The Magic Highway


Christie created a storm when they turned down a chance to appear at the Carl Allan awards, hosted by Prince Charles. Not only was it seen as a snub, but it was unintentionally revealed that the Tremeloes did the backing for Yellow River. This article from New Musical Express.


By Allen Evans

Prince Charles

The Tremeloes speak to Prince Charles at the awards (Alan Blakley, Chip Hawkes, Dave Munden)

THAT’S show business … sometimes you score and sometimes you misfire. Just after last week’s NME went to press, the annual Carl-Allan Awards were happening at the Lyceum ballroom, London.
  It’s the big prestige night of the Mecca ballroom circuit, during which they give handsome Eros statues to those who have done well during the year.
  Usually two, and sometimes more, go to the pop world, and this year the Tremeloes, always purveying high standard music of universal acceptance, were named Top Group, and the best tune award went to Yellow River, by Christie.
  So Christie, just back from abroad and a non-stop touring bout, arrived for a rehearsal of the night’s events during the afternoon, wearing the informal gear they always wear.
  “You’re being presented to Prince Charles tonight, so go away and smarten up. If you haven’t got evening dress, a dark suit and dark tie will do,” they were told.
  As it happened, living a gypsy always-on-the-move life, they didn’t have either and were so tired they didn’t care very much.
  But smelling a good picture-story, a photographer got them interested in a Wimpey bar supper, where he could take pictures of the group eating when they should have been dining in the Lyceum with the Prince, all done up in evening wear.
  Their manager Brian Longley, an ace publicist who once got the Tremeloes their mentions, thought it could make the papers too. And once a publicity man, always a publicity man.
  Anyway, Jeff Christie and the others decided they couldn’t go to the ball because, like Cinderella, they hadn’t the right clobber (and no fairy godmother). So they didn’t get to see the prince!
  The Tremeloes, however, being all married and respectable, living in Wentworth and Ascot and all, had elegant evening suits. And lovely wives to take out for a good night. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves, were presented with their trophy by Prince Charles, who chatted with them for some time.
  When Christie failed to turn up, the Trems were a bit annoyed because they felt the other group were letting the pop business down a bit.
  It was then that Trem Alan Blakely remarked: “Well, don’t worry, we’ll accept the award for Yellow River, we did the record anyway.”
  This remark interested one of the listeners very much. He pressed for more details and got a few from the talkative Trem.
  “I thought nothing of it,” said Alan. “Only later did I learn that I had been talking to a reporter from the Daily Mirror. I didn’t know who he was.”

Christie pictured dining at a supper bar while the awards were on.

  Anyway, out came the Mirror the next day with the story. The facts were revealed that the Trems’ backing tracks, both vocally and instrumentally, were used on Yellow River, and only Jeff Christie’s voice was used as the lead vocalist, after a lead vocal by Dave Munden had been erased.
  At the time, remember, the Trems had sat on the song for a year and Jeff, who wrote it, wanted to get it out. The original Christie were willing to remake it, but it seemed a good idea just to use the Trems’ backing. And the Trems gained because their music company published the number, which has since made a small fortune.
  Since then Christie – Jeff, Vic Elmes and Paul Fenton – have made all their own discs, San Bernadino, and their latest, Man Of Many Faces, due out in March, and their LPs, one out already and one due in April.
  Christie and the Trems have always remained friends. Only a fortnight ago, at Hamburg’s Top Ten Club, they had a reunion when Christie came from a TV show to watch the Trems do their act and to have a party afterward.
  Both groups are working hard, Christie going to Australia with America to follow, and the Trems sought all over the world.
  Maybe it could help further sales of the three-million seller Yellow River, for the thousands who buy every record the Trems make will want Yellow River too now.
  And from the extra money, maybe Christie can buy evening wear and the Trems can give a party for all the pop press, so that they know who’s among them!