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The Christians
Origin Liverpool, England
Genres
Soul
Years active 1985 to present
Labels Island Records
Verdala
Viper
Website The Christians’ Official Website
Members
Garry Christian - lead vocals
Joey Ankrah - vocals & guitar
Stewart Boyle - guitar
Lionel Duke - drums
Clifford Watson - bass

The Christians are a musical ensemble from Liverpool, England, who had several UK and international chart hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Contents

Band biography

The name of the band refers to the surname of the three brothers that were originally in the line-up, and is also coincidentally guitarist Henry Priestman's middle name.

Garry Christian (born 27 February 1965, Liverpool) (lead vocals), Roger Christian (born 13 February 1950 - died 8 March 1998 from brain tumour) (vocals, instrumentalist), Russell Christian (born 8 July 1956) (keyboards, saxophone, vocals), and Henry Priestman (born Henry Christian Priestman, 21 July 1955, in Kingston upon Hull, brought up in Liverpool) (keyboards, guitars, vocals) formed the band in 1985. Because of a reluctance to tour, Roger left in 1987.

The band were one of a number of soul-influenced groups in the 1980s that had strong links to UK punk rock, New Wave music and post-punk. The band's frontman and lead singer Garry Christian became the groups unique selling point with his distinctive look and velvet-smooth soulful tones.

In Rock: The Rough Guide, one critic, Charles Bottomley, described the band as “The Temptations in ripped jeans, producing gritty-centred songs in a sugary vocal shell

Fast forward a few years and The Christians are still going strong with a new line up which includes Stewart Boyle, Joey Ankrah, Lionel Duke and Cliff Watson. The vibe is relaxed … unplugged and acoustic but the voice is still incredible as is the sultry smile behind the Raybans!

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Chart history

Their first three singles all made the Top 40 in Britain, and their debut album The Christians (1987) entered the UK Albums Chart at number 2.[1] It eventually sold over a million copies. The highest placed single from this album was "Ideal World", which reached number 14 in the UK Singles Chart.[1]

In 1988 they released a cover of the Isley Brothers' "Harvest for the World", with all proceeds going to charity. The video for the track was an animation, created by four leading animation companies, including Aardman Animations. The video won several awards, and the single reached number 8 in the chart.[1]

1989 saw another charity single success, this time as performers on a version of "Ferry Cross The Mersey", released in aid of those affected by the Hillsborough disaster. The single stayed at number one for several weeks (#5 in Germany).

Their second album, Colour released in 1990, reached number one in the UK Albums Chart and yielded the international hit "Words" which was #18 in the UK[1] and Sweden, #5 in the Netherlands (for two weeks), and #1 in France (also for two weeks). The second single from the album, "I Found Out", reached #22 in France (#56 in the UK). In 1992, the following LP, Happy in Hell charted at number 18. Its single, "What's In A Word", entered the UK Top 40, and was a Top 20 hit in France (with there an impressive total chart run of 19 weeks); it also entered the German Top 75 reaching #60.

The early 1990s saw the band continuing to tour, A Greatest Hits album, The Best of the Christians was released in 1993, and peaked at number 22.[1]

Break up and reformation

Garry Christian moved to Paris in 1995 to record a solo album, effectively breaking up the band, although no formal announcement was made, and the door was open to future reformation. In 1998 founding member Roger Christian died from a brain tumour. In 1999 The Christians began to perform together again in an "unplugged" acoustic format. They carried out a thirty six date tour of the UK, with a similar tour undertaken in 2000, with guitarist and songwriter Paul Campbell who accompanied them on all of their tours until 2003.

By 2001 The Christians began to write songs for Prodigal Sons, which was released in 2003. This was supported by a UK tour in October 2003, and further promotion in France, Spain and UK throughout 2004.

In 2005 Russell Christian decided he no longer wished to tour, and a decision was made to return to a full band format, rather than the four-man “unplugged” line-up that had been touring since 1999. This new 'band' comprising Garry Christian ([lead vocals), Joey Ankrah (acoustic guitar/backing vocals), Stewart Boyle (electric guitar), Cliff Watson (bass guitar), and Lionel Duke (drums) was unveiled on the 2009tour. In 2009 Garry was approached by Archambault Records in France to arrange a Licensing Deal. This was agreed and in January 2009 'Soul from Liverpool' was released with a single 'Overwhelmed'. The band continue to tour and are finalising a new album deal with Island which will include back catalogue and new tracks. Their current single (to be released on download on March 5, 2010) is a cover of Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islams 'Where do the Children Play' reviewed by the man himself as 'better than his own version'.

Discography

Chart singles

  • "Forgotten Town" / "One in a Million" / "Man Oh Man" / "Look Around" (Island Records, IS 291, January 1987) UK #22
  • "Hooverville (And They Promised us the World)" / "No Reason" / "The Losing Game" (Island, IS 326, June 1987) UK #21, IRL #18
  • "When the Fingers Point" / "Rebecca" / "Every Town Waltz" / "Throw a Farewell Kiss" (Island, IS 335, September 1987) UK #34
  • "Ideal World" / "Say It Isn't So (Part one)" / "Rocking Chair Blues" / "Ideal World" (TR 808 mix)" (Island, IS 347, December 1987) UK #14, IRL #11
  • "Born Again" / "Forgotten Town" (U.S. version) / "A Lovers' Question" / "Undecided (a cappella)" (Island, IS 365, April 1988) UK #25, IRL #27
  • "Harvest for the World" / "Harvest For The World (remix)" / "Small Axe" (Island, IS 395, October 1988) UK #8, IRL #4
  • "Ferry Cross the Mersey" (with other artists including Paul McCartney, PWL, PWL 41, May 1989) UK #1, IRL #1
  • "Words" / "Long Gone" / "Funny Money" (Island, IS 450, December 1989) UK #18, IRL #6
  • "I Found Out" / "Save Us From Our Friends" / "Sent Here to Shine" (Island, IS 453, April 1990) UK #56
  • "Greenbank Drive" / "Nomad soul" / "Laurie Latham" (remix) / "From The Water's Edge" (Island, IS 466, September 1990) UK #63
  • "What’s In A Word" / "Happy in Hell" / "You Never Know" (Island, IS 536, December 1992) UK #33
  • "Father" / "World" / "Forgotten Town" / "Ideal World" (remix) (Island, IS 543, November 1992) UK #55
  • "The Bottle" / Group Corporation vocal mix / Ray Haden sugar free mix / Sound foundation dub mix (Island, IS 549, March 1993) UK #39

[1]

Studio albums

  • The Christians (1987) - #2 UK
  • Colour (1990) - #1 UK
  • Happy In Hell (1992) - #18 UK
  • Prodigal Sons (2003)
  • "Soul from Liverpool" (2009)

[1]

Compilation albums

  • Best of the Christians (1993) - #22 UK

[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 106. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links


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