Songwriter Ron Harwood with Yamaha FG160Ronnie Harwood's biography - chapter 4Flying Fox to Shakin' Stevens

By now Ronnie had begun to work with Carlo Little again in his band 'Flying Fox'. During this period Ronnie met Stuart Coleman, a friend of Carlo's and bass player to Shakin' Stevens (Shaky), and also a Radio London DJ. Stuart was to produce a new album for Shaky and asked if Ronnie had any material he thought might be suitable for the album. Ronnie said yes and so a meeting was arranged, along with their wives, at Stuart's house.

After a particularly nice evening meal, Ronnie recalls, they went into the music room where Stuart played Shaky's new song, 'This Ole House', ahead of its official release.

Ronnie played Stuart some tapes, but none of the demos were quite what he was looking for. Ronnie then said that he had just been working on his latest demo session. He had his guitar in the car and sung 'You Drive Me Crazy' - a song Ronnie had written sitting at his living-room table that summer - live to Stuart, who loved the song and said he felt Shaky would like it too. He asked Ronnie to let them have a completed demo as soon as he could.

Two weeks later, Stuart Coleman took the demo tape to CBS Records for Shakin' Stevens and Muff Winwood, head of A&R for the Epic record label, to hear for the first time. CBS needed a follow-up to Shaky's massive hit 'This Ole House' and at that meeting they all agreed that the song could be the follow-up single. Shakin' Stevens recorded it a few weeks later.

Ivor Novello Award for You Drive Me CrazyYou-Drive-Me-Crazy-hit-worldwideShakin' Stevens' number one hit 'This Ole House' was in the UK charts for 17 weeks. The follow up, 'You Drive Me Crazy', went straight into the charts, going to number 2 in the UK and becoming Shaky's second Gold single, selling over half a million copies in the UK alone. It spent four weeks at number two in the spring of 1981, also charting in Germany, Holland and America, and was number 1 in Ireland for six weeks.

'You Drive Me Crazy' was also a prominent inclusion on Shakin' Stevens' album 'Shaky', which went to number 1 in the UK albums chart. The song itself went on to win Ronnie Harwood a 1982 Ivor Novello award for the Most Performed Work in 1981. 'You Drive Me Crazy' enjoyed phenomenal success throughout Europe and has been covered by many artists, including instrumental versions by James Last and Klaus Wunderlich.

Several of Ronnie's songs were also being covered by popular Scandinavian artists including Swedish star Jerry Williams (stage name of Sven Erik Fernström), who was also being produced by Kenny Denton.

White Sport Coat by Ronnie Angel

Arista's Angel

In 1982 Ronnie signed a singles deal with Arista Records. 'A White Sport Coat', written by Marty Robbins, was released, becoming a radio hit and going on to achieve moderate sales success. 'A White Sport Coat' featured the Darts on backing vocals and musicians Billy Bremner (guitarist with Dave Edmunds' Rockpile) and Hot Chocolate guitarist Harvey Hinsley on guitars, Mickey Burt (Chas and Dave) on drums and Gavin Povey on piano. Ronnie's own song 'Rock 'N' Rollin' Man' featured on the B-side. Later that year (1982) Arista released another of Ronnie's own compositions, 'Cuddle Up', on Bell Records, with Ronnie's 'I Got Love' as the B-side.

Winston Lee, head of A&R at Arista, preferred the stage name Ronnie Angel and so Harwood became an Angel for these two singles.

Ronnie's career in music was on the up but he was careful not to rely on it too heavily in terms of securing the future family income. The TV aerial business might seem mundane and pale in comparison to the glitz of a music recording contract - and it was - but it had brought financial stability in the notoriously unpredictable life of a musician. Having built a good reputation for his business locally, it wasn't something Ronnie was about to let go and so 'North West Aerials' was formed to provide a very wise 'safety net' in a business renowned for its meteoric declines in fortune.

Whitesnake guitarist Micky Moody wedding receptionThe Ron Harwood band was still going strong and playing regular gigs. Ronnie played at the wedding of Whitesnake guitarist Micky Moody in 1982 alongside Bob Young, who co-wrote 'Caroline', 'Paper Plane' and 'Down Down' for Status Quo.

Bob had teamed up with Micky Moody and together formed 'Young & Moody' (also known as The Young & Moody Band) in 1976. Moody joined David Coverdale's band Whitesnake in 1978 and often played on Ronnie's demos, including lead guitar on the demos of 'You Drive Me Crazy' and 'My Cutie Cutie'.

The photo to the left shows, from left to right, Pete Parkes (lead), Bob Young, Mike Wells (drums), Ronnie Harwood, Al Jarman (his head only just visible) and Tony Hall (saxophone).more

Copyright 2020 Ronnie Harwood | No reproduction without consent | Biography and web page text origination by Kevin O'Byrne
Website Design by Kobweb-UK