Silly Games singer Janet Kay leads New Year Honours from world of music

Janet Kay, known as the Queen of Lovers Rock, features among the names from the world of music on the New Years Honours list.

The 64-year-old actress and singer, whose full name is Janet Kay Bogle, stormed the charts with the 1970s hit Silly Games, and has been made an MBE for services to music.

Kay was born in London to Jamaican parents.

While in secretarial college in 1977, she was introduced to Jamaican singer-songwriter Alton Ellis who helped popularise rocksteady, a precursor to reggae music.

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Her song Silly Games, produced by Barbados-born reggae guitarist Dennis Bovell, came in at number two in the UK singles chart in 1979.

She moved into theatre in the 1980s and starred in TV sitcom No Problem! on Channel 4.

Kay also collaborated with Jamaican singer and producer Lloyd Charmers; Norman Cook, better known as Fatboy Slim; and Japanese composer Taro Iwashiro; and worked as a vocal coach.

Also being made MBEs are mezzo-soprano Christine Rice for services to opera, Cleo Sylvestre for services to drama and charity, and Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the British Phonographic Industry, for services to music.

Sylvestre, also known as Cleopatra Palmer, 77, has been a feature of film, stage, television and music since the 60s.

Her film roles have included the 2014 film Paddington and 1993’s The Punk, and her TV appearances range from Doctor Who to Coronation Street and Channel 5’s revamp of All Creatures Great And Small.

She also sang as Cleo with the Rolling Stones backing her on a cover of To Know Him Is To Love Him in 1964 and now performs with blues band Honey B Mama And Friends.

Classical BRIT Awards – London
George Fenton has been made a CBE for services to music (Steve Parsons/PA)

Opera singer Rice told the PA news agency: “It has been my privilege to spend the last 30 years doing what I love, immersed in a world where I rub shoulders with colleagues of such extraordinary talent and generosity.

“To be given an MBE is the culmination of so much joyful and serious endeavour. Thank you!”

Rice has given performances at London’s Royal Opera House and the English National Opera at the London Coliseum, the Bavarian State Opera in Germany and the Teatro Real in Spain.

Taylor, who is stepping down from the BPI after 15 years at the helm, said: “Music has been my life, so to be recognised for services to music means a great deal to me.

“It’s an award really to the whole BPI team, who work every day to protect and value music.

“I’m looking forward to announcing next steps soon and to continuing to play a role in this fascinating business.”

Composer George Fenton, who has collaborated with directors including Richard Attenborough, Nora Ephron and Ken Loach, and scored wildlife documentaries by Sir David Attenborough, is made a CBE for services to music.

Also featuring on the list is the chief executive officer of music copyright collective Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), Peter Leathem, who becomes an OBE for services to the music industry.

Leathem said: “Music brings so much to the UK culturally and economically, with the UK punching above its weight on the world stage.

“However, I am acutely conscious that for many of our incredibly talented performers it can be a tough existence.”

PPL supports performers through licensing and hardship funds and Leathem has aided charities like the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine.