Singer Steve Ellis was just 16 when it topped the charts. He was one of the finest vocalists to emerge from the Sixties Mod scene – which is why Paul Weller has long cited him as an influence. London-born Ellis was 15 when he started his first band Soul Survivors in 1966 and they became Love Affair the following year. Their live set mostly consisted of covers of songs by soul legends such as David Ruffin and Eddie Floyd.
But they worshipped the Small Faces and Steve coupled Steve Marriott’s style with Motown-era soulfulness.
Six of their most successful singles are here, including top 10 hits A Day Without Love, Rainbow Valley and Bringing On Back The Good Times.
Everlasting Love was their sole No 1. It had been a minor hit for US soul star Robert Knight but Love Affair’s recording transformed it.
The band’s original version was binned and instead the single featured Steve with session musicians and a 40-piece orchestra, pulling off a Phil Spector-style wall-of-sound production.
The gamble worked. Few pop songs capture the urgency of teenage passion so perfectly.
Their subsequent hits went for the same heavily orchestrated sound, fuelling frustrations within the band.
Unable to crack the USA, Ellis left the band in December 1969 but he never achieved the same level of success – not even with El Doomo, the haunting ballad he recorded as the short-lived band Ellis, alongside keyboardist Zoot Money.
His six solo songs here, including covers of Rainy Night In Georgia and Cry Me A River, showcase Steve’s vocals.
Such power, such feeling.
No wonder the Modfather loves him.
Published at Fri, 22 Jan 2021 14:45:09 +0000