They double-handedly started the 'rockney' music movement (a mixture of pub singalong, music-hall humour, boogie-woogie piano and pre-Beatles rock 'n' roll, as well as the title of their 1978 album release), and helped put braces back in fashion, so we like to think. But it all came to an end on 22 September 2009, when Dave decided to retire after battling with the grief of losing his wife Sue to lung cancer earlier in the year.
The cheeky-chappie cockney pair had been making sweet music since 1972, and released their debut album in 1975, titled ‘One Fing ‘n’ Anuvver’, which the late legend John Peel chose to champion. Their real names are Charles Nicholas Hodges (on piano, vocals, banjo, guitars) and David Victor Peacock (on bass, guitar, vocals, bajo and guitars), plus Mick (Michael Arthur) on drums and percussion. But how did the rockney slant come about?
During the 70s, most bands were being heavily influenced by American tastes, and Chas was later quoted as saying: “I was singing in an American accent. I thought, 'You're being a fraud, you should sing in your own accent', and that's when I started to work on the idea”
Chas ‘n’ Dave clearly defined themselves as working-class musicians, who associate themselves with the rough, raw pub singalong culture. As a result, most (thought not all) of their songs were comical and at times crude. Their hit song ‘Rabbit’ is a great example of this. It covers the relationship between man and wife, and specifically a wife who likes to ‘rabbit and pork’ or ‘talk’ to those not in the know about Cockney rhyming slang. ‘Snooker Loopy’ was another comical hit, reaching number six in the charts in 1986. It even featured snooker legends Steve Davis, Willie Thorne and others in the music video. ‘Gertcha’ was the first of their eight Top 40 hits in 1979 while ‘Ain't No Pleasing You’ reached number two in the singles chart in 1982.
They leave behind a diverse legacy – did you know, for example, it was a Chas ‘n’ Dave riff that Eminem based his ‘My Name Is’ song on? They also recorded many a single for Tottenham Hotspur football team; they played Glastonbury in 2005 and supported The Libertines in 2003-2004. Contrary to popular myth, though, they did not do the Only Fools And Horses theme tune, as they were too busy at the time and turned it down. Instead, they contributed to Crackerjack and In Sickness And In Health.
Luckily for fans, Chas, now 65, has decided to continue touring and playing the band’s favourite hits under the new name Chas And His Band.