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Sensational Alex Harvey Band | 1977 German Tour Poster

This is as close as I ever got to seeing the mighty — and mighty weird — SAHB.

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band remains one of the very, very few acts I never got the chance to see but sincerely wish I had. Pound for pound and dollar for dollar, I don’t think there was ever a better frontman in rock than Harvey. But aside from a couple of minor singles in the mid-’70s, they never really made a dent in North America. It’s not hard to see why. Alex’s vocals ranged from an unhinged bellow to muttering and snarling. He looked and acted like a cross between a homeless drunk and a lecherous ’50s greaser. He sang bizarre, anthemic songs about comic book characters and superheroes — when he wasn’t covering anyone and everyone from old blues artists to Tom Jones, Irving Berlin and The Osmonds. His music veered wildly between styles and genres: Slamming glam-rock one minute, Tin Pan Alley jazz the next, blues the one after that. His band included a guitar player in full harlequin makeup and often a costume. In short, he was just too freakin’ weird and dangerous for the times — even in 1975, when you could get away with pretty much anything. So, long story short, this poster from their 1977 German tour was as close as I ever got to seeing Harvey and co. And as close as I’ll ever get: Alex died in 1982 of a heart attack at the age of 47. That’s what hard living will get you, kids. For those who haven’t yet made the acquaintance of the mighty SAHB, here are some old video clips I gathered from the depths of the YouTube. You can find plenty more out there. I strongly urge you to. And if you wanna buy this poster from me, well, you could try emailing me here — but you’d have to offer me a pretty penny to part with it.