Paul Mills (ex drummer with the band The
Just after the Outer Limits band, can you remember a young
band called the Valkyries? We worked together in Leeds on
You topped the bill and we were starry eyed youngsters,
then you ended up as Christie with Yellow River. I still raise
my arms up to anyone from Leeds.
I ended up in The Casuals for a lot of years
and am still working in a band. Your dad and my dad were pals
in the Albion Club in Leeds. In a roundabout way you helped
me become who I am today.
I went to your house when you were away with
Robert Epstone, my pal.
Your memory is obviously still intact and although I remember
some of what you say there's some I don't.
I remember The Casuals' great record Jesamine,
but don't remember meeting any of the group but I could be
wrong. There were so many gigs to remember that it's impossible
to recall every one over the 50 plus years of gigging, especially
in the early days of the mid-60s. You say your dad was friendly
with my dad at the Lido in Albion St and you came to my house
with Robert Epstone, who is alive and well
and living in Bali for many years now. I see him regularly
as he comes to Leeds every so often.
It's really gratifying to know that I may have
influenced anyone to further themselves in a musical direction
if that's the case, as music is the magic bullet to soothe,
excite, heal and inspire people everywhere.
Christopher Coote, Millom, UK, wrote:
Jeff, I remember you from the Ritz Club in Millom in 1972.....you
nearly blew the back out of the place with Iron
Horse! I loved it!! As loud at the Rocking Vicars were
in '68 .... hahaha.
Millom, though out in the sticks, had a devout
following of both metal and rock and roll fans
of the older girls could really jive with all that acrobatic
stuff too! I saw loads of class acts at both the Palace (later
Cumbria Club) and the Ritz. Hot Chocolate came about the time
you guys did too, plus Edison Lighthouse and Amen Corner.
Basically, anyone who was anyone came
we were really
quite spoiled with talent in the late 60's and early 70s.
Thanks Chris, that was a blast! The Rocking Vicars used to
have Lemmy (later of Hawkwind and Motorhead) as a member,
once saw them at the Cro Magnon club in Leeds in the 60's
before crossing paths or amps with him when he was a roadie
on the Hendrix tour in '67 which I was on with my then band
Philip Ayotte Brunette,
Texas, USA, wrote:
I was recently sent a suggestion that Yellow
River could be used as a song my little band (and I
DO mean little) could play at our RV park in Texas this winter.
I remember the tune although I don't think it received as
much air time in Canada (home). Anyway... love the song! Figure
you were limited to keeping it to under three minutes back
in the 70's. I've taken the liberty of extending it with additional
lyrics so this cover version runs 5:15 and continues the story.
Hope you have a chance to put an ear on it. Cheers!
Too much of a good thing etc, because sometimes the magic
is just enough in just under three mins, any more and you
over-egg the pud.
I figured I got it right in '69 and there's many who would
agree, but good luck, have fun with it and and have a good
Rush, former roadie for Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds,
Hello Jeff Christie, I just watched the "Story
Behind Yellow River" and was amazed how fate stepped
in for you! How you even tried to give it away to a national
act (your song) but FATE went the long way around to give
it back to you and thus the rest is history. I'm so glad you
not only wrote the song, but sang lead on it.
Your song is mentioned in my memoir. There is
a story behind why I mentioned it and had you not wrote the
song, my life may have taken a different direction. It's all
in my book, Life of a Roadie, the Gypsy
Thanks Ronnie, yes fate indeed, the pressures of trying to
break through as a songwriter and musician were tough in those
days as the competition was so good.
It changed many peoples lives in so many ways,
mostly for the better I think, not the least mine.
Good luck with your book, roadies are a breed apart, I'm sure
you must have many great stories and experiences. I worked
with many over the years, and could write my own little book
of roadies, but that's another story!
Martin Marcis Beitin, music
journalist, Latvia, wrote:
Regarding the One
For The Road video, could you please tell me, if you know:
What are exact locations that are captured in
it? Who was the director? Which highway and city is in this
video? aAnd in which spot precisely is the band standing?
Why was the video shot there and not somewhere else? Thank
you so much.
Location was somewhere in the home counties south of London.
The director: I think it was Peter Hunt from Southern TV who
Horse and a few other Christie videos like Fools
That's all I'm afraid ... I can only guess the reason the
film included some road shots were just simplistically to
tie in to the title of One For The Road.
Dawson, London, writes:
Hi Jeff, I have been looking at the website.
Loved Yellow River
from the first time I heard it, in my teens. Can you tell
me, please, on which guitar the treble riff is played? Also,
is any signal processing used? Love the 'jangly' sound. Wonder
if this could be 'reproduced' on a Squier Telecaster. Also,
not sure why only two guitarists in Christie.
Hi Peter, an electric Fender 12-string was used on the original
with some tape echo. A Telecaster has its own unique sound
as does the Stratocaster but you can get close with reverb/echo
etc, but it's also the player, instrument, and studio ambience
that gave it a distinct character.
You must also remember it was all analogue back
then as opposed to digital now. A lot of differences to contend
with but double tracking and EQ played their part also.
Jared Sagal, www.rockerrazzifilmz.com,
My name is Jared Sagal and I am making a documentary about
San Bernardino and the tragic events that took place December
2nd, 2015 at the Inland Regional Center there where the shooting
The doc is about the new pro soccer team that
came into town after the attack and how soccer has helped
lift the spirits of the community and the victims of the shootings.
I am producing and directing this by myself with little to
no funds but would really like to use the song for the opening
I'm happy to send over an edit of the film if
you'd like. I hope we can work something out so we can share
your music. It's the perfect tune for this doc. Thanks so
Oddly enough some years ago San Bernadino
was put forward by people on the SB City Council as the official
city song in an effort to be an uplifting response to the
violence and murders that were plaguing the city despite the
fact that my song title omitted the 'r' in the title.
There was quite a campaign backed by various
people with the City's connections, including a descendant
of Kit Carson and various other City alumni. I was even invited
to perform at the annual Route 66 festival there to perform
the song. How strange that in the aftermath of another horrendous
murder spree I am contacted again by someone else to use my
If you send over an edit I'd be happy to look
at it and we can take it from there.
Galit, Israel, wrote:
My name is Galit and I'm from Israel. I love Yellow
River. I remember it very well although I was just
3 when it was released. My older brothers used to listen to
Today, as I was taking my very elderly parents home after
celebrating our holiday, my mom told me a story from her childhood.
They were dancing to the sound the classical piece In
A Persian Market. As I've never heard the name of the
piece before I listened to it on youtube. The first thing
that came to my mind was your Yellow
Yes, you are right, it is reminiscent of A
Persian Market. Are you a musicologist?
The western chromatic scale consists of 12 notes
and it is remarkable that millions of songs are created within
Obviously there are going to be many occasions
when songs are very close melodically whether intentional
or not, but one has to take into account such things as phrasing,
rhythms and cadence which give a completely different picture
despite similarities of melodic notes. Hope that is helpful.
Felix Py, Argentina, wrote:
Hello Jeff, I'm Felix Py from Argentina. It's a
great honour to contact you, I remember when you visited our
country in the 70 s with your amazing band Christie. I saw
you in a night club called Bwana under the Alvear Palace Hotel
and I enjoy too much your music, specially Yellow
River, one of the greatest songs pop I ever heard.
I'm an amateur drummer and collector of Ludwig drums. Un abrazo
Hi Felix, thanks for writing in. Argentina was great for Christie,
at one time in the early seventies we
had our own one-off 90-minute show with guest artists
and dancers, in the days long before video or youTube made
it possible to see these things again.
I vaguely remember the Alvear Palace but mostly
we would stay at the Sheraton and use Buenos Aires as a base
for gigs throughout the country and what a vast interesting
country you have, with different regions and climate and Yerba
Mate, which I loved and was introduced to by a couple of gauchos.
Some of the most beautiful women in the world are from Argentina,
and tango, alongside flamenco, have always been big favourites
of mine in the world of dance.
The engine of any band is the drummer, he holds
it all together and needs to be strong and fit and have lots
of stamina, and Ludwig drums are renowned. Good luck with
all that and stay strong!
Christie being greeted by fans in Argentina
Richard Shreve, New York, USA, wrote:
Jeff, at the start of summer, I was scheduled for
back surgery and remembered your song Yellow
River from childhood ... it helped me get prepared
and through my surgery and gave me strength and energy to
be able to do his for the sixth time!!! Many, many, many,
thanks to you and, your song... I am so glad the Tremeloes
passed on the song and you did it!!!! I SERIOUSLY play it
over and over and over, hours straight; it gives me the strength
and stamina I require to endure. Thank you again
Lots of love for you and your song.
Hello Richard, I'm touched that a song I wrote more than 45
years ago could have such an uplifting effect on you and help
you through your back surgery, and for the sixth time!! That
music is such a powerful tool for good has always resonated
strongly with me, and stories such as yours only strengthen
that fact. I am so happy if my songs help lift anyone's mood
and consider myself fortunate to have been given the skill
or talent to be able to channel that magic to anyone who will
I have had spinal surgery and can identify and
empathise with your situation. I did not however, have anyone
in mind when I wrote YR, but
at a point in my life when I was without a job or a band and
was looking for artists to cover my songs. The Tremeloes happened
to be one of several bands that listened to my songs and in
particular 'got it' with that one and helped me on my way
through recognition and action. In the end I suppose when
creators sing their own songs, with the right production and
recording it might just have more integrity and soul than
other versions, even if by more famous artists.
You live in a great city which I have visited
often. I hope you surgery gives you good benefit and improvement
and wish you well.
Rick Neumann, Maryland, USA, wrote:
Hey Jeff! I'm 62 and live in Maryland. I've always
loved Yellow River. It's an iconic
song that is haunting and superb. I am a scuba diver. Over
35 years, I have fallen in love with a tiny island in the
Caribbean called Little Cayman. I'm also a longtime outdoor
writer. It ocurred to me that I needed to write a love song
about Little Cayman.
The basic melody of Yellow
River kind of leapt at me like a bullfrog last summer.
So, I wrote The Ballad of Little Cayman, and a young musician
buddy of mine is messing with it. I'm not doing this for money,
but would like to make it available to other divers who love
this island as I do. Do you have any thoughts about this?
Would you be opposed to it? Best personal regards
I can't promise clearance for use of the melody until I hear
the finished (or demo) version. It's important that I do not
authorise songs that are not up to a reasonable standard.
Maybe send me an mp3 first. Thanks.
Nora Shmakova, Ukraine, wrote:
Jeff, why do you sing the songs of other ones ? You have got
masterpieces, songs of your own! Remember we your admirers
want to listen to your music and more and more please, Christie
Dear Nora, first thank you for your kind appraisal of my songs.
When I make records, I only record my own songs,
apart from the odd occasion for a special project, like the
Christmas version of 'Happy Xmas
War Is Over' which I did many years ago. If people want
to explore and appreciate my songwriting outside the obvious
hits, they need to listen to my albums, of which two have
been released in the last few years and are accessible online
from iTunes/Amazon etc.
When I play live with my band, the audience really
enjoy the other songs as well as my own songs and the whole
program works very well. Obviously I would love to be able
just to perform my own songs sometimes, but not everyone knows
all my songs other than the most popular handful and so I
play songs from the same time period that evoke the same feelings
from that period, which is the early 70's, to transport the
listener back to that time.
Hope this answers your question. Keep listening,
music makes the world go round!
Duffy, UK, wrote:
Heard Great Train Robbery on
Sounds of the Sixties recently. I remember you telling me
it was arranged by Tony Meehan. That was in the Merrion Bowl
about 1969!!! I still think your version of Walk
In My Shoes is the best!!!
Hey Stuart, Just Walk In My Shoes'
by Gladys Knight and The Pips was a great record and we loved
doing that, I think we opened with it at one point.
Am very flattered and thanks.
The Bowling Alley in the Merrion Centre was always
a great gig for us but the last gig the Outer Limits ever
played was there, and that must have been mid to late '68
Alicia Ruffolo, Argentina, wrote:
Jeff! Why don't you came again to Argentina? If
only ...... you can´t imagine what your songs represent
for me ... when I have a difficult work to do, first of all
I put Yellow River in my ears
and in my heart, and all the things became easier.
Hi Alicia, so many great memories of Argentina and particularly
las mujeres hermosas!
I toured Argentina four times in the early 70s,
usually after doing shows in Brasil.
We often stayed at the Sheraton in Buenos Aires,
which we used as a base. I saw a vast and varied country and
a proud people.
I have always loved tango, Argentine beef, and
yerba mate sipped through a steel straw. We had some Gaucho
fans who showed us how to prepare it.
We used to come over for a promoter called Leonardo
Schultz, who was once in a famous Argentine singing group
and who had a son called Danny, who Leonardo told me started
playing guitar because of me, which is a satisfying and nice
I would like very much to play in Argentina again
as we were very popular there for a while and once had our
own TV show in Buenos Aires, so we need to find a promoter
to bring the band over again for an anniversary show perhaps.
Thank you for your appreciation of my music,
to know that I have touched people around the world with my
songs in some kind of a meaningful way is the greatest gift
Be well and keep on listening!
Gabi R. Jandette, Mexico, wrote:
Hello Jeff! On November 10, 1974, you came to visit
Mexico City for the first time. Your show was in "Auditorio
Nacional de la ciudad de Mexico".
I remember you sang my favorite song in all the
world, Yellow River, and others
like San Bernadino, Navajo, Alabama,
Inside Looking Out, Guantanamera, Down the Mississippi Line,a
cover of Jumping Jack Flash ...
Toncho Pilatos was the Mexican group that opened
your show. Do you remember?
You looked so fine, wearing white jeans and a
red sweater, you looked so handsome!!!!
That was the best show I had never seen.
Congratulations, MY "Papucho".
We stayed in the Hotel Del Prado and got friendly
with an American satirical theatre group who were putting
on a show at the Hotel called El Grande de Coca Cola. We played
in the hotel also, I think the deal was we stayed for free
for several nights and did a freebie for them. We used the
hotel as a base for a tour of Mexico which took us all over
I remember Guadalajara, Durango, Chihuahua, Hermosillo,
to name a few places and of course Mexico City, the Pyramids
and Dia de Muertos, which we found fascinating, although quite
different from the cultural/religious references we knew from
Before the show in the afternoon at the National
Auditorium in Mexico City, our promoter Leonardo Schultz fell
off the stage in the darkness and broke his leg. I was walking
behind with the rest of the band behind me, and it was lucky
I didn't follow him off the side of the stage.
We did however have a great show later and enjoyed
playing to such an enthusiastic audience.
Thanks for reminding me, it's great that you
were there and got in touch after all these years and am glad
it was a great night for you.
Warren G. Hunter, Huntsville, Alabama,
Jeff, I ran across some vids of Yellow
River and other great Christie songs and just had to
write and tell you what great memories they brought back for
me. I think I must have played Yellow
River 1000 times - and now to hear it again - just
I just love the sound you guys put out, which
brings me to my question: What amp were you using to get that
jangley lead tone on Yellow River
and San Bernadino? I'm assuming
a Vox AC30. Just sounds killer!
Anyway, thanks again for some awesome music.
Thanks for your email. Yellow
River: Fender 12 string guitar through a Fender Pro
Reverb or Twin Reverb amp plus a little fairy dust! It was
a long time ago!
San Bernadino: Gibson
Les Paul 6 string, double tracked through either a Fender
I was using Vox AC 30's in the '60's and they
were a great amp but seem to have attained iconic status in
I wrote a song called Alabama,
it's on the For
All Mankind album.
Diego, Tupanciretã, Brazil, wrote:
Hello, my name is Diego, I live in Brazil and I am 26 years
When I was 16 I did not like music but one day
my cousin gave me a few discs and it was the Yellow
River LP, the album is perfect listening.
I listened to all the tracks several times 10
years ago and I became a musician! Thank you, thank
you for all the good things that your music has given me,
I'll never forget.
Hi Diego, obrigado for your email.
I played in Brasil in 1970/71 and had a wonderful
time. I found the people warm, welcoming and the cariocas
especially good fun.
I made many friends there and have always loved
In 1975 I went out with the singer Rosemary (Pereira)
who was also with the Mangera Samba school featured at carnival.
We lost contact long ago but she recorded one of my songs
and she is part of my affectionate memories of your country.
I wish you much success with your music. Follow
José (Mary Jo), Argentina, wrote:
Dear Jeff: I´m listening now to Yellow
River, I listen to it all time, it is my favorite song
in the world.
I´m Argentinian and 42 years old. Yes!
When you had your best success I was a little girl.
I listened to Yellow River
when I was 25, I bought a CD with 70´s hits and
it was there.
Five years ago I found a youtube video in which
you are on a boat (I love this video) and I have searched
others up to today, and you do not seem to be 63, you look
very young. I like you more with long hair.
Of course the ringtone of my phone mobile
is ....."Yellow River"!
This year I´ve started guitar lessons (the
first time in my life) to play and sing my dear Yellow
River and My Sweet Lord
by George Harrison. Yes, my three loves are you, George and
The Beatles. I like the music of 50´s, 60´s and
70´s. I was born 20 years late!!!!
Dear Mary Jo, thanks for your e-mail,
good wishes and support. It's always nice to hear from those
who enjoy listening to my music especially when they are so
appreciative. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.
I value your comments and wish you well.
Stretch, UK, wrote:
My name is Stretch (nickname) and have recently
arrived in the UK and started to settle down.
In 1972, I was the owner of a disco club in what
was then Salisbury, Rhodesia.
The club was called Sound City and we at the
club were lucky enough to have Christie and Edison Lighthouse
In fact, Jeff actually stayed with me at my house
in Braeside, a suburb of Salisbury. No doubt you can imagine
my surprise when I came across this site on the web.
I very much doubt if Jeff will recall this (it
was after they left Zambia), but none the less, please say
hi from a chap that met him a lifetime ago.
Wishes to all and thank you.
Hi Stretch, yep, a long time ago but a vague
distant memory recall just about gets me there.
Hope you're adjusting to UK after Salisbury,
a very different kind of life in many ways! We had some serious
fun there as well as some great gigs.
Harare doesn't quite cut the mustard sadly somehow,
what with tyrants and tartars in charge of what was once a
beautiful country. Meet the new boss - same as the old boss,
Harry Young and Sabbath
Harry Young, Australia,
I was the lead singer with the Australian
band Harry Young and Sabbath
in the early 70s, who covered and had top 10 success with
Jeff Christie's song San Bernadino.
We reunited for a one-off performance on the
22nd of November.
When Jeff toured Aussie and was in Sydney, he
bowled into the Whisky Au Go Go one night and announced he
was the dude behind the track that started our air play career,
so we then jammed. He and his kit player did a few numbers
with us. That was 1971 I believe.
It goes without saying that you were all doing
your Duane Eddy thumb exercises ad nauseum, limbering up on
treadmills, ordering in the oxygen cylinders and the suitably
attired nurses to administer said drug on stage.
Also hope you all had megadosage of zinc memory-boost,
so as not to forget the words, especially to San
Bernadino! And ... imperative not to forget to check
frequency compatability with pacemakers and all other batteries
are fully charged for wind-up drummer!
Hope you all had your mojos workin' for
a 'smokin' gig.
BIRTHDAY greetings to the one and only THEA, who many Outer
Limits fans remember as being one of the secretaries for
the group's fan club. Thea, the lady in white pictured below
with Jeff and her friends, has kept in touch with Jeff all
these years, and Jeff himself has sent a congratulatory
message (read below the photo).
Thea, it was lovely to share your birthday celebrations
with you and all your friends and family (and you thought
no one would come)! A great little kickass band helped keep
the evening moving, although I'd watch out for the lead
singer, he couldn't take his eyes off you all night!!
So happy our special friendship has journeyed
beyond the 'Outer Limits'!!
Stay forever young, in heart and mind."
Jeff Christie, April
Jackie Stirling, British Vancouver,
When I got my first car in 1970, the song Yellow
River by Christie was on the radio all the time.
It quickly became my all time favorite song.
For some reason, I never heard of the band again, but never
forgot the song.
When I got my IPod, I quickly downloaded the
song and was finally able to listen to it again.
Recently, I added an application called Listen Music on
Facebook, and immediately typed in my favorite song title.
I was thrilled to find a video of the song as I had never
seen the group.
I found more and more videos of Christie and
Jeff Christie, and have now purchased the album For
All Mankind from ITunes.
All I want now is to have Jeff Christie come
to Vancouver, BC, and perform so that I may finally see
Judging by the number of comments here and
on You Tube concerning Christie, I am certain there would
be many others who would also like to see him.
Why not re-release Yellow
River, San Bernadino,
For All Mankind, etc and then
follow up with a tour.
I am sure there is a whole new audience who
would love the songs as the rest of us do. Just reserve
me a front row seat to the concert!
I notice on the website that Jeff's cousin
has moved to Tampa, Florida; was he the only relative Jeff
had in Canada?
Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful
My Canadian Christie cousins are in the Kawartha
Lakes, and Toronto area, and we all remain close even though
we don't see each other as often as we all would like.
As a matter of fact one of my cousin's sons
Jodi is making a name for himself at 14 motor bike racing,
and reaching pole position a few times already, see photo
There's an double album retrospective
of mine out on Angel Air Records called Outer
Limits/Jeff Christie Floored Masters Past Imperfect
getting some great reviews around the world some of which
you'll see on this web site.
The songs are pre and post 'Christie' and reflect
different sides of my songwriting over the years.
Yellow River was
a big song for me all round the world and has become a rock/pop
classic which makes it more special for me.
Miroslav Ignatov, Bulgaria,
I would like to tell Jeff Christie
how much his music affected me.
From long time ago I have had an idea to create
one home-made fan-book, which will include brief information
for my most favourite musicians. This book will have only
10 copies made, with the purpose of presenting the music I
love to my offspring, relatives and friends. It will be without
price ( priceless for me ) and without any commercial
I would like to ask you for permission to use
in my fan-book the lyrics of Yellow
River, San Bernadino, Iron Horse and Coming
Home Tonight, a few pictures and brief biographical
information - all taken from this site.
All included items will be unambiguous and credited
to their authors.
Also one short message (maybe to all Bulgarian
fans ) will be highly appreciable. I will be very glad if
you can send me this message to me.
I'm happy my music means so much to you and I
wish you well with your book- go ahead with the lyrics for
Also to any other Bulgarian fans out there: Thanks
for letting me into your lives ... I hope you all continue
to enjoy long healthy lives listening to much good music,
hopefully some of it will be mine.
Vincent Capobianco wrote:
Some versions of Yellow
River and San Bernadino
are different to the originals. When were these recorded by
Christie had guested on the Mama Cass TV special
in the early 70s, networked from coast to coast in the US,
and shortly after, as a result of this, I was invited to record
in Nashville. But owing to work commitments I was unable to
do so until the 80s, when K Tel records flew me out of London
to Nashville, and provided me with a private suite at the
prestigious Knox Manor Hotel, with its famous guitar-shaped
swimming pool for a few days.
Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to record
any new songs, I just re-recorded Yellow
River, San Bernadino and
Iron Horse for K Tel and its
licensed compilations distributed throughout various European
territories, and for their custom music website .. and partied
a bit for a few days before they flew me back to San Francisco.
Madrid, Spain, wrote:
I have read that in 1971 it was planned to organise
several concerts in Spain
(I think in Benidorm and in Ibiza) with Julie Felix, The Hollies
and Christie, but I haven't found more references about them.
Were those concerts were finally held?
Thank you very much and congratulations. It's
a very good site about Christie.
Hola Fernando, it is a good site. The concerts were cancelled
at the last minute by Spanish officials for no reason, much
to our managers' anger.
The three acts (the Hollies, Julie Felix and
us) stayed at the El Montiboli in Villajoyosa, between Benidorm
and Alicante, which I loved so much I stayed there several
times over the next few years for holiday breaks. I think
not long after those shows I returned for more shows and wrote
Iron Horse there. The England
World Cup Squad stayed at the same hotel at the last World
Cup in Spain.
Incidentally, it was there
that I met Lem Lubin, whose brother Alan was involved in promoting
those shows, and shortly after he joined the band.
Rene van den Berge, Netherlands, wrote:
The first record I ever bought was Iron
Horse and after 30 years, it's still one of my all-time
favorites. The song is kind of magic to me and gives me energy
everytime I listen to it! Thank you for so much power!
I have a few questions.
a) How did you earn a living in your 'unsuccesful'
pre-Christie years with the Outer Limits? Did you have a normal
job in these days?
b) Where was Iron Horse
recorded, was it an 'easy' recording, who played the guitars,
who produced it and what's your own opinion of this song?
c) In my opinion Iron Horse
is the best Christie tune. It was a hit in Europe, but not
in the UK and the USA. How come?
d) Has your huge single Yellow
River made you financially independent or did you have
to have a normal job after your Christie years?
I used to know someone who was the head chef
at the Pantry, a restaurant in downtown LA in the 1980s.
His reputation afforded him the sobriquet of the great
Some answers for your questions:
a) I left school at 16, and reluctantly took
a day job to help with my keep at home and to give myself
a little cash to support my tobacco habit*! I quit the job
at 18 before being asked to leave and turned professional,
by which time my group The Outer Limits were starting to get
noticed. Within three years I had a couple of my songs recorded
and released (one of them produced by Andrew Loog Oldham,
the Rolling Stones manager), toured with Hendrix, done a TV
documentary called Death of a Pop Group and still
had no money, and barely made a living!
b) Iron Horse was
recorded at CBS Bond Street Studios. I dont recall
there being any problems at the session. Vic Elmes played
the lead guitar parts and I played bass and acoustic guitars
and piano. Paul Fenton played drums. I liked this song a lot.
I have a very clear memory of writing it whilst staying in
a beautiful hotel in Villajoyosa, Spain. "Iron Horse"
was the name the Plains Indians gave to the locomotive trains
that crossed the American Prairies westward from the east
bringing settlers, commerce, engineers etc. It helped speed
up the tragic endgame for the Native Americans through disease,
destruction, and double cross. I wanted to try and convey
the menace and the thunderous sound of the train in the rolling
guitar chords at the beginning of the song as well as lyrically
trying a little to see it through "red mans eyes".
To this day I hear cover versions of the song and very few
get that guitar riff right, it was a bit tricky. Hopefully
my persistence paid off. Martin Clark and myself produced
c) With regard to your opinion that it was the
best Christie tune, and why wasnt it a bigger hit in
the UK and USA, I dont know, but there was some evidence
to support chart rigging
in the UK in favour of another record that we had sold
more copies than, that forced Iron
Horse to exit the top 50 after only reaching
no 43 on the chart. A hit nevertheless albeit smaller, but
it should have been top 20 or 10. A long time ago, but had
it been a bigger hit in the UK as you and many others believe,
it wouldve had a better chance of happening in the US.
Cest la vie!
d) I suppose its fair to say that my success
has made me reasonably financially independent and I have
never been forced to going back to get a proper job
but I would just say this: I am not the first nor will I be
the last to have been under accounted to or taken advantage
of financially by the music industry, misrepresented, cheated,
and fallen prey to other peoples jealousy and bitterness.
It has been happening since 1970 and its still happening
today. Thats show biz!
Best wishes to you Rene, and long live the magic!
*>>Note: Jeff no
longer smokes, and currently lives a healthy life!<<
John Bellis, Belgium, wrote:
Hello Jeff. I've been reading in the articles
on the website that you meant for the Tremeloes to record
another song instead of Yellow River.
Which song was it?
I thought the Tremeloes were similar in style
to Christie in the kind of music played, although both groups
seemed determined to shake off the commercial tag and play
heavier music. Do you keep in touch with original members
of the Tremeloes? Maybe some of you can play together in a
Dear John, I wrote a song called Tomorrow
Night specifically for The Tremeloes, but when
I played it for them in69 they told me they were trying
to get away from that kind of song, as they wanted to change
direction. It was in the style of some of their previous hits,
which were often Italian songs with English words. Alan Blakley
died some years ago and from time to time I see the others
at gigs that they and me are performing at. There has never
been any suggestion of any kind of joining up, though one
time at a gig in Germany they invited me on stage to sing
Yellow River with them.
Gus Brewster, Massachusetts, USA, wrote:
There is no shame in playing catchy, commercial
songs. Look at groups like Abba and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Their legacy lives on, they are regarded as masters of their
art. Christie could have been in the same league.
I'm happy to hear Jeff is still writing. Maybe
he can recapture the sound of those great songs, and either
record them himself, or offer them to some of today's rising
Well Gus, were all geniuses in hindsight
and it probably was a mistake, but just as every actor wants
to play Hamlet, and get peer respect, the same goes for musicians.
Heavy music was the fashion and a combination of many factors
influenced this decision to change direction. For me, as a
writer it was also about spreading my wings, and not wanting
to be typecast. At the moment Im trying to get some
songs to that well-known Australian Pop Idol contestant, Ray
Chan, who Im told can carry a tune!
Josh, UK, wrote:
Why did the band produce such heavy songs on
the For All Mankind album and
yet continued to release commercial singles like Iron
Horse and Everything's Gonna
Be Alright? It seemed as if you thought you were going
forward with the heavy sound, but then moved backward to the
simpler stuff simply to sell more records?
Well Josh, thats a
very reasonable assumption, but in truth record company and
managerial pressure to keep selling singles was the price
for experimental/heavy albums. Anyway I love to write songs,
all kinds. Its other people who want to put me in a
little box marked Pop, Country, Rock, Heavy, or whatever.
I once wrote a song for Sinatra called Sunday,
and a song for Roy Orbison called All
the Love, which neither of them heard as I changed
my mind afterwards, but in later years wished that I would
have sent the songs to them.
Dietmar H, Germany,
The version of I'm Alive
on the CD is different to the one that was originally available
on the single. Where did the CD version come from? Was it
For some reason, whoever was overseeing the re-mastering
of Im Alive omitted
the string and cello sections plus some added guitar work,
a sort of unplugged version is what featured on the CD version.
There was no re-recording.
John Carr, Widnes, UK, wrote:
What are some of the highs and lows in your career?
As for highs, Id have to say getting to
numero uno in 26 countries, including my own, with a song
that I wrote and recorded kind of hit the spot; also outdrawing
Santana in Bogota, Columbia in 73 was a bit special,
but there have been many wonderful highs in my life as well
as some awful lows, but lifes what you make it, dont
you think? You just got to keep moving, somehow. One of the
biggest lows was Iron Horse not
breaking the English top 30 due to some skulduggery. I
Can See Clearly Now (Johnny Nash) and Iron
Horse were sitting next to each other in the early
40s (chartwise) and Iron Horse
was really outselling Johnny Nash according to CBS sales
returns, when instead of breaking the Top 30 as predicted,
Iron Horse fell back, and eventually
out of the top 50, while Johnny boy crashed into the top 30
and then the top 10. We knew wed been sacrificed and
the race fixed for Johnny, and no matter how much we complained
to the relevant people it was a fait accompli and the consequences
Matthew Spicer, Slough, UK, wrote:
What brand of guitar do you play and what sort
of strings? What amplifier?
I have a Gibson Les Paul, Rickenbacker 12 string,
Fender Stratocaster, Guild B38 Bass, that used to belong to
my dear friend John Glascock (Carmen, and Jethro Tull) whos
no longer with us sadly. A Martin D28 acoustic, Yamaha 12
string acoustic, and a Washburn electric acoustic, and a battered
old nylon string Spanish guitar given to me by CBS a long
time ago, in the last century! To write more hits, quote unquote!
I favour the Strat for live work and use the others for studio
purposes, including the Strat. The amps are provided at the
gigs, and I try to request Fender Twin Reverb, Marshall or
Mesa Boogie. At home I have an old Johnson, and a Flextone
Line 6. I use Ernie Ball Hybrid Slinky for electrics, and
any good light gauge for acoustics. That just about covers
it I guess.
Wilson Silva Alexandre, Brazil, wrote:
We are too tired listening to a lot of bad rock'n'roll
music today. I remember when we can listen to true music and
true artist of rock like Jeff Christie. You still are a great
star...and your light shines on too strong in the universe
of music. Thank you, Jeff Christie, to make great songs for
Obrigado, for your appreciation,
and loyalty. I loved Brazil, Brazilian music, and Brazilian
football. I once wrote a song for a Brazilian singer called
Rosemary (right), called Nothing Has
Changed which she recorded in 1974. I met Pele in Sao
Paulo in 1970. I still hold a deep affection for Brazil, and
its people for all their warmth and saudade, and the wonderful
reception they gave to my band and me.
"1970s Christie fan Nic",
Jeff, do you still perform in the UK today? If
so, where and when? Thanks for great music which has stood
the test of time and brings back great memories. A bit personal,
but did you ever get married and are there any Jeff juniors?
I very rarely gig in the UK now. I was married
in 78 and unmarried in 83, no kids. Its
great to hear that you still have some good memories of my
times and music. That makes two of us!
Sergei Zhukov, Moscow, wrote:
Dear Jeff, no Beatles song, no Deep Purple song,
nothing could compare to Yellow River.
I had a Polish LP (hope it was licensed) that we played 'till
it could not be played anymore. You should come over here
and play one day and, if possible, I would like to
interview you for my friend's radio network.
I played The Moscow Olympic Centre with my band
on February 3, 2001, in a big 70s show with other bands
that were Slade, T Rex, The Glitter Band and Mungo Jerry.
The following night we played St Petersburg. It was a great
thrill for me to perform in Russia for the first time, and
the audiences were fantastic. An unforgettable experience!
Thank you for your kind words. To be able to touch people
all over the world with my music and songs is such a special
feeling, and when people tell me this, it invokes a great
sense of pride and humility in me. Georgias always on
Johan Niclassen, Faroe Islands, wrote:
I have for a long time been a admirer of you
as a songwriter and having very good voice. One of
my target for the future is to be abel to see you and your
band playing live. If that should happen in our lovely country
The Faroe Islands, I am sure you would get a warm welcome.
Dear Johan, I would love to visit the Faroe Islands
someday with or without my band. You never can tell whats
round the corner, but dont hold your breath! Im
delighted to hear that my music is still being played there,
and happy for you and people like you who still like to hear
my music on the radio.
Martin Heider, Germany, wrote:
I discovered the song Yellow
River from Jeff Christie on some of my old records
and listened to the guitar chords and bass notes and wrote
them down. We tried and played it several times until it sounded
quite alright. We called ourselves the Yellow River Band,
and today we play around Germany at various venues. We play
mostly oldies in our repertoire, including of course Yellow
River, and also San Bernadino.
Keep doing the Duane Eddy thumb exercises, and
remember the twangs the thang.
Jimmy Ward, Belfast, wrote:
I used to have Freewheelin'
Man on a 45 single, and I played it so much I had to
dump it due to scratches. Anyone who can write that type of
song is my kind of writer.
is still a big favourite of mine. I wish I could get hold
of a decent copy myself, on CD preferably as I dont
have one unscratched copy either. Something we both have in
common. The Repertoire CD version was cleaned up from a master
tape. Maybe I should just re-record it again, but then again
.. well see.
Helle Mikkelson, Denmark, wrote:
Did you ever release any 12" singles, any
records with coloured vinyl or any limited edition sleeves?
To my knowledge no 12" singles were released,
and as to coloured vinyl, again I dont think so, but
I could be wrong. Skol.
Edvin Paulsen, Norway, wrote:
I can still remember the exciting feeling that
first album gave me, and my friends too, and we played every
song almost every day for a long time. Christie was the best
LP and my favorite musical group for years. I know that you
have made a lot more songs than I have heard, and I see that
Christie have made a concert in the nineties. I would really
like to know if you are making more records, and if you ever
are going to make a concert in Norway, I will be there for
Hi Edvin, I havent played in your beautiful
country for quite some time, and would love to come visit
again, work or play. I have many great memories of my touring
days in Norway. I remember playing some festival way up north
one time, Boden, I think, up in the Arctic Circle where it
never got dark all night. What a party that was. Thanks for
sharing your memories with me, it was very moving for me to
Dennis Kepler, address unknown, wrote:
Hey Jeff, did you ever get married? Did you ever
have any children? What are you doing with your life today?
Are your children, if any, into music either writing
or playing in a band? Was Yellow River
truly about a river in Vietnam???
Hi Dennis, I was married in 1978 and divorced
in 1983. I didnt have kids, but still gig from time
to time, the last one in Oldenburg, Germany earlier this year.
Two memorable gigs a couple of years ago were in Moscow and
St Petersburg, and recently I did a Dutch TV program about
the story of Yellow River, to
be shown in Holland and Belgium later in the year. Im
still writing, and record occasionally.
was a fictional place when I wrote it, but about nine
years ago Scott Mackenzie told me it was the name of a transit
camp for GIs waiting to be shipped out to Vietnam. Id
heard that the song was regarded as a Vietnam song in the
States, perhaps this was one of the reasons why it was so
huge out there.