Northern Lights Renaissance



” Northern Lights ” is by Renaissance, the English progressive rock band. The band developed a unique sound by fusing elements of classical, folk, rock and jazz with a female lead vocalist.
The use of the extensive vocal range of Annie Haslam and the distinctive piano accompaniment was enhanced even further by the orchestral arrangements, the band’s vocal harmonies, acoustic and bass guitar, synthesiser and the versatile use of drums on the songs Renaissance produced during their long career.
The group consisted of Annie Haslam on lead and backing vocals, Jon Camp on bass and backing vocals, Michael Dunford on acoustic guitar (6 and 12 string) and electric guitar, John Tout on keyboards, Terry Sullivan on drums and percussion.
” Northern Lights ” was released on the 2nd of June 1978 by record labels Warner Bros and Sire ( both part of the Warner Music Group ) and taken from their eighth album, A Song for All Seasons.
The album, released in March 1978, reached number fifty-eight on the Billboard 200 in the United States, number thirty-five on the UK Album Chart and forty-five on the Canada RPM100 Albums Chart. It was produced by David Hentschel, the English music producer, film composer and recording engineer. He engineered the albums, All Things Must Pass for George Harrison and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road for Elton John.
” Northern Lights ” was written by Betty Thatcher-Newsinger and Michael Dunford. Betty was born in London and wrote most of the lyrics for the group’s songs. Michael Dunford would send Betty tapes of his compositions when he didn’t have time to play them in person. He said of her writing ability ” she writes amazingly quickly… three days later I get these stunning lyrics back in the post! ”
Betty died of cancer on the 15th of August 2011 in Hayle, a small town in west Cornwall, England.
Michael Dunford wrote the music for ” Northern Lights “. He was the lead guitarist of The Nashville Teens between 1962 to 1963. The group formed in Surrey, a country in England, in 1962. The Nashville Teens are best known for their hit single ” Tobacco Road ” which made the Top Twenty on the Billboard Hot 100 and number ten on the UK Singles Chart in 1964.
Michael died from a cerebral haemorrhage ( uncontrolled bleeding in the brain ) on the 20th of November 2012 at his home in Surrey, England.
Lyrically ” Northern Lights ” makes no mention of the natural phenomenon Aurora Borealis ( Northern Lights ), the natural light show’s name came from Galileo in 1619. Named after the Roman goddess of the dawn and the Greek name for the north wind.
Annie Haslam explained what the lyrics meant in an interview with ” The song is about leaving the Northern Lights of England… and Roy Wood behind when I was working over in the U.S. ”
Roy Wood was a founding member of The Move, ELO ( The Electric Light Orchestra ) and Wizzard. He had a four-year relationship with Annie Haslam.
” Northern Lights ” was a commercial success for Renaissance. The song entered the UK Singles Chart on the 15th of July 1978 and reached a peak of number ten. It spent one week in the Top Ten and a total of eleven weeks on the UK chart.

BillBoard Hot 100 Highest Chart Position: N/A

UK Highest Chart Position: 10

Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: Ireland 9

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