The Tor Guides

Chas Chandler – what a guy!

In Classic rock on 26 April, 2011 at 14:33

We are some friends, all around their 50´s, who spend a couple of weekend evenings every year playing pop quizzes. During our last session, we started discussing the legendary Bryan James Chandler, more familiar as Chas Chandler, a remarkable musician and entrepreneur.

Chas was born in 1938 in Heaton outside of Newcastle and started his musical career together with soon to be fellow Animal Alan Price, with whom he founded a small trio. Eventually Eric Burdon joined the band – and the rest is, as they say, history. All in all, there are not that many 60s bands that have aged as well as the Animals – the band´s classic singles still sound as fresh and relevant as ever before.

Chas of course played the bass and provided some harmony vocals and if you listen to the great hits from the 60s, it´s evident how important and defining his bass playing is to the sound of Animals  – listen to the subtle bass line that introduces It´s My Life and We Gotta Get Out of This Place and the pumping bass in the band´s debut single Baby Let Me Take You Home!

Animals split up in 1966 and he then moved on to a successful career as Jimi Hendrix´ manager and producer. He also initially  recruited the Irishman Noel Redding and fellow Brit Mitch Michell to Hendrix´ first – and best  – band, Experience, and according to legend, he was also the man to introduce Hendrix to fellow axe man Eric Clapton, who later made a classical cover of Hendix´s Little Wing.

However, it wasn´t until the 70s that he struck really lucky in an economic sense – as well as artistically, again. He then started a prosperous collaboration with Wolverhamptons and glam rock´s finest, Slade. He managed that band for 12 years, during which the band produced one of the finest strings of hit music in the history of pop!

During the 90s he was instrumental in the development of Newcastle Arena, the current Metro Radio Arena, a sports and entertainment arena in Newcastle. Before that he managed to squeeze in the running of a recording studio and a marriage to Miss United Kingdom – no moss ever grew on that stone! Eventually and sadly, he passed away 1996, only 57 years old, due to a failing heart.

When I think of him, I think of his elegant bass playing, maybe best evident in the classic We Gotta Get Out Of This Place!


Ps. David Johansen made some great covers of Animal songs on his live album Live it Up from 1982 – you should immediately check out that album if you haven´t already done that!


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