Prince, Sting and Bowie – the Norfolk man who worked with the stars
- Credit: Peter Steward
Prince, Sting, Paul McCartney, George Michael, Bob Geldof, Queen, Cat Stevens, David Bowie and many more – the list reads like a who’s who of the history of rock music.
One Norfolk man has either supported or worked with them all during over 40 years in the music business.
Chris Poole has now settled down to a quieter life away from rock royalty in retirement in Hethersett.
But Chris has a wealth of memories following a glittering career in music public relations and journalism which had humble beginnings as a reporter on daily and weekly newspapers that included the Eastern Daily Press in Norwich and the North Norfolk News in Cromer.
He went on to have a stellar career as a music journalist on the New Musical Express, Beat International, Record Mirror and Sounds Magazine and then as a music fixer and PR guru for some of the most influential record labels including Decca, Phonogram, A and M and Chrysalis. He also had a spell working for Tony Brainsby Publicity and also ran his own PR partnership with Alan Edwards.
Chris admits that his career had many highs and an equal number of lows but remembers with great affection his time working on a daily basis with household names. He particularly enjoyed working with singer songwriters Sting and Canadian Suzanne Vega and found David Bowie a delight to represent.
“He was a friendly and gentle soul but also a music perfectionist,” Chris said.
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Other artists were more difficult. He singles out Prince as a genius who could be sweet and supportive but who could also be difficult and demanding, Chris refers to the American as “the greatest live artist I have seen.”
“I would describe him as capricious but working with him was never dull. Sometimes he would demand the impossible,” Chris said.
Chris has toured with the best and travelled all over the world with bands like Spandau Ballet and Wet Wet Wet. He even got to be part of the Band Aid and Live Aid charity phenomena, working alongside Bob Geldof. He embraced changes in music, looking after bands such as The Damned and The Stranglers when punk became popular and also worked on a number of rock galas organised in aid of the Prince’s Trust featuring the likes of Duran Duran and Dire Straits.
Chris was born in Warwickshire but often moved as his father was a police officer. His schools included King Edward VI in Stratford, a school previously attended by William Shakespeare. He developed a love of music at an early age, being fed a diet of the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand.
It was whilst attending Rugby College and also being a cub reporter on the Rugby Advertiser that he helped to organise the Sam Cutler Stage Show, so named after the former tour manager of the Rolling Stones. The show was the same year as the legendary Woodstock Festival in the USA.
“The Rugby festival was the most nerve-racking experience of my life although people still talk about it today,” Chris said.
That festival, held over three days during which it never stopped raining brought him into contact with artists like Pink Floyd, the Who, The Nice, Pentangle, King Crimson, Free, Ralph McTell and Alexis Korner. Above all it made Chris want to establish himself in the music business, something he certainly achieved.
Eventually Chris decided that enough was enough: “I felt I was no longer at the top of my game and so I came back to Norfolk to look after my parents. I was very lucky to be involved with rock music when it was at its peak before it became more fragmented.”
Today Chris considers himself to be retired although he still undertakes some voluntary work supporting the battle for more social housing, working on behalf of Help the Aged and getting together with his son and daughter and three grandchildren.