“Most kids dream of being a pop star
I have lived my dream,
I AM THE Queen of Hi-NRG!”
Hazell established a formidable reputation as “Queen of the British Clubs” scoring a succession of massive club and dance hits which crossed successfully into the mainstream charts during the 1980’s.
Hazell Dean’s musical career began while she was still at school: her first band was called The Vandals and she played rhythm guitar. She was also an accomplished drummer and keyboard player and was soon being noticed for her great voice.
Although Hazell did not have her first hit until 1984, she had already paid her dues and demands as a singer, writer and performer-her professional singing career started back in the 70’s:
“I always wanted to be a successful recording artist. No compromise, and I knew I would achieve that through sheer determination and hard work.”
She left Essex to take up her first professional residency with a dance band in Stoke-on-Trent, appearing with some of the best-known dance bands of the 1970s including The Andy Ross Band, with whom she performed regularly at London’s Lyceum Theatre.
Her manager Victor Billings had also worked with Dusty Springfield and Kiki Dee – he recognised Hazell’s star quality when he saw her perform at the Royal Albert Hall in 1976 in her ‘Song For Europe’ bid to represent the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Hazell supported the New Seekers on a UK tour, taking to the stage for the first time as a solo artist.
By this time, she had started to write and record, and it was whilst signed to DECCA Records that she had her first success on the Northern Soul scene and was spotted by Ian Anthony Stevens, writer of Hi-NRG anthem ‘Searchin’ (I gotta find a man)’.
The single stormed the club charts across Europe, America and (eventually) the UK, becoming a gay club mega anthem along the way. After making her debut at Heaven in 1984, Hazell’s career-long love affair with the LGBTQ+ club scene and community began in earnest.
Hazell developed her singing style by performing pop and soul numbers – gaining confidence after hearing her voice recorded and professionally produced. She eventually started veering towards dance music.
In February 1984 she had her first chart entry with double A-side “Evergreen” / ”Jealous Love” ,which made the UK Top 75, two months later Hazell was back in the pop charts with her electrifying recording of “Searchin” (I Gotta Find A man) (proto records)which sailed in at number 6 and remained in the top 75 for 15 weeks:
“’Searchin’ was successful upon its initial launch in Europe in 1983.However, it was re-released in 1984 after I had entered the ‘Song for Europe’ contest.
Proto and I decided that if I didn’t win the competition (and thankfully I didn’t) we would re-release ‘Searchin’,’ which is exactly what we did.
There was already demand for the single via the gay clubs, and through hard work and a massive amount of personal appearances, it started to chart and grow.”
“Searchin’ looking for love……..”
Hazell made her Gay club debut at “Heaven” in London – and things were never to be the same again:
“Everything changed with that show. I could hear the audience chanting my name…and I loved it!”
The success of ‘Searchin’ led Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman to pen the follow-up ‘Whatever I Do’, which became SAW’s first top 5 hit.
Hazell was one of the first artists to work with the top writing and production team of Stock/Aitken/Waterman (who subsequently had over a hundred Top 40 hits) and her recording of What Ever I Do ( Wherever I Go) provided them with their first all-important Top 10 Hit:
“I was very high on the charts with ‘Searchin’’ and by fluke met Pete Waterman when he was visiting Proto Records one day.
He asked me what I had in mind for a follow-up. He suggested I meet Matt and Mike, who played me the Divine track ‘You Think You’re A Man’ – I loved it! “
Between then and the end of the 80’s Hazell became a chart regular thanks to singles such as
• What Ever I Do (#4)
• Back In My Arms (#41)
• No Fool For Love (#41)
• They Say It’s Gonna Rain (#58)
• Who’s Leaving Who (#4)
• Maybe (#15)
• Turn It Into Love (#21)
• Love Pains (#48)
Unlike many of Stock/Aitken/Waterman stable at that time – Hazell Dean achieved massive worldwide success, having chart hits across Europe, South Africa, Australia, and the Far East.
However, much of Hazell’s success was achieved in America.
With Searchin’ topping the Dance Charts for consecutive 5 weeks,” Love Pains” was voted best HI NRG remix ’89 and although it was to be her last release with Stock Aitken & Waterman “Better Off Without You” was voted best commercial 12″ single 1991.
Along with being voted best female performer in the prestigious Club Mirror Awards and best live performer three times by the Federation of American DanceClubs.
The single “They Say It’s Gonna Rain” became a Miami Anthem and proved to be a massively successful with the Florida dance radio stations.
It Topped the Chart in South Africa for a staggering 18 weeks, and remains an anthem there as it uniquely features a Zulu rain chant.
Since 1991 Hazell has worked on both production and song writing with credits including-
• Bad Boys Inc (A and M Records)
• Upside Down (World Records)
• Gemini (EMI Records)
All Ian Levine/Hazell Dean collabourations
Other covers include
• Joli Otis (Avex-Japan)
• The Nolan’s (Avex-Japan)
• France Joil (USA)
• Patricia Paay (Holland)
• Kim Weston -Mary Johnson-Miguel Brown-Dollar-Rose Marie and boy band Men 2 B (President Records)
• A Duet of Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves with America Diva Marina (MRK Records)
Hazell had also been recording her own songs which featured on her hits album “Heart First” (Proto Records) and “Always” (EMI Records).
In December 2012 Hazell appeared as part of the PWL line up at The O2 Arena London for “The Hit Factory Live”, an experience she counts as one of the best in her career:
“Everything had come full circle. To perform in an arena of that size is always special, but to perform in an arena in your ‘home’ is amazing! I cannot describe the feeling of walking onto that stage – it was spectacular.
It was packed! I had friends and family there, plus of course my PWL peers. I came off stage and walked straight into Pete Waterman’s arms.
It was magical and it was emotional, and I don’t know if I will ever experience anything like that again.”
Her Greatest Hits proved to be one of the best sellers in the EMI Gold collection. She has also had two further releases of the back catalogue with Cherry Pop, who re-released both “Heart First” and “Always”.
Cherry Pop also released “Evergreen” a definitive collection of Hazell’s hits in December 2013, a CD much in demand from her fans.
A previously unreleased CD version of a 1970’s album of Bacharach & David songs followed, again proving popular with her dedicated fanbase, and to those who dint know her earlier recordings.
Hazell continued to record, and released an album titled “In the Name Of…” With an independent label in 2013.
The collaboration between Hazell, and her long time “Dean & Ware” production partner, Pete Ware, along with and Dutch remixer, Matt Pop gave a new lease of life to some of Hazell’s personal favourite tracks, and once again proved to be a hit with the fans.
Starting with a cover of the Sharon Redd Classic “In The Name of Love” followed closely by “Shattered Glass” Hazells singles proved her spectacular vocals were in as much a demand as ever.
A cover of Dame Shirley Bassey’s “This Is My Life” became a Pride anthem, with the Pat Benetar “We Belong” taking everyone by surprise in its popularity.
August 2014 saw the release of a truly classic Dusty Springfield track “I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten” which once again gives the fans what they want – Miss Deans soaring vocals. The track went straight into the EURO-HiNRG Club Pop Dance Top 50 Singles and No 1 and which stayed in the No 1 position for two months in a row.
February 2015 and another single, “24 Hours” a Hi-NRG/Dance version of the Gene Pitney (and Dusty Springfield!) classic “24 Hours from Tulsa”, which went immediately into the Euro HiNRG chart.
Hazell’s album release (June 2015) “NIGHTLIFE” is a fantastic mixture of covers and original songs written/co-written by the Diva herself (with one song written by a music graduate of Bath University – Hazell’s nephew, Josh Read).
Dean & Ware are particularly proud of this body of work, which was immediately hailed by fans as possibly her best studio album to date!
“EVERGREEN/JUDGEMENT DAY” released July 2016.
Featured a special Tribute Mix dedicated to Hazells late mother, plus a stomping club remix by Matt Pop. This EP also features and extended mix of “JUDGEMENT DAY” taken from “NIGHTLIFE” both written by Hazell herself.
December 2016 saw the release of a festive Hazell Dean EP: “HAPPY NEW YEAR & THE WAY OLD FRIENDS DO”.
This was the first single from Hazells “RE:VISITED” album
“RE:VISITED” was released in February 2017
Due to demand for longer re-mixes “RE:EXTENDED” was released in May 2017, and was followed in March 2018 with a Four Disc Box Set “HAZELL DEAN – COLLECTED.
The Queen of HiNRG reigns supreme!
Hazell continued to perform live around the world (South Africa, Japan, and back to South Africa for REWIND in February 2015) and took part in Pete Waterman’s “Life in Song” at The Royal Festival Hall, London on 29th July 2015. A celebration of the musical history of The Hitman himself.
Hazell joined REWIND The 80s Festival – the world’s biggest 80s music festival, appearing at the three UK festivals during July and August 2016.
On the 20th March 2017 Hazell joined her 80’s peers in support of Comic Relief, and performed a classic Dean & Ware version of “Searchin‘” live on Radio 2 “Hits of The 80’s” hosted by Radio 1’s Scott Mills to give encouragement to Sara Cox during her epic 24 hour Dance-a-thon, which raised over £ ONE MILLION for charities in the UK and abroad.
Hazell was delighted to join the line up at Let’s Rock – The Retro Festival 2018, as part of the line-up for The Retrobates Party Live and continued to appear regularly appeared at festivals all over the UK.
31st January 2020 – Cherry Red Records release a new double CD Deluxe Edition of “Heart First” Hazell’s classic 1984 debut album.
This Deluxe 2 Edition also boasts an expanded 20-page booklet including an brand new track-by-track commentary from Hazell, an illustrated discography, additional photos and lyrics, and a fantastic remix on the title track by Matt Pop.
The first album project for legendary production and song writing powerhouse Stock Aitken Waterman, “Heart First” features the classic hits ‘Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go)’ (UK #4), ‘Back in My Arms (Once Again)’ and ‘No Fool (For Love)’ (both UK #41) alongside the previous signature smash ‘Searchin’’ (UK #6), a collaboration with another mainstay of the Hi-NRG scene, Ian Anthony Stephens.
“Things just dont seem to be slowing down!”
And of course, Hazell’s popularity on the global gay scene remained undiminished.
After Hazell’s track “Whatever I Do (Wherever I go)” was featured in the ground breaking Channel 4 drama “it’s a Sin” which focused on the AIDS in the early 1980’’s the prejudice faced by those affected during this dark period in LGBTQ+ history the writer commented on the inclusion of Hazell in the shows soundtrack:
“I wanted those women in there – the Kelly Maries and the Hazell Deans – because when the Aids crisis came along, they kept coming to the gay clubs. They would turn up and perform at 2am and that was their life for decades.
They never abandoned their gay fanbase, they never turned away. They hugged people when you were being told not to. Those women are soldiers.” – Russell T Davies
“There’s been a mutual loyalty over the years. The gay audience has stuck by me throughout and I have been an equal constant.
The gay audience appreciates a good voice. My audience isn’t exclusively gay, but I guess it’s a very high proportion, and for that I am very grateful”
Hazell has appeared at Pride events around the world since 1984: London Paris, New York, Amsterdam, Stockholm to name but a few. She continues to a true LGBTQ+ Ally and was proud to be recognised as an “Icon of Pride” in 2019 by Chester Pride.
In 2020 Hazell became a patron of Pride in Surrey and was also nominated in two categories of the ITV National Diversity Awards – Lifetime Achiever and Positive Role Model.
“In the current climate, with a dramatic increase in hate crimes towards the LGBTQ community reported in the UK and other countries, it is so important to show our visibility locally, and especially to actively support our Trans family”
Hazell is proud to be included in the The Pride Power List 2020 & 2021 – The definitive guide to the 100 most influential people in the LGBTQI community who are dedicated to working towards true LGBTQI + equality and inclusion.
Hazell made her last Pride appearance at Hasting Pride on 29th August 2021.
She retired completely from live performance with two truly phenomenal performances on Saturday 18th September 2021 at Let’s Rock Leeds, followed by her final show at Wentworth Festival.
“It was a tough day, so many emotions.
After over 50 years as a performer I left the stage with the audience chanting my name!”
“I finished in the way I wanted, on my terms, on huge stages, with the sun shining on my face and with the audience roaring – it’s an amazing feeling.”
“It was perfect”
The show mic has been hung up for will continue to record and release music at a (very) leisurely pace.
Working with production partner, Pete Ware & SP Music she has released some of her discontinued catalogue following demand from fans:
“The Dean & Ware Collection Vol. 1” and “The Dean & Ware Collection Vol. 2” albums were released digitally in 2021.
This was followed by a festive remix of “Happy New Year” in December 2021, and dark and moody Back in Control remix of the self-penned “Out of Control”.
A limited-edition Double CD of “The Dean & Ware Collection Vols. 1 & 2” which included exclusive new remixes was released in March 2022.
“I am Retired AND Fabulous!”
Although officially “Retired & Fabulous” and enjoying a well-deserved break, Hazell has recording plans scheduled ahead of her, but this time she is doing it her way – collaborating with SP Music and having a LOT of fun.
Hazell remains committed to her role as patron of Pride in Surrey, and to being a visible ambassador and ally of the LGBTQ+ community, which is why she is so respected and loved.
Between 1984 and her final Pride appearance in 2021 Hazell performed to millions of rainbow flag-waving revellers in the UK and around the world.
That is something she is VERY proud of.
“Let’s Make History!
In 2022 Hazell was delighted to have been able to contribute items from her own personal collection to the archive.
In addition to the archive held at Bishopsgate Institute, Hazell has loaned more of her own precious memorabilia to “QUEER BRITAIN” the first permanent UK museum dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ+ history and the Queer people who have impacted every part of culture.
Hazell Dean is described by “Classic Pop Magazine” as a National Treasure.
She is affectionately known as: The Empress of Eurobeat, Duchess of The Dancefloor and of course she is and will ALWAYS be…….
Hazell Dean – The Undisputed Queen of HiNRG
“God Save The Queen(s)!”