Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Christie: Yellow River

When today’s one hit wonder was released in 1970, I thought for sure that Christie was an American band. “Yellow River” just sounded American or even Canadian; however, Jeff Christie’s band was from Leeds, Yorkshire, England. The original lineup of the band that supported this one hit wonder was Christie on bass and vocals, Vic Elms on guitar, and drummer Michael Blakley.

Notice, I said Christie “supported” “Yellow River.” For it was not Christie who performed instrumentally on this recording. Prior to Christie's release, songwriter Jeff Christie gave “Yellow River” to the Tremeloes. Although having recorded the song, The Tremeloes passed on releasing it as single. Additionally, they gave the backing tracks to Christie who added his own vocals and voila, the hit we all know and love.

The song was a number one hit record in the UK and several other countries. This American sounding tune didn’t fare as well in the States. It only peaked at #23 and may have been the song that stayed on the charts longer than any other during 1970.

The only thing this song is missing is a banjo. Yes a banjo. Think of some of the other top hits that utilized the instrument that is at home in bluegrass recordings. Some of the songs I can remember include, but are not limited to, the following: More banjo please.

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