Saturday, 17 March 2007
In the mid seventies their were two producers that had a stream of hits with bands like The Sweet, Suzi Quatro, Racey, Smokie and Mud. Their names were Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, aka Chinnychap. I didn’t know back then that all these records were written and produced by the same guys, I didn’t even knew that records were produced at all, I just loved the records and the music.
Only much later I realised how genius these guys were. The songs were, and probably still are, considered teenybopper trash by some people, but for me it is some of the best music ever made. After getting lost in all the other music that enters my home, I always return to the Chinn & Chapman hits to reset my musical standards. I am not good at describing what I like about songs, but for one time I will try: I like uptempo tunes with lots of gimmicks. It got to be noisy, inspired and full of energy, but the song is more important than the musicians. And there has to be humour in the recording; if musicians take themselves to serious, I usually don’t. Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman really understood what I like!
I think that all these records only were hits in Europe, because I never see these records mentioned in American lists or articles. It would be good if some RAK, the record company that had the honour to release all the hits that Chinn & Chapman created, came up with a CD with all the hits of this duo. You can buy CD’s of the bands, but then there are always songs on the CD that others have written, and I don’t like that. On the other hand, I have all the original vinyl, so who cares?
Before Chinn & Chapman gave Mud their monster hits Dynamite, The cat crept in, Rocket, The secret that you keep and??Lonely this Christmas??, they had already tried it with three of their songs: Crazy, Last tango in Paris and Hypnosis. Although they are clearly recognisable as Chinnichap* productions, they lack the happy-go-lucky sound of the later hits. These songs were no hits in Holland and were not even used on the LP’s. It makes me wonder what other songs are missing in my Chinnichap collection.
The drawings you see on this page were made by the illustrious Ger Rijff. They were published in a Dutch music magazine in the period that Mud was at the height of their career. Ger had fun drawing this band, and I guess that was mainly because the singer had a bit Elvis in his voice.
Mud went on after Chinn & Chapman stopped working with them, and they even had some minor hits. But the magic was gone, because the band members were not the magicians. Les Gray, the lead singer, made a record with a medley of Elvis songs, which by ordinary standards could be considered as exemplary for a shitty record, but Mud made worse records than this. I am not going to let you hear that. I love the band far too much for that. So here is my own favourite Mud/Chinnichap song: The cat crept in.