Rev George Hargreaves    -   (circa 73 - house unknown)

Hargreaves attended Woolverstone Hall, a boarding school owned by the Inner London Education Authority. While still at school, he formed a band named Snapp with Tony Ajai-Ajagbe and three other school friends. In 1973 the band were signed by M&W Music Productions, which was owned by Dave Myers and John Worsley, writers of the 1971 UK Eurovision Song Contest entry "Jack in The Box" sung by Clodagh Rodgers. A single written by Myers and Worsley called "Cheat, Cheat" was released in 1974 on Cube Records.

Hargreaves and Ajai-Ajagbe developed their own songwriting skills and in 1977 they signed as Motown's Jobete Music's only UK based songwriting team. Hargreaves and Ajai-Ajagbe soon moved into producing. In the 1980s, they negotiated a label deal with Michael Levy's Magnet Records. Their label, Midas Records, was the first to release recordings by Sinitta, which Hargreaves and Ajai-Ajagbe wrote and produced. They were also the first to record Yazz as a member of the pop group The Biz.

Hargreaves and Ajai-Ajagbe wrote the 1983 season theme tune for the BBC1 daily magazine show Pebble Mill at One and the theme tune for the BBC2 show 655 Special hosted by David Soul and Sally James. Hargreaves and Ajai-Ajagbe also wrote the first single for Five Star called "Problematic". Hargreaves used his influence with the music producer of Pebble Mill at One to get Five Star on the show, which launched their career. The songwriting partnership between Hargreaves and Ajai-Ajagbe ended in 1983, shortly after they completed Sinitta's second single "Never Too Late". Tony Ajai-Ajagbe died of AIDS in 1995.

Hargreaves continued to write songs on his own. He wrote and produced Simon Cowell's first hit with Sinitta, "So Macho". which went to number 2 twice on the UK chart in 1986. He told Scotland on Sunday that "So Macho" was intended: "... for women to dance round their handbags to and for the gay scene to go mad to on poppers" and that: "I was never gay, but I had a lot of lovely friends in the gay scene." Cowell went on to describe Hargreaves as a "well known songwriter" in his autobiography I Don't Mean to be Rude, but....

Hargreaves topped the chart in Iceland with an Icelandic version of a Christmas song originally recorded, but never released, by Sinitta (with Simon Cowell singing Santa "Ho ho hoes" in the background vocals). The song "I Won't Be Lonely This Christmas" became "Heima Um Jólin" and was sung by Helga Möller.

Hargreaves' first Top 50 chart hit was "Feel Like The First Time", which reached number 45 on the UK chart in August 1986, but faded fast when "So Macho" entered the top 50 some seven month after its initial release. "Feel Like The First Time" was however Sinitta's biggest hit in the US, going top ten in the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart. The song and the production of "Feel Like The First Time" was greatly influenced by Madonna's producer Steve Bray, writer and producer of Madonna's smash hit "Get Into The Groove". Bray also co-wrote and produced the song "Baby Love" with the US singer Regina who was signed to Hargreaves' US production company West 78th Street Records. Hargreaves worked on the mix of the "Baby Love" record and gained an insight into how to make 'Madonna-sounding songs' and applied his new knowledge to Sinitta with "Feel Like The First Time". Regina's "Baby Love" reached number 9 on the US chart and was later covered by Dannii Minogue.


Church minister who wrote Sinitta's 'So Macho' wins claim over alleged homophobia - Rev George Hargreaves was shunned at work by a colleague
who ignored him after being outraged by a perceived homophobic remark he had made.
(Yohannes Lowe - "Daily Telegraph" - 2 June 2020)

A church minister who wrote the disco anthem 'So Macho' for the singer Sinitta has won a religious discrimination claim after stating that people who said homosexuals were born that way were making the same argument as paedophiles.

Pentecostal Reverend George Hargreaves, 62, who once said his 1985 hit was partly intended “for the gay scene to go mad to on poppers”, launched the claim after a former colleague shunned him at work over a perceived homophobic remark.

While working as a night concierge for his current employer, Evolve Housing + Support, a homeless charity based in South Kensington, he had entered a discussion with colleague Elizabeth Akano about the Bible's teachings.

Ms Akano, a support assistant in her 20s, said “people are born gay” to which he replied “paedophiles make the same argument”, an employment tribunal was told.

It heard: “The claimant went on to state that even if people are born with a condition, that does not put it beyond God's ability to change or heal it.”

But following the incident, Rev Hargreaves said a “hostile” environment was created in the workplace when Ms Akano repeatedly began to ignore the minister, causing him to lodge a formal complaint.

Ms Akano complained too, claiming his comments amounted to homophobia, but neither were upheld, forcing Rev Hargreaves to appeal the decision.

During the grievance process, he argued: “It is reasonable for me to say, in response to Liz and anyone who says that 'people are born gay', that paedophiles would also say that they were born that way.

“This is my standard response to the argument about people being born as homosexual. It is not illegal to put the two words in the same sentence.”

When later questioned by his area manager Jon Deakin, Rev Hargreaves became “upset” when asked about his membership of the Scottish Christian Party despite Mr Deakin being warned not to as it was said to be irrelevant.

At London Central Tribunal Centre, Judge Andrew James ruled in the minister's favour, concluding he was harassed and discriminated against on grounds of his religious beliefs as he was ignored by Ms Akano and inappropriately questioned by his area manager.

In a written ruling, Judge James said: “As to whether her conduct was related to religious belief, we find that it was. It arose out of Ms Akano's conversation with the claimant in the middle of January 2019. She was clearly upset by the claimant's comment which appeared to make a link between paedophiles and the gay community.”

“The claimant is correct to say that it is not illegal to use those words together, in the sense that it is not a criminal offence. Many people however, whatever their sexual orientation, who do not share the claimant's deeply held and genuine religious beliefs, would find the use of those words in that context to be offensive. Ms Akano found them offensive, as did Mr Deakin,” he added.

Rev Hargreaves was also judged to have been racially discriminated against by Ms Akano, who is also black, after she said “you are one of those black men who like white women.”

Any compensation from the case will be decided at a remedy hearing at a later date.

A spokesperson for Evolve Housing + Support said: “We are still considering the judgement but were pleased to see that the Tribunal found in our favour in relation to a large proportion of the specific allegations, but recognise that there were findings against us on a small number of discrete points, mostly relating to an ex-employee. We will be considering internally what lessons can be learned.”

Rev Hargreaves was ordained in 1990. His wife Maxine, who was also a Pentecostal pastor and founder of the East London Christain Choir, died of a brain tumour in 2011. Despite being terminally ill, she stood as a candidate in Hackney in the 2010 general election while he unsuccessfully stood in Barking, taking just one per cent of the vote.

The Oxford educated minister retired from public life the same year, but is seen as a regular commentator on BBC One's Sunday Morning Live discussing his views.