CHRIS FARLOWE BIOGRAPHY
"it ain't much but it sure goes a long way"
(The quote is from one of Farlowe's introductions on "Colosseum Live")
updated/changed August 27th, 1998
Picture from the back cover of the
Out Of The Blue LP
History (under construction - seriously: when has anyone made a perfect webpage?)
Chris Farlowe was born in Essex, England, on 13.Oct.1940, and his real name is John Deighton. Following an artist from afar necessarily never enables one to follow the career too intensively, though it's certainly worth trying. Keep this in mind when reading this history.
Farlowe's musical career has one starting point in the John Henry Skiffle Group and other similar bands. In 1962 the first single "Air Travel" was released without much success. Around 1963 or 1964 The Thunderbirds were formed and the band included the great guitarist Albert Lee and keyboardist Dave Greenslade. The band recorded five singles on the UK EMI subsidiary Columbia, but none made any impact on the charts. "Buzz With The Fuzz" was popular among mods but was withdrawn when the significance of the title was found out. I would guess that the band was present on the single "Stormy Monday" released under the name Little Joe Cook. The singer was generally believed to be black, and that just shows (once again) that you don't really have to BE black to sing the blues. "Stormy Monday" has made frequent appearances during Farlowe's career later.
Success came only after a move to the Immediate label. The label was started by The Rolling Stones' manager Andrew Loog Oldham. Accordingly Farlowe got to record a lot of Jagger/Richards compositions and some of his records were produced by Mick Jagger. Out of 11 singles five had covers of the Rolling Stones' songs on them.
The first Immediate single was produced by another great British R&B voice Eric Burdon. "The Fool" was another commercial miss. The next one "Think" (Jagger/Richards) dented the lower regions of the UK Top 40. The third one, however, made it to the top. "Out Of Time" is one of the greatest hits of 1966, as perfect as a single comes. Of the next singles four made the Top 50. It just goes to show that it is not sufficient (or even necessary) for a record to be good to become a hit. One of the best is "Handbags And Gladrags" written by Mike d'Abo, who's best known for singing with Manfred Mann after Paul Jones quit. The song was later covered with greater succes by Rod Stewart despite being much inferior to the Farlowe version.
The Immediate sides have been conveniently collected on two CDs by the German Reperoire company. Both albums include a wealth of bonus tracks. The music is excellent throughout and shows the interpretative power of Farlowe as a soul and R&B singer. Perhaps the man's voice is too "black" for the general pop audience?
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