Chris Farlow was born John Henry Deighton and came into the world on October 13th 1940 in Islington, North London in England. He is a world-renowned English blues, rock and soul singer and is known for his famous hit single ‘Out of Time’.
Chris Farlow started with a skiffle group in 1957, The John Henry Skiffle Group. They travelled mainly around England and Germany and slowly switched from Rock n Roll to RnB. His first single “Air Travel” was releasedand failed to chart.
He then joined The Johnny Burns Rhythm and Blues Quartet in 1958. In 1959, he met Bob Taylor who was the lead guitarist and joined the band, Taylor. They released five singles and received enthusiastic critical reception but did not generate great sales.
In the early 1960s as an English RnB singer, he released a single titled “Stormy Monday Blues” under a pseudonym “Little Joe Cook” which had many people thinking that he was black.
Around 1963, he joined ‘The Thunderbirds’ which included the keyboardist Dave Greenslade and stat guitarist Albert Lee.
In 1966, he was signed by Andrew Oldham under the new Immediate Records label . Andrew Oldham knew a thing or two about Britons who could sing RnB having singed the Rolling stones in 1963. The label had a history of working with unestablished artists aimed at cultivating their future success, but Farlow’s case was different, and he became a star through the label. His luck started to change when his song “Think” got a placement on the Top 40 chart.
With the label, he recorded 11 singles, 5 of which were cover songs of Rolling Stones tracks. The five songs were, “Ride On, Baby”, “Paint It, Black”, “Think”, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and “Out of Time”). Out of Time was his most significant success, which reached number 1 on the British charts.
By the time of this success, Farlowe had established his credibility as a soul singer and was asked to appear on a 1966 broadcast of Ready, Steady, Go; a unique program featuring American soul legend Otis Redding who was visiting the UK. He got to cover Redding’s “Mr.Pitiful” recorded on an EP which featured tracks such as “Satisfaction”, “In the Midnight Hour” and “Who Can I Turn To”. This came after his first Album titled, ’14 Things to Think about’. He later shared a stage with Eric Burdon and Otis and was featured in two tracks.
Later in the 1960s, he released the classic song – “Handbags and Gladrags” which was a huge success. His friend Mike d’Abo wrote it, and this was his last solo chart success. The Stereophonics recently did a cover of Handbags and Gladrags.
After this single, the label, who were always in financial constraints tried repackaging his songs in different ways on LP to no avail. By 1970, the label collapsed.
After that, Farlowe tried joining different bands and groups, some of which were Colosseum on three albums and Atomic Rooster.
With Colosseum they recorded one live Album and had two studio albums titled Daughter of Time, Bread and Circuses and Tomorrow’s Blues.He was also a part of Atomic Rooster which he joined in the early ’70s. His vocals are featured on two albums, “Made in England “and“Nice n Greasy”.
He then got involved a serious car accident which left him out of the music scene for about two years. After the crash, he tried reforming the Thunderbirds and came up with reissues of “Out of time”, but he saw little new success.
During the ’80s and ’90s, he worked with various groups and still performs live today.
He has sung songs for TV and taken part in the theatre. For TV, he sang the vocals for the theme series called Gangsters, a BBC TV production. He had a part in a play in 1978 which was part of BBC Birmingham’s Curriculee Curricular shown on BBC Two. It was shot at the University of Birmingham and was narrated by Magnus Magnusson. Farlowe and Greenslade were responsible for the music in the play.
He sang two tracks from Jimmy Page’s “Death Wish II” soundtrack. Other tracks he did were “Prison Blues”, “Hummingbird” and “Blues Anthem” on his Outrider album in 1988.
The Outrider album in the 80’s lead to a BBC appearance which brought him back to center stage after nearly two decades.
Even though he never got another hit single, he had a reputation as a great live performer which was enough to sustain his career.
Farlowe toured with Maggie Bell and Bobby Tench as a featured artist and was part of the “Maximum Rhythm and Blues” tour which was held in 32 theatres in 2009.
In 2016, July 30th, Farlowe appeared at the Wembley Arena and performed his hit single ‘Out of Time” as part of the 50th Anniversary of the 1966 English footballs teams’ victory in the FIFA World Cup Final.
Chris Farlow toured mainly in Germany with the Hamburg Blues Band.
His recent albums including “The Voice” has gotten respectable reviews and he has established himself as an English RnB and soul singer from the ’60s who refuses to fade away.
His interests include dealing in antiques, and he has an antique showroom in Islington. Chris Farlowe still tours widely across the UK and Europe with the Colosseum band and his own band as well.
For a rock star whose peers like John Lennon have passed on, while others like Mick Jagger still make news, Chris has opted for a behind-the-scenes kind of celebrity status. In one interview several years ago, he quipped that;
“I’m an optimist,”
he said. “I like to face things and treat them all as part of life. I like
adventures – I even went to prison wanting to see what it was like