Express magazine, April 10, 1971, ran this article to commemorate
Christie's first anniversary.
By Roy Carr
IT has become increasingly obvious that certain spheres
of music are now resembling fanatical political arenas,
where one's personal freedom to listen to whatever pleases
you has become questionable and subject to ridicule.
Wishing to have absolutely no involvement with
such controversies, bands like Christie are satisfied to
get on with the job in hand .. namely that of keeping their
public entertained in the best way they know how.
Having just chalked up their first anniversary
as a popular international recording act, Christie now admit
to finding themselves at the crossroads.
With a newly grown beard taking just a slight
edge off his almost glossy-magazine good looks, Jeff Christie
took stock of the various events which have graced their
first gold-plated year.
"The trouble is that most people tend
to forget we are a very new band and it wasn't until Paul
Fenton joined on drums that thngs began to gel properly."
Following such a worldwide hit smash as Yellow
River, a follow-up is a little easier to achieve,
but it is the third release which often proves to be the
crucial testing point.
But as their full date book reveals, Christie
aren't one of those bands whse acceptance or appeal rotates
purely on record sucess, for their numerous in-person tours
have resulted in a continuous string of lucrative re-bookings
throughout the hemisphere.
With the release of their new single Man
of Many Faces, they have slightly deviated from their
original hit formula, being of the collective opinion that
it is the kiss-of-death to constantly repeat oneself musically.
"We want to arrive at the position where
we are able to put out any kind of music," Jeff said,
with approval from his friends.
"The Beatles never had a set pattern ..
if you're tied to one particular thing then it's bound to
become boring for both the audience and us."
Of their forthcoming second album, Jeff feels
that for the very first time, they'll be able to demonstrate
their newer found freedom and logical maturity.
"Now it's just a matter of getting people
to listen to it and to respect us for what we are doing
.. that's something every band wants, respect."
But if their music is of the inoffensive genre,
they have managed to garner some recent controversial headlines.
To set the record straight and to clarify any
misunderstandings, Jeff began with the Prince Charles incident,
explaining: "When we were told we had received a Carl
Alan award (for best vocal record) for Yellow
River, we were so busy we didn't realise what such
a presentation involved. The truth of the matter is that
none of us has a suit in the wardrobe.
"Our non-appearance wasn't in any way
a knock against Prince Charles, we didn't have enough time
to get any suitable clothes and we weren't going to hire
evening suits that wouldn't fit properly.
"Anyway, the award was for merit and not
for the kind of clothes you wear. These kinds of affairs
tend to get blown up out of all proportions with everyone
getting new clothes or special hairdos, which results in
the whole thing becoming false."
Christie's non-appearance was to have repercussions
and mud-slinging when The Tremeloes exposed the fact that
they had been responsible for the instrumental backing track
on Yellow River.
"This has been hanging over my head like
the sword of Damocles," Jeff began as he unfolded the
"I sent a tape of some songs that I had
written to the Trems when they were appearing at Batley
two years ago. Yellow River
was just one of the many originals that I had put on
"They heard it, they liked it, recorded
it and were going to put it out as a single, but at the
very last minute decided against it as Leapy Lee was going
to do a cover.
"So it was agreed that I shoud do it and
do it quickly. The Trems' backing track was used with their
blessing, the reason being that the drummer I had at the
time wasn't good. It was just the same as doing a session."
But Jeff took pains to point out that it was
both Vic and himself doing all the vocals on the record.
Though this has always been common knowledge
within the business, Jeff had always been secretly worried
of any resulting comeback.
"But that was the first and only time
we had ever done that. Since then everything we have done
has been just with the band."