Bill Sharpe

Shakatak-16 Bill 72After graduating from Birmingham University in 1975 with an honours degree in music, I started to work for the BBC as a studio manager. At the same time, I continued to play in bands as I did throughout my years at school. One of the bands was called “Tracks” which comprised of Roger Odell, Keith Winter and Trevor Horn who went on to international success as a record producer.
In 1980, along with Keith and Roger and producer Nigel Wright, I formed Shakatak. We toured the UK extensively during the early eighties and signed with Polydor records. In 1982 we had our first top 20 hit with “Easier Said Than Done”, one of the hits that I wrote for the band. Others include “Night Birds”,”Invitations”, “Dark is the Night”, “Down on the Street” and “Mr Manic and Sister Cool”. In 1983, international success began for the band in Europe, America and particularly in Japan where “Night Birds” became one of the biggest selling international albums of all time.
As the band’s success continued through the 80’s, I released my first solo album “Famous People” in 1985. One song on the album featured Gary Numan. Called “Change your Mind”, it became a top 20 hit and also heralded the start of a successful collaboration with Gary under the name of “Sharpe and Numan”.
Apart from working with Gary , I also found time to write with and for other artists all over the world. From Yusuko Agawe in Japan to Annabella from “Bow Wow Wow” in the UK. As the 90’s began , Shakatak and I found ourselves touring less and recording more due to the demand for recordings particularly in Japan. Our music was becoming very popular in America in the contemporary jazz market where they had two consecutive number 1 albums. At this time, since the band’s schedule was less hectic, I found time to start writing music for television which has remained an interest to this day. In 1996, through my consultancy work for Technics keyboards, I met the great jazz musician Don Grusin and after spending time helping with the design and specs for some new Technics products in Japan, we became good friends. In 1997, I had the time and opportunity to record my second solo album and asked Don Grusin to co-produce the record with me in Los Angeles. This enabled me to work with some of my favourite American musicians including Alex Acuna, Paulinho da Costa, Abe Laboriel as well as the great soul singer Jeffrey Osborne. The album is titled “State of the Heart” and has received critical acclaim worldwide. In recent years, outside of the band I’ve been working with Don Grusin and we recorded an album entitled “Geography” which was recorded in london and los angeles and featured some great guest musicians. We also toured the album in Japan and as well as Don and I , the band included Kazumi Watanabe, Tetsuo Sakurai, Masato Honda and Masayuki Muraishi. That was a lot of fun as you can imagine.
Also in 2006 I recorded a solo piano album which featured most of the well known Shakatak songs.
In 2007 I plan to record another album with Don and play a few dates with him. The rest of the time will be spent touring and
recording with Shakatak.