Welcome to the official website of Ronnie Harwood, one of Britain's Rock 'n' Roll pioneers. As a guitarist, singer and songwriter, Ronnie Harwood has played a significant part in the history of British Pop and, now into his sixties, continues to perform with a singing voice that is distinctive and still much admired.
When Ronnie turned his talents to songwriting it led him to an Ivor Novello award for 'You Drive Me Crazy', a huge hit for Shakin' Stevens, and to the co-writing of Bill Haley's last recorded single, 'God Bless Rock and Roll'. Here you will find his story, using photos and cuttings from Ronnie's own collection. You'll also hear about some of Ronnie's latest projects, including new songs.
Aged 15, Ronnie went with some older friends to see the film 'Blackboard Jungle' at the Hendon Odeon in London. The film included 'Rock Around The Clock'. That was the wake-up call for Ronnie and many other youngsters at the time. Bill Haley and the Comets playing 'Rock Around The Clock' ushered in nothing less than a musical revolution. In late 1955, Ronnie persuaded his father to help buy his first guitar. This was the beginning of a life in music further inspired after hearing Lonnie Donnegan singing 'The Rock Island Line', and by the voice of the legendary singer who remains his favourite, Frankie Laine. Ronnie formed his first group, a skiffle band called 'The White Diamonds', in 1956, with brother David on tea chest bass.
The Premiers and Screaming Lord Sutch... to Shakin' Stevens
Ronnie's biography can be found by clicking on the Ronnie's Bio link. You'll read his memories of a time when the music scene was breaking new ground all around the world and when British Rock 'n' Roll bands were leading the way.
The Premiers, with Ronnie fronting the band under the stage name of Jess Hunter, gave him his first real taste of music business success, with two successful tours of Germany during 1962. The line-up subsequently changed, Ronnie dropped the Jess Hunter tag, and the band became 'The New Premiers'.
In 1963, Screaming Lord Sutch and his backing band, The Savages, parted company. The Savages became The Ravin' Savages and Ronnie was asked to join the band. But outrageous David Sutch was desperate for a replacement Savages backing group and decided to find a ready-made band. The new line-up of Ronnie, Paul Dean (better known now as actor Paul Nicholas), drummer Pete Phillips and Geoff Mew on lead guitar agreed to accompany Lord Sutch and his legendary stage act.
Many events followed, as you will read in the chapters of his online biography. In 1977 Ronnie signed a publishing deal and 'Baby I Love You' was released in 1978. Later, in 1982, Ronnie signed a singles deal with Arista Records and 'A White Sport Coat', written by Marty Robbins, was released, followed up by Ronnie's composition 'Cuddle Up' later that same year.
But perhaps it's his songwriting above all that has given him his status as one of Britain's rock 'n' roll pioneers - it certainly has kept him as involved and passionate about his music as ever. It led to an Ivor Novello award for 'You Drive Me Crazy', a huge hit for Shakin' Stevens (pictured above with Ronnie in 2011), and to the writing of Bill Haley's last single, 'God Bless Rock and Roll', co-written with Nigel Jenkins with lyrics especially for Haley. And Ronnie's still writing great songs that have a classic 'old skool' pop feel, songs about love, of course, but also about everyday life that touches every one of us, and nearly always looking on the bright side. 'You Make Me Happy', made popular my Sophie Madeleine and featured on several TV Ad campaigns, is just typical of Ronnie's songwriting. The kind of 'feelgood songs' that keep playing in your head way after you first heard it; the kind that make you smile inside when they come on the radio or TV; and the kind you might have thought nobody writes anymore - well, Ronnie is the master of the feelgood song, and for that... God bless rock 'n' roll!