Friday, 6 July 2012

Amii Stewart autographed my vinyl LP - here's why and how

I have found some more fond memories of our flagship record store in Chiswick West London in the 70s and 80s.  It’s all in this autographed vinyl LP I have found by Amii Stewart. Click on it to see it all.

We had the good fortune to be a CHART SHOP (and I’ll write more about this as we proceed in future blogs). In short, this meant that we had the benefit of stellar service from all the record company sales representatives because we kept a log of all our sales so that Top of the Pops BBC TV show and Pick of the Pops BBC radio show would reflect the most popular records of the week. We were a VIP shop

It was the sales rep job to make sure that records got in the Top 100 initially and then the whole record company team swung into action to leverage that record into the Top 10. This applied to 7 inch singles (45s as they are called in the USA) but it all started in the record shop. There had to be a sale!

I took the shop over in 1978 and not long after we given chart reporting status. That is when the sales team put us on their list. I soon learned that this also meant that from time to time the sales rep would turn up with some pop star in tow. We saw several in our time but Amii was the first. Thanks Amii

In case you want to know more about her it is all below.  Interesting to see that Amii Stewart is step-sister of actress-singer Miquel Brown and aunt to Brown's actress-singer daughter Sinitta.

Amy 'Amii' Paulette Stewart (born January 29, 1956) is an American contemporary R&B/disco/dance-pop singer, dancer and actress most famous for her hit disco record "Knock on Wood" but first of all this is the album I have got

Amii Stewart Paradise Bird Signed
UK Vinyl LP 1979 Hansa Records

Hansa Records K 50673

1. The Letter
2. Paradise Bird
3. He's A Burglar
4. Jealousy
5. Right Place, Wrong Time
6. Step Into The Love Line
7. Paradise Found

Signed by Amii Stewart. “To Andy from Amii Stewart”. V Check here to see it in all its glory!

Amy 'Amii' Paulette Stewart (born January 29, 1956) is an American contemporary R&B/disco/dance-pop singer, dancer and actress most famous for her hit disco record "Knock on Wood". Stewart is the stepsister of actress-singer Miquel Brown and aunt to Brown's actress-singer daughter Sinitta.

Amy Stewart was the fifth of six children. Amii Stewart's father Joseph Stewart II, signed her up for singing and dancing lessons in 1960, at the age of four. There already was an Amy Stewart registered with Actor's Equity, so she changed the spelling of her name to Amii. She began attending Howard University in Washington but soon left to work with the D.C. Repertory Dance Company, studying ballet and modern dance. Before being signed to Ariola Records, Stewart was in the touring company of the stage production Bubbling Brown Sugar in 1975, firstly in Miami, then Broadway, and eventually London's West End, where she met Barry Leng, a record producer for Hansa records. The heavy drum sounds heard on "Knock On Wood", and many other of Amii's tracks, were provided by session drummer supremo Peter Boita ( also credited as the "Drum Doctor" on many tracks ). Using a combination of Linn Drum Computers and Simmons SDS7 electronic drums, Peter developed drum sounds and synching techniques that were way ahead of anything else at that time.
At the end of 1977, "You Really Touched My Heart" a Leng/Simon May composition, produced by Leng, was Stewart's first recording. An album followed, which contained five Leng/May songs, one Leng/Morris song and three cover versions.
Her first single, a disco cover version of the 1966 Eddie Floyd hit "Knock on Wood" (Floyd/Cropper), reached number one in the U.S. in April 1979, and earned her a platinum record and a Grammy Award nomination. It also reached number 6 in the UK, and number 2 in Australia. In the same year, Amii Stewart followed up with another cover of The Doors' classic, "Light My Fire", which reached #5 in the UK, although only managed a lowly #69 in the US. She recorded it as a medley, incorporating "Light My Fire/137 Disco Heaven".
Among her other successes in music recordings is the song entitled "Friends" from 1985. This song was a collaboration with the Italian composer/musician Mike Francis and was a big hit in the UK and the Philippines.

In 2000, Stewart toured Italy, playing the part of Mary Magdalene, in the revival of the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. The play also starred Carl Anderson, who revived his role of "Judas Iscariot" from the 1971 movie.  In 2003, Stewart starred in the musical Lady Day, in the role of Billie Holiday; the musical was written and produced by her.

Since 2001 Stewart has been working as a goodwill ambassador for Italian Unicef and has been involved in a large number of projects such as "Uniti per i bambini, Uniti contro l'AIDS" (translated as "United for the children, united against AIDS"). In 2006, she recorded the charity single "Love Song" for UNICEF in four different languages, once again returning to work with Ennio Morricone. The following year saw her return to duet with Mike Francis on the track "Nothing Can Come Between Us". In 2006 Stewart and long-time friend and collaborator Ennio Morricone released 5 track single "Love Song", sung in English, Italian, French, Spanish as well as a multilingual version. All proceeds from the single went to Unicef's campaign "Check Out For Children".   In May 2007 Stewart again participated in the Sanremo Music Festival, performing the duet "Schiavo D'Amore" with Piero Mazzocchetti.
Amii is fluent in Italian.

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