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Elkie Brooks began singing professionally in 1960. Born Elaine Bookbinder to a
Jewish baker in Manchester, at 15 she won a talent contest at the Palace Theatre,
Manchester judged by the infamous Don Arden (manager of Jerry Lee Lewis, Little
Richard and The Small Faces, and father of Sharon Osbourne). The next few years
were an education. She sang in cabaret clubs up and down the country, and found
herself supporting the Beatles at their 1964 Christmas shows at Hammersmith
Odeon. Her first hit, in 1964, was a version of Etta James’ ‘Something’s Got A Hold
On Me’, on which a pre-Led Zeppelin Jimmy Page played guitar; she toured with The
Small Faces, The Animals. By the end of the 60s, she was singing jazz with
Humphrey Lyttelton’s band and a few short years later had channelled her inner rock
chick, and was now co-fronting the band Vinegar Joe alongside Robert Palmer.

At Vinegar Joe’s dissolution, she found herself joining southern American boogie
band Wet Willie. But this was a temporary diversion, because shortly after she was
back on home turf, a newly minted, grownup solo singer. Her solo debut album ‘Rich
Man’s Woman’ was banned in some quarters because of its raunchy sleeve but it
was her 1977 album ‘Two Days Away’ that saw the blue touch paper truly ignite on
Elkie’s career. The album featured her monster hit and signature song ‘Pearl’s A
Singer’, which was co-written and produced by Elvis stalwarts Leiber & Stoller. The
song lit up the charts and gave her her first timeless classic. It wouldn’t be her last.
The hits kept coming: ‘Fool If You Think It’s Over’, ‘Lilac Wine’, ‘Sunshine After The
Rain’, ‘Warm And Tender Love’, ‘Don’t Cry Out Loud’ and her highest charting hit ‘No
More The Fool’. Her 1981 album ‘Pearls’ was in the charts for 79 continuous weeks
and went on to sell over a million, making Elkie Brooks the biggest selling female
album artist in the history of the British pop charts at the time. And the work rate
didn’t let up: over the course of the next 25 years, she has released some 20 albums.
By 2012, she had more chart albums under her belt than any other British female
artist. Not only has she been prolific in the studio she has also continued to tour,
performing live in almost every major UK theatre with sell out runs at such
prestigious venues as the Palladium, the Royal Albert Hall, Wembley Arena, Ronnie
Scotts and she even shared the bill with the Beach Boys and Santana at Knebworth
in 1980.

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