(known in the United States as The Charlatans UK
) are an English indie rock band. The band's line-up currently comprises lead vocalist Tim Burgess, guitarist Mark Collins, bassist Martin Blunt, keyboardist Tony Rogers.Former members of the band include vocalist Baz Ketley (1989); guitarist Jon Day (Jonathan Baker) (1989–1991); keyboardist Rob Collins (1989–1996), who died in a car accident during recording of their fifth album; and drummer Jon Brookes (1989 - 2013), who died after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2010.In the UK, all of the band's eleven studio albums have charted in the Top 40 in the UK Albums Chart, three of them being number ones. They have also achieved seventeen Top 30 singles, and four Top 10 hits in the UK Singles Chart.Formation (1988–1989)The band originally formed in the West Midlands by bassist Martin Blunt, who recruited fellow West Midlanders; Rob Collins (keyboards), Jon Brookes (drums), plus singer/guitarist Baz Ketley, who left the band to be replaced by Tim Burgess and Jon Day (Jonathan Baker) (guitar).Although the Charlatans would later become popularly associated with the Madchester scene, the band's early demos recorded in Birmingham and Dudley in 1988 were already recognisable for the sound the band would feature at the height of their fame, dominated by Collins' Hammond organ but underpinned by the driving rhythm section of Blunt's powerful running bass and Brookes's drumming. With their sound – fusing 1960s soul, R&B and garage rock – inherited from Blunt's earlier 1982 band Making Time, the band saw themselves firmly in the West Midlands tradition of hard-edged soul and R&B that included Birmingham bands The Spencer Davis Group and early Dexys Midnight Runners.Although the name The Charlatans was used when original members of the band were located in the West Midlands, many sources state that they formed in Northwich, Cheshire. This is because the band relocated to the home town of new lead singer Tim Burgess (who was born in Salford, but lived in Northwich from an early age) before the 1990 release of The Charlatans' debut single "Indian Rope", on the band's own Dead Dead Good Records label. This means that, based on the definition of the hometown used by Guinness World Records
, the band formed in Northwich and consequently, Northwich is recorded as their home town in such publications as British Hit Singles & Albums
Early years (1990–1993)
The debut single, "Indian Rope" proved an indie hit and the group soon found a major label, Beggars Banquet off-shoot Situation Two, in time for the release of "The Only One I Know" which reached the Top 10 in the UK Singles Chart. A further single, "Then", and debut album Some Friendly
, were released later that year. Around this time The Charlatans were forced to add UK
to their name for an American tour due to competing claims by a 1960s rock band also known as The Charlatans.Baker left the band after 1991's "Over Rising" single to be replaced by Mark Collins (no relation to Rob), and the band brought in producer Flood for their second album Between 10th and 11th
(named after the address of the New York Marque, site of the group's first US concert). Released in early 1992, the album failed to reach the Top 20 in the UK Albums Chart. However, the Top 20 success of the lead single "Weirdo" and a double weekend of gigs ('Daytripper') in Blackpool and Brighton with Ride kept them in the public eye.Later that year, the band suffered a major setback when Rob Collins was charged with armed robbery after his friend had robbed an off licence while he was waiting in the car outside. Collins claimed to have no foreknowledge of the robbery until he heard a gunshot inside the shop and his friend exited, although he later admitted that he should not have picked his friend up after he realised what he had done. At court, he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of "assisting an offender after an offence" and served four months in prison.
Mid-nineties fame (1994–1997)
The follow-up album, Up To Our Hips
(1994) reached number 8 in the UK Albums Chart.In 1995 the band's self-titled fourth album saw them become major UK stars again, topping the UK albums chart and spawning the Top 20 single "Just When You're Thinkin' Things Over".Keyboard player Rob Collins was killed in a car crash during the recording of fifth album Tellin' Stories
on 22 July 1996. The Charlatans decided to continue, and the Primal Scream and former Felt keyboardist Martin Duffy was drafted in, particularly for The Charlatans support slot with Oasis at their Knebworth concerts in mid-1996, until a permanent replacement for Collins could be found.Tellin' Stories
was released in 1997 featuring contributions from both Rob Collins and Duffy and in the singles "One to Another", "North Country Boy" and "How High" the group had their biggest UK hits to date.