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Beau - Biography


John Peel, a BBC Radio 1 DJ formed the Dandelion record label with his manager Clive Selwood in 1969. The label was an attempt to bring attention to unrecognised talents without concern for the label making any money. Clive Selwood also worked as European representative of Elektra Records. Beau, real name Trevor Midgley, was Dandelion's first release. Beau was born 12 May 1946 in Leeds and, while attending Leeds Grammar School, formed a band called The Raiders, with fellow schoolmates. The Raiders repertoire was rock and roll, playing instrumentals in the style of The Shadows, but when groups such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones became popular, and the group having no vocalist, Beau became their lead singer. His nickname, Beau, came from a class teacher. Since each pupil was referred to by their surname when addressed in the classroom, and there being two different Midgley's in Trevor's class, the teacher for some inexplicable reason always addressed Trevor as Beau and the name stuck. In 1964, Beau bought an album by Leadbelly that completely changed his interests from rock to Beau totally focussing on folk and protest music. Beau was an ideologist and considered himself an atheist and communist simpathiser. Elektra records were Beau's first choice for a recording contract since they had put out Leadbelly's Library of Congress recordings, and had folkies Tom Paxton and Phil Ochs as stablemates. Beau sent a demo tape to Clive Selwood, who liked what he heard, but the deciding vote was left to Elektra founder, Jac Holzman, who felt they already had enough folk artists on their label, and Beau was turned down. Selwood sent Beau a rejection letter but suggested Beau sign to the Dandelion label that Selwood and Peel were just forming. Two recordings sessions were booked at CBS Studios in New Bond Street, the first producing 14 tracks and the second included a shortened version of "1917 Revolution". The full length was considered too long for airplay, but Selwood's wife, Shurley, considered it topical and the four and a half minute song was released as Dandelion's first single. The single went to Number 1, but in Lebanon, of all places. (Only one other Dandy release, Medicine Head's "Pictures in the Sky" troubled the charts globally.) The self-titled "Beau" album was released, the only accompaniment his twelve-string Harmony guitar. The CBS company that oversaw Dandelion's publishing arm, Biscuit, entered "Imagination", from the "Beau" album, in the European Song Contest, but it failed. Clive Selwood suggested Beau record a second album with Dandelion labelmates Tractor (formerly The Way We Live). "Creation" was recorded at Hollick & Taylor's sound studio in Birmingham (home of recordings for the "Thunderbirds" soundtracks for television). The resulting album was a mix of folk, rock and avant-garde. Beau toured Germany, Belgium and Holland in 1970 with Medicinehead, Kevin Coyne and Bridget St. John, and then Beau no longer existed as he was re-invented as John Trevor, Beau under his two real middle names.

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