Michael Barratt (born 4 March 1948), known as Shakin' Stevens, is a platinum-selling British Rock N Roll Singer and songwriter who was the UK's biggest-selling singles artist of the 1980s. His recording and performing career began in the late 1960s, although it was not until 1980 that his commercial success began.
In late 1979, Stevens signed what was to be his most successful management deal with Freya Miller, who immediately advised Stevens to sever his association with the Sunsets and continue developing a more lucrative solo career. Under Miller's deft hand, in 1981, Stevens scored his first UK chart-topping number 1 with "This Ole House" and would follow up with 10 more songs reaching the top five, including three number 1 hits with "Green Door", "Oh Julie" and "Merry Christmas Everyone", while "You Drive Me Crazy" and "A Love Worth Waiting For" reached number 2 in 1981 and 1984 respectively. His 1984 hit "Teardrops", which reached No. 5 in the UK, featured Hank Marvin on guitar, and since then, Stevens has often featured famous musicians such as Albert Lee, Roger Taylor, Bonnie Tyler and more recently Tony Joe White on his recordings.
Chart successes also included his album Shaky reaching number 1 on the UK Albums Chart. In the mid-1980s, Stevens re-united with former producer Dave Edmunds to record an album Lipstick, Powder and Paint, and the Christmas smash "Merry Christmas Everyone", which was a number 1 hit in 1985. Its original planned release was put back by a year to avoid clashing with the runaway success of Band Aid's charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?", to which he did not contribute, having been out of the country touring at the time of recording. Despite Stevens's chart domination over the previous few years, he was not invited to perform at Live Aid on 13 July 1985.
However, Stevens was one of the celebrities to appear in an advertising campaign for Heineken in the late-1980s. The slogan "refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach" was confirmed in the advert as he stops shakin' after consuming the product.
In a Record Collector magazine feature, writer Kris Griffiths wrote: "This was Shaky at the very zenith of his powers and, perhaps, the breaking-point of marketing overload from which there is only decline. Such concentrated commercial success and ubiquity came with a price. The hits continued but chart placings declined throughout the later 1980s and early 1990s. It was in the 1990s that Stevens took a lengthy break from recording and was stung by a court ruling that related to unpaid royalties from the Legend album, which had been re-released to some commercial success, requiring a substantial payout to former band members of the Sunsets. In 1999, Stevens returned to performing live and undertook tours all that year and the following year.
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