Michael d'Abo

Michael d'Abo first rose to prominence in British rock through his assumption of a most unenviable task, succeeding Paul Jones as lead singer in Manfred Mann -- the group's own record label, EMI, was so persuaded of the unlikelihood that anyone could replace him, that they dropped the band from the roster. He proved up to the challenge, however, and across the four decades since, has remained a busy and well-known musical figure, in rock and in music in general. Born in 1944 in Betchworth, Surrey, d'Abo reached his teens during the early days of England's rock & roll boom, and as a boy, took up the piano as well as singing. While attending the Harrow School, he co-founded A Band of Angels with guitarist/singer John Graydon, guitarist John Baker, bassist Dave Wilkinson, and drummer James Rugge-Price. The group managed the get noticed and cut a quartet of singles (the last, "Invitation", written by d'Abo) for Pye Records' Piccadilly subsidiary and for United Artists Records. It was a televised performance of "Invitation" in early 1966, on a show called A Whole Scene Going, that brought d'Abo to the attention of the members of Manfred Mann -- organist Manfred Mann and drummer Mike Hugg initially saw him on the broadcast, and soon Mann and bassist/guitarist Tom McGuinness were checking out his work at a club date, and this led to an offer to join the group.