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Charlie's History

1971 Band forms from the embers of Axe (Terry Thomas, John Anderson, and Nicko McBrain). New band is Terry Thomas, Martin Smith, Ray Bulloch, and Nicko, Nicko leaves (personality clashes) and Steve Gadd comes in. Ray Bulloch leaves (music not heavy enough) and John Anderson returns. First name was Charlie Cuckoo shortened to Charlie. Band play gigs in and around London. First gig was at the Lordship Tavern, Wood Green, London. A fight breaks out.


1973 The first single - "I Need Your Love" - is released on Decca. Although the band has a contract for four singles, only one more - "Knocking Down Your Door" - is recorded but never released.


1974 Charlie get a new manager - Richard Dale - and continue gigging round the London Pub Rock scene. They play the Roundhouse as the backing band for Tim Rose and are seen by Trident Audio Productions (TAP), the company that discovered Queen. TAP express an interest but don't yet commit.


1975 TAP finally sign the band after Roy Thomas Baker sees them play. They go into Trident Studios to record Fantasy Girls. Roy Thomas Baker was to be the producer but at the last minute Mike Stone, then only 19, was drafted in. Charlie turn professional and their first gig is supporting The Who for three nights at the Hammersmith Odeon December 1975.


1976 Polydor release Fantasy Girls to good reviews. The band support Bad Company at Earls Court the go on a UK tour supporting Focus. They then play solo dates all over the UK. The album does OK but nothing terrific. The next album is written and recording starts August 1976. Terry Thomas is designated producer and Martin Smith leaves the band. Julian Colbeck comes in as a session man but is asked to join. The album completed the band plays some dates as a four piece but decide an extra guitarist is needed. After a series of auditions Eugene Organ joins the band.


1977 No Second Chance is released. Charlie support a squabbling, stoned, but nonetheless spectacular Fleetwood Mac on their Rumours tour but the album meets with mediocre response in the UK now in the grip of punk.

The band consider calling it a day. Unbeknown to the band, the album had been released in the US on the Janus label. The song Johnny Hold Back was getting massive radio play, the album is zipping up the Billboard charts, and suddenly everybody is a lifelong friend. The band go to the US as opening act for a Doobie Brothers ‘sheds’ tour on the back of Minute By Minute. This heady experience was marred only by Steve Gadd getting his hand broken by a security guard (!) in Lousiville, KY. Doobies drum tech and Charlie admirer Shep Lonsdale steps in to save the day. After 6 weeks it was back to the UK to write and record Lines, at Trident Studios, in the Autumn of '76.


1978 The band recruit Shep as second drummer and the band fly off to promote the album in New York. However, in an event worthy of Spinal Tap, the album is not ready for release. They thus start touring opening for Styx without a record in the shops. After a handful of gigs Charlie are kicked off the bill and fly to LA where Janus records was based. The band stay there a month creating havoc in all the famous places (Rainbow, Roxy etc) before finally the record is released and a tour is fixed.

Lines enjoys both critical and commercial success. Opening for Bachman Turner Overdrive was hardly cutting edge but they were out there. Notable gigs included opening for Alice Cooper in St Louis (30000 crowd) and Robert Palmer in Wheeling West Virginia (124 crowd / capacity 5000, with a weeping Palmer backstage). Finally Charlie picked up the Kinks tour finishing with 3 nights at the LA Amphitheatre - a 5-month tour.

Back to London to write and record Fight Dirty. Band starts recording their epic album. Orchestra on one song, high quality brass arrangements with top US players on others.


1979 Band finish album early 1979 to find that Janus has, somewhat thoughtlessly, gone bankrupt and the album is now property of the receiver. There had been rumours of this happening and in fact Thomas and Colbeck had met with Atlantic and RSO in LA to discuss deals but Janus had refused, saying they were OK. So, an album is in the can but there’s no record company. June/July Arista records bought the Janus catalogue agree to release Fight Dirty but specifically state No Touring.

But then Killer Cut is released and becomes a # 1 radio song. Arista is suddenly all about touring and Charlie duly set out on a 6-week tour with Foreigner. Everything is going well - the album is selling - the tour is good - Arista then pull the plug… So, back to the UK for the next album.


1980 Band records Here Comes Trouble back as a 5-piece and try to capture a more contemporary approach. Arista want more songs - Trident won't put the band in the studio - Polydor won't release until there is a US release - stalemate.
Eugene and Julian relocate to the US.

Terry, and John, and Steve work with the remnants of the band Phoenix: John Verity and Bob Henrit. Record two songs: Saturday Night and Roll The Dice, and decide to do an album. This becomes Good Morning America. In fact Julian plays Oberheim OB4 on the title track. RCA pick the album up. Charlie’s management picks up Julian’s Oberheim.


1981 Good Morning America released in UK and US with little reaction. Bud Prager is now the US manager and he is disappointed with RCA's attitude so he gets Charlie a deal with Mirage/Atlantic for 2 albums. John Verity leaves.


1982 The US label wants a standard Rock singer as opposed to the more idiosyncratic Thomas. After a number of auditions Terry Slessor is chosen. The songs are written then rewritten as music styles change and the recording starts at Jam studios in London, with Kevin Beamish (REO Speedwagon) as co-producer.


1983 Mixing commences but is quickly abandoned and Terry Thomas flies to New York to mix with David Thoener. Album released - first track It's Inevitable is a huge radio hit (#2 most played song on all formats) but doesn't translate into sales. Album falters, fades, then dies.


1984/85 Charlie is now Terry Thomas and Terry Slessor. A contractual album is ‘required.’ Summer '85 Terry Thomas goes into Terminal studios (appropriately named, as it turns out) with session guys to record In Pursuit Of Romance. It puts him in hospital. When he gets out, his UK manager has disappeared with all the recording equipment (are you spotting a trend yet?).


1986 The day In Pursuit Of Romance is released, Mirage records folds.


1987-2007 Charlie: The Lost Years! Some of the band continue playing, others quit. Some keep in touch, others get lost. Please see individual bios for such details as we have been able to prise out of this sometimes-recalcitrant crew.


2009 Kitchens Of Distinctions is released. Oh Happy Day!