A Tribute to our friend and The Pearly King of Rockney Mr Chas Hodges

 We were absolutely devastated at the very sad news of the passing of Chas.  I got to know Chas over the years, first when C&D started gigging around pubs and clubs in the 70s. Witnessing the joy,fun, laughter and amazing musical talent has provided some lasting priceless memories.   Apart from the fantastic musician Chas, I was so lucky to meet the warm, caring, compassionate, genuine, family loving person that he was.  To say there is a hole left in the world without him is understated - Chas's legacy lives on through our memories and all the music he has left us with.  The Pearly King of Rockney will live on inside our Pearly Hearts.

We were absolutely devastated at the very sad news of the passing of Chas.

I got to know Chas over the years, first when C&D started gigging around pubs and clubs in the 70s. Witnessing the joy,fun, laughter and amazing musical talent has provided some lasting priceless memories.

Apart from the fantastic musician Chas, I was so lucky to meet the warm, caring, compassionate, genuine, family loving person that he was.

To say there is a hole left in the world without him is understated - Chas's legacy lives on through our memories and all the music he has left us with.

The Pearly King of Rockney will live on inside our Pearly Hearts.

 Musician/songwriter/producer Chas Hodges was born in North Middlesex Hospital, Edmonton on 28th December 1943. Attending Eldon Road Junior School, Lower Edmonton and later Higher Grade School, Upper Edmonton.  On 27th of December 1947, the day before Chas’s 4th birthday, Chas’s father, Albert, committed suicide. His mother Daisy managed to feed the kids (Chas and his older brother Dave) by playing piano in clubs and pubs around North London. At the age of 12, with his mother’s encouragement, Chas learned to play guitar. A year later, 1957, he joined his first band, The Horseshoe skiffle group. When Jerry Lee Lewis played at The Edmonton Regal in 1958, Chas was in the audience, and from that point aspired to become a piano player, much to his mothers delight. In the meantime, Skiffle had played its part and was now on the wane. Rock’n’Roll was taking over and Chas wanted to be part of it. In 1959 Chas bought a Hofner bass guitar (the first electric bass in north London, which he still has and records with) and was in demand. He began playing in various rock’n’roll bands around the area. At the age of 16 he turned fully professional.  One of his first paying gigs was the summer season at Butlins, Filey with Billy Gray & the Stormers in 1960 . The following year, the same band, minus Billy Gray become The Outlaws with new singer Mike Berry, and the legendary Joe Meek as their record producer & engineer. Chas became the major session bass player for the next two years up at Joe Meek’s famous home studio, with the Outlaws practically becoming Meek’s ‘house band’. Chas played on numerous hits such as ‘Tribute to Buddy Holly’, with Mike Berry, ‘Johnny Remember me’ with John Leyton, and ‘Just Like Eddie’ with Heinz. (Along with the new Outlaw member, Ritchie Blackmore).  In 1963 Chas went on tour in Britain & Europe as bass player for Jerry Lee Lewis. It was meant to be. Watching and learning from Jerry Lee every night, Chas’s piano playing began to take serious shape. The same year The Outlaws also backed another legend, Gene Vincent, with Chas taking on the role of musical director. The Outlaws toured with Gene from mid ’63 to early ’64. The tour included a week at the famous Star Club, Hamburg, where they found themselves on the same bill as Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers, Chas’s favourite British band at that time. Shortly after returning home, Chas got a call from Cliff Bennett offering Chas a job with him & the band. Chas accepted the offer and in 1966, after supporting the Beatles on their last European tour, Paul McCartney took the band into Abbey Road & produced ‘Got to get you into my life’, which reached number 6 in the UK singles chart.  In 1970 Heads, Hands & Feet were formed around Chas’s friend and favourite British guitar player Albert Lee. On Albert’s recommendation, Chas was asked to join the band and he spent the next two years recording and gigging with them including an extensive tour of America. It was in America on that tour that Chas began to get ideas about writing his own songs and singing in his own accent. ‘It seemed okay singing in an American accent at home, but in America it felt wrong. I felt like a fraud. His friend Dave Peacock shared his views and so Chas & Dave got together at the end of 1972. Shortly before this, Chas & Heads, Hands & Feet played on Jerry Lee Lewis’ London Sessions Album along with such luminaries as Rory Gallagher, Alvin Lee & other big names of the day.  Chas & Dave recorded their first album in 1974, with Mick Burt, Chas’ drummer from the Rebel Rousers, joining them full time not long after. After a couple of well received albums they finally broke big with ‘Gertcha’, their first top 20 hit in 1979, and they were on their way to becoming multiple hit wonders! The following year, Chas was in the producer’s chair for his old mate Mike Berry. The resulting single ‘Sunshine Of Your Smile’ was a top ten hit and remains a live favourite for Chas & Dave. Chas and Mike followed up this success with an album of the same name. After a couple of very successful years with Dave, Chas briefly became a member of the Beatles (!) This little known event occurred at Eric Clapton’s wedding in 1983. Eric had arranged a Marquee with full backline and drums for anybody who fancied a blow. Chas got up & started playing some rock’n’roll on the piano. One by one Paul, George & Ringo got up & joined in. The Beatles were together again with the new line up of ‘Chas, Paul, George & Ringo!’. Photographs were taken by Ringo’s wife Maureen’ Says Chas: ‘She told my wife Joan that she would send her copies. But when Joan called her next day she said she was told she must keep them to herself.’ Perhaps one day they’ll come to light.

Musician/songwriter/producer Chas Hodges was born in North Middlesex Hospital, Edmonton on 28th December 1943. Attending Eldon Road Junior School, Lower Edmonton and later Higher Grade School, Upper Edmonton.

On 27th of December 1947, the day before Chas’s 4th birthday, Chas’s father, Albert, committed suicide. His mother Daisy managed to feed the kids (Chas and his older brother Dave) by playing piano in clubs and pubs around North London. At the age of 12, with his mother’s encouragement, Chas learned to play guitar. A year later, 1957, he joined his first band, The Horseshoe skiffle group. When Jerry Lee Lewis played at The Edmonton Regal in 1958, Chas was in the audience, and from that point aspired to become a piano player, much to his mothers delight. In the meantime, Skiffle had played its part and was now on the wane. Rock’n’Roll was taking over and Chas wanted to be part of it. In 1959 Chas bought a Hofner bass guitar (the first electric bass in north London, which he still has and records with) and was in demand. He began playing in various rock’n’roll bands around the area. At the age of 16 he turned fully professional.

One of his first paying gigs was the summer season at Butlins, Filey with Billy Gray & the Stormers in 1960 . The following year, the same band, minus Billy Gray become The Outlaws with new singer Mike Berry, and the legendary Joe Meek as their record producer & engineer. Chas became the major session bass player for the next two years up at Joe Meek’s famous home studio, with the Outlaws practically becoming Meek’s ‘house band’. Chas played on numerous hits such as ‘Tribute to Buddy Holly’, with Mike Berry, ‘Johnny Remember me’ with John Leyton, and ‘Just Like Eddie’ with Heinz. (Along with the new Outlaw member, Ritchie Blackmore).

In 1963 Chas went on tour in Britain & Europe as bass player for Jerry Lee Lewis. It was meant to be. Watching and learning from Jerry Lee every night, Chas’s piano playing began to take serious shape. The same year The Outlaws also backed another legend, Gene Vincent, with Chas taking on the role of musical director. The Outlaws toured with Gene from mid ’63 to early ’64. The tour included a week at the famous Star Club, Hamburg, where they found themselves on the same bill as Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers, Chas’s favourite British band at that time. Shortly after returning home, Chas got a call from Cliff Bennett offering Chas a job with him & the band. Chas accepted the offer and in 1966, after supporting the Beatles on their last European tour, Paul McCartney took the band into Abbey Road & produced ‘Got to get you into my life’, which reached number 6 in the UK singles chart.

In 1970 Heads, Hands & Feet were formed around Chas’s friend and favourite British guitar player Albert Lee. On Albert’s recommendation, Chas was asked to join the band and he spent the next two years recording and gigging with them including an extensive tour of America. It was in America on that tour that Chas began to get ideas about writing his own songs and singing in his own accent. ‘It seemed okay singing in an American accent at home, but in America it felt wrong. I felt like a fraud. His friend Dave Peacock shared his views and so Chas & Dave got together at the end of 1972. Shortly before this, Chas & Heads, Hands & Feet played on Jerry Lee Lewis’ London Sessions Album along with such luminaries as Rory Gallagher, Alvin Lee & other big names of the day.

Chas & Dave recorded their first album in 1974, with Mick Burt, Chas’ drummer from the Rebel Rousers, joining them full time not long after. After a couple of well received albums they finally broke big with ‘Gertcha’, their first top 20 hit in 1979, and they were on their way to becoming multiple hit wonders! The following year, Chas was in the producer’s chair for his old mate Mike Berry. The resulting single ‘Sunshine Of Your Smile’ was a top ten hit and remains a live favourite for Chas & Dave. Chas and Mike followed up this success with an album of the same name. After a couple of very successful years with Dave, Chas briefly became a member of the Beatles (!) This little known event occurred at Eric Clapton’s wedding in 1983. Eric had arranged a Marquee with full backline and drums for anybody who fancied a blow. Chas got up & started playing some rock’n’roll on the piano. One by one Paul, George & Ringo got up & joined in. The Beatles were
together again with the new line up of ‘Chas, Paul, George & Ringo!’. Photographs were taken by Ringo’s wife Maureen’ Says Chas: ‘She told my wife Joan that she would send her copies. But when Joan called her next day she said she was told she must keep them to herself.’ Perhaps one day they’ll come to light.


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Chas provided a few words that went on the front cover of dads book The Pearly Prince of St Pancras.



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Dad with his Queen Mary every Sunday with their Pearly Taxi blaring out Chas and Dave songs raising fun and funds.

Rest in Peace our dearest Chas our fantastic King of Rockney.

The Carpenters Arms Royal British Legion Knees up

My Pearly friend Lorraine Sadler organised a smashing event in The Carpenters Arms Public house to help raise funds for the British Legion.

I was delighted to be asked to attend and a real pleasure to meet the local Londoners and also the Chelsea Pensioners.

Johnny Day supplied great music and Lorraine, her family and friends supplied fantastic food a real Pearly treat of course with Jellied Eels and Cockles in abundance.

One of the highlights for me personally was to witness 4 generations of an original Pearly family together at one event they were Lorraine’s Pearly Queen mum Pat, Lorraine, her daughter and grandaughter.

We all had a fantastic time sharing our history and having a good old singalong and knees up.

A big thank you to Lorraine and all involved for organising a fantastic event.

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The lovely Pie and Liquer Chris and take a butchers at the number on one of his raffle tickets - it only won a prize.

Battersea Dogs Home charity event

The Pearlies of St Pancras and Kings Cross attended a fundraising event held at The Royal Oak New Ash Green in aid of Battersea Dogs Home.

Our friends Simon and Suzanne organised the event at their pub with plenty of fun activities including a Dog show with many categories.

There were lots of attendees with a lot of them bringing along their Canine friends, our Pearly Prince Cain organised the booking in for each class and his mum Sherida the Pearly Queen of Kings Cross assisted with the raffle.

Cain brought along Brian his Dog and entered him into the Scruffiest Dog class and was overjoyed at getting first place, The Shepherd Neame Dray and Dray horses were there a lovely sight to see.

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The Somers Town Festival July 2018

We had a lovely day supporting this vibrant community event, reflecting the very best of London life. My Pearly friends Lorraine and Terry, The Pearly King and Queen of Tower Hamlets, added their panache, colour and fantastic support on the day.  It is always particularly special to attend an event at the heart of our manor, and where the Pearly tradition was started by Henry Croft almost 140 years ago. In recognition of the lifelong friendship between Henry and my Great Grand dad, George Dole, I have recently attempted to make contact with Henry's descendants - to no avail. So whilst there are no Croft family members wearing the Somers Town title out of respect to Henry and my Great Grand dad I will be wearing the Somers Town title, safeguarding it for any future generations of the Croft family who may wish to take up the buttons.

 

 

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London Podcast Festival at Kings Place

I was invited to attend The Rough Guides to London Podcast festival to sit on the panel and chat about the Pearly tradition and living around Kings Cross.

A great time was had by all and I ended the show with a London singalong.

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Pearly Princess Trinity - 24inches of Hair cut for The Little Princess Trust

Our Pearly Princess Trinity aged 7 had 24 inches of her hair cut off and also raised over £1200 for The Little Princess Trust which provide real hair wigs for children suffering from hair loss.

Straight from little Trinity's Pearly princess heart she said 'every little girl deserves real hair' 

We had a good old knees up in The Royal Oak Ash Green where the hair cutting was going to be taken place.

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Pearly Pony Alfie - update

Our Pearly Pony Alfie is going really well and my driving skills are getting better. I have a few carriages for Alfie in his different roles.

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Dame Vera Lynn 100 birthday celebration

We were invited to a star studded celebration to celebrate Dame Vera Lynn's 100 birthday. Our lovely Queen Elizabeth also attended we all had a right old Royal knees up.

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The Dublin Castle - Madness get a Heritage Plaque

Our friends Madness were honoured with a Heritage plaque outside The Dublin Castle public House. The Dublin Castle has a stage and performance area and it is where Madness first played.

 

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Introducing our Pearly Prince John Marriot

My cousin John Marriot has joined our Pearly family and we welcome him as our Pearly Prince of St Pancras. Johns nan was Polly one of George Doles 17 children and when we were growing up we spent many a happy time together Hopping down in Kent with the rest of our large family.

John has been a lifelong fan of the band Madness so for his first outing in his Pearly suit we attended their gig House of Common on Clapham common.

John has all the credentials for being a Pearly apart from his kind and generous nature he is so much fun and very warmhearted and will be amazing helping raise fun and funds and keeping our tradition alive.

Welcome John.

 John with Woody Madness drummer and me

John with Woody Madness drummer and me

 John and Lee Thompson Madness Saxophonist

John and Lee Thompson Madness Saxophonist

 John with the Pearly Princess of St Pancras Karan

John with the Pearly Princess of St Pancras Karan

 Group shot left to right back row Diane Gould, Pearlyking Jim, Pearly Queen Michelle, Pearly Queen Sherida, Pearly princess Karan. Front row LtoR Pearly Princess Lillie Bliss, Pearly Prince Cain, Pearly photographer Devon and Pearly princess Trinity. The lovely lady in the centre is the landlady of the Dublin Castle Samantha.

Group shot left to right back row Diane Gould, Pearlyking Jim, Pearly Queen Michelle, Pearly Queen Sherida, Pearly princess Karan. Front row LtoR Pearly Princess Lillie Bliss, Pearly Prince Cain, Pearly photographer Devon and Pearly princess Trinity. The lovely lady in the centre is the landlady of the Dublin Castle Samantha.

 Trinity and Lillie.

Trinity and Lillie.

 

 

 Waiting to go onstage with Madness behind the scenes

Waiting to go onstage with Madness behind the scenes

 On stage Chrissy boy on guitar.

On stage Chrissy boy on guitar.

 Suggs.

Suggs.

 John in his glory behind Suggs.

John in his glory behind Suggs.

The Somers town Festival 2016

The Pearlies of St Pancras were back on our Manor when we attended the Somers Town Festival. Our wonderful Pearly Pride Larraine Revah and her husband Benny and son Amir were our great help on the day. The START (Somers Town Art) Festival of Cultures is held on the second Saturday in July, on the site of the market in Chalton Street It is the biggest street festival  in the Camden area and attracts about 10,000 people.

My Great Grandad George Dole the first Pearly King of St Pancras had a fruit and veg shop at 151 Chalton Street this is where he met his great friend Henry Croft who started off the Pearly tradition.

We met some great people and sold some of dads books The Pearly Prince of St Pancras there were some great acts on the stage and we entertained the passers by with a cockney singalong.

 Larraine with some of the members of Camden Councillors the leader Sarah Hayward is in the Pink dress.      

Larraine with some of the members of Camden Councillors the leader Sarah Hayward is in the Pink dress.

 

 

 The fab stall with the lovely ladies from The British Library.

The fab stall with the lovely ladies from The British Library.

 The Origin housing stand.

The Origin housing stand.

London Cabbies in Hastings 20th June 2016

I was invited to join the London cabbies on one of their jaunts with London children down to the Seaside. It was an amazing event with over 200 special needs children with their family and helpers attending. The weather was fine and after all the fun along Hastings promenade everyone enjoyed fish and chips and entertainment. A great day was had by all and what a fantastic bunch the London Taxi drivers are.

 

Madness at the 100 club 8th June 2016

Pearly Queen Sheri and I attended the 100 Club in Oxford Street where Madness were playing their first gig at this iconic venue to raise funds for the Music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins.

https://www.nordoff-robbins.org.uk/

The venue was packed and Sheri and I were outside shaking our collecting tins the crowd were very supportive and all donated to the charity.

There were a couple of Faces there including Dave Courtney in a very smart whistle and flute.

 In the frame outside the 100 club with one of the team from Nordoff Robbins

In the frame outside the 100 club with one of the team from Nordoff Robbins

 With the lovely Madam Scorcher D.J inside the club

With the lovely Madam Scorcher D.J inside the club

 Dave Courtney a proper geezer.

Dave Courtney a proper geezer.

Madness on The New Hastings Pier

Madness on The New Hastings Pier

We joined our friends the band Madness on the new Hastings pier for a bit of a knees up, the lightening struck and thunder roared but it stayed dry thankfully most of the time.

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Farewell Boleyn - 28/5/2016

Pearly Queen Sheri and I attended an event hosted by Condor International Events In the Legends Suite at Upton Park all in aid of raising funds fornannyandbobby Jonjo Heuerman's charity.

The amazing Frank McAvennie and Cass Pennant were there showing their support and chatting about their lives.

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London's Festival of Cabaret at Wiltons Music Hall with Kate Garner

I had the pleasure to attend https://www.wiltons.org.uk/  and be part of the multi talented Kate Garner http://www.kategarner.net/ Music Hall Queen's Vintage Old Time evening.

The beautiful voice and amazing skillful piano playing from Kate matched by the superb setting at Wiltons together transported the audience to Music Hall days.

For a couple of songs Kate was joined by the virtuosi violinist Laci Olah  http://www.olahlaci.com/home.html

The Finale was Myself joining Kate for a good old knees up with some old time cockney songs a wonderful evening was had by all.

 The beautiful Kate Garner

The beautiful Kate Garner

Kate received an enthusiastic response to her latest compositions including the beautiful and evocative 'Euston Road'. 

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The Mayor of Camdens Charity night at Shaka Zulu Camden 13th April 2016

A wonderful fundraising evening at Shaka Zulu for the Mayor of Camden Larraine Revah nominated charity KIDS.  http://www.kids.org.uk/  The Pearlies of Kings Cross and St Pancras assisted in rasing fun and funds helping with the Raffle and auction.

 The lovely Mayor of Camden Larraine Revah.

The lovely Mayor of Camden Larraine Revah.

 The Queens and the Mayor.

The Queens and the Mayor.

 Entertainment.

Entertainment.

 Stunning wood carving in the interior.

Stunning wood carving in the interior.

ShakaZulu

 

 

March to the Arch Sunday 10th April 2016

 Jonjo Heurman at West Ham United Ground starting his final leg to Wembley.

Jonjo Heurman at West Ham United Ground starting his final leg to Wembley.

 The Pearlies of St Pancras and Kings Cross with the Jules Rimet Trophy.

The Pearlies of St Pancras and Kings Cross with the Jules Rimet Trophy.

 The Pearly Cab with Scooters following on their way to Wembley estimated on the day 400-500 Scooters.

The Pearly Cab with Scooters following on their way to Wembley estimated on the day 400-500 Scooters.

 Our Pearly Children Cain, Lillie and Trinity having a ride.

Our Pearly Children Cain, Lillie and Trinity having a ride.

 Our fantastic Pearly Princess Karan and her son Devon walked the final leg with Jonjo. Karan started out in her high heels but after 9 miles changed to flats for the final 3 miles. Well done Karan and Devon. Photo credits to Kas Omer

Our fantastic Pearly Princess Karan and her son Devon walked the final leg with Jonjo. Karan started out in her high heels but after 9 miles changed to flats for the final 3 miles. Well done Karan and Devon. Photo credits to Kas Omer

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 Outside The Ace Cafe.

Outside The Ace Cafe.

 Inside the Pearly Cab.

Inside the Pearly Cab.

 Jonjo Heuerman has arrived at his final destination after walking and cycling 450 miles to return the Jules Rimet trophy back to Wembley for the 50th Anniversary of 1966.

Jonjo Heuerman has arrived at his final destination after walking and cycling 450 miles to return the Jules Rimet trophy back to Wembley for the 50th Anniversary of 1966.

 With the lovely Rev Alan Bolding.

With the lovely Rev Alan Bolding.

 Pearly Prince Cain with the Jules Rimet Trophy.

Pearly Prince Cain with the Jules Rimet Trophy.