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Simon Fowler

Best known as the lead singer with the popular Brit-pop group Ocean Colour Scene, Simon Fowler was born on May 25, 1965 in Birmingham, England, where his father worked as a policeman. Fowler initially planned on a career as a journalist, and after studying at Tudor Grange School in Solihull, he spent several years as a reporter at the Birmingham Post & Mail. However, he also had a strong interest in music, and in the mid-'80s he joined a group called the Great Betrayal, who released a cassette-only EP, All Beginnings Are Difficult, in 1986. After the breakup of the Great Betrayal, Fowler and the group's drummer Carolyn Bullock formed the Fanatics, who released a vinyl EP, Suburban Love Songs, in 1989. By the time the Fanatics called it a day in 1990, drummer Bullock had been replaced by Oscar Harrison, and they soon teamed up with guitarist Steve Craddock and bassist Damon Minchella to form Ocean Colour Scene.

Ocean Colour Scene released their first album in 1992, but the results were stylistically unfocused and the album was a commercial disappointment. However, Noel Gallagher of Oasis became an outspoken fan of the band, and Paul Weller gave the group an especially potent endorsement, hiring Steve Craddock as his guitarist for several albums and tours and bringing Fowler on board to sing backing vocals on his wildly popular Wild Wood album. Fowler had also became an in-demand backing vocalist, appearing on records by Alison Moyet, the Lightning Seeds, and Fine Young Cannibals. When Ocean Colour Scene released their second album, Moseley Shoals, in 1996, it clicked with listeners and became a major commercial success, and the group would became a mainstay on the British music scene, recording and touring regularly while Craddock and Minchella continued to work with Paul Weller in the studio and on tour.

In 2002, Fowler released his first solo effort, Live on the Riverboat, documenting an acoustic gig staged on the Renfrew Ferry that took place while Craddock and Minchella were touring with Weller; the set was dominated by Ocean Colour Scene favorites, with Oscar Harrison joining in. In 2011, as Ocean Colour Scene took the year off to focus on writing fresh material, Fowler took the opportunity to record his second solo effort, a set inspired by classic British folk-rock called Simon Fowler's Merrymouth, which he supported with a short U.K. tour. ~ Mark Deming
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