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CHINNICHAP: A JOURNEY INTO THE CENTRE OF GLAM
Saturday 10 January 21.00 - 22.00

Suzi Quatro
Listen Again to this show
Available to hear again for seven days after transmission via the BBC Radio Player.
Suzi Quatro tells the story of the musical pairing known as Chinnichap - the songwriting and production partnership that powered Glam Rock through the early and and mid-Seventies.

Mike Chapman was a rugged Queenslander who came to London in the late Sixties, where he met Nicky Chinn, an aspiring lyricist from the Home Counties. Together they were responsible for a string of hits, mostly for RAK records boss, the late Micky Most.

Glam artists in their stable included Sweet (Funny Funny, CoCo, Poppa Joe, BlockBuster, Ballroom Blitz, Teenage Rampage etc), Mud (Dynamite, Tiger Feet, Lonely This Christmas), Suzi Quatro (Can the Can, 48 Crash, Devilgate Drive, If You Can't Give Me Love) and the country rock influenced Smokie (Living Next Door to Alice, If You Think You Know How to Love Me, Don't Play Your Rock and Roll To Me).

At the time Chinnichap's output was often derided by serious music critics as mere bubblegum. It's an accusation Chinn and Chapman relished, given that their catchy ditties sold in huge quantities and moreover, in a period of pop when singles meant much more than they do today.

1974 was the partnership's peak. In one week 1974, for instance, the top three singles in the UK Charts were all Chinnichap songs. This feat represented nearly a quarter of all singles sold in Britain that week. Mud's Tiger Feet was number one, at number 2 was Teenage Rampage by Sweet and at number three at the time was Suzi Quatro with Devilgate Drive. For good measure, Devil Gate Drive hit the top of the chart the week after.

Chinn and Chapman were also responsible for the Christmas Number One that year, Mud's million selling Lonely This Christmas.

But the glam bubble was deflating in the UK, and Mike Chapman moved to America and began to concentrate on solo projects.

While in America, the inspired Chapman either wrote or produced Exile's Kiss You All Over, the Knack's mega-hit My Sharona as well as anthems like Pat Benatar's Love is a Battlefield and Tina Turner's phenomenally successful song, The Best.

Chapman himself believes his greatest achievement to date in the United States was producing four albums for Blondie, beginning with Parallel Lines. Each of the Blondie albums contained a treasure trove of hit singles. To name but a handful of the hits that Chapman produced for the group: Sunday Girl, Hanging On the Telephone, The Tide Is High, Atomic, Union City Blues and the hugely influential songs, Heart of Glass and Rapture.

Chinn and Chapman's partnership withered after the early Eighties but their legacy as the hit factory of their generation is unparalleled.

Contributors include Mike Chapman, Nicky Chinn, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie, Tony Blackburn, Andy Scott of Sweet, Rob Davis from Mud, Chris Norman from Smokie, Noddy Holder of Slade, venerable DJ Dave Lee Travis, and Tim Rice…

LINKS

Glam Rock of the 70s
A celebration of all things glittery and camp.
BBC Music - Classic Rock and Pop
More music from around the BBC.
DOC ARCHIVE
Info on previous programmes


Stuart Maconie
Stuart Maconie

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MR BLUE SKY
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