Elkie Brooks (born Feb. 25, 1945) is an English soul-pop vocalist who recorded three singles apiece on Decca and His Master’s Voice during the mid-’60s.
In 1970, she formed the jazz-rock-soul big band Dada with her guitarist husband Pete Gage and singer Paul Korda. They released one album before Korda cleared for Robert Palmer and the band morphed into Vinegar Joe, which issued three 1972/73 albums on Island.
She relaunched her solo career with the 1975 A&M release Rich Man’s Woman, followed by Two Days Away and her 1977 breakthrough hit “Pearl’s a Singer.” Eight albums and further hits followed on A&M and EMI during the next decade.
Background, ’60s Singles
She was born Elaine Bookbinder, the third child of a Jewish family in Broughton, Salford. As a child, she sang at barmitzvahs and weddings. One of her older brothers, Anthony Bookbinder, drummed by the stage name Tony Mansfield for Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, a popular ’60s Merseybeat group (“Bad to Me,” “Little Children,” “I’ll Keep You Satisfied”).
At 15, she won a talent contest that earned her a spot on a pop package tour promoted by Don Arden, father of Sharon Osbourne. She signed to Decca at age 19 and cut the following singles with producer Ian Samwell:
- “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” / “Hello Stranger” (June 1964)
- “Nothing Left To Do But Cry” / “Strange Tho’it Seems” (Sept. 1964)
- “The Way You Do The Things You Do” / “Blue Tonight” (Jan. 1965)
On December 24, 1964, Brooks opened a Beatles Christmas show at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. She moved to another label, His Master’s Voice, for the following three singles:
- “He’s Gotta Love Me” / “When You Appear” (June 1965)
- “All of My Life” / “Can’t Stop Thinking of You” (Oct. 1965)
- “Baby Let Me Love You” / “Stop The Music” (Feb. 1966)
Around this time, she introduced the Small Faces at select early live events. She toured the US as an opening act for The Animals and opened shows in Poland for The Artwoods. For a time in the late ’60s, she sang vocal jazz with trumpeter and bandleader Humphrey Lyttleton.
In 1969, Brooks issued the single “Come September” (b/w “If You Should Go”) on NEMS. The b-side was co-written by Pete Gage, the ex-guitarist of beatsters The Zephyrs. Gage and Brooks, now a couple, formed Dada with keyboardist Don Shinn and singers Paul Korda and Jimmy Chambers.
- Rich Man’s Woman (1975)
- Two Days Away (1977)
- Shooting Star (1978)
- Live and Learn (1979)
- Pearls (1981)
- Pearls II (1982)
- Minutes (1984)
- Screen Gems (1984)
- No More the Fool (1986)
- Inspiration (1989)
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