Chris Farlowe at Priory Park, as part of Festival of Chichester

Who was number one when England's footballers won the World Cup in 1966?


It was Chris Farlowe in the top spot with his cover of the Rolling Stones’ Out of Time.

51 years on, you can hear him sing it again at this year’s Priory Park Festival, part of the 2017 Festival of Chichester.

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“I started in the late 50s, early 60s,” Chris recalls. “I had been in a band since I was 13 years old. That was skiffle. Skiffle only lasted about 18 months, but it was good.”

And then electric guitars came in – though not for Chris: “I played drums at one point in my life, and I even did a bit of piano. But I took control of the microphone.”

He met guitarist Bob Taylor in 1959 and, through Taylor, joined The Thunderbirds, who went on to record five singles for the Columbia label.

Chris then moved to Andrew Loog Oldham’s label and recorded 11 singles, five of which were cover versions of Rolling Stones’ songs including Paint It, Black, Think, Ride On, Baby, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction and Out Of Time, number one on that glorious footballing day.

“I actually knew the Stones before they were the Stones when we used to play with my band around the Reading/Windsor area. They used to come along and watch. They were starting up a band.

“I liked Brian Jones. He was very nice, very quiet – and he was a great musician. He was a great harmonica player and a nice guitar-player. Keith (Richards)… Well, there is no one really like Keith. He goes against modern science! He should have died a long time ago! He’s great.

“When they made it, they came and asked if they could write some songs for me. I said ‘Please do!’ Mick Jagger played Out of Time to me on a guitar. I didn’t like it at all! I wanted to be a r ‘n’ b singer. They were playing pop songs to me! He said when we started to record it, it would be different, and it was great. I made them a lot of money out of that song! Can you imagine how much royalties there have been on Out of Time since then!

“It was the same week we won the World Cup, and that really put the icing on the cake. It was surreal. My mother woke me up one morning and said ‘There are a lot of photographers out there!’ I said ‘What’s happening?’ I went out, and one of them said ‘We are from The Daily Mirror, and we would like to take your photo.’ I said ‘Why is that?’ and he said ‘You are number one!’”

And now, seemingly all of a sudden, it is more than 50 years ago: “The business has changed a great deal. You had to tour the country in your little vans for years and years while you made your name. Now they want to get on X Factor and become famous overnight, but most of them don’t make it, and even if they win, they are forgotten the next year.

“Back in the 1960s, you had to do your apprenticeship for a few years first, like The Beatles playing in Hamburg before they really got known.”

The Priory Park Festival offers a three-day weekend of music, comedy and food and drink on July 7,8 and 9 in Priory Park. Friday will be jazz and blues; Saturday, rock; and Sunday, family fun.

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