Brum Beat personality Nicky James passed away on October 15, 2007 at age 64. Nicky was a major talent in the developing West Midlands music scene during the 1960s and his involvement with local groups included line-ups who became The Moody Blues.
Born as Michael Nicholls and raised in Tipton, Nicky James established a reputation early on as a dynamic and talented vocalist who fronted a number of bands before joining Denny Laine and The Diplomats in 1962. Nicky's ability to look and sound like Elvis attracted much attention at the time but his true potential was soon recognized by Pye Records who signed him up to become one of the first solo recording artists from the Birmingham area. One of his later groups The Way Of Life included future Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.
It was really Nicky James' talent as a songwriter that gained him the most recognition as his writing partnerships included such names as Allan Clarke of The Hollies, Graham Nash, and members of the Moody Blues with whom he recorded on their solo albums. Nicky also worked as a talent scout for Dick James Music publishers, signing up Bernie Taupin and Elton John amongst a number of other soon-to-be well known names. Nicky continued to make records of his own over the years including two albums released on the Moodies own Threshold Records label.
Always known for his colourful personality, Nicky James was featured recently on the excellent Moody Blues Classic Artists DVD set where he described in some detail his early days in the Brum music scene. Unfortunately, Nicky had suffered with a brain tumor during the last year of his life. My sincere condolences go out to Nicky's family and friends.
For more information about Nicky James, visit his official web site at www.nickyjamesmusic.com