Monday 11 December 2017

On the Beach

Chris Rea is, I read today, on the mend. He collapsed in Oxford at the weekend halfway through his set.

It's not the first time Rea has had to ring 999. He's not enjoyed the best of health for some time and very nearly checked out on a couple of occasions in the early noughties.

Since reinventing himself as a serious blues musician, the Middlesbrough born guitarist has found a new audience while still retaining his faithful following. It's been a while since Rea troubled the charts with infectious hits like Road to Hell, Fool if You Think it's Over and, of course, Driving Home for Christmas*, but the quality of his new material has never dipped.

*Of course I haven't chosen his Yuletide smash from 1988. No, today I'm going with On the Beach. I love what Rea did when he turned it from a diamond in the rough album track to a Top Twenty single. And the thing he did? Listen to the electric piano motif (3:37) - it only appears once, and lasts for just four seconds! When he re-recorded the song he replicated the same lick on the guitar - where it became the hook that runs through the whole record from start to finish. Genius.

For what it's worth I think I prefer the album version, but if I was listening to this on a beach I'm sure I wouldn't give a monkey's chuff. Anyway, sit back in your deckchair and enjoy them both.

Chris Rea - On the Beach (album version)

Chris Rea - On the Beach (single version)


  1. I was given the album as a hand-me-down in the summer of '86 by someone who didn't like that version of On The Beach - I on the other hand loved it. Wish I was on a beach today though as icy cold where I am!

    Bit of trivia - We have friends who bought the house next door to Chris Rea many moons ago - Their "coal-sheds" (not like any I knew) were joined together and Chris' was converted to a recording studio where he laid down many of these tracks you mention. Hope he gets well soon.

    1. What a great story Alyson! You should write about it.

  2. Get well soon, Chris. I don't want to have to do you one of those Top Tens for a long time...

    1. I know what you mean. I really must go and catch him live - before he's not.