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John "Charlie" Whitney: Wikis


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Charlie Whitney
Birth name Richard John Whitney
Also known as John Charlie Whitney
Born 24 June 1944 (1944-06-24) (age 65)
Skipton, North Yorkshire, UK
Genres Rock, blues-rock
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1964–present
Labels Reprise, RCA, Hux,Windsong, Vertigo, Mystic(UK), Castle Castle,
Associated acts The Roaring Sixties
The Farinas
Roger Chapman
Bobby Tench
Axis Point
Los Racketeeros
Notable instruments
Gibson EDS-1275 double neck guitar
Fender Telecaster guitar

Richard John Whitney (also known as John "Charlie" Whitney, John Whitney and Charlie Whitney) born 24 June 1944, is a British rock guitarist and a founder member of Family and Streetwalkers.



Whitney was born in Skipton, North Yorkshire, England. Like many British teenagers in the 1950s, Whitney got into rock and roll, and while attending Leicester Art College in 1962, he formed his own band, the Farinas. They played rhythm and blues music and featured Jim King on saxophone and vocals, Tim Kirchin on bass and Harry Overnall on drums, performing songs by Chuck Berry and The Coasters. The Farinas released a single, "You'd Better Stop," in August 1964. Later personnel changes with Ric Grech replacing Tim Kirchin and Roger Chapman joining as the principal lead singer, turned the group into a heavier blues band and they renamed themselves The Roaring Sixties.

During 1966 The Roaring sixties were renamed Family and they replaced their drummer Overnall with Rob Townsend. The band issued its first single as Family entitled Scene Through The Eye Of A Lens/Gypsy Woman in 1967[1] and Family's debut album Music in a Doll's House followed in July 1968. Family's heavy, experimental rock music gained them a reputation as a progressive underground band, and Whitney became famous both for his cocky expression and his double-necked Gibson guitar. By 1970, with the release of their albums A Song For Me and Anyway and an unforgettable appearance at the third Isle of Wight Festival on 28 August 1970, Family was creating some of the fastest and loudest rock and the most intense acoustic music in the British underground scene. Although Family proved to be popular in UK and continental Europe success in the US eluded them and in 1973 the group broke up.

Whitney's angular guitar passages on songs like "Drowned In Wine" and "Good News Bad News" were singled out by fans and critics as being essential to the Family sound. He and Chapman wrote most of Family's songs together as a team. Whitney did compose two tracks, the instrumental "Summer '67" and the childlike folk song "Processions" (about a small boy enjoying a day at the seashore).

Whitney formed Streetwalkers with Roger Chapman in 1973. This new band included vocalist and guitarist Bobby Tench from The Jeff Beck Group and Hummingbird and future Iron Maiden member Nicko McBrain. Streetwalkers was a polished AOR band with more elements of white soul than Family. They signed to the Vertigo label as Chapman Whitney Streetwalkers recording an album simply entitled Streetwalkers, released on the Reprise label in 1974, with a line up including other members of Family and King Crimson. Chapman and Whitney morphed their band into the "Streetwalkers" which comprised five members including Bobby Tench, drummer Nicko McBrain, who later moved onto play with Iron Maiden and bassist Jon Plotel. Tench, McBain and Plotel appeared on Rockpalast in 1975,[2] alongside Roger Chapman and Charley Whitney, billed as "The Whitney Chapman Streetwalkers" just before the band name was shortened. Their next album was entitled Downtown flyers which was released in USA during 1975. The groove heavy album Red Card[3] was released in the UK during 1976 and remains a much respected album.[4] Vicious but fair was also released by Vertigo in the same year and a final album Live Streetwalkers in 1977 followed, purely to fulfill contractual obligations.[5] Streetwalkers became highly repected by music fans and the music press. The band broke up in 1977, ending eleven years of the Whitney-Chapman musical partnership.

Whitney remained active in rock music, though not as visibly as Roger Chapman would in the 1980s and 1990s. Whitney reunited with Rob Townsend, his bandmate from Family, to form Axis Point in 1978[6] . Axis Point included Eddie Hardin on piano and vocals, vocalist and guitarist Bobby Tench from Streetwalkers also The Jeff Beck Group and former Taste bassist Richard McCracken. When Axis Point broke up in 1980 Whitney formed Los Racketeeros, a live unit which played blues and bluegrass music. Los Racketeeros recorded a debut album in 1995 with a lineup including Alan Rogers, Pete Tomlyn, and Tony Taylor. Rleased a solo LP (1999) played shows with Robert A Roberts, a singer songwriter, vocalist, harmonica player and guitarist who had been a founding member of the London Bluesband Roadhouse and they released a CD as The Whitney-Roberts Combo experimenting with [[folk music]. He now lives in Greece.




  • Music in a Doll's House Reprise (1968)
  • Family Entertainment Reprise (1969)
  • A Song For Me Reprise (1970)
  • Anyway Reprise (1971) USA (United Artists Records)
  • Fearless Reprise (1971) USA (United Artists Records)
  • Bandstand Reprise (1972) USA (United Artists Records)
  • It's Only a Movie Raft(1973) USA (United Artists Records)
  • Peel Sessions Strange Fruit (1989) USA (United Artists Records)
  • BBC Radio 1 In Concert Windsong (1991)
  • Family Live Mystic (2003)
  • BBC Volume 1: 1968-1969 Hux (2004)
  • BBC Volume 2: 1970-1973 Hux (2004)


  • "Scene Through The Eye Of A Lens/Gypsy Woman" Liberty (1967)
  • "Me My Friend/Hey Mr. Policema" Reprise (1968)
  • "Second Generation Woman/Hometown” Reprise' (1968)
  • "No Mules Fool/Friend Of Mine” Reprise (1969)
  • "Today"/Song For Lots Reprise” Reprise (1970)
  • "Strange Band/The Weaver's Answer/Hung Up Down” Reprise (1970)
  • "In My Own Time/Seasons” Reprise (1971. (USAnyway” United Artists (1971))
  • "Burlesque/The Rockin' R's” Reprise (1972)
  • "My Friend The Sun/Glove” Reprise (1973)
  • "Boom Bang/Sweet Desiree” Raft(1973)


  • Old Songs New Songs Reprise (1971)
  • Best Of Family Reprise (1974)
  • From Past Archives Teldec (1980)
  • Best Of Family Castle (1990)
  • A's & B's Castle (1992)
  • A Family Selection Castle (2000)
  • Roger Chapman, Family & Friends 5 Cd boxset Mystic (2006)



  • Streetwalkers (1974, Reprise K 54017)
  • Downtown Flyers (1975) Mercury LP SRM-1-1060 (US), Vertigo 6360 123)
  • Red Card (1976) Mercury SMR-1-1083 (US), Vertigo 9102 010, Repertoire REP 4147-WP (CD))
  • Vicious But Fair (1977) Mercury LP SRM-1-1135 (US), Vertigo 9102 012)
  • Streetwalkers Live (1977) Vertigo 6641-703
  • Best of Streetwalkers (1990) Vertigo CD, CA, LP 846-661
  • BBC Radio One Live (1995) Windsong CD


  • ”Roxianna/Crack” Reprise (1974)
  • ”Raingame"/Miller”Vertigo (1975)
  • ”Daddy Rolling Stone/Hole In Your Pocket” Vertigo (1976)
  • ”Chilli Con Carne/But You're Beautiful” Vertigo (1977)

Axis Point

  • Axis point RCA (1979)
  • Boast of the Town RCA (1980)


  1. ^ Liberty Records, released September 1967
  2. ^ Chapman Whitney Streetwalkers Rockpalast archive
  3. ^ Red Card John Dougan at Allmusic
  4. ^ British Hit Singles & Albums ISBN 1-904994-10-5
  5. ^ Streetwalkers, Vertigo,
  6. ^ "Axis Point". Retrieved 2010-12-01.  


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