Charlie Gracie

Biography

Charlie Gracie is a world famous singer/guitarist from Philadelphia who hit the number spot with “Butterfly” way back in 1957! He has been called a major influence by Paul McCartney, Van Morrison, Graham Nash, George Harrison, Eric Clapton and many others.
A native of South Philadelphia, he became the first successful recording star of the "Rock Era" to emerge from that neighborhood.

In 1957, Charlie's 'Butterfly' topped the American and British music charts, selling over 3 million copies. His other late 50's big sellers include: “Fabulous”, “Ninety-Nine Ways”, “Wanderin Eyes”, “I Love You So Much It Hurts” and “Cool Baby." At the height of his fame, Charlie frequently appeared on “Dick Clark's American Bandstand”, “The Ed Sullivan Show”, and “Alan Freed's TV Specials”. He headlined shows at the Brooklyn Paramount, the Casino Royale in Washington, the 500 Club in Atlantic City, the Opera House in Chicago and old Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia.

His superb guitar playing elicited the highest of praise from music legends like George Harrison. The late Beatle once referred to Charlie's guitar technique as 'brilliant' in a March 1996 interview with Billboard Magazine. Paul McCartney paid tribute to Charlie by recording an updated version of “Fabulous” in CD series entitled: "Run Devil Run". McCartney honored Charlie again that fall by inviting him to the CD's premiere party in London.

During the late 1990s, Charlie was introduced to Quentin Jones, a guitarist, studio owner and Lanark label head. Jones had a strong background in roots music, having worked with Nick Kane of the Mavericks, Tommy Conwell and Stray Cats bassist Lee Rocker. He also played lead guitar on Robert Gordon's 1996 self-titled CD. Gracie and Jones met at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. They decided to record an album together called “I’m All Right”, with Jones acting as producer. He brought in band mate Dave Ferrara to play drums. Jones played bass and guitar, combining with Gracie's guitar and vocals. Gracie invited Jones and Ferrara to back him when Van Morrison commissioned Gracie to open his 2000 West Coast tour. Lanark released “I’m All Right” during the winter of 2001, which was the first new recording of Gracie in over ten years.
Released late 2001, the new project was named “I’m All Right” after a song they recorded for the album about Charlie’s friendship with the late Eddie Cochran. Contributing their musical talents on “I’m All Right” were Tommy Conwell, whose guitar playing is featured on "Still 19", Ralph Miller on piano, Daryl Jenkins on saxophone, and Pete Barnhart on percussion. Graham Nash contributed vocals to the song "A little Too Soon to Tell"
Gracie and Jones teamed up again in Lanark’s Studio to write and record the follow up to “I’m All Right”, this time for a project called “For the Love of Charlie” Jones brought six songs he wrote just for Gracie and combined them with a few Gracie classics and two Gracie originals.
After the basic tracks were recorded by Jones, Al Kooper was approached by Quentin to contribute to the new Charlie Gracie album and, thereafter, sent the tracks to Kooper who noted, “All I wanted to do is make it sound as good as it could; my set-up was more accommodating than Quentin’s. I totally understood the idiom and, in fact, play in a rockabilly trio every now and then though ‘Butterfly’ and ‘Fabulous’ aren’t in the repertoire because there are some things you can't touch”.

Ten of the twelve tracks on the new album by the 75-year-old Rockabilly Hall of Famer were Co-produced by Kooper and Jones and two were co-produced by Jones and Tom T bone known for his work with Meat Loaf, the Isley Brothers, Patty Smith and Lenny Kravitz. Also lending some “love” to the project is Graham Nash, who sings on the new album as does Peter Noone of the Herman’s Hermits, who named Charlie as one of the most important influences on his musical career.


As the recording evolved, other players including Conan O’Brien bandleader Jimmy Vivino contributed to the work-in-progress. Charlie was touched by the efforts of Kooper, Jones, Vivino and the others who worked on the album, stating, “I am so honored and grateful to have such an extraordinary group of artists contributing their enormous talents to this album. It is as much a testament to my peers, the pioneers of rock and roll who helped lay the foundation, as it is to me. Just the same, none of us really knew our music would evolve and have the kind of influence it’s had on successive generations. To those musicians who continue to honor us through their recognition, I am eternally grateful!”

In the fall of 2011, Lanark Records agreed to have ABKCO Records released “FOR THE LOVE OF CHARLIE!”
2015 saw the release of the book “Charlie Gracie: Rock and Rolls Hidden Giant” by the leader in music books Alfred Publishing and the release of Charlie upcoming third album this century called “Angle On My Shoulder” by Lanark Records which is also produced by Quentin Jones (Robert Gordon , Rockats) this new album was recorded at the famed Lanark studio and is is packed with new rockabilly, roots and gospel music and was made 100% auto tune free! It will be released worldwide by Lanark Records.