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Nicky Chinn (born Nicholas Barry Chinn, 16 May 1945, Londonmarker, Englandmarker) is an English songwriter and record producer. Together with Mike Chapman he had a long string of hit singles in the UKmarker in the 1970s, including several number-one records. The duo wrote hits for such notable UK-based artists as Suzi Quatro, Mud, Sweet, The Arrows ("Touch Too Much"), Racey and Smokie.

Career

Chinn was born to an affluent London Jewish family that owned a string of service stations. He initially worked in one of the family's garages and only took to music when he was in his mid-twenties circa 1970. His talent for writing disposable pop songs, however, proved so obvious that within a month or two of his first efforts as a songwriter, Chinn co-wrote with Mike d'Abo some songs for the film, There's a Girl in My Soup.

It was at this point that Chinn joined the Australian born Chapman, who was a waiter at a restaurant Chinn frequented. In contrast to Chinn, Chapman was already a professional musician with the band Tangerine Peel, and the two quickly joined up with Mickie Most's RAK label and began writing songs for a new glam rock band, Sweet. Whilst they did not write all the songs, their catchy and intentionally disposable compositions accounted for all the singles the band released in their early years.

Chinn's and Chapman's songwriting style was so successful with British, European and Australian audiences that Sweet had an uninterrupted string of hits in the next few years. These included "Little Willy", "Wig-Wam Bam", "Hell Raiser", "Teenage Rampage", the UK number one "Blockbuster!" and "The Ballroom Blitz". Sweet were so popular in Britain that "The Ballroom Blitz" entered the UK Singles Chart at number two - an unusual feat in those days.

Because Sweet wanted to move towards a harder, stripped-down style, they turned to writing their own songs , but Chinn and Chapman achieved equal success in Europe and Australia with Suzi Quatro, for whom they wrote four hits in "Can the Can", "48 Crash", "Daytona Demon" and "Devil Gate Drive". Chinn and Chapman also produced Quatro's first three hit albums, Suzi Quatro (Can the Can in Australia), Quatro and Your Mama Won't Like Me. They continued writing singles for Quatro for the rest of the decade, though scoring fewer hits. Chinn and Chapman (now known as "Chinnichap" in the press) found their next big success with Mud, who had hits with four of their compositions in 1974 and 1975, including number ones in "Tiger Feet" and "Lonely This Christmas". Smokie became Chinn and Chapman's next target, and they had five hit singles with them between 1975 and 1978.

For all their success in Europe and Australia, it was not until 1978 that the two scored a major hit in the U.S.marker, when Exile's "Kiss You All Over" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and Suzi Quatro and Chris Norman (Smokie's lead singer) reached number four with the ballad "Stumblin' In".

However, the seemingly invincible pair were shattered back at home by the arrival of punk rock that made their catchy glam-pop style sound dated extremely quickly, with the result that fewer and fewer performers took an interest in working for them. To add to this, Chapman turned to solo production with Blondie's hugely successful Parallel Lines album that year, and this meant the duo had less time to write songs together.

Despite an international #1 with "Mickey" (Toni Basil) in 1982, Chinn and Chapman gradually separated during the early 1980s, and Chinn did not continue much longer in the music industry. However, in 1983, he co-wrote "Dancing in the Dark", a UK hit for Kim Wilde, and teamed up with Chapman and Holly Knight penning Tina Turner's 1985 single release, "Better Be Good to Me". In all, however, Chinn's fourteen year stint had made him co-writer of over forty UK Top 40 hits.

References

  1. Secondhandsongs.com
  2. Brainyhistory.com timescale


External links




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