1970/71 were Christie's glory years,
the group winning award after award, including:
Alan Award: Best Vocal Record 1971
Ivor Novello Award: Most Performed Song
Hit Discs Award: Japan
Hit Song of the Year: Brazil
Citation of Achievement 1971
BMI Award USA: National Popularity
Plaque Award: Norway
Ireland Spotlight Award: Most Popular Group
Voted 7th World's Best Group, Germany, 1971
Top British Group in the UK charts, 1970/71
Yellow River garnered six gold
records in the UK, and gold records in Japan, France, Brazil,
Germany. San Bernadino won
the group three gold records in the UK.
No 1 in 26 countries and No 2 in several others, Yellow
River sold so many copies around the world that it
just about single-handedly made CBS Record the biggest label
is reprinted from the US music paper Billboard Magazine,
November 1970, when the single was still selling and starting
to make an impact in the USA:
has experienced its best sales performance since setting
up as an independent in the UK five years ago.
of this worldwide pattern of sales success are Simon and
Garfunkel from CBS in the US and Christie from CBS in the
Exports to Europe and Commonwealth countries
had been particularly good, especially with Christies
Yellow River which had become
a hit in 17 markets, including the rarely penetrated South
With US sales taken into
consideration, Yellow River
is expected to be a 2,000,000-plus seller."
Jeff and his
Japanese gold record for Yellow River
is featured in a new book (2014) commemorating the 100th
anniversary of the Performing Right Society, now known as
simply PRS for Music. The organisation scoured the societys
records to uncover British musics most performed works
over the past 100 years for the publication, A Century of
Song. Through these songs their writers, publishers
and audiences PRS traces the resilience and ingenuity
of the industry, and finds familiarity at every turn. Yellow
River comes in sandwiched between Paul McCartney
and George Harrison!
The major German music publication, Bravo,
has compiled the most popular hits for each year, as voted
by its readers, showing that in 1970, Christie had the third
best-liked record in Germany, beating the likes of CCR,
the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and the Bee Gees. In 1971, Christie
had the 18th favourite single.
The Leeds Song Tunnel project is a celebration
of the singers, songwriters and bands that have helped make
Leeds such a musical city over the past 100 years. The Leeds
Song Tunnel is a public artwork comprised of 60 unique typographic
panels, each featuring a different song and artist. Jeff's
work is celebrated with a tribute to Inside
THE leading British music magazine Music Week, the trade
paper of the music industry, recently published a supplement
to commemorate 60 years of the best British hit singles.
And of course Yellow River
was among the songs!
Jeff Christie's early band The
Outer Limits played a few gigs at the legendary Cavern Club
in Liverpool, made famous by The Beatles who first started
playing together at that venue. Acts who perform there get
their own brick in the Cavern wall. Jeff visited the club
in 2012 to locate the band's brick and was delighted to
see it's still there.
The Outer Limits brick at The Cavern Club.
Jeff next to the Billy Fury statue
For those who want their own Christie
Yellow River memento, this
might be of interest: a handsome platinum disc commemorating
sales of the record, alongside the sheet music of the song.
It was produced in 1980 in limited amounts, by UK
Music Awards, a firm specialising in high quality gold
discs and framed music memorabilia to the public.
In 2012, Christie almost enjoyed another
No 1 hit to their name. Both Yellow
River and San Bernadino
were included on the album Sugar
Sugar: Birth of Bubblegum 3-CD set, which peaked
at No 2 on the British charts and stayed in that position
for several months!
Here's a collector's item: jukebox strips
for the first Christie single!
In 1969/1970, Australia actually banned records from
foreign artists. That didn't stop Yellow
River from being a hit
once, but twice .. the song was covered in Australia by
local bands called Autumn and Jigsaw, and each version made
the charts. Curiously, the writing credits for the song
were attributed to a "G Christy". Despite this,
Christie did tour Australia after the ban was lifted in
1971, and showed the fans how Yellow
River should have been sung.
The song Yellow River
has been covered by a multitude of artists, including the
obscure and the famous. Versions have been recorded by luminaries
such as REM and Doyle Lawson, to outfits such as Mexican Mariachi
bands, brass bands and Peruvian pan pipers!
For a listing of artists who have covered Christie's
songs, click here.
Vic Elmes married
Dee Anderson, daughter of Sylvia and Gerry Anderson, creator
of the Thunderbirds and other "supermarionation"
series. Because of this connection, Vic was able to get
a foot in the door of the Anderson stable, and was commissioned
to write theme music for some of its shows, the most notable
of which was Space:
1999, with its "space disco" feel and electric
One of the most widely-read British newspaper strips
in the 70s was Andy Capp, featuring the escapades of a habitual
pub-goer. Such was Yellow River's
popularity that the song even featured in one of the episodes.
Jeff Christie started playing at 13 years of age, and at
17 won a talent contest at Bradford in its Stars of Tomorrow
contest. At 18, he and his group won another talent show,
organised by Thames TV to back up its promotion of the Batman
At Bogota's International Stadium in 1973, Christie broke
the record pulling in 30,000 fans, 6000 more than supergroup
Santana, Brazilian superstar Roberto Carlos, and a rising
star named Julio Inglesias.
In 1970, actor/director Lionel Jeffries offered Jeff
a part in the film The Railway Children, provided Jeff cut
his long hair. Jeff declined and a few months later, Yellow
River was released.
The movie itself turned out to be quite successful, and
it has become one of the most loved family British films
of the 70s ... so Jeff could well have become a famous movie
actor as well had he accepted the part!
Yellow River was adopted by
American Football team as the theme song for the Clash of
the Titans Super Bowl at California's Rose Bowl Stadium in
River is one of many great songs featured in Rabbids
Go Home, a "comedy-adventure" video game
developed by Ubisoft Montpellier and published by Ubisoft
for Wii and Nintendo DS. The game was released
in late 2009. It's the fourth installment in the Rabbids sub-series
of the Rayman series of video games and is the first stand-alone
title in the sub-series. The game's plot centers on the efforts
of the titular Rabbids to collect as many human objects as
they can and create a huge pile high enough to reach the Moon,
all the while avoiding the extermination attempts by the "Verminators",
who wish to gain back the stuff the Rabbids have stolen.
The game received generally favorable
reviews from critics, who praised the game's humor, soundtrack
and accessible gameplay.
The various levels of the game feature classic
songs from the past, from an era that the makers say was more
peaceful and less dangerous. Other artists in the game include
The Kingsmen, Canned Heat, Jefferson Airplane, John Denver,
Boney M, Harry Belafonte, Santana and Janis Joplin.
There are two versions
of Inside Looking Out on the
Repertoire release of Christie's
first album. Included is the single version of the song,
but on first hearing, there appears to be no difference
between this and the album version. So what's the deal?
single version is actually a mono recording, while the album
rendition is in true stereo. Back in the days of AM radio,
vinyl singles were often recorded in mono for better compatibility
will appreciate the inclusion of this track, but then again
it could be argued that all the other mono versions of Christie
songs could have been added too. A more interesting inclusion
would have been the mono version of Down
The Mississippi Line from the original Yellow
River single, which was a distinctly different version
to the album one.
that subject, the version of Most
Wanted Man In The USA on the Repertoire For
All Mankind album is not the vinyl version. The song
you hear on the CD comes without horn accompaniment, which
was featured on the original 45 record.
The mono waveform for Inside
|Jeff's musical ability has been utilised
in producing other bands and writing and performing jingles
for radio and television, the most famous being British Telecom's
Yellow Pages advertisement which has been used for 20 years.
Jeff also had to turn down an opportunity to write and record
a Coca-Cola jingle due to the band's heavy touring commitments
Has there been anywhere Christie hasn't toured? They
were far and away the most travelled pop band in 1970-71.
They've been to Europe, Scandinavia, the Iron Curtain
countries, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, Africa, South
America and Central America - not to mention their own
homeland in the UK.
|Christie were in fact the first British
group to tour South American and Central American countries
(Mexico, Guatamala, Honduras, Costa Rica, etc).
|In Argentina, Christie were so famous that
the TV networks gave them their own TV show, a 90 minute documentary
and spectacular with resident orchestra and dancing girls.
Christie hit world headlines in 1972 following a riot
during torrential rain in Zambia's Dag Hammersjkold
Stadium, when the group were forced to abandon the concert
due to danger of electrocution.
Christie set the pop
world alight in more ways than one. Back in
the 70s, a Dutch company released a line of
matchboxes which featured pictures of the top
pop stars of the day. Of course, Christie was
Legendary US band leader Ray Coniff asked Jeff to write
songs for his new album at a high society party during one
of Rio's Carnivals. Other artists who wanted Jeff's songs
include Cliff Richard, Long John Baldry, James Last, Jackie
Wilson, and Peter Noone.
On the first South American tour, Christie disembarked
from the plane to a Beatlemania-type reception from their
fans, with a brass band playing Yellow
River on the tarmac.
Christie are believed to be the first
Western pop group to have played behind the Iron
Curtain, in Yugoslavia and Poland at the Sopot Song Festival
in 1970, televised via satellite to 200 million viewers in
the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries.
Russia's local pop music industry developed as
a result of the publicity given to the festival, with homegrown
bands influenced by the performance of Christie.
Christie and Paul Fenton collaborated on some great songs
when they were at Gil Markle's Long
View Farm, when Paul was recording there with his flamenco
group Carmen. Gil (pictured left) no longer runs a recording
studio, but did keep many of the demos that Jeff and Paul
worked on. One of the songs, Movin'
On, has been featured on Gil's site for some time,
and he has recently added another: Ba
Ba Boo Ba, an ad-lib song that Jeff composed based on
drum rhythms that Paul used to sing out loud. Read more about
it, and listen to the demo, here.
The piece has now been used as background music for a video
promoting Gil's travel business, as well as another of Jeff's
songs, Tonight. Read more about
the incredible legacy that Gil has left here.
|Before Christie was formed, Jeff (with his
band The Outer Limits) toured with Jimi Hendrix in the last
of the mammoth pop package tours, which also featured
Pink Floyd, Amen Corner, The Nice and The Move.
Who performed around the UK in 2006, and among the licensed
merchandise for the gigs was this t-shirt, which reproduces
a cover of a 1970 issue of New Musical Express. That same
cover has a pointer to a Christie article
inside the paper about Christie "going into hiding"
to rehearse (top left-hand corner). Jeff himself loves the
early Who music, with Jeff's Outer Limits often playing the
sort of progressive music The Who excelled in, so he was quick
to buy a few copies for himself.
Before he achieved worldwide fame as a guitarist with
Dire Straits and then in his own right, Mark
Knopfler worked as a journalist and once wrote
an article on Christie!
Jeff has of course played and toured with many musical
acts throughout his ullustrious career. Here he is pictured
with Dave Dee (second from left) during a show from the
Jeff recounts: "Dave Dee is with his
then girlfriend Joanne, a British Airways stewardess. Next
to me is George, a trucker who did a bit of promoting and
booked Dave Dee and myself a couple of times. Unfortunately,
I don't remember who the guy on the left is.
was always really nice to me, I guess he must have liked
me. I worked with him a lot and learned much from him. A
lot of my German gigs in the '90's were solo where there's
nowhere to hide and it can be lonely and intimidating especially
when you're working to several thousand people and most
of the acts are all bands except the odd solo artist like
Dave and myself or Chris Andrews. I was always more comfortable
working with a band on stage.
played with Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich in Boston,
UK, in the mid-60's with The Outer Limits in support. A
year or so later when in London trying to get another rung
up the ladder, my dad and I went along to meet their producers
Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley whilst the band were recording
one of their songs, The Legend of
Xanadu. Dave had just finished his vocal and came
up to me and asked what I thought of it even though they
were huge at the time with several top 10 hits under their
belt. I was sad when he died a few years ago. "
In his spare time,
Jeff loves nothing more than to catch other music acts.
Here are pictures of him with singer Willie Nile, and
with friends at the 2010 New Orleans Jazz Festival.
Jeff and singer WillieNile (centre) after a show
Jeff with friends and brother Lester (right) at
New Orleans, USA.