Robert Long was born Jan Gerrit Bob Arend Leverman (short: Bob, so no
"Robert" in his birth name) in Utrecht during the Second World War. At the age
of 14, he performed in public for the first time under the name of Tom Hark.
In 1962, he joined the Yelping Jackals as a lead singer. The Jackals
were: Roy Soerioroseno (g), Tonny Beljaars (b), Albert Hol (g) and his brother
Gerrit (drums). When members of the Jackals were drafted into the army,
the band split up and Long joined The Mikrons. In 1965, he
rejoined Soerioroseno in Bob Revvel & the A-ones. The other A-ones
were: Haye Bosch (rhythm guitar), Philip van Putten (bass) and Fred Rorije
(drums). They recorded one single for Decca, after which Long joined
Gloria, the band put together by former
Jackals Albert and Gerrit Hol, who had "Hoss" van Hardeveld on bass.
In late 1969, the band's name was changed to Unit Gloria. In 1972, Long announced he was going solo and Unit Gloria started backing Bonnie St.Claire. But until late 1973 (Long's "English" solo period) they performed together as one act billed as The Family. During the course of 1973, Long recorded a few singles, which earned him the "Outstanding Performance Award" at the World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo. Even though he was still signed to EMI/Bovema, it is rumoured Long recorded the single, "Nothing Would Matter", which was released under the alias of Michael Hirschman on the Pink Elephant label (belonging to the Dureco record company).
But Long was already preparing a new career writing songs in Dutch, in a style more reminiscent of the French chanson than pop or rock. Although Bovema didn't expect much from the project, in April 1974, the album "Vroeger of later" was released and it turned out to be one of the all-time bestselling Dutch records ever, going over the counter almost half a million times in The Netherlands and Belgium. Instead of the club circuit and pop festivals, Long started touring theatres, first with Coby Schreier, the grand old lady of Dutch folk (who had "discovered" a young Paul Simon in 1964). In 1975, Long got a Conamus Silver Harp for his ground-breaking work broaching subjects like (his own) homosexuality and (anti-)religion in his songs.
Between 1975 and 1978, Long spent most of his time in theatre, participating in programs such as Scherts, Satire, Songs & Ander Snoepgoed Part 1 and Part 2. It wasn't until February 1977 that the next album was released, titled "Levenslang". It earned Long an Edison (the Dutch equivalent of the Grammy Award). This success was followed by a role in a TV film called "Een Heel Dun Laagje Goud" with Liesbeth List and Dimitri Frenkel Frank. Between October 1978 and June 1979, he played in the musical Swingpop. 1979 brought Long new success with an album in German and a new Dutch LP, "Homo Sapiens". After that he started collaborating with Leen Jongewaard, with whom he did three theatre programs. The evangelical network EO even took Long to court over his song "Vrij en blij" (Free And Happy), which they considered blasphemous, but he was acquitted. The case played a role in Long's decision to leave The Netherlands and start living partly in Italy and partly in Belgium.
In 1984, he had his first hit single in more than 10 years with "Iedereen doet 't", followed by another small hit with "Heeft een kind nog toekomst". In 1987, he started presenting the language quiz, "Tien voor taal", on TV, which he would do for 7 seasons. Soon after, he wrote the musical, "Tsechov", together with Dimitri Frenkel Frank. Although Long sang on the album to support the theatre tour, he refused to tour as Tsechov. Meanwhile, he kept releasing the odd album here and there. By 1996, he did a retrospective program with old and new songs called "Nu", followed by a tour doing Gershwin songs translated into Dutch. 1999 brought another row over a poster for a theatre tour showing Long and two nude men. That same year he started presenting a weekly radio show called Mezzo. The first year of the new millennium brought a new live double CD, "Vanavond tussen 8 en 11 - Live". He received the Golden Palm Lifetime Achievement award, but controversy continued when an agricultural organization sued him for calling pigs "the Jews of the meat industry". Once again, Long was acquitted.
In 2002, a new CD was released, called "Brand!" (fire), followed by another theatre tour, which was cut short due to the arthrosis of his neck. An operation kept him out of commission until late 2004. However, during the rehearsals for his new theatre tour, "Een duivels genoegen", Long suffered a heart attack and again was out for months. In December 2005, Long got married to Kristof Rutsaert. In late April 2006, he came out with a new CD from the "Een duivels genoegen" tour, but by then he was already suffering from cancer. Robert Long died on 13 December 2006 at the age of 63.
1972 Let us try/Just one word Imperial 5C 006-24665 LP This Is Robert Long (comp. with Unit Gloria tracks) Imperial 5C 054-24314 1973 I believe in Love/Lover sweet lover EMI 5C 006-24850 Nothing Would Matter/The World Is Grey The World Is Blue (credited to Michael Hirschman) Pink Elephant PE 22.727-H 1974 LP Vroeger Of Later EMI 5C 054-24996 1976 LP Robert Long & Unit Gloria (comp.) Emigold DAG 103 1977 LP Levenslang EMI 5C 064-25625 1980 LP Homo Sapiens EMI 5C 062-26440 1983 LP Dag Kleine Jongen EMI 1A 068-27064 CD Dag kleine jongen EMI 1270642 1984 Heeft Een Kind Een Toekomst/Het Heet Hier Holland EMI 1A 006-1271467 1985 LP Liefst Mijn Liefste EMI 1A 068-27159 CD Liefste mijn liefste EMI 1271592 De Lente De Lente/ Geef Ons Vrede EMI 1A 006-1272227 3LP 10 Jaar Theater (comp. theatre work 1974-1985) EMI 1A 138-1272733 1986 LP Achter De Horizon EMI 1A 068-1273321 CD Achter de horizon EMI 7462332 Iedereen Doet 't/ Honderd Keer EMI 1A 006-1273467 Hé.... / Gek hè EMI 1A 006-1273697 Geef ons vrede/Achter De Horizon EMI 1A 006-1273907 1987 Zei M'n Moeder Altijd/Honderd keer EMI 1A 006-1274237 1988 CD Goud Op Zilver EMI 790 152-2 Aj Lof Joe So/Country Music EMI 1A 006-1274527 CD Hartstocht EMI 790 018-2 1989 CD Liedjes Uit De Krullentijd EMI 793 412-2 De Krullentijd/ Medley EMI 1A 006-1275103 1990 CD Het Ultieme Onherroepelijke Fantastico Album EMI 794 235-2 Als Ik De Wolken Zie/ Vrede En Geluk EMI 1A 006-1275247 Wij Zijn Rijk, Zij Zijn Arm/21ste Februari EMI 1A 006-1275602 1991 CD Homo Sapiens (re) EMI 746246-2 CD Levenslang (re) EMI 746247-2 1992 CD Voor Mijn Vrienden EMI 798 772-2 CDs Haagse Kringen?Weer EMI 872 003-2 1993 CDs Kalverliefde/Met Z’n Tweeën EMI 872034-2 CDs Met/Want het is niet goed EMI 872 018-2 1994 CD In Die Dagen Philips 831 714-2 CDs Eenzaam Zonder Jou EMI 8720412 CDs Kerstwereld/ Kersemis EMI AMC 24016 CD Uit Liefde En Respect EMI 829 055-2 1996 CD Jij Wou Mij Totaal EMI RLCD 5 CDs Hé.... / Gek hè / Alleen In Amstelveen EMI 872 175-2 Nu (comp.) EMI 837 259-2 1997 2CD Twee In Een EMI 856 780-2 CD Uit Liefde En Respect Voor Gershwin EMI 859 199-2 CDs Een Heel Verschil (w/ Margriet Hermans)/Ik had tijd nodig Centropa 99.51182 1999 CD Lang Genoeg Jong EMI 498 747-2 CDs Wie/De Grote Polonaise EMI 7243 8 87115 2 4 CD Vroeger of Later (25th anniversary edition) EMI 8592772 CDs Meer dan ooit EMI 7243 8 87514 2 1 CDs Vlinders EMI 8866362 2000 CD Vanavond tussen 8 en 11 live : alle liedjes uit het Lang Genoeg Jong Concert EMI 5292922 2002 CD Brand! Sound Of The Seas RLCD 1012 CDs Brand/Jouw Armen Multidisk RL CDS 10101 3 2006 CD Een Duivels Genoegen Sound Of The Seas RLCD 1022
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