Mike Moran

Biography by

Keyboard player/composer/producer Mike Moran was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, in 1948. Although he grew up amid the 1960s British beat boom, he was more serious about music than most teenagers,…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

Keyboard player/composer/producer Mike Moran was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, in 1948. Although he grew up amid the 1960s British beat boom, he was more serious about music than most teenagers, and enrolled at the Royal College of Music. He became a session musician in the late '60s and soon entered the orbit of producer Gus Dudgeon, who used him on John Kongos' self-titled 1971 album -- indeed, with a lineup that featured most of the players from Elton John's recent Dudgeon-produced Madman Across the Water (among them Ray Cooper, Caleb Quaye, Dave Glover, and Roger Pope), Moran was virtually subbing for John himself as the keyboard man on the sessions (which included some very early and prominent use of the ARP synthesizer). He was part of Michael d'Abo's second solo album, Down at Rachel's Place (1972), and brushed up against the English folk-rock scene of the early '70s with sessions for Harvey Andrews and Dave Cartwright. But by the mid-'70s, the list of recordings on which he participated read like a who's who of British pop/rock, including Allan Clarke, work with whom moved him into the orbit of composer/producer/singers Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, Kevin Ayers, Roger Glover, Rick Springfield, Ray Thomas, and Albert Hammond, plus a stint with the Ian Gillan Band. For a sample of his range, one could take in his work on the searingly loud funk of the Gillan band's Child in Time and then the deceptively lyrical yet unobtrusive work he did for Ray Thomas on Hopes, Wishes & Dreams, done the very same year. It was the following year, however, that Moran suddenly became a well-known figure beyond the ranks of his fellow musicians, through his co-authoring with Lynsey de Paul of the song "Rock Bottom," which made a strong showing in the Eurovision Song Contest that year, and became a hit in several European countries (though not in the U.K.). Thus began an extended musical partnership between Moran and de Paul, who went on to collaborate on "Let Your Body Go Downtown" and "Going to a Disco," among other successful songs.

Increasingly, Moran's work also included writing arrangements for recordings by Madeline Bell and British popster David Dundas, among others. Moran played on behalf of artists across several generations and innumerable genres as the '70s wore on, including Elliott Murphy, Rosemary Clooney (on her British album, produced by Del Newman), Chris de Burgh, Colin Blunstone, Evelyn Thomas, and Kate Bush. (Indeed, he and his keyboards could well be the one degree of separation between Rosemary Clooney and Kate Bush). By the 1980s he had added names from the rarefied top strata of English pop/rock, including George Harrison and Mick Fleetwood, to the list of artists for whom he had played. Additionally, he had moved by then into film scoring, partly through his connection to Harrison, on the movie Time Bandits and then The Missionary. Moran was also the musical director for the children's music television showcase Get It Together. He returned to the Eurovision competition in 1990 with "That Old Feeling Again" by Stephen Lee Garden. He has also composed such songs as "Barcelona" for Freddie Mercury, "No Mean City" (sung by Maggie Bell), the theme to the U.K. crime series Taggart, and "It's Alright" for the series New Tricks, sung by Dennis Waterman. As a producer, he has worked on The Queen Album and Elaine Paige's Piaf, among other projects.