Ain’t No Pleasing You
Another death prompted this tribute. Today we heard the news that Charles ‘Chas’ Hodges has died, at the age of 74. He was half of the popular duo, Chas and Dave, who have been well-known around the English music scene since 1975. They brought a particular sound to prominence, and if you were from London, you could recognise the distinctive Cockney accents, the Pub-singer style, and the use of common slang in their lyrics.
They could be classed as a ‘novelty act’, but still had significant chart success. For me, their slower songs reminded me of nights in family pubs, house parties when I was a child, and relatives singing, as others played the piano. I doubt they had much attention internationally, as their sound was targeted specifically at a British audience, perhaps even just a London one. But there is no denying that they became an institution; with their trademark scruffy style, memorable singalong songs, and numerous TV appearances on everything from mainstream chart shows, to trendy chat shows.
Lead singer and pianist Chas will be missed, and is unlikely to ever be replaced. Even though they usually appeared as a three-piece with a drummer, the two front men were the essence of the group, and I doubt anyone could name the third member. As well as performing in their own right, they continued respected careers as session musicians too, appearing on the recordings of many well-known artists. They even gained a name for their unique musical genre. By combining Cockney and Rock, we got ‘Rockney’. This song from 1982 may not mean much to an international audience, but it gets right inside my heart every time I hear it.
If I could sing, that’s what it would sound like.
R.I.P. Chas Hodges. 1943-2018