A Rockapaedia Obituary
Bands: Bad Company
Brian Howe died aged sixty-six on 6th May 2020 of cardiac arrest whilst he was en route to a hospital in Florida, United States of America. Brian was survived by his sister Sandie, his three children, and his three grandchildren.
Brian Howe was born in Portsmouth, England in 1953. He sang with a local band called Shy who had one minor hit single in the UK but he soon quit to seek a harder rock band. He was a briefly with the band, White Spirit but the group quickly collapsed and Brian never recorded an album with them.
Brian Howe's first gig in the U.S.A was with Ted Nugent in 1984, moreover, he had been sending songs to Atlantic Records in London to try to secure a deal but Atlantic stated that they did not hear a single but they liked his voice. One day, Ashley Howe a producer of Ted Nugent's upcoming album, was walking down the corridor of Atlantic’s offices and heard Brian's voice. Ashley had been looking for a singer for the next Ted Nugent album and thought that Brian Howe would be a good fit. Brian was soon in New York City and signed a contract to become the lead singer for Ted Nugent and sang on the Penetrator album. The contract was not favorable to Brian Howe and he basically was working at a vastly reduced rate and then ultimately left to pursue a solo career and album. After a call from Mick Jones of Foreigner, whom Brian Howe tried to work with earlier in his career, Brian Howe was introduced to Mick Ralphs and Simon Kirke of Bad Company.
In 1986, Mick Ralphs and Simon Kirke decided to regroup for a new project. Their label, Atlantic Records, however, insisted they resume the Bad Company name, but Paul Rodgers was already engaged with a new supergroup called The Firm. With Rodgers gone, the remaining two members partnered with Brian as the new lead singer. Brian Howe's vocal style brought more of a pop-rock sound to the band, which Atlantic Records, looking to bring the band back up to arena status, was looking for after declining turnouts to previous live performances and the dismal sales of Rough Diamonds. The band hired Foreigner producer Keith Olsen to produce the new line-up's initial album, 1986's 'Fame and Fortune'. Reflecting the musical style of the mid-1980s, the album was laden with keyboards, unlike previous Bad Company albums, and was modestly commercially successful. The single "This Love" managed to reach No. 85 on the UK Singles Chart, but was not the success the band hoped for, but things were about to change.
The band's next album, Holy Water written mostly by Brian Brian Howe and Terry Thomas released in June 1990 on Atco, also produced by Thomas, was enormously successful both critically and commercially, attaining Top 40 and Platinum status by selling more than one million copies. Holy Water was the band's first album on the Atlantic subsidiary Atco Records. The album spun off the singles: "If You Needed Somebody" (#16), the title track "Holy Water" (#89) and "Walk Through Fire" (#28). "Holy Water" also hit No. 1 for two weeks on the AOR charts with "If You Needed Somebody" reaching No. 2. The album received significant radio airplay (five songs made the AOR charts in all) and spawned several video hits.
It was widely rumoured all summer that Brian Howe and other members of the band, which he helped revive three years earlier, had been bickering over financial matters. Brian Howe was rumoured to be leaving the band and ex-Kansas singer Steve Walsh was to take over for the remainder of the tour. Atlantic Records did not agree given the success of Holy Water and Brian Howe's extraordinary vocal ability and he was asked to stay on.
The final studio album of the Brian Howe era, 1992's 'Here Comes Trouble', featured the Top 40 hit "How About That" (#38) and "This Could Be The One" (#87). The album went Gold. Before touring in support of Here Comes Trouble, the band added ex-Foreigner, Roxy Music and Small Faces bassist Rick Wills and Colwell, a protégé of Ralphs, was now a full-time member. The band recorded a live album, What You Hear Is What You Get: The Best of Bad Company on the Here Comes Trouble tour. The critically acclaimed album released in November 1993, featured live versions of hits from both the Rodgers and Brian Howe eras of the band. Brian Howe left the band in 1994.
Brian Howe released his first solo album, Tangled in Blue, in 1997 on Touchwood Records. It was re-released with one additional song under the name Touch in 2003 on MTM Music and Publishing. Brian Howe played a series of shows as part of an Iraq and Kuwait tour to entertain the troops overseas in March 2010, one of which was the "Change of Command ceremony" in Baghdad on 12th March 2010. The mini-tour was funded (and supported) by the US Forces Iraq/Entertainment Branch. In late February 2010, Brian Howe's second solo album, The Circus Bar, was released in United Kingdom to mostly positive reviews and after its subsequent North American release, has become, according to one American review, "one of the best solo albums of the past 25 years." The album is now available on iTunes in most countries.
In November 2011, Brian Howe released the EP Emotions featuring "Christmas". "The song just came from trying to imagine how some people during Christmas end up alone," he said that he actually wrote it during a period where he spent Christmas alone.
In October 2016, Brian Howe began recording acoustic renditions of Bad Company classics, some of his solo material and other songs for a future album titled Porch Sessions. On 30th June 2017 the first new studio recording from Brian Howe was released worldwide, on his own label, Brian Howe's Business. 'Hot Tin Roof' has already been gaining critical acclaim and garnering airplay on classic rock outlets. To coincide with the release, a tour of Europe, the first for Brian since 1993, was announced with the first show in Sweden on 21st September.
A previously unreleased song "Going Home" was released on June 29th , 2020 being one of the last songs Brian wrote and recorded .
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music: Bad Company/Brian Howe - Holy Water (Live)