Show of Hands frontman Steve Knightley has been named the ‘Songwriter of the Nineties’ by BBC 6Music broadcaster and songwriter Tom Robinson on Steve Lamacq’s Rock College show. Knightley’s nomination follows that of Dylan, Bowie and Prince for the 60, 70s and 80s in a search to find the best songwriters of the last few decades.
Robinson said that the pop world had splintered into countless new genres in the 90s and the evolution of the music industry meant that, “by the 90s no one songwriter would ever again influence the whole future direction of popular music – but this also meant that for artists at the lower end of the food chain, DIY was now a viable career option.”
For Robinson, Knightley personifies the DIY 90s having built “a vast array of fans, touring relentlessly, by-passing big cities and the entire music industry” before finally making a London debut in 1996 at the Royal Albert Hall. Robinson recalls his first encounter with Knightley and multi-instrumental wizard Phil Beer’s tight folk duo, Show of Hands. They were the supporting act on a UK tour with Robinson: “In the interval they set up a CD stall and relieved our audience of all their spare cash plus money they didn’t have, having thoughtfully brought a credit card machine with them!”
Show of Hands have just sold out the Royal Albert for the fourth time, following on from a double win at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.” (Best Duo and Original Song for ‘Arrogance Ignorance and Greed’). Their latest album Wake the Union, marking the 20th year of Knightley and Beer’s incredible partnership, is released October 15, featuring 11 new Knightley songs.
Hear the segment on Steve Lamacq’s Rock College show at 33 mins in here: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01mnzch