Chris Rea (born Christopher Anton Rea, 4 March 1951, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, England) is an English singer-songwriter, recognisable for his distinctive, husky voice and slide guitar playing. The British Hit Singles & Albums stated that Rea was "one of the most popular UK singer-songwriters of the late 1980s. He was already a major European star by the time he finally cracked the UK Top 10 with his 18th chart entry; "The Road to Hell (Part 2)". By 2009, Rea had sold more than 30 million albums worldwide.
He is best known for his 1978 hit song "Fool (If You Think It's Over)" that charted #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent three weeks at #1 on the U.S. Billboard adult contemporary chart.
Although Rea had limited success in the United States, two of his albums, The Road to Hell and Auberge, topped the UK Albums Chart. The book Guinness Rockopedia described him as a "gravel-voiced guitar stalwart".
British singer and guitarist Chris Rea has enjoyed a run of popularity in Europe during the late '80s and early '90s after almost a decade of previous recording. Rea started out performing with a local group called Magdalene, taking David Coverdale's place; the band won a national talent contest in 1975 as the Beautiful Losers, but still failed to get a record contract. Rea left the band and recorded the album Whatever Happened to Benny Santini?, which alluded to a discarded stage name, which went gold on the strength of the U.S. Top 20 hit "Fool (If You Think It's Over)." Rea was not heard from again in the U.S. for some time, concentrating his efforts on his main fan base of Europe. A compilation of tracks from Rea's '80s albums, New Light Through Old Windows, was released in 1988 and sold well in the U.K. and Europe and charted in the U.S. Rea followed it up with the critically acclaimed The Road to Hell, which many regarded as his best album. It and its follow-up, Auberge, went to the top of the U.K. album charts, but did not prove as successful in the U.S., where he has failed to chart with his subsequent releases.
He released his most ambitious project in 2005, an eleven-album, 130-track box set of all new material inspired by the blues and his own paintings called Blue Guitars. The fun The Return of the Fabulous Hofner Blue Notes appeared in 2008