After over 30 years in the music business in 2008 Henry Priestman re-invented him as a singer-songwriter, and finally released his debut solo album. Entitled The Chronicles of Modern Life it’s the sound of a man who’s seen the music world explode from punk (his band Yachts supported the Sex Pistols in ‘77…and supported The Who on European Tour in ‘79) through to pop (three million albums with The Christians; a top five single for Mark Owen) through to the digital age (soundtracks for James Bond/Xbox, BBC’s Wildlife on One, Natural World, plus commercials) and ending up with a more organic approach (with writing/production duties for the likes of singer/songwritersMarli Harwood, Amy Wadge and Lotte Mullan), yet still has something worth singing about.
So in this age of genres, niches and “tribes”, where does Henry fit in? Radio 2’s Johnnie Walker describes Henry’s new direction as “music for grumpy old men” and the phrase “post-punk-folk-protest” has been bandied about. Says Henry: “I’m just trying to write scruffy songs of pith, wit and poignancy…with the emphasis on scruffy,” (referring to the fact that he played almost everything on the album himself).
Henry Priestman’s got form, his ‘previous’ including Yachts (described in Gene Sculatti’s U.S. book The Catalog of Cool as“Cole Porter Punk”!), Bette Bright’s Illuminations (alongside Suggs and Sex Pistol Glen Matlock), It’s Immaterial, The Christians (writing all songs on their 1987 triple-platinum debut), sharing a mic and a number one single with Paul McCartney, and composing the title song for London West End musical Dreamboats and Petticoats. To say nothing of a roll call of sessions for fellow North West luminaries including Lightning Seeds, Johnny Marr, Ian McCulloch, Pete Wylie, Wild Swans, Ian McNabb and Echo & The Bunnymen, plus vocals on Jools Holland/Tom Jones’ 2004 CD.
In 2009, Island Records picked up Henry’s album from Stiff making him at 53, the oldest-ever artist to be signed to a major label for a debut solo album.
Website Henry Priestman
YouTube Henry Priestman visits Songs From The Shed to play an acoustic session