Chris Sandford & The Coronets

Chris Sandford can be regarded as the very first soap star to hold down two careers simultaneously: becoming pop singer as well as actor. He appeared in TV's Maigret, No Hiding Place, Z Cars, The Persuaders, Dad's Army, The Liver Birds and Danger Man, as well as such films as Half A Sixpence, Deep End and Up The Chastity Belt.

Sandford was born 6th June 1944 in Wallasey, Cheshire but moved to London 2 years later.
He joined a band called the Tennessee Disciples until he attended an acting college where he met Mitch Mitchell, later drummer with the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
His theatrical background includes parts in The Kitchen, The Unexpected Guest. He first achieved notoriety as The Singing Milkman “Walter Potts” in television's soap Opera “Coronation Street”. The song he performed in the programme, "Not too Little, Not too Much" reached the 17th position in British charts in early 1964, as a result he became a real full time singer and needed a group to back him for live gigs and so The Coronets were formed around his friend Mitch Mitchell, on drums, and Norman Hale, the original organist of The Tornados. In February 1964, Chris Sandford & The Coronets went on the road, touring clubs such as The Bridgwater's Top Twenty which was packed for The Coronation Street star's visit. They then took part in the Roy Orbison’s British tour during April and May 1964 with Brian Poole & The Tremeloes, Freddie & the Dreamers, Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders and Tony Sheridan & The Big Patrick Six. They also supported the Rolling Stones at Coventry about that time. In fall 1964, 14 year old drummer Eric Dillon replaced Mitch Mitchell who joined The Riot Squad, a R’n’B band assembled by producer Larry Page.

During 1965, Chris Sandford had a six-week stint as a DJ on the pirate station “Radio Caroline” where he was originally employed in the sales department. He then went into the A & R field and became the manager of the band which reverted to a quintet and used the old name of "The Lively Set". Sandford produced their debut single “Don't Call My Name”, released in July 1965 on Pye. They appeared on TV, 'Five O'Clock Club' and also backed American rocker Gene Vincent.

In September 1965, The Lively set toured the Storyville clubs in Germany alongwith Neil Landon & The Burnettes, which featured Noel Redding on guitar. Mitch Mitchell eventually returned to the fold because Eric Dillon was under age and couldn’t work there with the band. Kevin Lang, bass player with The Burnettes, recalls: “The first time we met Eric Dillon was in Frankfurt. He was only 14 years old and the band smuggled him into Germany under the seats of their van, he was under age and did not have a work permit. No one ever found out and he stayed in Germany quite a while.”
Dillon and keyboardist Norman Hale were briefly enlisted in The Burnettes a few time before they broke up.
Mitchell finally left the group and joined Georgie Fames & The Blue Flames, and Eric Dillon became the permanent drummer until The Lively set split up in 1966. Dillon re-united with Noel Redding in a new group, 'Fat Mattress', 3 years later.

Chris Sandford cut two other singles for Decca and Fontana labels, including a Bob Dylan spoof called “I Wish They Wouldn't Always Say I Sound Like The Guy From The USA Blues.” He then concentrated on his acting career.
During the 70s, Chris Sandford continued to make records and was backed by his Friendship then The Rag 'n' Bone Band.


Terry New, lead guitarist of The Coronets
"The Coronets was formed to back a TV actor called Chris Sandford who was then appearing regularly in a popular Soap Opera on UK TV - "Coronation Street". In the programme he was a singing window cleaner who wanted to become a recording artist. He made a record called "Not Too Little Not Too Much" which was quite sucessful at the time and got quite high in the UK Charts. He needed a group to back him for live gigs and so the Coronets were formed. Mitch was a friend of Chris Sandford, they met at an acting college.
The Coronets never recorded under that name and when the Chris Sandford & The Coronets gigs ended we recorded as The Lively Set with Chris Sandford as our recording manager."



Discography

Chris Sandford

Singles:
Not too little, Not too Much / I'm Lookin (Decca F 11778) - November 1963
You're Gonna Be My Girl/Don't Leave Me Now (Decca F 11842) - February 1964, with The Coronets
I Wish They Wouldn't Always Say I Sound Like The Guy From The U.S.A. Blues/Little Man, Nobody Cares (Fontana TF 633) November 1965

LP
A little bit off the top


The Lively Set

Singles:
· Don't Call My Name/What Kind Of Love (Pye 7N 15880) - July 1965

[Let The Trumpets Sound/The Green Years (Capitol CL 15472) - 1966
is from a different band from the USA]


Various Line-ups of Chris Sandford & The Coronets/The Lively Set

Chris Sandford & The Coronets #1 (Early - Late 1964)
  • Chris Sandford (Lead Vocals)
  • Terry New (Lead Guitar/Vocals)
  • Tony Cartwright (Rhythm Guitar/Vocals)
  • Dave Glasspool (Bass)
  • Norman Hale (Keyboards)
  • Mitch Mitchell (Drums)


Chris Sandford & The Coronets #2 (Late 1964 - Mid 1965)
  • Chris Sandford (Lead Vocals)
  • Terry New (Lead Guitar/Vocals)
  • Tony Cartwright (Rhythm Guitar/Vocals)
  • Jim Kent (Bass)
  • Norman Hale (Keyboards)
  • Eric Dillon (Drums)


The Lively Set #1 (Mid 1964 - Late 1965)
  • Terry New (Lead Guitar/Vocals)
  • Tony Cartwright (Rhythm Guitar/Vocals)
  • Jim Kent (Bass)
  • Norman Hale (Keyboards)
  • Mitch Mitchell (Drums)
  • Chris Sandford (Manager)


The Lively Set #2 (Late 1965 - 1966)
  • Terry New (Lead Guitar/Vocals)
  • Tony Cartwright (Rhythm Guitar/Vocals)
  • Jim Kent (Bass)
  • Norman Hale (Keyboards)
  • Eric Dillon (Drums)
  • Chris Sandford (Manager)

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7 comments:

  1. Hi there, I'm researching Norman Hale's life, if there's any more information concerning the Bands Norman worked with, or you know someone who can help, can you please contact me? Thankyou. Take care and keep smiling, Claire - www.normanhale.com

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  3. Hi I'm a DJ for www.bayradio.fm on the Costa Blanca in Spain. My name is JOHN CURTIS & I specialise in the music of the 60s. Is there any way I can find or be sent a download copy of NOT TOO LITTLE NOT TOO MUCH please? I've been unable to trace one so far & would LOVE to play this track on my show.
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  5. John, did you ever get a download of "Not Too Little"? I ask because I have the original 1963 single & would like to help if I can. best regards,
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