On the road again: Chris Rea on his long drive to the top

James Hanley

It still boggles the mind that Chris Rea – one of the finest British guitarists of his generation – didn’t start playing the instrument until his early 20s.

But then, the Middlesbrough-born 66-year-old’s career has always been on the unorthodox side. His debut LP, Whatever Happened To Benny Santini?, was released in 1978, but it was another decade before he achieved his first Top 10 single, courtesy of 1989’s The Road To Hell.

“I never had a big ego and ...

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