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Lay your love on me, 1978


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The beginning

The members of Racey came from all around. But when Racey was first formed in 1976 by singer RICHARD GOWER, they began their career by playing in pubs and clubs in the West of England. By the autumn of 1976 they performed their first professional shows and were booked to play a one-month residency at the night club JOMFRUBURET, Copenhagen, Denmark. (Jomfruburet meaning 'lady's bower' - while the place was quite the opposite).

Mickie MostAfter returning to the UK where they were spotted by famous record producer MICKIE MOST whilst playing a t the Three Queens Pub in Weston-Super-Mare.

Despite the fact that 1977 was the height of punk rock boom and clean-cut bands were considered unfashionable, Mickie Most [<- picture] was impressed by the bands live performance and original songs and signed them to his RAK label.


The Singles

The summer of 1978 saw the release of Racey’s first single BABY IT'S YOU penned by Smokie members Pete Spencer and Chris Norman. Although the single had some critical acclaim, radio stations were reluctant to programme the song and it only reached the lower end of the charts.

Mike Chapman [right] and Nicky Chinn [left]In November 1978, the bands second single LAY YOUR LOVE ON ME was released and became an enormous Christmas hit. Penned by hitmakers Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman [picture <-], it sold over 950,000 copies in the UK alone to make it RAK Records biggest ever hit single. It went on to become a chart hit all over Europe and a No.1 hit in Australia and New Zealand.

In March 1979, Racey released their next single SOME GIRLS, also song written by Chinn/Chapman. They had originally written the song for Debbie Harry and Blondie but following the success of Lay Your Love on me decided to give it to Racey to record instead. The record became Racey’s biggest hit reaching No. 1 in 12 countries, eventually selling over 5,000,000 copies worldwide. Some Girls is still a favourite with radio Stations and club DJs and is guaranteed to fill dance floors around the world.

Smash and grab

The bands first album SMASH AND GRAB was released in 1980 and sold over 1,000,000 copies reaching No. 1 in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and many other European countries. It reached the accolade of Treble Platinum status in Australia where it remains one of the best selling albums of all time. Racey eventually earned 35 Gold, Silver and Platinum sales awards.

The band today

RICHARD GOWER: Lead vocalist / Guitar / Keyboards
Richard was born in Hackney, East London, in 1955. The superstitious will believe he was born lucky as the 7th son. Music has always been his life and he became a professional musician and songwriter in his teens, apart from Racey, Richard has written songs for other distinguished artists such as Suzi Quatro, Hot Chocolate, Smokie, Kandidate etc. He has played as a soloist and in a variety of local groups before forming RACEY in 1976. Richard is married with 2 children and lives between the West of England, UK and Sydney, Australia.

MICHAEL HIGGINS: Bass Guitar/Vocals
Mike was born in Dundee Scotland in 1968. He has played in pop/rock/jazz groups throughout most of his career in Scotland .he is a fine accomplished musician and in 1997 he met and joined Racey and has been an integral and valued member ever since.

Garry was born in Weston-Super-Mare in 1968 and began his musical career by playing in local Rock and Metal bands. Garry still lives in Weston-Super-Mare where he can sometimes be found jamming with local Rock bands. Garry is single, and the bands playboy. No night is complete without a visit to a nightclub.

GARY COMBES: Keyboards/Vocals
Gary was born in Somerset, West England in 1956 and has always worked as a musician. He earned the reputation as an excellent musician throughout the West of England indeed the U.K. and was persuaded to join Racey in 1980 as a keyboard and harmonica player. After spending 5 years playing as a piano player/singer in Portugal and Spain, he returned to the UK and re-joined the band with Richard. He now lives between the U.K. and Spain where his home brewed wines and spirits have become notorious. The rest of the band are still trying to persuade him not to pull those weird faces when he plays a keyboard solo.

1980 and on

In 1980 the band began a heavy schedule of live dates, touring throughout the UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. They headlined in many major concert halls including Dortmunds 16,000 capacity Westfallen Halle and Viena's 12,000 capacity Stadthalle.

During the early 1980's, Racey continued their run of hit singles including BOY OH BOY, SUCH A NIGHT and RUNAROUND SUE and became regular performers on major TV shows and at concert venues.

In 1981 Tony Basil recorded the song KITTY taken from Racey’s album Smash and Grab which she renamed MICKEY and took the No.1 spot in the USA chart and most other countries.

Richard - the songwriter and family man

By the mid 1980's the bands initial success had run it’s course, so the band decided to take a break to concentrate on other activities and spend more time at home with their young families. Mickie Most then signed Richard to RAK Publishing as a songwriter. Richard became a successful writer, having over 30 songs published with RAK over this period of his career, Acts that recorded Richards songs include KANDIDATE, SMOKIE, SUZI QUATRO and HOT CHOCOLATE.

Hot Chocolate had a European wide top 10 single with I gave you my heart (didn't I), a song which Racey sometimes include in their own live performances.

In 1988, Richard went with his family to live in Sydney, Australia where he worked as a record producer and songwriter for John Brommel at Warner Bros and made records with a number of local artists.

Back to England and on...

In 1991, Richard returned to live in the West of England in order for his daughter to study for a psychology degree, and his son could re-attend Millfield school, renowned as the best sporting school in England, to pursue his tennis career. He met up with the original Racey keyboard player GARY COMBES and they decided to re-form the band as they both missed live performance. After working with a number of musicians their current line up was finalised in 1992 when bass player MICHAEL HIGGINS and drummer GARY WIDLAKE joined.

Since re-forming RACEY they have earned a reputation as one of the most professional and hardest working bands on the live circuit performing about 100 shows each year in the UK, Australia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, and Spain etc.

In 1995, they signed a record contract with CMC RECORDS and went into PUK Studios in Denmark (also used by the current line-up of Smokie) to record their first album for over 10 years. The result is the cd 'SAY WOW' (Latest and greatest), which consists of 8 new songs written by the band and 6 of their biggest hits. The album is now available through EMI.

In 1997, Racey made a brand new song on the album NON-STOP PARTY HITS released thru CMC Home Entertainment, called EVERYBODY LET'S ROCK.

Racey are consistently touring Europe playing the summer festivals etc, and are looking forward to their next Australia / New Zealand tour which is scheduled to start in December 2001 till February 2002, in between performing live T.V shows such as the Clive James show, etc. which is transmitted worldwide, they are also spending time in their recording studios producing new material of their future hits!




Racey 1978
The original line-up of 1978



On telly 1979



Racey 1981 - 'Little darlin'
The 1981 line-up



Toni Basil's version of 'Kitty' was called 'Mickey' and reached the US No. 1 spot in 1981




Say wow! 1995


Courtesy of Berit R. Jacobsen www.shalarose.dk
Richard in Denmark 2006


 © Richard Gower

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