- Category : Singer - Popular
- Type : GE
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Split - Small (39,49,59)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Planning 1
Elkie Brooks (born Elaine Bookbinder; 25 February 1945) is an English singer, a vocalist with Vinegar Joe, and later a solo artist. She gained her biggest success in the late 1970s and 1980s and has been nominated twice for Brit Awards' top female singer.British Queen of Blues. She is known for her powerful husky voice and hit singles such as "Pearl's a Singer", "Lilac Wine", "Don't Cry Out Loud", "Fool (If You Think It's Over)", and "No More the Fool", and top-selling album Pearls.
Life and career
Early career and Vinegar Joe
Brooks was born Elaine Bookbinder in Broughton, Salford, the daughter of Marjorie Violet "Vi" (née Newton) and Kalmon Charles "Charlie" Bookbinder. Her paternal grandparents and great-grandparents were Jewish immigrants who were from Kielce, Russian Poland. Her mother, who had been born to a Catholic family, converted to Judaism. She was raised in Prestwich. She attended North Salford Secondary Modern School.
Her older brother is Anthony Bookbinder (born 28 May 1943), who went by the stage name of Tony Mansfield, and was drummer for Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas, on their run of 1960s hit records.
According to Brooks, her unofficial debut was a gig at a club called the "Laronde" on Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester when she was thirteen. A professional singer since she was fifteen, Brooks' debut, a cover of Etta James's "Something's Got a Hold On Me", was released on Decca in 1964. She spent most of the 1960s on Britain's cabaret scene, a period of her life that she did not particularly enjoy. In the early 1960s Brooks supported The Beatles in their Christmas show in London, then, as an established act, helped the Small Faces in their early career by introducing them at several venues. She went on to tour the United States with several bands including The Animals.
After she met Pete Gage, whom she would marry, she joined the short-lived fusioneers Dada before forming Vinegar Joe with Gage and Robert Palmer. Elkie gained the reputation as the wild woman of "Rock n Roll" due to her wild stage performances. After three albums, they split up in 1974, and Brooks and Palmer both went solo. After a time as backing singer with the American southern boogie band Wet Willie, she returned to England.
Solo career and chart success
Her first solo album on A&M records was Rich Man's Woman (1975). Released to critical acclaim, Brooks was given a hard time due to the album's cover, which was considered outrageous for the time.
It came before a run of sixteen hit albums in twenty-five years, starting with Two Days Away, produced by the aong writing duo Leiber & Stoller, who had also worked with Elvis Presley and many others (1977). Brooks also wrote some tracks with them. The hits "Pearl's a Singer" and "Sunshine After the Rain" came from this album. The albums Shooting Star (1978) and Live and Learn (1979) also saw success along with the singles "Lilac Wine" and "Don't Cry Out Loud". In 1980 Brooks performed at the Knebworth Festival with The Beach Boys, Santana and Mike Oldfield. Pearls, released in 1981 achieved the biggest success of her career, becoming the largest selling album by a British female artist up to this point in the UK. "Fool (If You Think It's Over)" was a hit for Brooks taken from this album, written by Chris Rea. Pearls II (1982), Minutes (1984) and Screen Gems (1984), were all UK chart hits.
In early 1987 the song "No More the Fool" became her biggest hit single to date while the parent album reached the top five. This led to her achieving a career peak as she had two albums and a single in the top ten all on the same week. Following chart success ensued with the albums The Very Best of Elkie Brooks (1986), Bookbinder's Kid (1988). On Bookbinders Kid, Elkie recorded the Timi Yuro hit "What's the Matter Baby". Timi Yuro heard Elkie's version and contacted Elkie to compliment her. The two remained friends. Inspiration (1989), Round Midnight (1993), Nothin' but the Blues (1994), Amazing (1996) and The Very Best of Elkie Brooks (1997).
In March 2003, she participated in the ITV music talent show Reborn in the USA, alongside musicians such as Peter Cox, Tony Hadley and Leee John. The Electric Lady album (2005) saw a return to her blues and rock roots, featuring self-penned tracks alongside re-workings of numbers by The Doors, Bob Dylan, Paul Rodgers and Tony Joe White. The following year saw the release of her first official DVD, titled Elkie Brooks & Friends: Pearls featuring an array of guest musicians.
Brooks has toured almost every year during her solo career. Her 1982 UK concert tour was seen by more than 140,000 people in just three months. She has performed at every major UK theatre, including sellout runs at the London Palladium, Dominion Theatre, Hammersmith Apollo, Ronnie Scott's, Royal Albert Hall and Wembley Arena. Brooks was offered "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" but turned it down. It was subsequently recorded by Julie Covington and others. Brooks also turned down the song "The Flame"; it was then recorded by Cheap Trick.
Brooks' twentieth studio album Powerless was released in 2010, featuring songs such as Prince's "Purple Rain" and Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love". She continues to perform live throughout the UK.
In the early to mid-1970s, Brooks was married to guitarist Pete Gage. In 1978, she married her sound engineer, Trevor Jordan. They live in Devon and have two sons, Jermaine (born 1979) and Joseph (born 1987). All the family are involved in Brooks' career, songwriting, and touring.