British pop-jazz-blues crooner Elkie Brooks (born Elaine Bookbinder) dominated U.K. radio in the late '70s with a series of hit singles that established her as "the biggest-selling female album artist in the history of the British pop charts." The Manchester native, who grew up in an extremely musical family, left school at the age of 15 to join a dance band in London.
She eventually mad the jump to radio, as well as numerous appearances with legendary jazz bandleader Humphrey Lyttelton, before embarking on a career in pop music. The early '60s saw the budding young singer releasing singles for Decca and EMI, as well as opening for everyone from Carl Perkins to the Beatles, but commercial success remained elusive. She joined the blues-rock band Dada in 1970, which would eventually find success through a name change (Vinegar Joe) and the arrival of a new vocalist, Robert Palmer. The popular group released three beloved records before disbanding in 1974, and after a brief stint with U.S. Southern rock band Wet Willie, Brooks decided to take another crack at a solo career. The resulting Rich Man's Woman, Two Days Away, Shooting Star, Live & Learn, Pearls, and Pearls II, as well as frequent sold-out tours and numerous silver, gold, and platinum recordings, would go on to cement her reputation well into the 21st century. ~ James Christopher Monger