Peter Beckett: Singer and Songwriter

Written by: Frank Iacono

peter-beckett-header-image

In 1974, legendary singer/songwriter/musician Peter Beckett, a Liverpool, England native, came to America to join an international group of writer/musicians called Skyband and recorded an album for RCA Records. Unfortunately Skyband was short-lived, but during a glitzy Hollywood party he met singer/guitarist J.C. Crowley. A short time later, Peter formed Player along with Crowley, bassist Ronn Moss, and drummer John Friesen.

In 1978, Player struck gold with the chart-topping, feel-good smash hit co-written by Beckett and Crowley entitled “Baby Come Back.” The song was Player’s biggest single, hitting number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 10 on the soul charts. With the success of “Baby Come Back,” the self-titled debut album went platinum and the band toured extensively. When Player slowed down in the 1980s Beckett focused on film and TV projects while his bandmate Moss gained stardom playing Ridge Forrester on the CBS soap opera series The Bold And The Beautiful.

Between the years 1989-1997, Peter was a featured member of The Little River Band and has written several singles for them. Beckett and Moss reunited in 1997 and completed the fifth Player album entitled Lost In Reality. Then in 1999, they began performing again as Player, usually with all-star lineups of musicians that included members of Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, The Cars, Mister Mister and Little River Band. Now, after an almost 20-year hiatus, Player is back with a new album released in 2013 entitled Too Many Reasons. The album, which features 12 new tracks and a new acoustic version of “Baby Come Back,” was written and produced by Peter.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing Peter Beckett and asking him a few questions about his musical influences, his early career in the band Player, his songwriting career, his more memorable performances, and the new Player CD Too Many Reasons.

Q&A Session

The Creative Spotlight: Growing up in Liverpool, England when did you realize music was something you wanted to pursue? And, were there any specific bands that highly influenced your decision?

My brother sneaked me into The Cavern Club in Liverpool when I was about 16 and I got to see The Beatles play live. It was so loud and atmospheric that from that moment I was hooked. One of my favorite bands was The Escorts. I loved their Everly Brothers style harmonies and used to go see them a lot.

TCS: Tell us about when Player showcased “Baby Come Back,” a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1977, for legendary American record producer and music industry executive Clive Davis and describe how that meeting played itself out?

John Charles Crowley (vocals, keyboards, guitar) and Ronn Moss (bass, vocals) and I were set up to play a handful of songs for Clive at the Beverly Hills Hotel in the ballroom. There was just him sitting out there. We were on the stage playing acoustically. We did about three songs including “Baby Come Back”. Afterwards he took us to his suite, and after telling us that he didn’t hear a hit, he started playing us a bunch of records that he thought were hits. We were deflated. He was very polite, but also wrong (for once).

TCS: Since then “Baby Come Back” has been featured in many TV commercials, more recently to sell Swiffer Sweeper Vac and Swiffer WetJet, so how do you think that either helps or hurts Player?

At this stage of the game and the way the music business has changed, I don’t think anything can hurt. It’s all airplay and gets the song in people’s faces again.

TCS: When you were working on Player’s second album, entitled The Danger Zone, your record company asked you to tour with guitar great Eric Clapton. Can you tell us all about that experience?

I had performed with Clapton several times in England before during the John Mayall and eventually “Cream” days. We knew when we got the news that we would have to toughen up our sound somewhat to do the “Slowhand” tour. This led to the harder edged 1978 album entitled Danger Zone. This came naturally to me as I had played in some harder rock bands in England. I was asked to play with Uriah Heep at one stage but turned it down to stay in Los Angeles as I would have had to move back to London. The “Slowhand” tour was a classic and a great memory.

TCS: Can you introduce us to the current Player band lineup?

  • Peter Beckett: Vocals and Guitar
  • Ronn Moss: Bass and Vocals
  • Rob Math: Lead Guitar and Vocals
  • Jawn Starr: Keyboards
  • Jimmy Carnelli: Drummer (not shown in pic below)

TCS: What do you enjoy most about performing with Player? And, how would say Player differentiates itself from similar bands within the same genre?

We play with a lot of our contemporaries still, and one thing that’s different is we actually have some original members. Lots of name bands out touring these days have no originals. It’s crazy. Over the years we have developed a nice mix of R&B and rock in our stage show that keeps things fun and fresh.

TCS: Over the years, are there any specific Player performances that are particularly memorable for you?

I remember playing in Chicago on the Boz Scaggs’ Silk Degrees tour. We had been touring for a while as our single was going up the Billboard charts. We walked out on stage and the audience reception was much, much bigger than usual. We found out later that the record had hit number one and a lot more people knew who we were.

TCS: What are among some of the strangest venues or gigs you’ve ever played and how did it affect the overall performance?

I did a “theater in the round” one time, and what was supposed to happen was the band would start playing facing the backstage area, By the time we started singing, the stage should have turned and we should have been facing the audience. The stage never turned and we did the whole first song facing backstage. The roadies were in hysterics but they applauded at the end. Then the stage turned and things were back to normal.

TCS: Can you provide us with some background about the acoustic song “I Will” that appears on your 2013 release entitled Too Many Reasons?

I wrote that song with Steve Plunkett a few years back and it seemed to fit alongside the other songs that were chosen for the CD. It was meant to have a kind of Dave Matthews vibe.

TCS: During your career, you’ve done a fair amount of songwriting and a great deal of session work for other artists so can you share with us some of that work?

I can barely remember all of them these days, but off the top of my head I have written songs for:

  • Kenny Rogers
  • Heart
  • Olivia Newton John
  • Survivor
  • Sergio Mendes
  • The Temptations
  • Commodores
  • Janet Jackson
  • Poco
  • Little River Band
  • and many others…including Grace Slick and Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead

Some movie credits include:

  • Major League
  • The Karate Kid
  • Terminator 3
  • Dirty Dancing 2
  • Rock Star
  • Basic
  • St Elmo’s Fire (Grammy Nomination)
  • Frankie and Johnny
  • Transformers

TCS: What do the short and long term plans hold for you and Player?

I am still working on my book, Player has the new CD out entitled Too Many Reasons, we have been doing some TV including General Hospital (see video below), and a big TV show dedicated to Smokey Robinson. Additionally, Player has a big tour of Australia planned in November/December of 2014. My country band “The Limey Cowboy” will be playing live next year after I finish up the CD and get another number one.

Stay Connected

To listen to great music, check out exciting videos, discover historic pictures, and receive the latest updates about Peter and the band Player, please visit:

Song List on Too Many Reasons (2013)

Too Many Reasons - Player

  1. “Man On Fire”
  2. “Precious”
  3. “I Will”
  4. “Tell Me”
  5. “The Sins of Yesterday”
  6. “You’re My Addiction”
  7. “Too Many Reasons”
  8. “To the Extreme”
  9. “The Words You Say”
  10. “Life in Color”
  11. “A Part of Me”
  12. “Kites”
  13. “Nothin’ Like You”
  14. “Baby Come Back”

Song List on Lost In Reality (1996)

Lost-In-Reality-Player

  1. “This Is Your Life”
  2. “Without You”
  3. “Footprints In The Sand”
  4. “Something Good”
  5. “After All This Time”
  6. “Baby Come Back”
  7. “Cherry Lane”
  8. “Stand By Me”
  9. “No More Rain”
  10. “Sometimes You Got To Let Go”
  11. “Beautiful Love”
  12. “Just To Be With You”

Song List on Electric Shadow (1995)

Electric-Shadow-Player

  1. “This Is Your Life”
  2. “Without You”
  3. “Footprints in the Sand”
  4. “Something Good”
  5. “Stand by You”
  6. “No More Rain”
  7. “Every Time I Turn Around”
  8. “After All This time”
  9. “Just to Be with You”
  10. “Beautiful Love”
  11. “Baby Come Back”

Song List on Beckett (1991)

Peter-Beckett-CD

  1. “I Told You So”
  2. “My Religion”
  3. “Brother Louie”
  4. “Hangin’ By A Thread”
  5. “The Big Hurt”
  6. “How Can The Girl Refuse”
  7. “Not A Day Goes By”
  8. “The Bottom Line”
  9. “Still Of The Night”
  10. “Falling From Grace”

Song List on Spies Of Life (1982)

Spies-of-Life-Player

  1. “If Looks Could Kill”
  2. “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid”
  3. “Thank You For The Use Of Your Love”
  4. “It Only Hurts When I Breathe”
  5. “My Mind’s Made Up”
  6. “I’d Rather Be Gone”
  7. “Take Me Back”
  8. “My Survival”
  9. “Born To Be With You”
  10. “In Like Flynn”

Song List on Room With A View (1980)

Room-With-A-View-Player

  1. “Room With A View”
  2. “It’s For You”
  3. “Upside Down”
  4. “Who Do You Think You Are”
  5. “Bad News Travels Fast”
  6. “All Tied Up”
  7. “Givin’ It All”
  8. “It May Never Happen”
  9. “Tip Of The Iceberg”

Song List on Danger Zone (1978)

Peter-Beckett-CD

  1. “Love In The Danger Zone”
  2. “Silver Lining”
  3. “I Just Want To Be With You”
  4. “Forever”
  5. “I’ve Been Thinking”
  6. “Prisoner Of Your Love”
  7. “Join In The Dance”
  8. “Wait Until Tomorrow”
  9. “Let Me Down Easy”

Song List on Player (1977)

Player-Album

  1. “Come On Out”
  2. “Baby Come Back”
  3. “Goodbye (That’s All I Ever Heard)”
  4. “Melanie”
  5. “Every Which Way”
  6. “This Time I’m In It for Love”
  7. “Love Is Where You Find It”
  8. “Movin’ Up”
  9. “Cancellation”
  10. “Trying To Write a Hit Song”

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono - The Creative Spotlight

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

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