Together with his brother, Epic Soundtracks, Nikki Sudden formed what was to become Swell Maps, releasing 4 singles and 2 albums on Rough Trade (UK) between 1977 and their break up in 1980. All these releases hit #1 in the UK Independent Charts. Swell Maps are remembered, particularly by similarly minded US based bands such as Sonic Youth, as pioneering exponents of the 'DIY Punk' school.
Sudden then began a solo career making two albums 'Waiting On Egypt' and 'The Bible Belt' before joining up with Birmingham guitarist, Dave Kusworth. The pair formed the Jacobites in 1983, going on to make two albums, 'Jacobites' and 'Robespierre’s Velvet Basement', the latter reaching No. 1 in the German Independent Charts. This tied in with their first German tour which lead to Sudden relocating there.
When the Jacobites split in 1986, Sudden returned to his solo career with Creation Records, releasing five solo albums over the next five years: 'Texas', 'Dead Men Tell No Tales', 'Kiss You Kidnapped Charabanc' (with Rowland S. Howard), 'Groove' and a compilation, 'Back To The Coast'.
1990 found Sudden in Athens, Georgia, where sessions with Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry (2) from R.E.M. became the album 'The Jewel Thief' — later reissued as 'Liquor, Guns & Ammo'.
Kusworth and Sudden reformed The Jacobites in 1993, releasing three albums, 'Howling Good Times', 'Old Scarlett' and 'God Save Us Poor Sinners'. Their two original albums were reissued, as was a further compilation of rare tracks, 'Hawks Get Religion'. The band also released a limited edition, vinyl-only album, 'Kiss Of Life', in Germany, and a Spanish CD, 'Heart Of Hearts'.
In 1995, sessions in Chicago with members of the Chamber Strings and The Rosehips led to his seventh solo release 'Seven Lives Later'. This album featured musicians from The Jet Boys, The True Spirit, The Fatal Shore, Band Of Outsiders, Once Upon A Time, Vermooste Vløten, The Flaming Stars, Sonic Youth, Voodoo Witch, and The Jacobites.
Into the 2000's Sudden continued to tour extensively, playing around 100 shows per year, half with his backing band 'The Last Bandits' and half solo.
Nikki, with the Last Bandits, recorded his ninth solo release, 'Treasure Island', in England during summer 2002. Special guests include Ian McLagan (Small Faces, Faces), Mick Taylor (Rolling Stones), Anthony Thistlethwaite (Waterboys), Dave Kusworth (Jacobites) and Darrell Bath (Dogs D’Amour / Crybabys). The 'Treasure Island' release date was in 2004.
A retrospective, 'The Last Bandit (The Best Of Nikki Sudden)' was released by Glitterhouse Records in Europe, Wagging Dog Records in England, and Bomp Records in America, and features remastered and edited versions of Sudden's most popular solo work.
Sudden's death in New York followed a number of solo performances in the USA after which a short European tour by The Jacobites had been scheduled. The first of these dates, on 29th March 2006 at London's '12 Bar Club', took place but was transformed into a tribute to Nikki Sudden's memory and featured a number of musicians with whom he had played.
- 76 Vocals
- 96 Instruments & Performance
- 138 Writing & Arrangement
- 2 Featuring & Presenting
- 57 Production
- 10 Technical
- 18 Visual
- 9 Acting, Literary & Spoken