Fred: ... and that is the lead singer from Renaissance. Her name is Annie Haslam. And Annie I've got to tell you it is so nice to meet you.
Annie Haslam: Hello Fred. It is nice to meet you too.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where you came from.
Let's see ... well I go back to when I was born I guess (laughs). My background ... I was born in Lancashire in the North of England in an industrial town. And my father was an amateur comedian/singer and I guess, in fact, well I know that that's where my voice came from because he had, he was actually, he had a voice of a tenor, I guess, very very strong voice, very good voice. My mother was an amateur dancer. So I guess we did have it in the family. My brother Michael was discovered by Brian Epstien in the '60s and he toured with the Beatles and he became quite famous for a while. And I didn't really know I could sing, I guess until, let me see, it was around 1968, a boyfriend of mine kept making me sing at parties cause he realised I could sing. He heard me singing once, and when I'd had a few of glasses of cider, he always made me sing at parties, and then he decided that it might be an idea for me to go in for talent competitions and I was terrfied. But, I kept winning them, so I realised at that point that I had something, I guess. But I was very shy ... believe it or not ... let me see. My first job ... in fact, I went to an opera singer to be trained for nine months and then I got a job at a place called 'The Showboat' in The Strand, which is a cabaret, a theatre club, I don't, in fact, I don't think it is there anymore. ("Right.") I was there for six months and the guy who was the guitar player in the band said, "I found this advert in the Melody Maker and I think you'd be perfect for it." And so I rang up after this job [Annie quotes the advert] "Female singer wanted for internationally known rock band ..." And I went for the audition and got the job on New Year's Day, 1971 and that was the beginning of my 16 years with Renaissance.
(The band introduction and "Prologue" track are played from the Renaissance Live At Carnegie Hall album.)
That is the title track from the album entitled Prologue from Renaissance and Annie Haslam is our guest this evening as 'Orbit' takes a look at the music of Renaissance. And Annie I know that you had joined with Renaissance, I guess a little bit after the fact, and I guess what I mean by that, is a little bit after the time that they had already ... they had already been a band before you had joined them. And can you give us a little bit of background on how Renaissance actually came together.
The band was originally formed, if people don't know this already, by Jim McCarty and Keith Relf from the Yardbirds. They were involved in the band when I joined and Jim was still writing for the band for a while. They had been with Renaissance for six months but they'd only been off the road from the Yardbirds for about, less than a year, I think, and it was too much for them to be on the road again, so soon. And they gave up on it too early which was a shame, a shame for them, but for me it was a big turning point in my life, and has been a big part of my life, since. And the band really has been, you know, in the early days, was like a marriage with everybody and lots of things happened, lots of great things happened and like most bands, lots of heartbreaking things happened. But if I popped off tomorrow, as they say, (laughs) -- and I know I won't -- but if I did, I'd think think that I'd been so so fortunate to have been with a band that had such a wonderful success in America, but also a unique sound that nobody else had. Oh, I'm getting all choked up now. It was a big part of my life ... and still is.
(The track "Kiev" is played from the Prologue LP.)
This is Fred Migliore and you are listing to a special edition of the Orbit program as we feature the music of Renaissance with our special guest this evening, Annie Haslam. And we will be back to 89.5 WFIT for still another installment of our Orbit program right after this.
(The balance of this interview has been omitted from the tape used for this transcription. The editor would appreciate hearing from anyone with a tape containing the balance of this interview with Annie Haslam.)