|Birth name||Thomas McAleese|
|Born||(1946-09-05) 5 September 1946|
|Origin||Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire|
|Labels||EMI Columbia, CBS, Decca, EMI|
|Associated acts||Dean Ford and the Gaylords, Marmalade, Dean Ford|
|Website||Official Facebook for former Marmalade frontman Dean Ford|
Dean Ford (born Thomas McAleese on 5 September 1946) was a Scottish singer and songwriter best known for his tenure as lead vocalist and frontman of the beat pop group Marmalade from 1966 to 1974. Ford (credited as McAleese) co-wrote the group’s worldwide hit “Reflections of My Life” with fellow band member Junior Campbell. “Reflections of My Life” has sold more than two million units globally, and in 1998 the writers were awarded a Special Citation of Achievement by BMI for attaining radio broadcast performances in excess of one million in the U.S. alone.
Born in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire to Thomas sen. and Elizabeth McAleese, young Tom first began singing in public accompanying a jazz ensemble at the local Whifflet parish church dance hall. He formed his first musical group The Tonebeats at age 13, one of several he hooked up with during his teenage years. By the time he left Clifton High School in Coatbridge at age 15, he had been gaining more exposure as a featured singer. His break came after a performance with the Monarchs at the Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow in 1963, where he was seen by members of the popular east Glasgow band The Gaylords and subsequently invited to join the group.
Dean Ford and The Gaylords
Shortly thereafter, McAleese adopted his stage name (a moniker he coined by combining the names Dean Martin and Tennessee Ernie Ford) and The Gaylords were re-christened Dean Ford and the Gaylords. With hopes of achieving more commercial success, Ford and the band relocated to London in 1965.
Three years later, Marmalade, with Ford as lead singer, became the first Scottish band to score a #1 hit song on the U.K. pop singles chart., also racking up many prior and additional consecutive quality hits worldwide. In addition to his lead vocals, Ford expanded his songwriting credits, co-writing Reflections of My Life, Rainbow, My Little One, and I See The Rain and added instrumental support on harmonica and tambourine. After several lineup changes, Marmalade was reduced to three band members by 1973, with Ford being the lone founding member.
Post Marmalade career
With the dissolution of the original Marmalade, Ford embarked on a solo career and released a self-titled LP in 1975, produced by Alan Parsons. His collaboration with Parsons extended to a guest vocal appearance on Parsons’ 1978 Pyramid album. Ford also recorded one-off tracks with former Marmalade band member Hugh Nicholson.
Career in the US
After his solo album failed to chart, Ford was subsequently released by his record label. Battling alcohol addiction, he moved to Los Angeles in 1979. Virtually unknown as a recording artist in the U.S., he was unable to cash in on his earlier success with Marmalade and his alcohol dependency forced him to essentially drop out of the organized music business. With the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, Ford was sober by 1986. He turned to music again by appearing in small clubs and open-mic venues. He admits his royalties from Reflections of My Life keep him financially afloat.
Ford did not completely sever ties to his musical contemporaries. In 2003 he teamed up with a revamped The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, participating in an album tribute by well-known Scottish musicians to Glaswegian Frankie Miller, a fellow artist recovering from a brain hemorrhage. His most recent collaboration was with former Badfinger guitarist Joe Tansin in 2012, including recording a notable latter day poignant reflective version of his biggest success, “Reflections Of My Life”
With the support of crowdfunding, Ford recently completed production of a second solo album of original material entitled Feel My Heartbeat.
Ford’s solo projects are currently available on CD through his official Facebook page.
- Dean Ford
- Radio Heart/Let It Rain
- Feel My Heartbeat
Notable Songwriting Credits
|1967||I See the Rain||Campbell-McAleese||#23 Netherlands|
|1969||Reflections of My Life||Campbell-McAleese||#3 UK, #7 US-Cashbox, #10 US, #21 US-AC|
|1970||Rainbow||Campbell-McAleese||#3 UK, #7 US-AC, #51 US|
|1971||My Little One||Campbell-McAleese||#15 UK, #31 US-AC, #123 US|