interesting article reprinted from Girlfriend Annual,
THE HISTORIE OF
River was released in spring of 1970, not
only was a new group introduced to our ears, but also the
excellent writing talent of their front man Jeff
The first time I met Jeff was just a few days
prior to the release of their record. Looking very tall,
neglected and dejected, he trundled into a hotel looking
for his manager, wearing a fringed suede jacket and carrying
a rather battered suitcase. He didn't know a soul in London.
A week later, getting used to his new surroundings,
Jeff borrowed a jacket and went down to a club where the
Tremeloes were appearing. He knew the Trems because Christie's
drummer at the time was the brother of Trems organist Alan
Blakley. But he nearly died of embarrassment when the group
played Yellow River
and asked Jeff to take a bow!
The following week Christie appeared on Top
of the Pops and just shortly after Yellow
River topped the charts.The boys found themselves
whisked all over the world doing promotional tours.
But it wasn't to be honey and roses all the
way. In August the three of them returned from a tour of
Italy and nearly collapsed. Ordered to rest, they had to
cancel several bookings and take a well-earned break. There
was also a change in the line-up when drummer Mike quit
and they had to get a replacement quickly.
Fortunately they found an excellent man in
Paul Fenton, the cocky lad from Leeds who had been an old
friend of Jeff's for many years. "Paul keeps everyone
sane because he's an idiot and he's great," Jeff said.
"His musical ability is of a very high standard and
both Vic and I respect him as a musician a lot!"
Whenever the group is abroad, their manager
Brian Longley travels with them. It was Brian who first
heard Jeff's taped songs and suggested he form a group to
record Yellow River
- and it is Brian in whom they place all their
"He's the greatest thing since scrambled
eggs," Jeff said. "I won't say sliced bread because
I don't like sliced bread! Brian looks after everything
- he's like a father figure. If any of us have any problems,
he sorts it out. A very down-to-earth person, he's more
of a friend than a business manager."
There are lots more songs yet to be heard,
for Jeff has written more than 160 compositions.
"They are not all suitable for Christie
but I'd like other groups and other people to record them
if they are the sort of things they want to do," Jeff
At the present rate the group have been working,
Jeff is only home in Leeds for about six weeks of the year,
but during that time he always manages to fit in a visit
to Leeds United, his favourite football club.
At home he can be himself - because with three
brothers you can't afford to be anything else! All of the
Christie family are musical - and Jeff's youngest brother
Mark is now playing drums in a group with some school friends.
But with so much of the group's business being
centred around London, Jeff has now moved into a flat with
drummer Paul in the rather fashionable area around Gloucester
Road. Both typical bachelors are still putting their frilled
shirts in the spin dryer and washing clothes that should
be dry cleaned then are amazed when they shrink!
The living room is kept spotless should anyone drop in but
the rest of the flat is hardly tidy more lived in!
Jeff's quite a natty dresser and tries to buy
as many clothes as possible in London because that's where
he can find the best selection.
Last time I saw Jeff he was bemoaning the fact
that he had little time to shop and buy necessities for
his flat, so if you happen to see a tea-towel going cheap
and you haven't any use for it, send it along to the Christie
pad: they'll be delighted!