Chris ‘Rainbow’ Harley (1946-2015)
When reading the comedy DJ Kenny Everett’s biography by Hogg & Sellers, I learned that Everett admired (and produced hysterical jingles to promote) the music of the Glaswegian musician Chris Rainbow.
Born Christopher Harley, Rainbow was described by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson as ‘the one-man Beach Boys’. He built a recording studio on the Isle of Skye called ‘Vital Spark‘.
Harley’s vocal harmonizations fizz, but he also has a delightful way of bolting to unexpected chords and keys. This makes his pop music startling, colourful and memorable. Harley also produced songs for many other artists, though I prefer his solo work, which is freer.
Some of his songs are hard to stop listening to. They’re almost addictive! Check out Living in the World Today (1978), Solid State Brain (1978) and one of the most happiness-inducing songs I know: Summer, which was made as a demo. in 1979 but never released. (Unbelievable.) It can be heard on the ‘Chris Rainbow Anthology’ from his label: Vital Spark Records.