While not well known in America, the Rubettes, founded in the ’70s by John Richardson, had worldwide success with their song “Sugar Baby Love” which featured Paul Da Vinci on the lead vocals providing his signature falsetto.
The band went on to split up and formed two different versions. Original lead singer on the band’s signature song Da Vinci decided to go his own way, and Alan Williams was hired to take his place.
The Rubettes split up, and two versions of the bands were formed. One was featuring Alan Williams on vocals and another Bill Hurd. Both versions of the bands never had success in America and went on to record new music, none of which hit in America.
Both versions of the bands never had success in America, and in the 21st Century, they went on to sing their old hits and songs made famous by other artists.
Steve Etherington joined that band with Alan Williams in 1995, and not only provided vocals and lend his talents to multiple instruments, but also acted as their producer and arranger. The band continued to perform singing their old hits and cover others and had moderate success on the flashback circuit scene. However, they did not gain a new mainstream fan base.
In 2018, Steve Etherington and original band member John Richardson re-recorded “Sugar Baby Love” with Etherington on vocals.
The song was distributed around the world by Warner Brothers and hit Top 10 in America.
“Sugar Baby Love” which featured Etherington and Richardson, was the only other official release of the song.
It was also America’s first introduction to the Rubettes.
Etherington, while in the Rubettes ft. Alan Williams went on to sign with Sobel Nation Records (distributed by Warner Brothers) and went on to release two singles, both hitting number 1 in America, an original “It Starts At Midnight (Get It On)” and a cover of Hall & Oates “Kiss On My List.”
On 15 February 2019, the band decided to split up once again. Original band members John Richardson and Mick Clarke with Steve Etherington formed the Rubettes ft. John, Mick & Steve.
Alan Williams hired a backing band to continue performing on the flashback scene the band’s well established traditional set of their old music and cover tunes of other artists’ hit songs. The band continued to cater to their fan base who have followed them since the start of their career since Da Vinci was the lead singer singing their most notable hit.
The Rubettes ft. John, Mick, and Steve went on to sign with a label and decided to jump into the 21st Century and release new music.
They decided to do this. It was not only to gain a brand new fan base from the mainstream but also as musicians, to be able to do something they have not been able to do in the previous incarnation of their band: Musically expand their horizons.
John Richardson, a devote Hare Krishna, signed to the same label as Etherington. Forming the band Jayadev’s Mantra Crew (Jayadev is Richardson’s spiritual name), released “Ganesh.”
The song hit number 1 in America and became Richardson’s first number 1 hit in America at age 71. “Ganesh” received rave reviews and was played on radio stations around the world.
On 20 June 2019, four months after The Rubettes ft. John, Mick, & Steve formed they released “Ya Lovin’ Rocks” on Sobel Nation Records. The record featured Etherington on lead vocals with founding member John Richardson and Mick Clarke prominently being featured.
The song featured remixes by Billboard-charting remixers – Larry Peace, Vander Blake, Spin Sista, E39, Donny, and Adam Madd. The original mix was provided by Steve Etherington, who also produced the single.
The band wanted something different. As in most bands, the lead singer is the one who is prominently featured in any band. When the band recorded the song, all members were featured on vocals.
Etherington, realizing that he was not a founding member of the band, did not want to take credit for the band or be known as the lead singer out of respect to the two founding members of the band – John and Mick.
Consequently, giving respect to the founding members, he put his name last when naming the band – The Rubettes ft. John, Mick, & Steve.
The Rubettes were an unknown band in America. However, Etherington had already made a name for himself on the dance charts in America with two number 1 hits.
When the single was released, and listeners learned Etherington was in this band called “The Rubettes” they listened.
Not only did music lovers learn about the band, but they also loved “Ya Lovin’ Rocks.”
The single was released at the same time Madonna released her new album, and “Ya Lovin’ Rocks” hit iTunes charts around the world. The song often charted higher than the “Material Girl.”
On 16 October 2019, “Ya Lovin’ Rocks” hit number 1 in America, becoming the first time any version of the Rubettes hit the coveted spot in North America.
Over 40 years later, after Paul Di Vinci sang “Sugar Baby Love” which made the Rubettes known, they are back in the mainstream. They are also gaining a brand new fan base, some who consider this the only version of the Rubettes, as this is a new band to them. A band who is putting out new updated, relevant music.
There are many bands from the ’70s, ’80s, and even ’90s who like the nostalgia scene. They go out on stage singing to an audience of Millennials and Baby Boomers, their old songs, living in the past. Some may consider it an easy way out. Sing established songs to an established audience. There is nothing wrong with that.
However, the nostalgia scene does not gain a new audience. It also is considered safe. The artists do not have to take a chance of possibly failing. They do not have to worry about, at their age, not being accepted. Most of all, they do not fear about breaking into the mainstream and gaining a new audience.
John Richardson and Mick Clarke, both artists who are in their 70’s decided to not care about the ageism in the music business and moved ahead with new music.
The two men did not take the easy way out. It would have been easy for them to continue singing their old songs and cover other artist’s tunes. After all. Richardson and Clarke are original members of the band. True fans of the band would love to see the original members.
However, they chose not to. They took a chance. They chose to be true artists and release new music. That chance worked.
The Rubettes ft. John, Mick, & Steve have their first number 1 hit in America. They have also charted around the world on iTunes.
The Rubettes ft. John, Mick & Steve have debunked a myth. They have shown the world that age is just a number and good music with artists who can sing will win out every time.
The band gambled, have been accepted into the mainstream and gained a brand new audience. Sometimes taking a chance and not the easy way out works.
Please check out the band’s website for updated information at www.therealrubettes.com. On the website, there is “Juke Box Jive” radio, playing only music from the members of The Rubettes ft. John, Mick, & Steve.
For Further Information Or Bookings Contact:
Barbara Sobel/Sobel Promotions (www.sobelpromotions.com)
Top Image Courtesy Of Ines Jakobs-Walther – Used With Permission
Featured Images Courtesy Of Sobel Promotions – Used With Permission