Steve James Biography

Steve James was born in 1954 into the showbiz family of famous comedian Sid James. Steve grew up in West London and his first recollection of getting hooked on music was listening to Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles on pirate radio.

He started at EMI in 1970 at the age of 16, as a quality control employee before moving on to Gooseberry Studios in Soho where he learned about life in recording studios as a tape spool operator. He stayed in that job for only one year before moving to the more well-known Chappell Studios. There he was tape operator for 18 months, and it was there that he started engineering for major artists like Shirley Bassey, Vera Lynne, Harry Secombe, Kahmal, Tony Ashton, The Jam, The SexPistols, The Rutles, Eddie and the Hotrods, The Saints, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Phil Lynot, Brian Robertson, Ginger Baker and many more..

Steve’s first real hit, which came with a Grammy nomination, was his contribution on the soundtrack to The Rutles. Others on this project were George Harrison of the Beatles, Eric Idle and Neil Innes of Monty Python, John Altman, Ricki Fataar and Ollie Hasall.

His next was a tune which most living humans know and hum to this day:  ”Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”  from The Life of Brian by Monty Python.

His first major productions were Toyah Wilcox first 3 albums, John Otway, Neil Innes from the Monty Python connection, and Peter Skellern, all of which proved to be chart successes in the UK at the time.

Steve first came to Australia to do 2 movie soundtracks: Sons of Steel and Young Einstein. He loved the experience so much he stayed. This led to his discovery of a band of guys and what is probably his most enduring and famous of collaborations, for Steve was to produce all the chart-topping records of The Screaming Jets, one of Australia finest rock bands, and a huge national phenomenon; and this achievement led him on to working with The Angels and Cold Chisel.

After these successes, which cemented Steve James as part of Australian Rock history, he decided to move to LA for 2 years, where he continued to work with various acts including The Screaming Jets who had also moved there for a period.

After getting married to wife Jo in Vegas, it was back to the UK to work with singer Paul Young on an unplugged album, Kiki Dee, and then another Rutles album.

As a favour to a close relative, Steve produced a project which no-one paid much mind to at the time, a children’s show called the Teletubbies, which of course went on to become a worldwide smash.

After his first son was born, Steve and his wife Jo decided to return to Australia to bring up their family. Such were his credentials that he virtually walked off the plane and into ACDC’s Albert’s Studio where he collaborated with an unknown band called Oblivia. Their single ‘My Friend’ won Steve the Arias for ‘Producer of the Year’ and ‘Engineer of the Year’.

After his Aria success he produced critically acclaimed albums ‘The Go’ by Sydney band Skunkhour and ‘Geographica’ by Kiwi band Wetta

Since then, Steve has worked with the McClymonts, Airbourne, Diana Anaid, Jesso, Charlie Keller and many more.