Richard Darbyshire

The husky voiced Richard Darbyshire carries the unwanted label of "one-hit wonder" as the former vocalist for Living in a Box. The title is misleading, since his old group had a number of chart successes in the U.K.; nevertheless, the band's career is often summarized by their lone appearance on American radio. Born on March 8, 1960, in Stockport, Cheshire, England, Darbyshire was introduced to the soulful music of Marvin Gaye and Al Green via a U.S. military station while he attended an American school in Japan. Darbyshire briefly joined a group with his American friends, and when he returned to England in the early '80s, he formed the Zu Zu Sharks. The Zu Zu Sharks were signed to EMI and released three singles. "Love Tumbles Down" hit number one in Spain, but Darbyshire was unhappy with the band's pop sound and departed from the group. Darbyshire continued to write songs for himself and singer Tessa Niles, and one of them, "Put Your Foot Down," was even recorded by the Temptations. He also performed session work for Polygram and EMI. In 1985, Virgin Records wanted to sign Darbyshire to a contract, while Chrysalis Records asked him to be the vocalist/guitarist for Living in a Box, a group that heard Darbyshire singing his own material while they were recording demos in the same studio. Darbyshire chose a five-year deal with Living in a Box. The band released their self-titled first LP in 1987, and the funky title-track was an immediate smash on U.S. radio and MTV. While Living in a Box's popularity in America faded quickly, their 1989 album, Gatecrashing, featured two Top Ten hits in the U.K., "Blow the House Down" and "Room in Your Heart." A year later, Chrysalis was purchased by EMI. New label personnel began telling the group to tone down their sound while they were recording their third full-length, and Darbyshire left in disgust before it was completed. In the '90s, Darbyshire penned and co-wrote songs for Marie Claire D'Ubaldo, Level 42, Jennifer Rush, Bing Abrahams, and Lisa Stansfield. Darbyshire's solo debut, How Many Angels, was released in 1994; it was reissued in 1999 as Love Will Provide, with two bonus tracks.
Michael Sutton, Rovi

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