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Before he sang lead for the Alan Parsons Project, Chris Rainbow had embarked on a solo career in 1974. For six years, he recorded in the U.K. for EMI Records and Polydor Records, and he also acted as producer and wrote his own material. His first experience in a band occurred just two years before he went solo, in his hometown of Glasgow in a group known as Hope Street. He and his bandmates had been given a contract to record and publish with a London company; but in 1973, Polydor's Nicky Graham heard a demo of a trio of Rainbow's self-penned numbers and he secured his own four-year contract thanks to Norman Jones, a friend of the singer's who submitted the tape. In addition to his recording deal with Polydor, Rainbow signed a deal to publish with Warner Bros. U.K. Jones, who changed his name to Van Den Berg, took on the task of managing his friend's career, and Rainbow — a pseudonym the artist adopted in 1974 — went on to put out two albums with Polydor, Looking Over My Shoulder and Home of the Brave. Five singles followed: "Living in the World Today," "All Night," "Mr. Man," "Give Me What I Cry For," and "Solid State Brain." When Jones relocated to California in 1977, Rainbow hired David Knights, formerly of Procol Harum. Knights remained Rainbow's manager through 1986. During this time, Rainbow also wrote advertising jingles for BBC Radio One and Capitol Radio.
In 1978, his contract with Polydor ended and within a week he joined the stable at EMI. The company released his White Trails album and the singles "Body Music" and "Ring Ring." Soon, however, EMI started to scrutinize the bottom line and Rainbow was one of a good number of artists dropped by the company. He hooked up with the Alan Parsons Project in 1980 and remained with the band for about a decade. He also devoted two years to New Life with Jon Anderson, who formerly was with Yes, and a similar amount of time to Camel and Andy Latimer. From 1986 through 1998, Rainbow produced records in Scotland. He also performed session work during this time for such artists as Parsons, Elaine Paige, Culture Club, Eric Woolfson, Lenny Zakatek, and Tomoyasu Hotei. In addition, Rainbow provided lead vocals on five numbers included on the Ton Scherpenzeel album, Heart of the Universe, from CNR Records in 1984. He also spent almost two decades working as producer for Runrig, a group that performs Scottish-Gaelic rock. The River Detectives, another group from Scotland, also worked closely with Rainbow. His Vital Spark Music label issued the band's Elvis Has Left the Building album in 1993. Rainbow, whose birth name is Chris Harley, started recording again as a solo performer in 2000, and the result is the album In a Perfect World which hit store shelves during the summer of 2001. The singer/songwriter suffers from a stammer, which has not interfered with his singing. He initially studied graphic arts during the 1960s before turning to music.