I entered the world of the baby boomers on 24th May 1948 the fourth of seven kids. My career in music and the entertainment business stretches back to 1961 when I, my eldest brother Keith and my cousin Billy formed a makeshift act to perform at a cousin’s wedding.
The act was called the Alka Seltzers, soon to be changed to the Alka Sisters (yes, a comedy drag act). The show went down so well that we entered a heat of the Butlins Star of the Year show in a pub in our hometown of Liverpool, which we won, and we went on to the regional final at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton, which we also won, coming joint first with a local group. The prize was a week at the Butlins Pwllheli holiday camp and a chance to enter for the national title. Unfortunately, we didn’t win that, but we were asked to sign up with the Mike Hughes Entertainment Organisation in Liverpool and so started a two-year stint playing the working men’s clubs in and around the Northwest.
In 1963 having seen the Merseybeat bands perform in the clubs and halls in Widnes, (where the family moved to in 1962) I saw a drummer playing a sparkling set of drums and decided there and then that I was going to be a drummer.
From 1962 up until 1998 I played the drums semi-professionally and professionally in clubs, pubs, and theatres throughout the North of England and also a three-month spell in Muscat, in the UAE State of Oman.
Unfortunately, a heart attack two weeks before my fiftieth birthday made me decide that the physical requirements of being a drummer and the warnings by my doctor to get away from smoke-filled clubs were in my best interests. A change of musical direction was required.
I and my best friend at that time, Alan, (who was also looking for a change of direction) having been playing drums in a well-known 60s band ‘The Merseybeats’ for a long time decided that we should form a new band. But as we were both drummers, I elected to learn the bass guitar and we quickly formed the band Rumours of Fleetwood Mac, which meant I had to learn to play bass in less than three months. Fortunately, my musical training on the piano and orchestral percussion in music college helped no end.
I toured and recorded with the band until February 2011, when it became apparent that it was time to come off the road, and the band continues to tour successfully to this day. After an eight-year spell out of the music business (the longest ever) and having more heart procedures in 2018, I decided it was time to return to my passion, and I decided that YouTube was the way forward, leaving me more time to spend with my wife of fifty-five years, Pamela, my daughter Stephanie, her husband Mark and their four gorgeous daughters, Fay, Millie, Ellie, and Georgia.
And so was born the ‘Stephen Henry James Music Magazine’. In case you’re wondering, Stephen Henry James isn’t my real name. The name Stephen James was launched in the 1970s when I was working in nightclubs in Liverpool and elsewhere. Sadly, in 1977, our father, James, died and then a few months later, our first baby, Stephen, passed away. So, I decided to honour them both and remember them by naming my band, The Stephen James Set. However, when I decided to set up the YouTube channel as a singer I added Henry as I think it sounds a bit more showbizzy than my real name. Nothing wrong with that!! By the way, my real name is Ian Robinson and have always been known as Yan (I can’t remember why).
Incidentally, the number one song on that day I was born was Nature Boy sung by Nat King Cole, who coincidentally is one of my favourite all-time artists.
Please now go to my YouTube Channel by clicking on the link below