Friday, May 8, 2009

Chris Farlowe. Why?

Born John Henry Deighton in Islington, North London, in 1940, he reached his early teens just as the skiffle boom was breaking in England... His first band was his own John Henry Skiffle Group, where he played guitar as well as sang, but he gave up playing to concentrate on his voice, as he made the switch to rock & roll.

He eventually took the name Chris Farlowe, the surname appropriated from American rock & roll vocalist Tal Farlow, and was fronting a group called the Thunderbirds, as Chris Farlowe & the Thunderbirds. They built their reputation as a live act in England and Germany, and slowly switched from rock & roll to R&B during the early years of the '60s...

In 1966, with his EMI contract up, Farlowe was snatched up by Andrew Oldham, who knew a thing or two about white Britons who could sing R&B, having signed the Rolling Stones three years earlier, and put him under contract to his new Immediate Records label. Immediate's history with unestablished artists is mostly a story of talent cultivated for future success, but with Farlowe it was different -- he actually became a star on the label, through the label. His luck began to change early on, as he saw a Top 40 chart placement with his introduction of the Jagger/Richards song "Think," which the Rolling Stones later released as an album track on Aftermath. That summer, he had the biggest hit of his career with his rendition of the Stones' "Out of Time", in a moody and dramatic version orchestrated by Arthur Greenslade, which reached number one on the British charts.

That's the beginning of Farlowe's story according to AMG (click here for full article). Great singer is still alive and kicking, sometimes on stage, sometimes in WWII memorabilia business.
In our AH Chris Farlowe enjoyed a superstar status from the mid-Sixties and well into the Seventies. It will be tedious to name all those who failed to achieve this status. We'll just mention a forgotten combo from Liverpool, relatively unknown London R&B quintet, etc. More important, Farlowe is Mark's favorite singer.

And now to the real Mr Deighton: here's his official website, along with an extensive fansite.

1 comment:

  1. The ART Of Chris Farlowe surely is.

    I did not know that Tal Farlow connection, but I married someone 40 years ago whose entire career in music started when he heard a Tal Farlow record.

    *goes off singing*
    I've been looking for my baby, North South East and West ...