Snowy White was delighted when ‘Bird Of Paradise’ was a big hit back in January 1984. His record soared to Number 6 in the UK charts, sharing the limelight with Frankie Goes To Hollywood. But for the guitarist who had started out as an 18 year blues fan, chart success presented a dilemma. Was pop stardom really what he most desired in life?
“When I had a hit single with ‘Bird Of Paradise’ it was a big surprise,” says Snowy, now aged 61 and still performing. “I never thought it would get any airplay.” But White was too modest. A highly regarded session guitarist he was the first choice of bands like Pink Floyd and Thin Lizzy. Having stab at the charts was a just reward. But Snowy was happier forming his own bands and going back to his roots – playing the blues.
Born Terence White on March 3, 1948 in Barnstaple. Devon he was brought up on the Isle Of Wight. He gained the nickname ‘Snowy’ at school because of his white hair. His father was a dance band leader and Terry began playing guitar at the age of eleven.
Leaving school he headed to London with his Fender guitar and a 50 watt amplifier. Then aged 18 he travelled to Sweden with a friend. As well as meeting Swedish girls he also discovered the 1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop guitar that became a lifelong companion
He began playing sessions with such artists as Joan Armatrading, Linda Lewis
Cliff Richard, Jonathan Kelly, Cockney Rebel and Al Stewart. Pink Floyd invited him to play on the Floyd’s ‘Animals’ tour in 1977-78. He was also featured in the stage show for ‘The Wall’ in the Eighties and again during its recent revival.
After touring and recording with Thin Lizzy Snowy became a bandleader, forming a group with drummer Richard Bailey and bassist Kuma Harada. He released ‘White Flames’ in 1983 that yielded hit single ‘Bird Of Paradise. ’
Snowy’s later White Flames band included Dutch musicians Juan Van Emmerloot (drums) and Walter Latupeirissa (bass). Their albums included ‘No Faith Required’ (1996), ‘Little Wing’ (1998) and ‘Keep Out: We Are Toxic’ (1999). They are featured on a 2009 ‘Best Of’ compilation. In 2005 he reformed his four piece and released ‘The Way It Is’ with Richard Bailey (drums), Walter Latupeirissa (bass) and Max Middleton (keyboards). He also runs the Blues Project and in recent years Snowy has toured the world with the Roger Waters band.