Stephen Morgan Fisher (born 1 January 1950, Mayfair, London) is an English keyboard player and composer, and is most known as a member of Mott The Hoople in the early 1970s.
From 1966 to 1970, Fisher played the organ with the soul / pop band, The Soul Survivors, who in 1967 renamed themselves Love Affair. They had a number one hit single in 1968 with "Everlasting Love", while Fisher was taking a break from the band to complete his final year at Hendon County Grammar school.
From 1973 to 1976, after a brief liaison with Third Ear Band, he joined British rock band Mott The Hoople. Meanwhile, Fisher contributed keyboards to John Fiddler's Medicine Head, and when Mott folded, Fisher invited Fiddler to join the remaining members of Mott in what would become British Lions. From 1977 to 1979, the Lions recorded two albums, and three singles.
In 1980, Fisher conceived and produced the unique 'Miniatures' album (51 one-minute tracks by Robert Fripp, Gavin Bryars, Michael Nyman, The Pretenders, XTC, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Robert Wyatt, Ivor Cutler, The Damned, etc.). A sequel was released in 2000. In addition he played with Queen on their 1982 tour of Europe. In 1985, Fisher moved to Japan, and started to make ambient and improvised music. (Read more at Wikipedia.)
Links to Peel
Fisher's varied career in music first intersects with Peel's at the BBC in 1968. The keyboard player was a former (and future) member of Love Affair, the chart-topping band when the DJ made his disastrous debut appearance on Top Of The Pops (see 01 February 1968 (TOTP)). At the time the band were controversial, having been heavily criticised in both the British music papers and the national press when it was revealed that they hadn't played on their hit, leaving the instrumental duties to session musicians. This made them anathema to Peel's Top Gear audience, who regarded them as a teenybopper outfit, but Fisher established his musical credibilty after Love Affair split up.
While perhaps best known as a member of Mott The Hoople, Fisher also played with other Peel session bands of the 1970s, including Third Ear Band, Dandelion label mainstays Medicine Head and British Lions (with other members including ex-Mott drummer and future Peel sessions producer Dale Griffin). In 1980, he also hooked up with former Dandelion Records saxophonist Lol Coxhill for the LP 'Slow Music'.
In the post-punk era, the DJ immediately picked up on Fisher's home-recorded LP ' Hybrid Kids - A Collection Of Classic Mutants', released by Cherry Red in 1979. Influenced by the Residents, this was a lo-fi selection of re-imagined cover versions of popular chart hits supposedly performed by undiscovered bands, who were in fact Fisher himself playing in a variety of styles and aliases. The version of Rod Stewart #1 'D'Ya Think I'm Sexy' by 'British Standard Unit' seems to have particularly appealed to covers connoisseur Peel. A Christmas-themed follow-up LP, 'Claws', was released the following year.
Another unusual release also played by Peel was the eclectic 1980 various artists compilation LP 'Miniatures (A Sequence Of Fifty-One Tiny Masterpieces Edited By Morgan-Fisher)', which no doubt appealed to the DJ's preference for brevity. To assemble tracks, Fisher had sent 60-second mini-cassettes with letters asking for recorded contributions to the project to a variety of potential performers (many with strong Peel links). Among the replies, comedian Norman Lovett sent back a number entitled 'John Peel Sings The Blues Badly', lampooning the DJ. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this wasn't among the four consecutive tracks Peel played from the album on 14 October 1980. In 2003, Peel played tunes from Grandmaster Gareth's album with a similar time restriction, 'Introduction To Minute Melodies'.
Peel isn't known to have played any of Fisher's later releases of more meditative music.
Festive Fifty Entries
- None under own name.
- One session with Medicine Head (#10, recorded 1977-04-27), one with British Lions (only session, recorded 1978-05-10).
Other Shows Played
- Hybrid Kids
(LP - Hybrid Kids - A Collection Of Classic Mutants) Cherry Red, 1979
(All tracks below appear on the album, each performed by Morgan Fisher, with credited artists and related singles releases as listed.)
- 04 December 1979: Kapital Punischment: Save Your Kisses For Me
- 05 December 1979 (Virgin In-Store): Kapital Punischment: Save Your Kisses For Me
- 11 December 1979: British Standard Unit: D'Ya Think I'm Sexy
- 12 December 1979: Burtons: MacArthur Park
- 15 December 1979 (BFBS): Kapital Punischment: Save Your Kisses For Me
- 06 March 1980: Burtons: McArthur Park (split single with Jah Wurzel - 7") Cherry Red
- 24 June 1980: Hybrid Kids: D'ya Think I'm Sexy? (7") Cherry Red
- 26 February 1993: Hybrid Kids: 'D'Ya Think I'm Sexy (7") Cherry Red
(LP - Claws) Cherry Red, 1980
(All tracks credited to "Hybrid Kids".)
- 13 December 1980 (BFBS): O, Come All Ye Faithful (album - Claws) Cherry Red B·RED·11
- 15 December 1981: Holly And The Ivy (album - Claws) Cherry Red B·RED·11
- 27 December 1981 (BFBS): O, Come All Ye Faithful (album - Claws) Cherry Red B·RED·11
- 'Minatures' compilation
(v/a LP - Miniatures (A Sequence Of Fifty-One Tiny Masterpieces Edited By Morgan-Fisher)) Pipe, 1980
(Morgan Fisher credited as "Morgan-Fisher".)
- 14 October 1980: Ollie Halsall & John Halsey: Bum Love
- 14 October 1980: Residents: We're A Happy Family / Bali Ha'i
- 14 October 1980: Roger McGough: The Wreck Of The Hesperus
- 14 October 1980: Morgan-Fisher: Green And Pleasant
- Official site
- Morgan Fisher Story - Interview by Iain McNay - 2008 (Cherry Red TV, via YouTube)
- See Peel On Record.