Christine was born in Leeds, Yorkshire on May 11th, 1948. Her grandfather
and uncle were both professional dancers, but they didn't influence
her musically. She began singing when she entered a seaside talent
contest in the Yorkshire resort of Bridlington at the age of eight.
She went on to enter countless similar competitions and to sing
at many charity shows. It was fun and she enjoyed it.
She joined the Judean Club, a Jewish youth club in Leeds, where
other members included future pop princess Julie Grant (then still
known as Vivienne Foreman) and Jeff Christie, who with his group
Christie would achieve great international success with 'Yellow
River'. Harvey Fish was another club member and he recalls those
times and the origin of one of Christine's songs:
"We used to put on a show for the kids every couple of weeks.
Paul Conway was the pianist and lead musician, Christine was one
of the singers and I used to direct the shows. We used to take the
current hits and present them in that week's show. At one time Christine
asked me why we couldn't do an original song as well, and I answered
somewhat sarcastically, 'Sure, I'll go and write something.' I didn't
actually mean it, but the idea must have stuck at the back of my
mind, as I came up with the lyrics and a rough idea of the music.
As I am not a musician, I approached Paul, who polished it up, wrote
it down musically; we then gave it to Christine to sing. About a
year later, Christine entered a competition and came in second,
receiving a recording contract from Oriole Records. She contacted
me to say that they had got the A-side, but would we agree to 'Our
Last Chance' being the B-side."
The singing competition was in Manchester and Oriole was a small,
independent record label in London, famous for hits such as 'Like
I Do' by Maureen Evans and for being the first company to push Motown
records in the UK. Christine was only 13 at the time, but her powerful
voice belied her tender years. Her first record - 'Oh My' b/w 'Guilty
Eyes' - came out in 1962. The home-grown 'Our Last Chance' was issued
on the B-side of her second record, one of numerous British cover
versions of Johnny Crawford's US hit 'Your Nose Is Gonna Grow'.
Christine's third single, 'Whisper Wonderful Words', used the trick
of "borrowing" a classical tune, in this case Bizet's
'Habanera' from 'Carmen' - you'll recognize it when you hear it!
Being a recording artist in her early teens, Christine's life was
full of problems. She hated school, being much more interested in
singing, tenpin bowling, buying clothes and watching football: Leeds
United, of course. Her school would never allow her time off, leaving
only the weekends to do TV or radio. If she was making a record,
she simply had to play truant. Christine used to get very excited
about the things she was doing, but record followed record with
"TELL ME MAMA"
However, some commercial success did come in the USA, where the
World Artists label (famous for Chad & Jeremy) released her
next single, the catchy 'Tell Me Mama', which reached No.85 on the
Billboard charts in May 1964, outselling the original version by
well-known American singer Janie Grant. The record ended up getting
released all around the world. Her next brace of singles - a version
of Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry's 'Here She Comes' (original version:
the Darlettes) and 'Mr Stuck-Up' (which World Artists also released
in the States) - were among her strongest, but neither charted.
In addition to the six records Christine released on Oriole before
her contract expired in 1964, there exists an acetate on the label
of 'Huggin' My Pillow', a Crewe-Gaudio song also recorded by the
Four Seasons in 1966. (As Oriole had gone out of business by then,
Christine's version must pre-date that release. Perhaps it was the
original version?) She continued doing TV, radio and cabaret work
around the country, always with the support of her parents. Late
in 1964 the family moved to London, to be nearer the action.
In June 1965 Christine signed with manager-producer- songwriter
Bunny Lewis. As she had achieved something in America, Lewis' Ritz
Productions company inked her to a new recording contract with Laurie
Records of New York, in the expectation it would guarantee her further
releases there. Her first record under the new deal, 'If You've
Got A Heart', was from the pen of Bobby Goldsboro. Like her follow-up,
Burt Bacharach & Hal David's 'Long After Tonight Is All Over',
this was released in the UK on the Stateside label, an outlet usually
reserved for US recordings. This and her earlier hit led some people
to assume Christine was American. Ironically, it seems her Stateside
singles never did get generally released in the States, although
'If You've Got A Heart' progressed as far as the test pressing stage.
Sadly, these were to be Christine's last releases. Much later, 'Long
After Tonight Is All Over' became a Northern Soul classic in the
clubs of Northern England, mainly via the Jimmy Radcliffe original,
but Christine's interpretation has been known to changes hands for
three figure sums in recent years. It seems very unfair.