Tim Burgess (The Charlatans)

English singer-songwriter and record label owner, Tim Burgess was born 30 May 1967 in Salford, and grew up in Moulton, near Northwich, Cheshire. He is best known as the lead singer of the alternative rock band The Charlatans.The band were originally formed in the West Midlands by bassist Martin Blunt, Rob Collins (keyboards), Jon Brookes (drums), Jon Day (Jonathan Baker) (guitar) and singer/guitarist Baz Ketley (who was replaced by Tim Burgess). Although the Charlatans become popularly associated with the Madchester scene, the band’s roots are in the Midlands. Early demos were dominated by Collins’s Hammond organ 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 as featured in Birmingham bands The Spencer Davis Group and early Dexys Midnight Runners.

Although the name The Charlatans was already being used when the original members of the band were still located in the West Midlands, many sources state that they formed in Northwich, Cheshire.[4] 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. Thus based on the definition of hometown used by Guinness World Records the band was formed in Northwich, and consequently Northwich is recorded as their home town in such publications as British Hit Singles & Albums – although the founding members are actually from Walsall.

The debut single “Indian Rope” proved to be an indie hit and the group soon found a major label in Beggars Banquet offshoot Situation Two in time for the release of the singles “The Only One I Know”, “Then” and their debut album Some Friendly. 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). The band brought in producer Flood for their second album Between 10th and 11th (named after the address of the New York Marquee, the site of the group’s first US concert). Released in early 1992, contained the single
“Weirdo”.

The band suffered a major setback later that year, when Rob Collins was charged with armed robbery after a friend had robbed an off licence while he was waiting in the car outside. Collins claimed to have no knowledge 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 up his friend after he had realised what he had done. In court he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of “assisting an offender after an offence” and served four months in prison. Their third album Up To Our Hips was released in1994. In 1995 they released their self-titled fourth album containing the song “Just When You’re Thinkin’ Things Over”.

Sadly in 1996 Keyboard player Rob Collins was tragically killed in a car crash during the recording of the band’s fifth album Tellin’ Stories. The Charlatans decided to continue, drafting in the Primal Scream and former Felt keyboardist Martin Duffy until a permanent replacement for Collins could be found, for The Charlatans’ support slot at Oasis’ Knebworth concerts in mid-1996. Tellin’ Stories was released in 1997, featuring singles “One to Another”, “North Country Boy” and “How High”.The Charlatans then released of the career-spanning compilation Melting Pot, the B-sides collection Songs From The Other Side and the DVD Just Lookin’ 1990–1997. The next album Us And Us Only featured new keyboard player Tony Rogers and had a slightly country sound, heavily influenced by Burgess’s love of Bob Dylan. The soul influenced album “Wonderland” was released in 2001, followed by the album Up At The Lake in 2004.

The band released their ninth full-length album “Simpatico” in 2006, featuring a reggae and dub tinged sound and containing the songs “NYC (There’s No Need to Stop)” and “Blackened Blue Eyes”. Their follow-up to Simpatico was the career-spanning singles compilation entitled Forever: The Singles which was released on CD and DVD in 2006 preceded by the re-recorded song (remixed by Youth) “You’re So Pretty We’re So Pretty”. The band also played a number of high-profile supporting gigs in mid-2007, including for The Who and The Rolling Stones at venues including Wembley Stadium and Twickenham Stadium in London, as well as the Bingley Music Live event, Nass Festival 2007 and at Delamere Forest in Cheshire. In 2007The band contributed the song “Blank Heart, Blank Mind” to a Love Music, Hate Racism compilation CD And released the new singles “You Cross My Path” and “Oh! Vanity” through XFM and released their tenth album You Cross My Path IN 2008 and Their eleventh studio album, Who We Touch, was released 2010 which was also the twentieth anniversary of the band’s debut album Some Friendly, which they played live at Primavera Sound Festival 2010

Sadly in 2010, drummer Jon Brookes collapsed during a performance in Philadelphia and Brookes was diagnosed with a brain tumour and was flown back to the UK for an operation and course of radiation and chemotherapy treatment. The Verve’s Peter Salisbury acted as a stand-in drummer for the remainder of the Charlatans UK dates. Brookes returned to the stage for the band’s Christmas and New Year Eve’s gigs in 2010. In 2011 Universal Music re-released a deluxe edition of the band’s 1999 album Us & Us Only, featuring a collection of bonus tracks including B-sides, live recordings, radio sessions and rare remixes. Tim Burgess and Mark Collins also played an acoustic tour of the UK, to coincide with which they released an EP Warm Sounds, which featured six stripped-down and reworked versions of Charlatans tracks including “North Country Boy”, “The Only One I Know” and “Smash The System”. The Charlatans also performed Tellin’ Stories in its entirety at London’s HMV Hammersmith Apollo, O2 Apollo Manchester and Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom in June 2012. In May 2013 the Mountain Picnic Blues DVD was released, a documentary about their Tellin’ Stories album from its creation in 1997 to the 15th anniversary of the album. Sadly in August 2013 the band’s drummer Jon Brookes succumbed to brain cancer at the age of 44, having undergone several operations and treatment for the condition. The band paid tribute to him in a special event, with Pete Salisbury playing in his place and bands such as Beady Eye, The Vaccines and Manic Street Preachers also joining the bill. Proceeds from the night went to The Brain Tumour Charity, of which The Charlatans are now patrons; the charity have set up The Jon Brookes Fund as a lasting tribute to the drummer.

The Charlatans released their twelfth studio album Modern Nature in 2015 Featuring eleven new tracks including “Talking In Tones” It features contributions from the band’s temporary drummers Peter Salisbury (of The Verve), Stephen Morris (of New Order) and Gabriel Gurnsey (of Factory Floor),  producer Dave Tollan, backing singers Melanie Marshall and Sandra Marvin, strings by Sean O’Hagan and brass courtesy of Jim Paterson from Dexys Midnight Runners. The group’s thirteenth album, Different Days, was released on 26 May 2017.

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