– CHRIS WELCH –
Rock music critic and author Chris Welch (born November 12, 1941) grew up in Catford, London. At primary school he wrote a prize-winning letter to the Evening News. While at secondary school he edited his own classroom newspaper The Comet every week for five years and wrote humorous essays for the school magazine. He also won a prize for English presented by Viscount Montgomery of Alamein.
He became an editorial assistant at The Scotsman newspaper in Fleet Street on leaving school aged 16, in 1958. His first published article was a review of a Louis Armstrong concert. He joined the Kentish Times as junior reporter in 1960, interviewing visiting pop stars and reviewing The Rolling Stones at one of their earliest shows. He joined Melody Maker in October 1964, following a successful ‘trial’ interview with Joe Morello of the Dave Brubeck Quartet. During his first few days with the MM he interviewed Eric Clapton of The Yardbirds and American vocal group The Shangri Las.
As a pop columnist and record reviewer he regularly met, reviewed and interviewed such stars as Scott Walker, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, Herman, Cilla Black, Lulu, Diana Ross, Lulu, Sandie Shaw, Nancy Sinatra, Gene Pitney, Paul Simon and P.J. Proby.
Chris met and wrote about all the top groups of the Sixties and Seventies, including The Rolling Stones, Kinks, Animals, Who, Small Faces, Hollies, Bee Gees, Moody Blues, Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. He was also a fan of R&B groups led by Graham Bond, Georgie Fame, Chris Farlowe and Zoot Money, featuring them in reviews and the MM’s gossip column The Raver.
Later he would champion progressive rock groups Yes, ELP, Jethro Tull, The Nice, Led Zeppelin, Genesis and Colosseum and travelled to America, Ireland, Europe and Japan with many of the bands.
Promoted to Features Editor in 1970 Chris wrote about Seventies superstars David Bowie, Elton John, Marc Bolan, Freddie Mercury, Rod Stewart and Phil Collins and mega bands Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Queen and Paul McCartney’s Wings.
He left Melody Maker in 1979 to launch Musicians Only then worked as a freelance for a variety of magazines and The Independent newspaper. In 1988 he joined Kerrang! as feature writer and reviews editor, covering heavy metal bands Iron Maiden, Megadeth and Metallica. He was editor of Metal Hammer and Rock World magazines from 1988 until 1993 when he returned to freelance work contributing The Independent, Mojo, Record Collector, Rhythm, Classic Rock and Planet Rock.
The author of 40 music titles, he has written bestselling books on Jimi Hendrix, Yes, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Peter Grant, David Bowie, Adam Ant, Paul McCartney, Peter Gabriel, Vivian Stanshall, Tina Turner, Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton and Iron Maiden. Chris has also contributed to film and TV music documentaries, notably the Classic Artist Series of films on Cream, The Moody Blues, Jimi Hendrix and Yes.
Since 1994 Chris has worked regularly for Repertoire Records as a consultant, writing dozens of album liner notes, interviewing their roster of classic artists, notably Ian Dury, Peter Frampton, Pete Townshend and Jon Hiseman. He writes a monthly column for Record Collector magazine, The Rock & Roll Diaries.