The Charlatans Biography
This Alternative-Rock Pop-Rock band initially came together in 1988 in Manchester, ENGLAND, with Baz Ketley on vocals+guitar, Rob Collins on keyboards, Martin Blunt on bass and Jon Brookes on drums. The quartet recorded a number of demos before parting company with Ketley. Singer Tim Burgess and guitarist Jon Baker were subsequently added to the line-up.
The Charlatans began to build a fervent following that saw their debut
single, "Indian Rope", released in January 1990 on their own
Dead Dead Good label, went on to sell close 20,000 copies with very little
press or airplay.
After being signed by Beggars Banquet the quintet released the single "The Only One I Know" which smashed into the top 10 of the National U.K. Pop chart in June 1990 and the follow-up single, "Then", hit #12 in September; around this time The Charlatans were forced to add “UK” to their name for an American tour due to a lawsuit from a '60s San Franciscan Rock band. They also charted in the U.S. Modern Rock Airplay list with "The Only One I Know", which hit #5 and "Then" at #4; before the year's end they delivered their debut album, "Some Friendly", it soared to #1 in U.K. and peaked at #73 on the American Billboard Top 200 chart producing two more Modern Rock top 30 hits: "White Shirt" and "Sproston Green".
The group entered 1992 with guarded optimism, but the year brought major problems, guitarist Jon Baker downed tools and left, he was replaced by Mark Collins, no relation with Rob; within a couple of months, Martin Blunt suffered a nervous breakdown. When it emerged, the second band's album, "Between 10th And 11th", failed to crack the top 20 of the U.K. Pop chart and lead-off single "Weirdo' stalled at #19 in March; in the U.S. "Between 10th And 11th" didn't rise higher than #173 on The Billboard Top 200 Albums chart.
Prior to work beginning on the third LP, the boys found themselves at the mercy of a totally unforeseen event, Rob Collins was jailed for being an accessory to an armed robbery at a Northwich off-licence, but, rising to the occasion, the rest of the band crack on with recording, Collins' parts being put down before he went to jail or added after his release; then in spring 1994 "Up To Our Hips" saw the light of the day, it climbed into the top 10 of the British Pop Albums chart spawning the top 30 hit single "Can't Get Out Of Bed".
That summer, after a handful of feverish English gigs, Tim Burgess was asked to sing on "Life Is Sweet" by long-time fans, The Chemical Brothers.
Despite "Up To Our Hips"' good reviews, The Charlatans were still widely perceived to be yesterday's men. In spite of this perception and a career dogged by misfortune and adverse criticism, their revival in both the U.K. singles and albums charts continued, with "Just When You're Thinkin' Things Over" reaching #12 in August 1995 and their fourth, self-titled album debuting at #1 upon its September release.
In July 1996, as the band was recording its follow-up to their eponymous album, tragedy struck when Rob Collins was tragically killed in a car accident near the recording studio.
After Collins's funeral, The Charlatans reassembled with keyboard player Martin Duffy from Primal Scream on a temporary free transfer to play a major gig at Knebworth with Oasis and climbed to #3 in the U.K. Singles chart in September with "One To Another", before resuming work on their half-completed new album.
Preceded by another top 5 single, "North Country Boy", "Tellin' Stories" which was issued in April 1997, shot to #1 on the British Top Albums chart and yielded two more top 20 hit singles including the #6 "How High" and the title-track.
The following year, the "Melting Pot" compilation hit the top 5, it was the band's final album for Beggars Banquet.
The Charlatans signed a major new recording contract with Universal/Island
Records in late 1998 and officially welcomed new keyboardist Tony Rogers;
their sixth album, "Us And Us Only", appeared in October the
following year peaking at #2 in their homeland and spawning "Forever"
a U.K. #12 hit single.
The band's next album, 2001's "Wonderland", also reached the #2 slot in the British Top 40 chart and was prefaced by another top 20 hit, "Love Is The Key".
Rumours were circulating in late 2002 of a possible break-up following Tim Burgess' decision to record a solo album, they were immediately denied; The Charlatans then reunited to cut a new studio-album, "Up At The Lake", which was issued in mid-2004; it climbed into the top 10 in Britain but failed to generate any hits on the scale of their previous work.
The group released their ninth album, "Simpatico", in May 2006 on Sanctuary Records; the disc which opens up with the U.K. top 40 single "Blackened Blue Eyes", was another British top 10 album for the band.
May 2008 saw The Charlatans release a groundbreaking free full-album download, "You Cross My Path"; it features three singles: the title-track, "Oh! Vanity" and "The Misbegotten".