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Roger St. Pierre

Roger St. Pierre

Music business veteran Roger St. Pierre worked on the last ever Bill Haley tour and the Jackson 5’s first visit to the UK. As PR and promotion man for James Brown, BB King, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, Wilson Pickett, the Drifters, Jerry Lee Lewis, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Slade, Glen Campbell, George and Gwen McCrae, KC & The Sunshine Band, Junior Walker, and many others, he had the inside track on the record industry through the 'Sixties and 'Seventies.

His Funk Funktion operation worked on six number-ones, including M’s ‘Pop Music’, Althea & Donna’s ‘Uptown Top Ranking’ and JJ Barry’s ‘No Charge’ – which he happily admits was one of the worse records ever made. The company also held the UK promotion contracts for such seminal labels as Ember, TK, reggae’s Studio One outfit and disco hit factory Solar.

Roger additionally ran his own Now! And Energy labels, with releases by such artists as the O’Jays, David Soul and The Valentine Brothers (with the original of ‘Money’s Too Tight To Mention’). And, in 1969, he was co-promoter of the historic ‘Peace For Christmas’ concert, which headlined John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band – and outfit which included that night Eric Clapton, Keith Moon, George Harrison, Billy Preston, Alan White of Yes, Delaney & Bonnie, the Manfred Mann Band’s Klaus Voorman and, of course, Yoko.

But above all else Roger has been a prolific editor and writer. His first of many articles for Blues & Soul appeared in issue six, back in 1967. For many years, he was a prolific contributor to the pages of New Musical Express and, under his Peter Kent pen-name, Record Mirror and Sounds. He was launch editor of both Disco Mirror and Disco International & Club News and over his 40 year music industry career he has written well over 1,000 sleevenotes – ranging from T Bone Walker, Brook Benton and Stan Getz to Sibelius, Tchaikovsky and Delius, from Freddie & The Dreamers to Dinah Washington.

Roger was the main writer of the NME Book of Rock and the subsequent Rock Handbook – the biggest selling rock music encyclopaedia of all time. He also co-wrote the best-selling The Encyclopaedia of Black Music and penned books on such artists as Jimi Hendrix, Bon Jovi, Ike & Tina Turner, Ah-Ha, Bob Marley and Madonna.

As a broadcaster, Roger worked on pirate radio and subsequently Solar Radio, currently hosting a weekly two-hour ‘Rhythm & Blues Revival Show’ that is broadcast across Europe on Sky Digital and around the world via the internet. He wrote the narration for Horace Ove’s award-winning TV and cinema documentary Reggae and in recent times has completed several series of six half-hour documentaries for BBC Radio Two – on Atlantic Records’ soul heritage, the life stories of Count Basie and Chuck Berry and the saga of blues giant Robert Johnson – for which projects he carried out all the field research, conducted the interviews and co-wrote the scripts.

List of articles in the library by artist

Al Green: Upstairs at Ronnie Scott's, London

Live Review by Roger St. Pierre, NME, December 1971

DESPITE the counter-attraction of the Buddy Rich big-band downstairs there was a packed house for Al Green "Upstairs" at London's Ronnie Scott's including many big ...

Allman Brothers Band, Otis Redding: The Allman Brothers: A Rock Tragedy

Report and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, December 1972

WHEN BERRY Oakley died two hours after crashing his motorcycle on November 11, another chapter was added to the succession of tragedy which seems to ...

Hank Ballard and the Midnighters: Hank Ballard: The Man Who Twisted Himself

Profile by Roger St. Pierre, NME, January 1974

COVER VERSIONS have long been the bane of the rhythm and blues field of music. During the 'Fifties, the major record companies kept their ears ...

Brook Benton: Brook's No Hero Of The Past

Report and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, Record Mirror, April 1976

LIKE RAY CHARLES, Fats Domino and precious few others, Brook Benton's pulling power as one of the father figures of black American music continues despite ...

Al Green, The Bill Black Combo: Al Green: Now Green Smashes The Big Memphis Monopoly

Profile and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, October 1971

MEMPHIS HAS long been accepted as capital city of rock 'n' soul, but to the casual fan this means just Elvis on the rock side ...

Bloodstone: The Bloodstone Sound Spectrum

Profile and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, January 1972

THERE'S BEEN a growing flood of black American artists to these shores over the past few years, and more and more of them have decided ...

Bloodstone, Curtis Mayfield: Curtis Mayfield, Bloodstone: Rainbow Theatre, London

Live Review by Roger St. Pierre, NME, January 1972

WITH THE Curtis Mayfield/Bloodstone show, the Rainbow Theatre proved conclusively that the Albert Hall has lost its place as the capital city of bad acoustics. ...

The Brecker Brothers: Everythin's All White

Profile by Roger St. Pierre, NME, August 1975

...

Johnny Bristol: Hangin' Out with the Other JB

Profile by Roger St. Pierre, NME, September 1974

PRODUCER/SONGWRITERS turned artists are an increasingly common feature of the soul scene. ...

James Brown: He Ain't Slowing Down

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, March 1973

SOUL BROTHER Number One leaned back in his chair, adjusted his robe, and expounded: "Back in 1969 King Records didn't want to know. They said ...

Jerry Butler: The Iceman Cometh, Yet Again

Profile and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, Black Echoes, July 1976

IT WAS deejay George Wood who originally tagged Jerry Butler "The Iceman" because of his on-stage cool and it's still an especially appropriate nickname, not ...

Allen Toussaint, Jerry Butler: Jerry Butler and Allen Toussaint: The Spice Of Life

Profile by Roger St. Pierre, NME, October 1972

IT'S NOT so long since soul albums were merely collections of singles, plus a few make-weight tracks. ...

Ben E. King, The Jimmy Castor Bunch, Sister Sledge, The Spinners: Sister Sledge; Jimmy Castor; Ben E. King; The Spinners: Return of the Soul Package

Report and Interview by Bob Fisher, Roger St. Pierre, NME, April 1975

From the great lost soul label of Atlantic it came, writhing with synchronized funk, its many black heads chanting and wailing. Nothing like it had ...

The Chi-Lites: The Windy City Sound

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, June 1972

IF ANY outfit holds serious aspirations to usurping the Temptation's crown as the world's leading soul group then it must surely be Chicago's Chi-Lites who ...

Merry Clayton: The Triumphant Acid Queen

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, December 1972

MERRY CLAYTON is the girl who stopped the show at the London Rainbow performance of Pete Townshend's rock opera Tommy earlier this month. Even the ...

Sam Cooke: Who Remembers Him Now? Sam Cooke

Retrospective by Roger St. Pierre, NME, August 1972

"NOT 'ALF Sam Cooke's been an influence on me," Rod Stewart was saying in his NME interview last week, adding that the inclusion of 'Twisting ...

Howard Tate, Lou Courtney: Howard Tate and Lou Courtney: The Blues and Dance Men

Profile by Roger St. Pierre, NME, September 1973

TWO ARTISTS of widely different appeal, Howard Tate and Lou Courtney both deserve inclusion in this series because although only modestly successful even in the ...

Jefferson Airplane, Papa John Creach: Papa John Creach: Papa John Makes It With Rock

Profile and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, January 1972

THE ONE-TIME phenomenon of young white rock musicians playing on records by old black blues musicians has become a commonplace thing. ...

Cornell Dupree: The Boss Guitar of Cornell Dupree

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, March 1973

CORNELL DUPREE's name will mean nothing to the general public, but those who scan LP sleeve credits will recognise him as one of America's busiest ...

The Exciters - Dark Clouds Over the Black Country

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, June 1975

INTERNAL DISSENSION IS the bane of any cult, and though the Northern Sounds soul movement might seem healthy from the outside, in reality it's torn ...

Roberta Flack: Royal Albert Hall, London

Live Review by Roger St. Pierre, NME, February 1973

MAJESTIC, CERTAINLY, with a voice as clear as crystal – but I'm afraid to say that Miss Roberta Flack, in concert, is something of a ...

The Foundations: Foundations Want To Progress

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, Top Pops, August 1969

And Colin wants to develop into a ballad singer. Smoother, more sophisticated styling for their new single, 'Born To Live'. ...

Aretha Franklin: Amazing Grace (Atlantic)

Review by Roger St. Pierre, NME, August 1972

THOUGH IT HAS received wide critical accalim Aretha Franklin's latest album, the double set Amazing Grace, is far and away the least commercially orientated she ...

Gloria Gaynor's 'Goodbye'

Report and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, January 1975

POSTING HER way to a real left-field hit is Gloria Gaynor with 'Never Can Say Goodbye' which sounds like a revived 45 but isn't. ...

Al Green: The Soul Story

Profile and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, Beat Instrumental, December 1971

WITH AL Green's 'Tired Of Being Alone' Decca's subsidiary London label has notched its first chart entry in more than 18 months. It's quite a ...

Al Green: You're Never Alone With Al

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, December 1971

THERE WAS no chance of Al Green getting tired of being alone when Decca Records welcomed him to Britain with a turkey and Christmas pud ...

Albert Hammond: Moroccan Strip Clubs To All American Boy

Report and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, August 1973

DESPITE THAT rich, drawling brogue and songs like 'It Never Rains In Southern California', Albert Hammond is no American. As it happens, he was born ...

Isaac Hayes and The Platinum Pirates

Report by Roger St. Pierre, Record Collector, January 1972

BOOTLEG RECORDS have become a familiar part of the music scene in the past few years but a far more serious problem for record companies ...

Isaac Hayes: A Man Of The People

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, Beat Instrumental, April 1973

ISAAC HAYES certainly lives up to his 'Super-star' title. During his recent British visit the Black Moses spent £38,000 on jewellery and another £30,000 on ...

Isaac Hayes: The Day Moses Came To Town

Report and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, West Indian World, February 1973

THE LONDON Hilton's high-speed lift whisked me up 27 floors into the super-soul world of Isaac Hayes, the original "Black Moses". ...

Isaac Hayes: The Man They Call Moses

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, February 1973

IMAGES DON'T come much heavier than that surrounding Isaac Hayes. But take away the dark shades, the heavy chains, the robes, the immense mink coats, ...

Isaac Hayes: The Aloof Mystique of Isaac Hayes

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, March 1972

...but he's part of the people in his gold-plated Rolls Royce ...

John Holt: Reggae In The Moonlight

Review by Roger St. Pierre, NME, February 1975

ETHNIC REGGAE'S TRADITIONAL image has been of rough raw-edged sounds, but Jamaica has always had just as strong a strain of ultra-smooth ballad-styled sounds. ...

Tommy Hunt: A Black Tom Jones

Profile and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, March 1972

TOMMY HUNT is a name you'll be hearing a lot of if the best laid plans of the entertainment business don't go astray. More than ...

The Jackson 5, Michael Jackson: Michael Jackson: Schmaltz or Genius?

Comment by Roger St. Pierre, NME, March 1972

In his day perhaps they thought Mozart was a hype ...

The Jackson 5: The Jackson Five: Five Pranksters Puppets

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, December 1972

TAUNTS THAT the Jackson Five are nothing more than carefully manipulated puppets just aren't borne out by the facts. Five minutes in the company of ...

Kool and the Gang: Kool The Brand Leader In Funky Stuff

Report and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, March 1974

KOOL AND the Gang are just about the biggest thing on the Southern (of England that is) soul scene at the monent, and they're even ...

Leiber and Stoller: Jerry Leiber And Mike Stoller: By Royal Appointment

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, February 1975

THE SCENE IS the Dorchester Hotel, one of the last vestiges of Britain's Imperial splendour and we've just been refused admission to the restaurant for ...

Little Beaver: Beaver's Blues

Profile and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, January 1975

STUDENTS OF the currently emergent Miami Sound will have noticed the proliferation of album credits, both as writer and musician, for one Willie Hale. ...

Little Milton

Retrospective by Roger St. Pierre, NME, January 1974

SOUL MUSIC and the blues have boundaries which are largely indefinable — a factor which has allowed many artists to straddle the two. ...

Little Richard: King Of Rock 'n' Roll/Various Artists: This Is How It All Began

Review by Roger St. Pierre, NME, December 1971

PERHAPS IT'S just that I'm a bit too fussy, but basically I don't like going to see live gigs of the artists I admire. Too ...

Curtis Mayfield: Where He's Been And Where He's Going

Profile and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, Let It Rock, October 1972

AFTER SUCH COMMITTED, socially conscious compositions as 'This Is My Country', 'Mighty Mighty, Spade and Whitey' and 'Choice Of Colours' Curtis Mayfield believes the time ...

The Meters: Funk From The Crescent City

Profile and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, October 1974

THERE'S ALWAYS been something unique about New Orleans music, whether it's the jazz of Louis Armstong, the boogie-woogie blues of Champion Jack Dupree, the lopping ...

Garnet Mimms: The Mysterious Fade-Out Of Garnet Mimms

Retrospective by Roger St. Pierre, NME, October 1973

JIMMY HELMS has a fair rendering of 'I'll Take Good Care Of You' competing in the chart stakes right now, but soul freaks who can ...

The Moments, Shirley & Co.: Shirley & Co. and The Moments: The Carpenters Are My Real Faves

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, March 1975

Al Goodman, A & R man for All Platinum label. So what are you doing on the Soul page with Shirley & Co., Al? ...

Billy Paul

Profile and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, March 1973

IT'S EASY TO detect a strong jazz influence in Billy Paul's vocal on 'Me And Mrs. Jones'. The reason is simple enough. Paul, now 35, ...

Billy Paul: Nostalgic Chart Topper For Paul

Profile and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, January 1973

Keep a check on Billy Paul. Before long, he's going to top the British chart, repeating his two million selling number-one in America with the ...

Ann Peebles: Will Princess Ann Be Queen

Profile and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, 1972

ON THE distaff side, soul music has produced a long run of superb girl singers and these soul sisters have found it far easier to ...

Wilson Pickett On African Soul

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, May 1972

WILSON PICKETT is back — as big and brash as ever, and if his press reception this past week at WEA Records (nee Kinney) is ...

The Pioneers: 'Longshot' Never Let Them Down. Will 'Ramases' Do The Same?

Profile and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, Record Mirror, January 1970

'Long Shot, Kick The Bucket' brought pop fame and a trip to Britain for the Pioneers; 'Poor Ramases' is their latest disc and to give ...

Billy Preston: God Planned It Good

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, September 1973

AFTER YEARS spent as a session man for an astonishing roster of star names the Beatles, the Stones, Barbra Steisand, Ray Charles, Little Richard, Sam ...

Billy Preston: The Busiest Soul In Showbusiness

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, September 1974

THANKS TO his prodigious session-work, as well as his own tours, Billy Preston is one of the most frequent American soul visitors to our isle; ...

Otis Redding: A Legend During His Lifetime, Or Only After His Death

Retrospective by Roger St. Pierre, NME, December 1974

The former, argues ROGER ST. PIERRE, in this appreciation of OTIS REDDING, who died seven years ago this month – the Boss Man soul music ...

The Righteous Brothers: Two By Two (MGM)

Review by Roger St. Pierre, NME, September 1973

INCREDIBLE, They may not have been black, they may not even have been soul music (though to my mind they were), but nobody could deny ...

Smokey Robinson: Miracles And Meditation

Report and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, August 1973

IT'S JUST on a year since Smokey Robinson split from the Miracles to spend more time as an executive of the Motown Corporation. Now, he ...

Gil Scott-Heron

Profile by Roger St. Pierre, NME, August 1975

THERE'S NOTHING NEW about black anger. It's run through the whole of black music from the blues onwards, finding perhaps its most forthright expression (in ...

Joe Simon: Country Joe

Report and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, July 1973

SOUL MAN Joe Simon has scored a long run of American hits — with country songs. And now his 'Step By Step' currently climbing the ...

Nina Simone: Emergency Ward (SF 8304)

Review by Roger St. Pierre, NME, January 1973

LOGGING A BIG pop hit sometimes does more harm than good to artists who previously had a rather specialist appeal. ...

The Staple Singers: Soft Sounds That Burn Deep

Profile by Roger St. Pierre, NME, June 1972

JAMAICAN SINGERS have yet to follow up their undoubted success in Britain with a similar impact in the States but neverthelless reggae is making a ...

Edwin Starr: The Thespian Anglophile And The Motown Machine

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, December 1974

EDWIN STARR has a rather special place in the British soul scene, since none of America's top soul acts can match his record of some ...

Candi Staton: Foxy Lady Of Soul

Profile and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, September 1973

RIGHT FROM the days when Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Ida Cox and later the ladies Holliday, Vaughan, Fitzgerald and Washington ruled the blues/jazz roost there ...

Bettye Swann, Candi Staton: Candi Staton and Bettye Swann: Broken Hearts, Do Right Women

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, June 1975

EVERY TIME I hear Bettye Swann's pained 'Don't You Ever Get Tired Of Hurting Me' I'm so moved I want to go and punch that ...

Stone The Crows: Les Harvey — A Rock Tragedy

Obituary by Roger St. Pierre, NME, May 1972

LIFE AS a rock star isn't all glamour. It's a hard, gruelling existence which too often can end in tragedy. ...

The Stylistics: Stylistics: Who Has The Talent?

Report and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, November 1972

IN THIS technological age it's sometimes said producers and arrangers are more important than artists. ...

Swamp Dogg

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, April 1975

"WHERE ELSE BUT in America could a person own a Rolls-Royce, an Eldorado Mark IV, a Mercedes limousine, an estate in Long Island, an apartment ...

Carla Thomas, The Temptations: The Temptations, Carla Thomas: Hammersmith Odeon, London

Live Review by Roger St. Pierre, NME, April 1972

IF ELVIS himself had stepped onstage at the Hammersmith Odeon on Friday he could hardly have created more excitement than the Temptations stirred up with ...

The Showstoppers: Second Time Around For The Showstoppers

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, Blues & Soul, March 1971

ONE-HIT WONDERS are far from being an unusual phenomena on the pop scene. Surprisingly, considering the generally higher level of artistic merit required, they are ...

The Showstoppers: The Show Stoppers

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, Blues & Soul, February 1970

'AIN'T NOTHING But A Houseparty' reads the title but there's a lot more to the Show Stoppers first hit than just that! ...

Big Mama Thornton: The Hound Dog Howler Who Inspired Janis

Profile and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, January 1972

IN THE DEEPEST depths of Transatlantic's Marylebone High Street (London) headquarters there's a wire cage which looks like Death Row in your favourite neighbourhood prison. ...

Doris Troy: This Little Lady Is Miss Troy

Profile and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, West Indian World, December 1971

Doris Troy is one helluva woman. Almost, she's the ultimate soul sister, big, bouncing, warm-hearted, sincere and certainly talented. ...

The Valentine Brothers: Valentines Day

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, Blues & Soul, May 1983

IF EVER A record could be said to sum up the times we are all living through right now, then it must be the Valentine ...

Dionne Warwick: Worries of the Warwick sisters

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, July 1975

WE'RE A LONG way on from 1964 and 'Walk On By' but, despite the profusion of instantly forgetable records Dionne Warwick has turned out since ...

Geno Washington

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, May 1975

THE WHO, THE Small Faces, Spencer Davies and their ilk were the bands that got written up in the history books, but the true stars ...

Johnny Guitar Watson, Larry Williams: Larry Williams and Johnny Guitar Watson: The Two Who Weren't 'Revived'

Profile by Roger St. Pierre, NME, November 1971

DESCRIBING Larry Williams as a "great unknown" might raise a few eyebrows for he had a hit with 'Bony Moronie', a rock 'n' roll classic, ...

Cecil Womack, Mary Wells: Mary Wells And Her Guy Still Making Hits

Profile and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, August 1972

IT WAS PAST five in the afternoon but Mary Wells was still fast asleep, recovering from the rigours of her whistle stop British tour and ...

Bill Withers, Superstar

Report and Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, August 1972

WITHIN a year of its composer Bill Withers taking it high up the American chart, 'Ain't No Sunshine' has become firmly established as a soul ...

Stevie Wonder: Audiences Will Accept New Things From Me, Says Stevie Wonder

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, January 1972

MUSICAL BARRIERS are tumbling down – that's the reckoning of Stevie Wonder, currently on another 20-date European tour. "Audiences used to have a pre-conception of ...

Betty Wright: Do Me Wright

Interview by Roger St. Pierre, NME, March 1975

BETTY WRIGHT IS, as they say, a lot more than just a pretty face. She's also got a voice that's stacked with burning southern soul, ...

List of genre pieces

Reggae Music

Comment by Roger St. Pierre, West Indian World, July 1971

"REGGAE" – JAMAICA'S own form of pop music – has made a dynamic impact on the pop scene around the world and yet an amazing ...

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