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Ian Gomm is a British singer-songwriter who is also known as a former guitarist for the pub rock/classic rock band Brinsley Schwarz. He started his music career in the early 1960s as a band member of Unit form, which he formed with his schoolmates and did lead/rhythm guitar and vocals. He also used to work at EMI studios in engineering and mechanical departments. During the early 70s music scene Gomm played rhythm guitar for Brinsley Schwarz; because of his talent and versatility he was named “Best Rhythm Guitarist” by the UK music publication NME, in 1971. After Brinsley Schwarz broke up, Gomm relocated to Wales where he built his own recording studio where he shared sessions with Amon Duul, The Stranglers, and Alexis Korner, among others. In the late 1970s Gomm launched a solo career. He co-wrote Nick Lowe’s single “Cruel To Be Kind” in 1979 and his own single “Hold On” was sizable hit in both his homeland and in the US, making it an obscure oldies music item. Gomm has still been actively writing, producing and recording songs, the last of which he did for an album project called Only Time Will Tell in 2010.
As an engineer for EMI Records and part-time musician
British singer-songwriter and guitarist Ian Gomm was born in Chiswick in West London on March 28, 1947.
Gomm started his music career as an apprentice in EMI Studio’s engineering and mechanical departments during the early 1960s. During around the same time he formed an act called Unit 4. His other band members (and also schoolmates at Ealing County School for Boys) included bassist Martin Davis and drummer Simon Behar. Frank Kennington later joined the group and was made as their lead vocalist. Mick Liber (formerly of Frankie Reid & the Casuals and Clay Allison & the Searchers) also joined Unit 4 but this line-up proved to be short-lived. After Kennington departed to live in Australia, Unit 4 dissolved. Gomm also played for several R&B-inspired combos who were able to find an opening slot for many hot bands during his day: The Who, the Move and Pink Floyd.
As a guitarist for Brinsley Schwarz
By 1970 Gomm quit his engineering job at EMI to focus on music full time. Not long after he quit at EMI, Gomm was playing for Brinsley Schwarz which was named after their guitarist (who else) Brinsley Schwarz. Aside from Gomm and Schwarz, the band also consisted of Nick Lowe (bass and vocals), Bob Andrews (keyboards) and Billy Rankin (drums). Gomm was the group’s singer, songwriter and guitarist.
Because of Gomm’s unique talent and versatility, he was a great force in transitioning Brinsley Schwarz from a folk country rock outfit to one of the seminal pub rock bands in Great Britain. From 1970 to 1974 Schwarz was adjudged by NME as the “Best Rhythm Guitarist.”
Solo career and biggest hit with “Hold On”
In 1974 Gomm was finally able to build his own studio in Wales, and there he got to collaborate some of the musicians that included The Stranglers, Amon Duul and Alexis Korner. Gomm also went solo in 1978 and released his first album Summer Holiday. The song’s album “Hold On” peaked at #18 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and #10 on the Billboard adult contemporary singles chart in 1979. It also reached #44 in Canada. The hit also led Gomm to secure a supporting slot for Dire Straits in their Sultans of Swing tour.
Later music career
Gomm and Lowe (who had also started a solo career) co-wrote “Cruel to Be Kind.” It gave Lowe a big hit in both sides of the Atlantic in 1979, peaking at #12 on both US and UK charts that summer.
Gomm went on to release albums What a Blow, The Village Voice and Images in the 1980s. He spent the rest of the decade building a new recording studio called Mountain Sound and penning more new material. Producing and engineering kept Gomm out of the spotlight until 1997 when he released another album Crazy for You. Three years later he trooped back to the studio with Jeff “Stick” Davis and Pat Meheny to record and release Rock ‘N’ Roll Heart in 2002.
In 2010 Gomm released another album Only Time Will Tell with American singer-songwriter Jeb Loy Nichols on Relaxa Records. It was recorded in Wales and mixed in Nashville, Tennessee.