Pete Atkin

A Lifetime of Songs

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Last Show: Saturday 5 th October 2019

The Pheasantry (Chelsea)

Pete Atkin and Clive James started writing songs together in the 1960s. They never guessed that fifty years later they'd still be writing, and that their tuneful, catchy, original, funny, sad, and dramatic songs would still be capturing people's imagination and attention, but that's what Pete's four recent sell-out appearances at the Pheasantry have proved. Pete returns with another new selection from the James and Atkin songbook, old favourites and some surprises, accompanied once again by Simon Wallace on piano.

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"Superb final chapter in creative partnership.... James brings wit and emotion to Atkin's melodies .... make it this one."

Q magazine

Pete Atkin met Clive James fifty years ago, when they were both students.  They discovered that they shared a fascination with songs, and started writing together.    

In the 1970s Pete made six albums of the songs and built up a large and loyal audience, thanks at least partly to the late, great John Peel, among many others.   But although Pete made his living in music, they never did hit the really Big Time, and both he and Clive found other ways to pay the rent.   

But their songwriting was never abandoned.  At roughly the same time that Clive decided to withdraw from his TV career, the internet entered our lives, and it turned out that all those people who had loved their songs in the seventies still loved them. 

And so Clive and Pete began touring together (three times in the UK, and also all over Australia) and, even more important, they started writing together again, which meant, of course, that Pete started recording again.   It was as if they'd never been away. 

"Songs are stories," says Pete. "I have always believed that the best way to grab an audience's attention is to entertain them."   That's as true of their most recent songs as it is of their oldest ones.

Clive says "It doesn't matter what category our songs fall into, as long as people listen. The trick is to make sure nothing nothing gets between the song and the listeners." 

He says that songwriting is "far and away the most fruitful artistic venture I have ever been mixed up in. It's the work I'm least known for, but would still like to be, if only as the writing partner of a unique musician."

On his relationship with Clive, Pete has said, “One of the things that has kept us writing together all these years is a shared fascination with the mysterious way in which words and music can work together, how music and words together can add up to something different from what each amounts to on its own. I still can't quite believe my luck in hooking up with Clive all those years ago. I could never have imagined back then that his words would be rattling around my head for the rest of my life.”

Band Lineup

Pete Atkin (vocal, guitar)

Simon Wallace (piano)