Guide to British Music of the 1960s

 

Chris Farlowe

Biography | Discography | Web Links | Books

 

Chris Farlowe - vocals

Chris Farlowe is widely regarded to have one of the best blues voices in the UK. He was born John Henry Deighton and changed his name when he moved from singing in the John Henry Skiffle Group to R&B. His backing band for live shows was the Thunderbirds and it was almost a who’s who of British musical talent including at various times Nicky Hopkins, Dave Greenslade, Ricky Chapman, Albert Lee and Carl Palmer. The band’s mix of covers of popular soul and blues songs helped them build a strong Mod following playing in London’s renown club venues such as The Flamingo and Klook’s Kleek.

The first single was Air Travel which was credited to Chris Farlow. The band was then signed by Colombia in 1963 and a run of excellent singles followed although they did not make an impact on the chart. Chris Farlowe then courted controversy with Buzz with the Fuzz which was withdrawn due to its “suspect” lyrics that referred to rolling joints and the use of Mod slang for the Police.

Chris Farlowe achieved some sort of breakthrough when he released Story Monday Blues on the Sue label under the pseudonym Little Joe Cook. Many believed that was indeed the work of a black American artist. Farlowe then moved to the new Immediate label that had been founded by the Rolling Stones’ manager Andrew Loog-Oldham. Paul McCartney offered him first refusal on his new song Yesterday but Farlowe turned down the offer and released a track called The Fool as the next single. However, at Loog-Oldham’s suggestion, Farlowe then recorded Mick Jagger and Keith Richards’ Think which Jagger produced. This reached number 37 giving Chris Farlowe his first and long-overdue hit single.

In 1966, Chris Farlowe moved to Andrew Loog-Oldham's Immediate label and released an EP of cover versions that included Mr Pitiful and In the Midnight Hour. This was a collection of cover versions and it reached a respectable 6 in the EP charts. The first album was called 14 Things to Think About which was produced by Mick Jagger, the album containing several Jagger/Richards tracks.

Chris Farlowe’s biggest hit came when he returned to the Jagger/Richard songwriting team and recorded another track off Aftermath. Out of Time went to the top of the charts. Chris Farlowe was suddenly in great demand, even duetting with the great Otis Redding on Ready Steady Go. Despite this success, the Thunderbirds broke up although they were reformed by Farlowe at a later date.

However, a further Jagger/Richards track Ride on Baby failed to get into the top 30. Farlowe then took a Small Faces song My Way of Giving. This was produced by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane both of whom sang backing vocals alongside Jagger. Despite the talent on the track, it did not have much chart success. By this time a second album The Art of Chris Farlowe had been released on Immediate and it just made the top 40 album chart. This second album also included a number of Jagger/Richards tracks  as well as Chris Farlowe's own North South East West which has backing vocals from Tina Turner and the Ikettes.

From this point on, Farlowe had just minor hits including two further Stones covers in Yesterday’s Papers and Paint it Black. A cover of Mike D’Abo’s Handbags and Gladrags was also a small hit even if it may be better known today for the Stereophonics’ cover version and as the theme to The Office

In 1970, Farlowe made his debut with a new band called The Hill. This band released one album before Farlowe became the vocalist in Colosseum. After Colosseum, Farlowe sang with a number of bands including Atomic Rooster, Stone the Crows and sang on Jimmy Page’s Nightrider album. At one point he formed a new band with original Thunderbird Albert Lee and recorded a live album.

Making Time recommendation

  • The Art of Chris Farlowe

Privacy Policy

Contact

© Making Time 1997-2013