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The Sensational Alex Harvey

Biography, Popular Music & Culture
Publication Date
25 September 2008
Available as an eBook only
Available for Sale
Birlinn Limited
12pp b/w plate section

The Sensational Alex Harvey

by John Neil Munro - Find out more about the author


eBook also available from the iBookstore

'The Sensational Alex Harvey Band were one of the craziest, most honest, most creative and most courageous bands of their time . . . [Harvey] would go to any length to enlighten and to entertain' — NME

 'Alex was cheeky. Special. Very charismatic. A naughty boy who didn’t want to grow up' — Richard O'Brien (Rocky Horror Show)

Glasgow-born Alex Harvey's career began in the 1950s when he won a competition to become Scotland's answer to Tommy Steele (he dubbed himself 'Last of the Teenage Idols'). He was a devoted family man but in front of an audience he became an unforgettable entertainer - courageous, provocative and intense. The Sensational Alex Harvey Band eventually became one of the most exciting live acts of the 1970s, taking in Jacques Brel, rock and vaudeville.

But Harvey's life offstage was beset by tragedy and alcoholism: his younger brother, Les, was electrocuted on stage; his manager and friend Billy Fehilly was killed in a plane crash; eventually, with his band in tatters, Alex sank into a sea of alcohol, finally succumbing to a fatal heart attack while waiting for a ferry home from Belgium in 1982, the day before his 47th birthday.

John Neil Munro lives in Laxdale, Isle of Lewis. He studied Modern and Economic history at Glasgow University then completed a postgraduate journalism course in Cardiff. Other publications include Some People are Crazy: The John Martyn Story (Polygon, 2008).