart discography with writer credits". Archived from the original on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2008.
- "Alan Tarney • Top Songs as Writer ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". Musicvf.com. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
- Cherry Red. "Leo Sayer album". Archived from the original on 31 January 2009. Retrieved 21 January 2009.
- Barbara Dickson. net. "Barbara Dickson album credits". Retrieved 1 March 2009.
- Discogs. "A-ha discography, Production credits". Retrieved 20 December 2008.
- David Cassidy fansite. "Romance album credits". Archived from the original on 7 October 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
- "David Cassidy's UK Chart positions". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
- "David Cassidy's Germany Chart positions". GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
- Tarney-Spencer Band. "Tarney-Spencer Band – Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
- "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - John Farnham". youtube.com. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- Discogs. "Alan Tarney discography". Retrieved 7 December 2008.
- Chartstats. "UK Chart positions". Retrieved 3 December 2008.
- Peter Doyle website. "Alan Tarney write-up". Retrieved 5 January 2009.
- Stanley, Bob (30 September 2015). "Cult heroes: Alan Tarney, the greatest British pop producer you've never heard of". www.theguardian.com. Retrieved 4 October 2015.