Nikki Sudden

Nikki Sudden bigraphy, stories - British musician

Nikki Sudden : biography

19 July 1956 – 26 March 2006

Nikki Sudden (19 July 1956 – 26 March 2006) – accessed September 2010 was a prolific English singer-songwriter and guitarist. He co-founded the post-punk band Swell Maps with his brother Epic Soundtracks (born Kevin Paul Godfrey) while attending Solihull School in Solihull.


He was born Adrian Nicholas Godfrey in London, England. Main influences on Sudden’s music was provided by such artists as T.Rex, the Rolling Stones, the Faces, Bob Dylan and Johnny Thunders. Following the break-up of Swell Maps in 1980, he started a solo career, as well as releasing records with Dave Kusworth as the Jacobites. Kusworth had been a member of the Dogs D’Amour and led his own band, the Bounty Hunters.

He collaborated with, among others, Mike Scott and Anthony Thistlethwaite of the Waterboys, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, The Golden Horde as ‘The Last Bandits’, Mick Taylor of the Rolling Stones, Rowland S. Howard, Jeremy Gluck of the Barracudas, Metrophase, Ian McLagan of Small Faces and the Faces, Phil Shoenfelt, Baron Anastis van Hustler, Big Sleep, Al DeLoner of Midnight Choir, Tom Ashton of the March Violets, members of R.E.M. and Sonic Youth. The Jacobites’ tune "Pin Your Heart" was covered on the Lemonheads’ 1997 single "The Outdoor Type".

Sudden also wrote for a number of music magazines, such as Spex, INTRO, Mojo, the local Birmingham based fanzine Waxstreet Dive, and Bucketful of Brains. At the time of his unexpected death, he was writing his autobiography, as well as a history of the Wick (an estate in Richmond once owned by Ronnie Wood, currently owned by Pete Townshend), and was due to perform in London on the 29 March 2006.

Nikki Sudden died suddenly from a heart attack, at the age of 49, after a concert at the Knitting Factory in Manhattan, New York.


Swell Maps

  • A Trip to Marineville (1979)
  • Jane From Occupied Europe (1980)


  • Whatever Happens Next… (1981)
  • Collision Time (1981)
  • Train Out of It (1986)
  • Collision Time Revisited (1989)
  • International Rescue (1999)
  • Sweep The Desert (2000)


  • "Read About Seymour" (1977)
  • "Dresden Style" (1978)
  • "Real Shocks" (1979)
  • "Let’s Build a Car" (1979)

The Jacobites

  • „Jacobites“ (1984, Glass Records)
  • „Robespierre’s Velvet Basement“ (1985, Glass Records)
  • „Lost In A Sea Of Scarves“ (1985, What´s So Funny About, Sampler)
  • „The Ragged School“ (1985, US – Vinyl-Sampler for North America, Twintone)
  • „Fortune Of Fame“ (1988, Glass Records, Sampler)
  • „Howling Good Times“ (1993, Regency Sound)
  • „Heart Of Hearts“ (1995, Por Caridad Producciones, Sampler)
  • „Old Scarlett“ (1995, Glitterhouse/EfA)
  • „Kiss Of Life“ (1996, n.UR-Kult Releases, Swamp Room Records – Live LP)
  • „Hawks Get Religion“ (1996, Regency Sound, Sampler)
  • „God Save Us Poor Sinners“ (1998, Glitterhouse/EfA/Bomp! Records) (2 editions with different track list)


  • „Shame For The Angels E.P.“ (1984, Glass Records)
  • „Pin Your Heart To Me“ (1985, Glass Records)
  • „When The Rain Comes“ (1986, Glass Records)
  • „Margaritta“ (1993, Regency Sound) comes with "Howling Good Times" LP
  • „Don´t You Ever Leave Me“ (1993, Regency Sound) from "Howling Good Times"
  • „Over And Over“ (1997, Ultra Under Records)
  • „Teenage Christmas“ (1998, Chatterbox Records) red see-through vinyl, from "God Save Us Poor Sinners"
  • „Teenage Christmas“ (1998, Chatterbox Records) comes with "God Save Us Poor Sinners" LP
  • „The Otter Song“ (2011, Sunthunder Records)


  • Waiting on Egypt (1982)
  • The Bible Belt (1983)
  • Texas (1986)
  • Kiss You Kidnapped Charabanc (with Rowland S. Howard) (1987)
  • Dead Men Tell No Tales (1988)
  • Crown of Thorns (1988)
  • Groove (1989)
  • Back to the Coast (1990)
  • The Jewel Thief (with R.E.M.) (1991)
  • Seven Lives Later (1996)
  • By The Light Of The Burning Citroen (1997, Cassette only release)
  • From the Warwick Road to the Banks of the Nile (1997)
  • Egyptian Roads (1997)
  • Red Brocade (with The Chamberstrings) (1999)
  • Liquor, Guns and Ammo (with R.E.M.) (2000) re-release of The Jewel Thief (1991)
  • The Last Bandit (2000)
  • The Nikki Sudden Compendium (2001)
  • Treasure Island (2004)
  • The Truth Doesn’t Matter (2006)
  • Golden Vanity (2009, with Phil Shoenfelt, original recording from 1998)
  • Tel Aviv Blues (2011, original recording from 2002)
  • Playing With Fire (2011, Outtakes from "Treasure Island" & "The Truth Doesn´t Matter")
  • The Boy From Nowhere Who Fell Out Of The Sky (2013, 6xCD Box Set)
  • Still Full Of Shocks (2013, Limited Edition, Live Acoustic Session)


  • "Back To The Start" (1981) from Out Of Egypt
  • "Channel Steamer" (1981) from Out Of Egypt
  • "This Is Still England" (1986)
  • "Christmas Morning" (1986)
  • "Jangle Town" (1987) from Texas
  • "Wedding Hotel" (1987) from Kiss You Kidnapped Charabanc
  • "Lunacy Is Legend EP" (1987)
  • "The Angels Are Calling" (1989)
  • "The Sun Is Shining" (1990) from The Jewel Thief
  • "I Belong to You" (1991) from The Jewel Thief
  • "Buick MacKane" (1991)
  • "Whiskey Priest" (1992) from Seven Lives Later
  • "Bourgeois Blues" (1992)
  • "So Many Girls" (1999) from Red Brocade
  • "Hanoi Jane" (2005) from Golden Vanity
  • "Barroom Blues" (2006)


  • „Far East Man“ (2002, Live Concert of Ron Wood at Shepherds Bush Empire, 11.12.2001) – Nikki Sudden is standing in the audience in front of Ron Wood and can be seen several times
  • „Honey Baby“ (2004 – Germany – Director: Mika Kaurismäki, Music: Nikki Sudden)
  • „Egoshooter“ (2004 – Germany – Director: Wim Wenders, Music: Nikki Sudden a.o. – Nikki Sudden has a small role as himself)
  • „The Pacific and Eddy“ (2006 – USA – Director: Matthew Nourse, Music: Jacobites, Nikki Sudden, Epic Soundtracks – Nikki Sudden as Silhouette)