Brian Short

Brian Short (1948 – 2014) was an English singer who emerged as the frontman of Black Cat Bones. His solo album, Anything for a Laugh, appeared in 1971 on Transatlantic Records. He later wrote songs for Jeff Beck and Hummingbird.


Short first fronted The Sect, a Newcastle beat group that played numerous Tyneside venues (Club A’Gogo, the Mayfair, the Majestic, the Quay Club) during the mid-1960s. It was at one 1965 show at the Cellar Club in South Shields where he met his wife of 40 years, Lynda.

In 1968, Short joined London blues-rockers Black Cat Bones, taking the place of original vocalist (and later Downliners Sect frontman) Paul Tiller. Short remained long enough to sing on their one album, the 1970 Decca Nova release Barbed Wire Sandwich.

In 1971, Short teamed with keyboardist Max Middleton, then of the Jeff Beck Group, and four-fifths of the unsigned act Simpson’s Pure Oxygen (formerly Griffin): guitarist Peter Kirtley, bassist Colin Gibson, guitarist/keyboardist Kenny Craddock, and drummer Alan White. They backed Short for an album on the folk-jazz-psych label Transatlantic Records with additional help from reedist Lyn Dobson (Locomotive, Soft Machine, Keef Hartley Band, Mick Softley, Mick Greenwood), Jamaican contra-bassist Coleridge Goode, and the Leiston Dafties Choir.

Anything for a Laugh

Short released Anything for a Laugh in 1971 on Transatlantic. The 12-song album features 11 originals, including “Blue Tuesday,” “Don’t You Need Me Anymore,” “Emily,” “Wishing Well” and “Winter Comes.” Also included is a cover of the Randy Newman composition “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today.”

Original copies of Anything for a Laugh are housed in a gatefold sleeve with blue- and sepia-tinted b&w photos of urban desolation. Lyrics appear on the inner-spread. The album was produced by Mike Finesilver (Love Sculpture, Kingdom Come, Ross, Gonzalez, J.A.L.N. Band). Craddock plays harmonium on select passages.

Later Activity

Short retained his ties with Middleton, who performed on the 1971 release Rough and Ready by the Jeff Beck Group. That album wraps with the six-minute Short composition “Jody.” Middleton’s next band, Hummingbird, included the Short co-write “Got My ‘Led Boots’ On” on their 1977 third album Diamond Nights, arranged by drummer Bernard Purdie.

As a songwriter, Short penned “I Don’t Want the Night to End,” a 1978 disco hit for French singer Sylvie Vartan. In 1981, he partnered with Maxine Nightingale on the A&M single “Rendezvous” (b/w “You Touched Me”). During the ’80s, his songs were recorded by Syreeta; Toni Basil; Ray, Goodman & Brown (aka The Moments); and Beau Williams.

Anything for a Laugh was reissued on CD in 2006 on the Japanese label Air Mail Archive.


  • Anything for a Laugh (1971)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *