December 29, 1981 Article
Pop idol Shakin Stevens tells the tale of his rise to fame in an exclusive interview with Viz Comic.
‘Shaky’ Shakin Stevens is one of pop’s top names in the charts of today, riding on the crest of the wave in the revival of rock and roll. The hits have come fast and furiously, one after another, and 1981 has seen Shaky dancing on top of a piano on ‘Top Of The Pops’.
But for Stevens, success did not come overnight. As he told us, his spectacular shaking style had been developing since early childhood. “I used to shake all the time at school. It came in fits. Some days I was quite normal. At other times I couldn’t hold a pencil”.
My dad was a big help in those early days. He sent me to see a doctor who gave me prescriptions for it, but this only reduced my shaking – it didn’t stop it.
Stevens was ridiculed at school for his uncontrolable shaking. He recalls how at one time one leg was worse than the other, “One day my left leg was shakin’ particularly badly, and as a result I couldn’t stand still. I was going around in a circle for half an hour until the school nurse tied my leg to a radiator.”
Even at this early stage Shaky’s dynamic potential had caught the eye of music teacher and former record producer Kit Jones. As Stevens recalls, it was Jones who gave him his first big break.
“Kit knew a guy who worked in the woodwork department and he had a specially adapted desk knocked up for me, which made things a lot easier.
Ever since early childhood Stevens had shown an interest in music. He had collected records and at one stage saved up to buy his first guitar. When he left school, Shaky got his first big break in the business, working part time at a local club, “I got this job as a glass collector but I was having a bit of difficulty with breakages. That job didn’t last too long”.
After long and frustrating months out of work, Stevens eventually got together a demo tape. He carted it round every record company in London, and after a string of rejections, he ended up on Micky Most’s doorstep, one of Britain’s top record producers. “Mickey handed me a guitar and told me to play. Unfortunately it was a cold evening and I was shakin’ worse than usual. I did a couple of numbers and before I knew what was happening he had called an ambulance. That evening I was admitted to hospital and doctors confirmed my worst fears – I was suffering from Elvistic Hipitis, a disease for which there was no known cure.”
Next Week: Shaky undergoes surgery and has his first hit on hospital radio.