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Chad & Jeremy

Chad & Jeremy

Singing group

A rarity among British Invasion era musical acts, Chad & Jeremy were more popular in the United States than they were in their British homeland. Boasting harmonies as tender as those of the Everly Brothers and with a wistful, romantic sense, they helped refine the art of soft rock. Less bawdy than their counterparts Peter & Gordon, their pop-folk approach ensured that their best-known singles could be enjoyed by both teenaged girls and their mothers.

Both Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde began singing in their respective church choirs while growing up, with the former proving quite adept on acoustic guitar. Clyde had designs on an acting career early on and directed an award-winning amateur film while studying at Eton. After Stuart won a scholarship to the Central School of Speech and Drama, he met Clyde, who was impressed by his ability to mimic guitarist Hank Marvin of the Shadows, on the song "Apache." Eventually Stuart, then going under his birth name of David Stuart Chadwick, would help Clyde augment his own guitar skills. "When I met Chad, I could play six chords on guitar," Clyde recalled for their website, "and gradually, he got me playing 12, then 18, then 24."

Interested in popular music, in 1962 the two new friends enlisted bassist Ray Stiles, drummer Liam Hill, and lead vocalist Stephen Holder to form a rock and roll group called the Jerks. Typical of many fledgling rock groups, Holder—billed as "Stephen Geraud"—became lead singer simply by supplying the amplifier. It was during this time that Stuart Chadwick began billing himself as Chad Stuart and working up close harmony arrangements of folk-pop songs to sing in tandem with Jeremy.

The band dissolved when Clyde graduated and left London to join the Dundee Repertory Theater in Scotland. Stuart eventually secured a job as a music copyist for arranger Gordon Franks and started writing songs in earnest. When an actors' union strike pulled Clyde off the stage, he sought out Stuart to perform their duet material in local coffeehouses. In late 1963, their soft harmonies and playful humor attracted record producer John Barry to a club called Tina's. Impressed, he signed the duo to the Ember label, a small independent that enjoyed solid worldwide distribution through World Artists and began working with the two young singers.

Their first and only British hit was Stuart's composition "Yesterday's Gone." A bouncy number drenched in Buddy Holly-like lyrical melancholy, the record reached number 37 on the British charts. The song was even bigger in the United States, where it reached number 21 and initiated a chart pattern the singers would face for the rest of their careers. Their follow-up was the chipper romantic ballad "A Summer Song." Played on BBC-TV's Juke Box Jury, the recording was voted "a miss." However, Beatles' drummer Ringo Starr made a prediction that proved prophetic: "It will do well in the States."

Topped the Charts

True enough, "A Summer Song" hit number seven on the American pop charts and number two on the Adult Contemporary charts, prompting Chad & Jeremy to relocate to Hollywood, California. During the mid-1960s, British artists were knocking established American stars off radio playlists by the dozens. Stuart and Clyde, with their well-coiffed long hair, goofy good looks, and sincere way with a romantic song, became teen favorites immediately.

Still on a roll, the team hit both the pop (1965) and Adult Contemporary (1966) charts with their reflective remake of "Willow, Weep for Me." Previously a hit for Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra and featuring vocalist Irene Taylor, the record cemented the duo's reputation as a young act the whole family could enjoy.

The boys fueled their success with appearances on such network television shows as Hullaballoo, Batman, and The Patty Duke Show. Most memorably, they parodied themselves on the Dick Van Dyke Show. Playing "Fred and Ernie," Chad & Jeremy garnered big laughs on the show by poking fun at their fame and the constant crush of screaming teenage fans. The truth of their situation was a little more complicated. "You had no instruction books, you had no way of knowing what was coming or how to meet the next challenge," Stuart told Goldmine in 1984. "Everything was tough. … you got too sidetracked by the fans and the fan mags and the applause."

During this early peak, their producer bailed out of Ember, and the duo's recording career and image suffered. There were rumors of the duo splitting up so that Clyde could more vigorously pursue his acting career. He did in fact take several months off to do a play while Stuart recovered from mononucleosis. These events hampered Chad & Jeremy's image as best mates, and the extended break dulled their momentum.

While Chad & Jeremy dealt with internal problems and prepared a new album for Columbia, Ember/World Artists continued releasing a backlog of the duo's material. Subsequently, their renditions of "If I Loved You" from the musical Carousel and "Before and After" continued their parade of soft pop hit singles. Once on Columbia, the group faced a changing musical market, and the response to their singles was decidedly diminished. As a result, their biggest seller on the new label was "Distant Shores" (1966). Soon, bubblegum and psychedelia were taking over teen radio, and Chad & Jeremy's days as hitmakers were over.

Columbia had hoped to capitalize on Chad & Jeremy's predilection for folk with the modern allegories contained in the album Of Cabbages and Kings, a five-movement piece scored by Stuart. Despite decent reviews the album did not sell well, nor did its expensive psychedelic-tinged follow-up, The Ark. Their work on the soundtrack for the 1967 film Three in the Attic went largely unnoticed, and the duo began drifting off into other projects before officially disbanding the act in 1969.

Stuart, who stayed in California to compose music, became the music director for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and worked as a staff producer at A&M Records. Clyde appeared on the London stage, most notably in Conduct Unbecoming, as well as in dozens of British films and TV shows, including Play of the Month, Crossbow, and Is it Legal. Though never a star, Clyde proved to be an able supporting actor in anything from period dramas to light comedy.

The team first began discussing a comeback in 1977, but their proposed deal with RCA fell through. Subsequently, they recorded the poorly distributed Chad Stuart & Jeremy Clyde for the independent Rocshire label in 1983. The singers also appeared together in the London production of Pump Boys and Dinettes before joining the British Invasion II nostalgia package tour. During the 2000s, the reissue of their early work revived interest in the duo. Scheduling yearly reunion tours, where they sell copies of live shows as mementos, their tender, wistful harmonies have remained intact.

For the Record …

Members include: Chad Stuart (born David Stuart Chadwick on December 10, 1941, in Durham, Windermere, England; son of Frank [worked in the lumber industry] and Alice [a nurse] Chadwick; legally changed name to Chad Stuart in 1964; married Jill Gibson [a model]; children: James Patrick, Beth, and Andrew), vocals; Jeremy Clyde (born Michael Thomas Jeremy Clyde on March 22, 1941, in Dorney, Buckinghamshire, England; father was in the shipping industry; mother was Lady Elizabeth Wellesey, daughter of the Duke of Wellington; married Vanessa Field [1970; divorced]; children: son and daughter), vocals.

Singers, songwriters, and actors, 1963-; met at Central School of Drama in London; early 1960s; formed rock 'n' roll group The Jerks, which gave way to the acoustic folk-pop duo Chad & Jeremy, 1963; signed with the independent Ember label, who leased their recordings to World Artists, 1964; scored a small string of hits in U.S., including "Yesterday's Gone," "A Summer Song," and "Willow Weep for Me," 1965; appeared on various television programs, including Hullaballoo, Batman, The Andy Williams Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show; 1964-66; recorded for Columbia Records, 1965-68; duo split, Clyde pursued acting while Stuart a briefly sang with wife, Jill, 1969; reunited for album on the Rocshire label, 1983; periodically reunited for nostalgia shows starting in 1986; began touring regularly again, between solo projects and selling internet-only concert discs, 2002-.

Addresses: Record Company—Website: Electric Paintbox, http://www.electricpaintbox.net. Website—Chad & Jeremy Official Website: http://www.chadandjeremy.net.

Selected discography

Singles

"Yesterdays's Gone," World Artists, 1964.

"A Summer Song," World Artists, 1964.

"Willow Weep for Me," World Artists, 1964.

"If I Loved You," World Artists, 1965.

"Before And After," Columbia, 1965.

"I Don't Want to Lose You Baby," Columbia, 1965.

"Distant Shores," Columbia, 1965.

Albums

Yesterday's Gone, World Artists, 1964.

Chad & Jeremy Sing for You, World Artists, 1965.

Before & After, Columbia, 1965.

I Don't Want to Lose You Baby, Columbia, 1965.

Distant Shores, Columbia, 1966.

Of Cabbages and Kings, Columbia, 1967.

The Ark, Columbia, 1968.

Three in the Attic, Sidewalk, 1969.

Painted Dayglow Smile, Columbia/Legacy, 1992.

Chad Stuart & Jeremy Clyde, Rocshire, 1999.

Very Best of Chad & Jeremy, Varese, 2000.

In Concert, Electric Paintbox, 2002.

The Acoustic Set—Summer 2004, Electric Paintbox, 2004.

The Acoustic Set—Summer 2005, Electric Paintbox, 2005.

Chad Stuart & Jeremy Clyde, Electric Paintbox, 2006.

Sources

Books

Hyatt, Wesley, The Billboard Book of Number One Adult Contemporary Hits, Billboard Books, 1999.

Rees, Dafydd, and Luke Crampton, VH1 Music First: Rock Stars Encyclopedia, DK, 1990.

Stambler, Irwin, editor, The Encyclopedia of Pop Rock and Soul, St. Martin's Press, 1989.

Online

"Chad & Jeremy," All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (September 28, 2007).

"Chad & Jeremy," Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com (September 28, 2007).

Chad & Jeremy Official Website,http://www.chadandjeremy.net (September 28, 2007).

"Jeremy Clyde," All Movie Guide,http://www.allmovieguide.com (September 28, 2007).

—Ken Burke

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