I have been abig fan of the Charlatans Ever since i heard Indian Rope, and I am currently listening to the Charlatans latest album Different Days. The band were originally formed in the West Midlands by bassist Martin Blunt, who recruited fellow West Midlanders Rob Collins (keyboards), Jon Brookes (drums), Jon Day (Jonathan Baker) (guitar) and singer/guitarist Baz Ketley (who later left the band to be replaced by Tim Burgess). 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 Only One I Know”, which reached the Top 10 in the UK Singles Chart. A further single “Then” and their debut album Some Friendly were released. 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) featuring lthe song “Weirdo”.
Their third album Up To Our Hips (1994) reached number 8 in the UK Albums Chart. In 1995 the release of 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”. Tragically Keyboard player Rob Collins was killed in a car crash on 22 July 1996, 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, particularly for The Charlatans’ support slot at Oasis’ Knebworth concerts in mid-1996. Tellin’ Stories was released in 1997, featuring contributions from both Rob Collins and Duffy. The group had their biggest UK hits to date in the singles “One to Another”, “North Country Boy” and “How High”.
The Charlatans released then the career-spanning compilation Melting Pot and rleased the B-sides collection Songs From The Other Side and the DVD Just Lookin’ 1990–1997. The Charlatans then released the album Us And Us Only, Featuring new keyboard player Tony Rogers Who had previously toured in support of Tellin’ Stories and contributing to B-sides “Keep It to Yourself” and “Clean Up Kid” from the “How High” single. The soul influenced Wonderland followed in 2001, before Up At The Lake was released in 2004.
The band released their ninth full-length album Simpatico in 2006, a reggae and dub tinged album featuring 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 in 2006 including a remix of “You’re So Pretty We’re So Pretty”, which originally appeared on their 2001 album Wonderland. The band 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.
The band contributed the song “Blank Heart, Blank Mind” to a Love Music, Hate Racism compilation CD which came free with the October 2007 issue of the NME and released new singles “You Cross My Path” and “Oh! Vanity” together with their tenth studio album You Cross My Path). Their eleventh studio album, Who We Touch, was released In 2010 including the single “Love Is Ending”. The album charted at No. 21 in the UK Albums Chart. 2010 was also the twentieth anniversary of the band’s debut album Some Friendly. Tragically in 2010, drummer Jon Brookes collapsed during a performance in Philadelphia. The remaining US tour dates were postponed, as 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.
A reissue 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 Was also released in 2011. Tim Burgess and Mark Collins 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 2012. Tragically In 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 since his diagnosis in 2010. The band themselves paid him tribute 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 the limited edition 7″ Talking In Tones), The album features contributions from the band’s temporary drummers Peter Salisbury (of The Verve), Stephen Morris (of New Order) and Gabriel Gurnsey (of Factory Floor), as well as 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 Charlatans rleased their latest album Different Days in May 2017. The Charlatans line-up currently comprises lead vocalist Tim Burgess, guitarist Mark Collins, bassist Martin Blunt and keyboardist Tony Rogers. My favourite tracks on Different Days are:
Different Days, Plastic Machinery, Not Forgotten, there will be chances, over Again, The same house, Lets go Together