Nicky Chinn

Nicky Chinn

Nicky Chinn born Nicholas Barry Chinn,[1] 16 May 1945,[2] London, UK) is a British songwriter and record producer. Together with Mike Chapman he had a long string of hit singles in the UK and US in the 1970s and early 1980s, including several number-one records. The duo wrote hits for such notable UK-based artists as Suzi Quatro, Mud, Sweet, Arrows ("Touch Too Much"), Racey, Smokie, Tina Turner and Huey Lewis and the News.


Chinn was born to an affluent London Jewish family that owned a string of service stations and car sales distributorships. However as a young man his talent for writing successful pop songs proved so obvious that within a month or two of his first efforts as a songwriter Chinn co-wrote with Mike d'Abo (the ex Manfred Mann lead singer) the two main songs for the hit film, There's a Girl in My Soup.

It was at this point that Chinn joined the Australian-born Chapman, who was a waiter at a night club Chinn frequented, and they decided to team up. Chapman was already a professional musician with the band Tangerine Peel and the two quickly joined up with Mickie Most's RAK label and began writing songs for a new glam rock band Sweet and their catchy compositions accounted for all the singles the band released in their early years.

Chinn's and Chapman's songwriting style was so successful with British and worldwide audiences that Sweet had an uninterrupted string of million-selling hits in the next few years. These included "Little Willy", "Wig-Wam Bam", "Block Buster!" (their first UK number one), "Ballroom Blitz", "Hell Raiser" and "Teenage Rampage". Sweet were so popular in Britain that "Ballroom Blitz" entered the UK Singles Chart at number two - an unusual feat in those days. Also "Little Willy" and "Ballroom Blitz" both went on to be top five hits in the United States.

Because Sweet wanted to move towards a harder, stripped-down style, they turned to writing their own songs[citation needed], but Chinn and Chapman achieved equal success worldwide with Suzi Quatro, for whom they wrote many hits including "Can the Can", "48 Crash" and "Devil Gate Drive". Chinn and Chapman (now known as "Chinnichap") found their next big success with Mud who had hits with a number of their compositions between 1973 and 1975, including two number ones in "Tiger Feet" and "Lonely This Christmas". Smokie became Chinn and Chapman's next project and they had a number of hit singles with them between 1975 and 1978 including the worldwide hit "Living Next Door To Alice".

In 1978 the two scored their first number one in the United States with Exile's "Kiss You All Over" and Suzi Quatro and Chris Norman (Smokie's lead singer) reached number four in the same year with their duet "Stumblin' In". In 1982 "Mickey" by Toni Basil gave the two their second American number one and in the mid-eighties they had top ten hits with Tina Turner's "Better Be Good To Me" and Huey Lewis's "Heart And Soul".

Chinn and Chapman gradually separated during the early 1980s finally splitting up in 1983. All in all however Chinn's twelve year stint with Chapman had made him cowriter of over fifty top 40 hits. In 1983 he cowrote "Dancing in the Dark", a UK hit for Kim Wilde.

During their careers Chinn and Chapman were recipients of three of the prestigious Ivor Novello Awards for songwriting including the Jimmy Kennedy award for outstanding career achievement in 1997.

During the late 1980s and throughout the 90's Chinn suffered from ill health which kept him away from writing. He returned in 2004 and started working with various writers including the Swedish hit writer Jorgen Elofsson and they wrote "You Must Have Had A Broken Heart" for Westlife's 2006 album Back Home which went to number one in the UK and many other countries.

Chinn now spends a lot of his time in Nashville working with many of the top writers there. While there he cowrote "Live Like There's No Tomorrow" recorded by Selena Gomez for her 2010 album A Year Without Rain which debuted at number 4 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart and has since gone gold. The song is also featured in her top ten box office Disney movie Ramona and Beezus.


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