Music biog





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andy thornton Rattling Boy The Shift w Mhairi c 86 Andy WEA Norwich 14 Oct 88 Big Sur Flier Index page Writings History homepage Music Homepage Donna Home family Home

music biography


5th Sep 1958 in Sherburn-in-Elmet, Yorkshire


6' 1"




what's this got to do with it?


Blue Nile, James Taylor, Nitin Sawheny, Talvin Singh, Bruce Cockburn, Iain Archer, U2, Joan Armatrading, John Martyn


beautiful south, texas, hue & cry, reminiscing

Music qualifications

you're kidding... O Level, grade 4 oboe


Guitar, Sax, programming, percussion


Cubase, Wavelab, LM4, Spirit FX16, ASR 10, Takamine Santa Fe, Sansamp, tons of hand held percussion


Love, struggle, corruption, hope, the realm of God


keep listening for where the song wants to go, stay with it..

musical career

Wrote first song

aged 14 - "Nobody knows that I'm there" (sad or what?)

First band seen live

status quo in Bournemouth (later that year)

First love

Amanda Tull

First love song

"I eat men for breakfast"

First Band

"Dry Ice"

Their most memorable song

"Witches Parlour"

First Band to Perform Live

"Fracas" (aged 17)

Reaction to the gig

buns from the church hall thrown at the band

Their most memorable song

"Spring Morning Sunrise" ("lay it easy on my mind" - mmm mmm)

First paid gigs

light entertainment guitar novelty duet "Stonewall Griffiths" with John Griffiths (later to become a Woebegone Brother)

First recorded release

"The Last of Stonewall Griffiths" 1981 featuring guest artists Jon Magnussen & Ricky Ross, amongst others..

Outstanding Songs...

"Who Shot JR?", "The Dark Night of the Soul", "Used to be a Man", "Jammy Side Down"

Other Dundee Bands

"Ricky Ross and the Norman Tebbits of this World", "Wells Fargo and the Stage Frights"

but more seriously ... move to Glasgow...

1983 - 86: rattling the cage

"Sophisticated Pop"

6 piece featuring - amongst others, Lorraine McIntosh & Ewen Vernal, later of Deacon Blue. No releases but gig coverage in Melody Maker. First gig at Greenbelt in 1986 supporting Fat and Frantic on Sunday lunchtime. Got wet & went home thinking it was a strange event.

1986: the Shift

Short lived precursor to Big Sur retaining the influence of Mario D'Agostino on keys and joint song-writing. Did an 'interesting' 8 track demo at Ricky's house before attempting amore glamorous option...

1987 - 89: Big Sur

80's song-based pop band. Released 12" single "Please Stay". Simultaneously

'record of the week'

in Record Mirror and

"a vile disgusting whinge"

in NME. Toured UK as support to Deacon Blue in 1988. Released "Doing the Rounds" commemorative cassette & T shirt. Much radio play but never distributed seriously to shops. Andy signed to Chrysalis in 1989 as a songwriter. Demoralising experience which led to the collapse of the band due to passivity of Publishing company. Recorded songs solo then started own studio in order to get some income.

1990 - co-founder of The Late Late Service

experimental contemporary worship arts collective based round dance beats and multimedia environments. Recorded the first ever Christian Service for Radio 1 (and the second), also on Channel 4 & Channel 5 at Christmas. Released several albums through Sticky Music.

Also ran my own studio at this time. Interesting clients / collaborations:

Wambali (Malawi) / Phil White / Brian McGlynn / The Wild Goose Worship Group

I wish that I could be with you - check this Brian McGlynn track that we did together (then go see his stuff on the link above!)

1994 - recorded Victims & Criminals

Album available - click the link on the left here

1996 - moved to London

to manage Greenbelt Festivals - music dries up except for in the basement studio & pieces for 'Host' - Hackney based alternative worship group.

2000 - released The Things You Never Say

2001 - move around London, move job

campaign manager at The Giving Campaign running a new project to promote charitable giving to young people in the UK: Giving Nation. Click here to see the Giving Nation web site

2005 - move to Citizenship Foundation with Giving Nation

2005 - release Sunflower Girl album.

A tribute to Donna and songs mostly written in the period after her death. Will say more about this in time