Chris Rea: Road to Hell and Back

chris rea

Christopher Anton Rea (b. March 4, 1951 in Middlesbrough, England) is a British singer. He is also a guitarist, songwriter, composer and producer. He is a great fan of Ferrari and sports cars in general, racing, gardening, cooking, painting and, of course, music.

During his thirty years of a successful solo career, he released 22 studio albums that have sold over 30 million copies worldwide, and also toured non-stop with his band.

Music that lives

His guitar virtuosity, distinctive husky, smoky and very deep voice and excellent songs have made him a world-renowned artist. Playing his unique blues style, he persistently refused to drown in the mainstream and follow the world music trends.


Chris Rea abandoned school when he was 18-years-old. He dedicated himself to his work in a mobile ice cream shop near his parents’ hometown of Middlesbrough. He was inspired by artists, such as Joe Walsh and Ry Cooder (only) a year later, he bought his first guitar and started playing in various local bands.

As a guitar player Chris Rea grew. In 1973, he joined the local professional band, Magdalene (which by the singer David Coverdale just left to join the band Deep Purple). In that period, he began to develop his lyrical-composing skills.


The following year, the label Magnet Records made “So Much Love” — his isolated single which would not draw much interest.

In 1975, Magdalena changed its name to The Beautiful Losers. They won the award of Best New Artist at the British Music Weekly Melody Maker. Although, later on, they won’t make a lot of progress.

Two years later, signing a record deal with the label Magnet Records, Chris Rea left the band and was devoted to his solo career. With producer Gus Dudgeon (known for his work with Elton John among others) he  began work on their debut album, while in the meantime, The Beautiful Losers crumbled.

In November of the same year, along with numerous other guitarists appears on the album “The Hank Marvin Guitar Syndicate” — an instrumental solo project of guitarist Hank Marvin of the legendary British group The Shadows.

In 1978

Later on, In April, he released his debut single “Fool (If You Think It’s Over)” — a tribute to his sister. In June, he released his debut album, “Whatever Happened to Benny Santini?” which features Pete Wingfield and Rod Argent, among others.

Hit on stage

The New Wave less obsessed American market single “Fool (If You Think It’s Over)”, released for the label United Artists, reaching 12th on the charts. He was also offered a big American tour, which he refused in order to stay in the UK for filming.

To mark the tenth anniversary of the successful album, The Road to Hell, his sixteenth album, the sequel, The Road to Hell – Part 2 carried out only one week on the UK chart, reaching 54th place.


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