Steve’s band Cockney Rebel had major top 10 hits like Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me), Mr Soft and Judy Teen.
He was the first to sing the Phantom Of The Opera role, and he presented Radio 2’s Sounds Of The Seventies for eight years.
Married to Dorothy, and now a proud grandad, Steve will play two sell-out shows at Greenock’s Albany on April 6 and 7.
How often do you write songs?
I take a notebook everywhere, even on the beach, but actually finishing a song is another matter. When I listen to my old songs I’m often spellbound by the process. How did I do it? Some of my peers release rubbish, but I can’t do that.
How do you look back on your career?
I’ve had a great life. I’m not Sting-rich but I’ll never be poor.
Your fans call Make Me Smile your pension. Why?
It’s played today even more than when it was a hit. The drug company Pfizer have the rights worldwide for their Viagra advert, and that’s life-changing money.
Is it strange hearing the song unexpectedly?
We were in Montenegro when it came on the radio and our taxi driver sang every word, saying “Best song ever.” He had no idea who I was, and Dorothy thought I should tell him, but I just said to him “I’m with you”. I enjoyed the mystery of it.
What’s the secret of your 37-year marriage?
Most musicians give up because their wives can’t cope with them being away, but Dorothy is special. I might be in Australia and she’ll call and say there’s a leak in the ceiling. My stomach will churn, but then she’ll say she’s already had it fixed and redecorated.
How many songs do you perform in your set?
Fans want the favourites so we probably do 23 songs. I feel guilty about not giving someone young a chance as the support act, but there’s no time.
What do you advise up and coming artists?
That things have changed. I did a masterclass at Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute and asked: “How many of you really want to perform?” There were only a few hands. I said: “You’ve got to play live. You’ll never make money from downloads.”
What scares you?
I only have one phobia. Heights. I wouldn’t go out on a balcony over four floors up as I’d want to jump.
Do you hang out with musicians?
No. I did bump in to Tom Jones in a restaurant recently though. It was good to catch up. He was with Jimmy Tarbuck who I think is the funniest man alive.
You have 24 hours left to live. How do you spend it?
Dealing with my heights phobia. Knowing I’m closing my innings I’d go to Beachy Head, get strapped in to a wingsuit, and I’d ask someone to push me off. Win, lose or draw I’d be flying.