He’s been rock megastars Queen’s ‘fifth man’ since the mid-1980s, but has also played with a dizzying array of other big names.
Now Portsmouth-born musician Spike Edney has put together an exhibition charting his career using his extensive personal collection of memorabilia.
I was expecting them to be full of moth holes, but they’re not bad at allSpike Edney
Starting out with local bands The Monk and Smiling Hard, the multi-instrumentalist soon progressed to playing with American soul legends Ben E King and Edwin Starr.
He would later play with the likes of Duran Duran, Dexy’s Midnight Runners and The Boomtown Rats, before joining the Bohemian Rhapsody hitmakers for their commercial peak.
Edney came across bags full of old gear when he was clearing out the attic. He said: ‘We got it all out, and saw what we had. We were taking photos and cataloguing it all, and I realised I had kept so much of the stage clothes from the ’70s – my mum made me a lot of them, they were tailor-made by her and I had kept everything.
‘I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away at the time and I was expecting them to be full of moth holes, but they’re not bad at all.
‘I’ve also kept memorabilia, T-shirts and brochures from all the other tours when I was working as a hired gun in the ’80s. Then of course there’s all the stuff from when I’ve been with Queen – brochures, T-shirts, some pictures.
‘But you put it all together and it’s a collection from a life in music from the mid-’60s.’
It was at this point that fate intervened.
‘Wishing out loud, we said ‘‘wouldn’t it be great if we could put it on show somewhere?’’ Literally a day or two later the phone rings and it’s Portsmouth Guildhall – ‘‘would you like to contribute to Access All Areas?’’
‘While we were trying to work out what to do with this, the universe changed and this opportunity came up.’
In recent years, as well as remaining part of the touring Queen line-up, Edney has had his own group, Spike’s All Star Band. They play at Portsmouth Guildhall on December 8. From Landport to Live Aid is now on at Access All Areas: The Portsmouth Music Experience at Portsmouth Guildhall.
n See The News on Saturday for a full interview with Spike.