A friend of mine a long time ago played keyboards with Sweet Chariot for a while, must have been late 70s early 80'. Phil Wareing from Tottington.
He had previously played bass with a band I was in called Happy Apple ( a club trio, two girls and me!) which evolved into a self contained group called Rusty playing pop. He bought the first Rickenbacker bass I had seen outside YES.
He gave me a copy of a record produced by Sweet Chariot with their version of Paul Simon's AMERICA (based on the YES arrangement) and an original on the other side the title of which escapes me just now.
Pete and Ronnie also sang on some recordings at Strawberry Studios in probably 1972 of songs by another long standing mate of mine Steve Foley - and there's a story!
I'm pretty certain that Sweet Chariot played regularly at The Cumberland Club off Langworthy Road on the Farnworth/Bolton road. My wife and I used to go to see them on a Friday night quite often before we were married, . They were brilliant! The compare was a colleague of mine called Norman Wardle. Norman died many years ago. He sounded like Sammy Davis Junior and was a great compere!
Some groups you never forget and Sweet Chariot are one of them!
The Chariots did a residency at The Jollies in Salford in the early 70's and brought the house down every time.
Greatest memory: "Somewhere over the Rainbow". Showstopper. I watched them ever since around Manchester.
Just been looking at the group pages and seeing Sweet Chariot included, reminded me of when Pete Oliver first started to play the drums. Pete was a Salford lad and was a regular at the Gaytime Club.
When he first started playing drums he practised in a rubbish strewn room below the club, at the back of Burtons Tailors shop. He was exceptional even in his early days, and it was no surprise that he became quite successful.
Pete Oliver, Ronnie Grundy, I knew you from the Southern Sporting club. I was the little dark haired girl that used to live facing the club and somehow got in there at weekends even though I was only 14yrs old. I remember Ronnie and his amazingly beautiful girlfriend Lynn who I am sure he went on to marry. Pete's girlfriend was like a model, she suited his car, I know he never went on to marry Beryl. He did eventually marry the daughter of the licencee of the Smithfield in Manchester near Tib Street.
I remember Pete Oliver giving me a spin in his yellow spitfire. They were a fantastic band and should of been more successful than they were.They were slated on Opportunity Knocks by Paula Yates biological father whose name evades me (Hughie Green).
Would love to hear from them. If you're out there hope you're well. Get in touch - Love to you Gail.
Gail - incorrect email provided
Hi Gail your e-mail was incorrect so could't reply personnally.
Yes, Lynn & Ronnie have been happily married for 33 years now we have 3 beautiful daughters. Ronnie is an usher at Crown Court, Peter is living in Spain, not too sure what Stuart is up too saw him about 5 years ago.
Heard Pete Oliver singing in a club in Spain just last week. You could tell he was very profesional - we all thought he was brilliant.
Many memories of Sweet Chariot at Wigan Rugby club The Dano Bass, Clavioline through a valve Copipcat Superb vocals.
I just wanted to put a post on here about my Dad, Phil Wareing, whom someone has fondly mentioned further up the page. He's recently gone back to playing the bass and has a Fender Jazz which he cant be separated from. Wish I knew more about my pa's Sweet Chariot days, so would be really appreciative if anyone could let me know anything.
Remember Sweet Chariot very well from the mid 1970s, when I ran the Inn on the Bay at Morecambe, they were probably one of the most popular groups to play the Inn, and I booked them often. Another popular act at that time was Reg Coats Experience. My wife Sandy always said, Pete was the best looking guy in the club, hated him for that, but still booked him. Good luck in Spain Pete, if that's where you are.
Thanks to all the above for your great memories! Believe it or not I remember you all.
Hello Ray, do you remember when I saved your life at the bay. You owe me a brandy in Benidorm.
God bless you all.
Just returned home from Benidorm where we saw Pete Oliver performing at the Malibu club. It was a great night with Pete singing some good Bee Gees numbers, Nat King Cole, Neil Diamond and Chris Rea songs and told some funny stories about Sweet Chariot in the 70's.
We had a chat with Pete at the bar and told him we saw Sweet Chariot about 30 years ago at the Memory Inn in Ashton-under-Lyne.
Eddie & Marilyn
Remember seeing Sweet Chariot play at The Piper in Preston, Lancashire many times. My sister was a huge fan of Ronnie.
Who was the new member back in the late 70's? Told me he used to play with The Walker Brothers. Was his name Scott?
Glad to hear you are still singing, fabulous voice Ronnie, "He aint heavy" was my favourite, still have you album Those were the days.
Remember when I was living in the UK (now back in Australia) I worked behind the bar. Sweet Chariot played there quite often (think I was given a record at one stage). Went out with their roadie for a while (Bryn Jones). Haw funny days!
I remember Pete Oliver before the Gaytime days. He played the drums at West Salford Youth Club. The last time I saw him he was singing solo at the Lyndene Hotel in Blackpool.
Had some brilliant nights at the Bower Club Stalybridge when Chariot were playing, saw them a few times up there,also at Dixieland in Blackpool where they were doing the Summer season around 1973.
I got talking to them,and they mentioned they also played at the Talbot in Stalybridge, a bit before my time that one, good times.
Spent some time with Pete and his Mrs Laverne in Benidorm October 2010. He's still singing brilliantly with Bee Gees tribute band.
Bless you Pete always - love ya
I remember Pete and Leverne when they lived in Portugal at THE ROVERS RETURN we had a great time with them and there friends from Manchester, he got me on stage trying to sing and tell jokes then in the early hours of the morning see us off to the airport at Faro.
I have a few photos and very fond memories of the time we spent with them all those years ago please give them my kindest regards, i do hope they are keeping well.
Its so nice to see people remenising about my dad from back in the days.
I just wanted to say, Pete being my dad hasn't told me all the great funny stories from back in the days :) so if anybody here can fill me in on some happy memories they shared with my dad that would be great or if u have any old photos?
I'm immensely proud of my dad! He is 64 now and still singing his heart out in Benidorm, Spain. He inspries me and I love him dearly especial when he sings with my older sister, they have the voices of angels.
And if my uncle Reg ever reads this please know I haven't forgotten my godfather - please get in touch!
Luv You Dad xx - then again he wouldn't be where he is today without my mum Laverne! She is his spinal cord . Uncle Reg, my love if yu read this and you too Uncle Ronny xx
Mercedes Lucy Oliver
I was with The Dooleys in the 70's (now living in Cape Town) and Sweet Chariot were our favourite band! We used to watch them whenever possible, Embarassed to say, we pinched their Climb Every Mountain/Impossible Dream medley as it was so good.
Happy memories of a great band, wish Olly and Pete all the best from the Dooley's.
I worked at the Cabaret club on Oxford Street when Sweet Chariot played there I remember Reg Coates and the Boston International Showband who played their last gig at the Cabaret before joining with Paul Gadd and becoming the Glitter band.
Pete had a brilliant thing he did when singing When I fall in love he would take a girls hand in the audience gaze into her eyes then kiss his own hand and up his arm.
I followed Chariot for ages - got everyone I knew to send hundreds of postcards for Opportunity Knocks and they were beaten by some kid.
Anyone remember Ma who followed them everywhere she introduced them on Op knocks they had a hard core of fans who turned up everywhere. Can't believe Pete is 64. I have the most brilliant memories of those Manchester Club days but prefer to keep most of them to myself .
Met Pete in Portugal when he ran a bar with his wife Laverne. Lost contact then met him in Blackpool, went to Benidorm in June 2011 met him again by accident. Went to see Laverne in bar she works, Pete and I then went for a drink.
Going back to Benidorm in November looking forward to seeing him again - he's a cracking man.
Saw Pete Oliver in Benidorm last week enjoyed catching up with his music - took us back to Blackpool where we saw Peter and the choirgirls. His voice is as strong as ever.
See you next year - all the best to you and Laverne.
During the seventies Ronnie, Pete and the lads used to stay at a pro digs in Roker, Sunderland called South Lodge. It was owned by my mother Carol.
As a group they were an amazing nights entertainment.
I always loved this band, I sugest sombody makes a facebook page as its the largest social media page worldwide the page would be full of fans in no time.
My husband used to be with a comedy duo in the seventies called Grump and Gary. My husband is Gary, the straight man of the two. He said he spent many happy hours playing football on the beach at Whitley Bay with the lads.
I was a singer all around the greater Manchester area and worked with Sweet Chariot loads of time . They were fantastic. My name was Pat Francis and I did all the 50s and 60s stuff. Worked with them at the Talk of the North and I think the Naps in Openshaw, plus loads more.
Remember me from many years ago, you used my dog BELLAMY to be photographed on your LP cover......yes I'm taking many years ago, I used to work at Granada and Indigo Recording Studios and yes Somewhere over the Rainbow was the best!!!! Do you remember the band SMITHY!!!!
Saw Sweet Chariot at the Garrick club in Leigh. Still play album, Pete's voice still sends shivers down my spine. No one else can sing impossible dream for me. Just wanted to say thanks for happy memories.
I used to work as stage manager at both Blighty's night club in Farnworth , Bolton and Copperfields club on Crompton Way Bolton in the mid seventies along with the compere Ken Shaw. They were the best times of my life and still savour all those happy memories including seeing Sweet chariot . Always thought they were amongst the best that used to appear there.
I remember them asking me if I wanted to join them as a roadie as they were due to go to Japan , but I had a new girlfriend at the time who I later went on to marry but always wondered what would have happened in my life if I had joined them.
Still trying to find out what has happened to Ken Shaw who used to live in Farnworth but everyone I ask doesn't seem to know what has happened to him or where he may be these days.it would be great to be able to go back in time and enjoy those wonderful times all over again and listen to all those great songs that Sweet Chariot used to sing and the special way they used to sing them.
Many thanks for giving me the chance to recall my youth and the many friends I met along the way.
Whispering John Allen
I remember when Sweet Chariot had all their gear and van stolen in Newcastle during the winter of 1977/78. Some of Pete's drum sticks that had his name on along with a lot of stage clothing turned up in a house in Bradford. After a lot of work, the rest of the gear and van were recovered.
At that time the group were Pete, Ronnie, Phil and Eddie Davies. I had to meet up with the lads at various places and of course we all had to celebrate the recovery of the gear. Celebrations were so good at one stage that Ronnie was able to sit in and ride in a child's seat in my old Caravette and not know that he had done. We had a lot of fun together at various places in Yorkshire and the lads did a full evenings charity concert for us as a thank you for recovering their gear. We still have good memories of that time along with a copy of the demo record they produced.
At the time (early 70's) Sweet Chariot were one of the best bands in Manchester. They performed regulary at old Wigan Rugby Club around 1972-76 and also at the Riverside when the old club was done up. I also saw them at the Northern Club, Broadway,and Cumberland Club - they were regular players at First House Group venues.
Happy days - I miss them so much - proper good nights out they were.
We remember Pete and Laverne, we used to live in Portugal and had a bar also, called Tom and Jerrys. Pete used to sing for us occasionally and we used to go to his bar the Rovers Return. We have also visited him in Benidorm. Great singer.!!
Hope they are all well. My memories are of Ronnie growing up in Salford at Salford swimming club great times ... then seeing him with the Chariots at the Garick Club in Leigh.
Hi Whispering Johnnie Allen....How are you matey...Did I give you that name ? Yes we had some great times. I'm in Spain now Nr Torreviaja been here ten years. Sang for the first 6 and then the recession kicked in.
Still doing the odd gig or two....good to hear from you how are you ? Email me (email webmaster for address)
Stuart Grattige died recently. He was a regular at the Eagle & Child in Whitefield prior to being diagnosed with lung cancer. His death did not long follow the diagnosis and he was buried at Stand All Saints Church, Whitefield, on Friday 21 December after a service at OLOG, Prestwich.
When Stuart split from Sweet Chariot he formed a group called GYPSY of which I worked in with Stuart (keyboards) myself Baz (drums-vocals) and Tony Harney (bass). We worked together for many years and a few changes of bass players, due to clubs closing and cutting back on entertainment in the 1990 we went down to a duo called NEW FORMULA which must make Stuart one of the longest musicians from the manchester era. This sadly came to an end when we had the van stolen along with all the gear.
Sadly Stuart died - will be missed by myself and many more friends and fans of the Chariots/Sweet Chariot/Gypsy.
Really sorry to hear about Stu. He was a great guy who I regularly had a drink with. He and Baz performed at the Commercial Inn (Prestwich) for my wife's surprise 40th birthday in 1996. Stu refused to take any payment off me. insisting they had enjoyed themselves and to consider it a birthday present for my wife.
Jackie Richmond also sang a few songs with them that night.
Really sad to hear about Stuart fantastic person, he set up my Jackson guitar for me in the late 80's I still have it now and will never part with it. Followed the lads around for sometime had some good times with them, I was lucky enough to get one of their CD's "Stolen Memoirs" 1969 - 2001 play it all the time fantastic version of Some Enchanted Evening. Great memories.
Just a little update on ANDY (Ian Anderson) who was with Sweet Chariot for quite a few years with Pete, Ronnie Grundy, Stuart and also Keith the drummer. ANDY has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's however he remembers very much about the band, the good times etc and people. He has good words to say about everyone and is always asking about everyone. At present he is in a care home. He sends his best wishes to everyone and especially to Harry Greene - who has regularly kept in touch. Please feel free to ring or visit him - he would love it.
0161 653 1668
Sadly, Andy has now passed away. Will be missed by so many. Fond personal memories of the years with him in Phoenix. RIP plonk
Very sad to read about Stuart (Lurch). I was a mere youth working for Jack McCall at the La Petite Club as organist (later became Clan Bar, then Celebrity Club and finally - yes Foo-foo's). I worked for Jack on and off form the age of 14 till about 27. When I was probably about sixteen I first met Stuart. Lovely person. We used to meet regularly in Snacktime the 24 hour "cafe!!!!!!" opposite the Bus Stop club - just outside the bus stop strangely enough where Sweet Chariot (I think they were called) played.
Later I worked for Pete Oliver at the pub he had on Rochdale Road. I know this is about Stuart but just one interesting loop of life is worth mentioning. Pete married the most lovely lady called Laverne - stunning. She was the cloak/entrance/hat lady at the Celebrity Club. I wish I had been just a bit older and made the most of meeting people like Lurch.
Imagine, I backed Johnny Duncan and the Bluegrass boys at Jack's club - it wasn't till years later that I realised they were famous.
Oops, forgot to mention the other part of the "loop" was Jackie Richmond was the compere at Celebrity Club.... and I also ended up working for him at the Lightbown Hotel.
Great to read about Stuart and the memories of all his friends from 60s and 70s. Myself and Stuart had thirty-five happy years together, two pubs, two lovely daughters and we are missing him like crazy.
His mate Baz is organising a tribute night to Stuart soon in the Prestwich area. All welcome for a catch up.
Does anyone remember seeing Sweet Chariot (wonderful) at Offerton Palace in the late 60's early 70's. I have read about them appearing in many places, but this venue is not mentioned.
I remember Pete Oliver quite well, he used to come to Salford Market to buy shoes from myself and my cousin Jimmy. We were the only scousers on the market and Jimmy was a ex-boxer. Pete's mum used to come and say hello every day and somtimes when Pete was out of town, he would ask Jimmy to look in on her.
I remember Pete giving us free tickets for the Willows, I think.
Fond memories and I hope he is in good health.
I remember Sweet Chariot doing charity gigs with Foo Foo n Jack Richmond at my Mum n Dads pub The Broadway New Moston in the 70s. I was only 9 or 10 then. My Mum and Dad were firstly friends with Lavernes Mum and Dad when they both had pubs in town (Alice n Kevin Murray)and I think they saw Pete and Laverne in Benidorm a few times. Happy memories from those days.
Lynne Finlay (Murray)
Pete Oliver......what a guy. I remember rooming with Pete when we were with Reg Coats Combo in Frankfurt. Great times, Great music......rock on.
Lived and worked for Stuart and his wonderful wife at the Lake and spent many hours travelling with Stu and Baz in a van.......Happy Days, gutted to hear about Stu thoughts and prayer with Yads xxx