Born Bernard Jewry in the 1940s, Alvin Stardust shot to stardom in the 1970s. He had already had four hit singles in the 1960s under the name of Shane Fenton (with The Fentones) before moving into management, looking after The Hollies and Lulu, among others.
But what fun is it, watching other people get all the fame and accolades? There was only one thing for it. He put down the phone and set about reinventing himself.
His debut single as the leather-clad Alvin, My Coo Ca Choo (recorded at the grand cost of £700), became a huge international Number One hit and spent over six months in the charts.
He wore huge rings – on the outside of his gloves. He had a quiff the size of the Eiffel Tower and sideburns like some Amazonian forest. And he never, ever, ever smiled.
Numerous hits followed around the world, including four more Number Ones: Jealous Mind, You, You, You, Red Dress, and Good Love. Music Week awarded Alvin “Best Male Recording Artist” and at the British Pop Awards he won “Best Live Performance”.
Audiences lapped up the rock-n-roll-with-a-wink spirit of Alvin – without the subconscious embarrassment you got watching Gary Glitter‘s pantomime-Dame wrapped in baking-foil performances. Alvin was like the Elvis 68 Comeback Special had been filmed at a Butlin’s Holiday Camp.
In the 80s Alvin moved to Stiff Records and Pretend became a top five hit. When he later joined Chrysalis Records he became their top-selling male singles artist with three consecutive hits I Feel Like Buddy Holly, I Won’t Run Away, and So Near To Christmas.
He presented TV specials and his own radio show for BBC Radio 2. He also had two books published and appeared as the subject on This Is Your Life.
Moving into musical theatre, Alvin starred in the UK tour of Godspell and played Uriah Heep in David Copperfield – The Musical and Sir Billy Butlin in The Butlin Story at the London Palladium. In later years, Alvin toured with Showaddywaddy, The Rubettes, Mud and The Glitter Band.
Alvin died on 23 October 2014, aged 72. He had recently been diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer.