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UNITED KINGDOM

Date Formed 1972

Categories: Hard Rock

MR BIG

Current Members

Past Members

Biography

MR BIG, established in 1972, operated in grandiose, pomp styled AOR with a welcome tendency towards trad Hard Rock on ocassion. Despite the undoubted quality of their music, the band suffered an ignominious fate when EMI Records refused to release their third album. Frontman Jeff Dicken had first formulated the group under the formative title BURNT OAK in 1969. Rebilled MR BIG, after a newspaper headline, the band debuted live at the London Marquee club in 1972. Epic Records released their debut single, the Ellis Elias produced 'Eee I'm All Right' b/w 'I Ain't Been A Man', in July 1974. The seasonal 'Christmas With Dicken' b/w 'Time For A Laugh' followed with 'Lucky Man' b/w 'Josephine', produced by Nicky Graham, in 1975.

Taking on MOTT THE HOOPLE manager Bob Hirschman to handle their affairs and witching over to the EMI stable, MR BIG's debut album, 1975's concept piece 'Sweet Silence', was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire with producer John Punter. The band line-up for these sessions saw vocalist / guitarist Jeff Dicken joined by bassist Peter Crowther and both Vince Chaulk and John Burnip on the drums. Session players included Ian Blundson on keyboards, John Punter on synthesizer, Robert Hirschman on trombone and double bass plus Dave Pain on backing vocals. Obscurists revelled in the heaviness of the title track, which slowly evolved into a cult classic. Promoting the record, MR BIG supported QUEEN on their 'Night At The Opera' tour that November.

In 1976 the group supported SWEET in the UK prior to headline dates. Arista Records combined both 'Sweet Silence' and second album 'Mr Big' tracks, including some remixes, as the US issued 'Photographic Smile'. MR BIG's second UK album, 'Mr Big', was crafted by producer Val Garay at Morgan Studios in London and featured new guitarist Edward Carter. Sessioning drums would be the JUDAS PRIEST credited Simon Phillips as well as Jim Keltner. With this effort MR BIG scored a major UK hit single with the ballad 'Romeo' hitting number 4 on the charts, which unfortunately was to highlight their legacy. So successful was 'Romeo' that a Finnish language version of was recorded by JOUKO, KOSTI JA PAAVO. Follow up single 'Feel Like Calling Home' scored a number 35 UK placing. Nevertheless, briefly MR BIG rode the crest of acclaim.

For touring the UK in 1977, Mickey Llewellyn of HUSTLER was brought in on guitar. In Germany, EMI released the song 'Hold Me' as a single but swiftly withdrew it from the market when it was realised the band photograph on the front cover was not in fact MR BIG.

Ian Hunter of MOTT THE HOOPLE produced 'Seppuku', the third MR BIG album, at Chipping Norton Studios in Oxfordshire in 1978. By this stage John Marter had taken over on drums. Peter Oxendale of JET provided keyboards. However, although the album was completed, the material was shelved. MR BIG folded that same year.

Post MR BIG, Jeff Dicken and and Pete Crowther fronted BROKEN HOME, a union with guitarist Rory Wilson and former IAN GILLAN drummer Pete Barnacle. Two albums ensued, 1980's 'Broken Home' produced by Mutt Lange for WEA and the 1981 Chris Walsh produced Life' released by Mercury, but BROKEN HOME folded in 1981. Dicken then fleetingly allied himself with with Paul Gibbons and ex-JETHRO TULL drummer Clive Bunker in a project dubbed PECULIAR PEOPLE. Ex-drummer John Marter went on to VOYAGER and MARILLION.

In 1994 NWOBHM stalwarts DIAMOND HEAD covered 'Sweet Silence' on their 'Evil Live' album bonus disc of cover versions. A collection of previously unreleased MR BIG tracks, re-branded as MR BIG UK to avoid confusion with Billy Sheehan's American act MR. BIG, was issued as 'Rainbow Bridge' on RockShop Records, Dicken's own label in 1996. The MR BIG UK band involved Dicken, guitarist / keyboard player Chris Hutchinson, bass player Mike Higgins and drummer Ian Campbell. Line-up changes would see Simon Saunders introduced on drums. In 1998 the group pulled in bassist Tony Turner and ex-BABE RUTH keyboard player Chris Holmes.

EMI in Japan reissued the MR BIG albums in June 1998 under their "British Rock" series. Angel Air Records finally released 'Seppuku' in February 2001.

In late 2005 Jeff Dicken and Eddie Carter reformed MR BIG, drawing in new recruits Chris Hutchinson on vocals and keyboards, Simon Saunders on drums and John East on bass, to record more songs.

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