NEXT week Alvin Stardust will be releasing an album of hits. Nothing unusual in that you might think.
But the collection, called I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll, will be released on a major label. Added to that, there’ll be TV advertising to promote it. And a full on tour of UK theatres.
It’s the latest revival of the Notts hitmaker who has already experienced quite a few over the years.
“I had the success in the sixties touring with the rock n rollers, then in the seventies with the black leather,” says the Mansfield raised musician.
“When that was over I figured that was going to be it. But then in the eighties Pete Waterman gave me Pretend and I signed to Stiff Records.”
Next up in the regeneration of Alvin Stardust came a few year later when Mike Batt gave him the song I Feel Like Buddy Holly. He signed to Chrysalis where he became their top selling male singles artist. Further hits included I Won't Run Away and So Near To Christmas.
By the late nineties Alvin, 67, had moved in to musical theatre. The plum role was as the Child Catcher in West End smash Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
“I really enjoyed the theatre but I missed the music and I wanted to get back to it,” he says.
Not that he believed that in his sixties he was going to crack the charts again. Or so he thought.
“About six months ago I had a phone call from Universal saying they wanted me to do an album,” says Alvin, whose Notts accent is still evident despite having lived out of the county for decades.
“I thought it was a spoof to start with. I then thought they meant the plan was to just re-release the greatest hits. So I said ‘sure, go ahead’. But they said ‘no, we want you to write some new songs and record three covers for it’”.
The result is a best of album with a twist. As well as three new songs and three new covers, Alvin has re-recorded all of his old hits.
He admits: “I don’t like it when artists re-record hits. I like them to sound exactly as they did. But when we play the hits on stage we always do them exactly as they were. So, we tried recording them in the studio in one take and they sounded great. Exactly as before but with a rockier fell.”
To sit alongside the revived hits of Pretend, My Coo- Ca- Choo, I Feel Like Buddy Holly and Jealous Mind are covers of Joan Jett’s I Love Rock N Roll and Duffy’s Mercy.
“My daughter suggested those. She’s nine. I thought she was going to suggest doing a Miley Cyrus song,” he laughs.
The new songs include My Sweet Elvis, a tribute to his hero.
“It’s also about growing up in the East End, then moving to Mansfield when I was two. My mum ran lodgings for the Palace Theatre and I remember sitting in the wings watching people like Tommy Steele and Arthur Askey. And they’d all stay over at our house.
“It was in Mansfield that I first discovered Elvis.”
He adds: “I remember talking to Ian Dury about his song Sweet Gene Vincent and how great it was as a tribute. It occurred to me to do my own tribute to Elvis.”
The closing song on the album, Reverend Jack Daniel’s, is another new one.
“Two minutes before going on stage I’d always get the band and crew together to join in a prayer. A prayer with the Reverend Jack Daniel’s. We’d have a glass of Jack and coke each then go straight on stage.”
The revival is gaining momentum as he plans to write a country album this year.
“I’m going to Nashville in a couple of weeks to work with a guy who writes for Garth Brooks and people like that.
“And next summer I’ll be headlining the Americana at Newark which we’ll record to release an a live album.”
I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll is released on Universal Music TV on Monday.
Who: Alvin Stardust
Where: Palace Theatre, Mansfield
When: Tonight, 7:30pm
Tickets: £16/£17, 01623 633133