Originally formed as Dave Barron and the Chariots in 1962, then became Jackie Richmond and the Chariots in 1967. Pete Oliver and Ronny Grundy joined in 1969 - the band becoming Sweet Chariot in 1970.
Stuart Grattige, the only surviving Chariot (arguably the longest surviving Manchester group) asked me could I find a bass player to join him at the Southern Sporting Club. I got ex Irwells Ronnie Grundy.
We didn't even have a name and we won the Poparama contest at Belle Vue in 1970. Everybody called us the Chariots out of habit.
My 6 month residency with the Chariots lasted 20 years, 6 countries, maybe a dozen tv shows and 3 record companies.
Formed in 1958 the Chariots\Sweet Chariot as a 3 piece had over 17 members, and I have written a 30 minute film script based on a possible final reunion.
Pete Oliver (see also The Irwells, New Religion and Sweet Chariot)
- Dave Barron - Vocals
- Allan Wallace - Drums
- Ed Stuart - Guitar/Piano
- Ken Bond - Bass
I wondered whether you know of anyone with any recordings of the chariots? My dad was in the group and we are trying to get hold of one song in particular (why do you treat me this way) although any would be amazing.
In 1963, after leaving Tootal Road Sschool, I was asked by Ronnie Grundy to join "The Pages" (they were getting rid of their lead guitarist). We were 15-16 years old and used to rehearse at a Methodist church hall on Derby Road, just round the corner from where I lived. We started off doing just instrumentals but after 12 months we were doing Beatles, Stones and Merseybeat covers.
I got one of the first Fender Strats in the country, Steve Barnes played rhythm guitar, Alan Ormandy was on drums (later replaced by my cousin Steve Revell) and Ronnie got his first proper bass guitar - a red hofner strat copy.
We residenced at The Jollies on Fri & Sat nights.
After two years, Ronnie and Steve left to join the Irwells. Cousin Steve also decided he was fed up with music, so I contacted Johnny Parker (not long after the van crash). He told me about Pete Oliver refusing to let the nurse cut any of his hair from round where he needed stitches.
Upon asking him if he fancied starting another group he said only if he could bring along Keith Jones on drums. I said it was no problem as I'd seen Keith (he was bloody good) so we played as a 3 peice for about 2 years under the name of Reils.
I then decided I'd had enough and left.
I was a member of a 4 girl singing group just starting out called the Adelettes we were young and eager to succeed with our much loved Motown music and style.
We had the privilege of being backed by Dave Barron and the Chariots between May and October 1965, they mentored and encouraged us with our dreams of success. We were also managed by their manager Allan Jones (whom incidentally wrote the song "Over You" for Freddy and the Dreamers.
We became part of their act during this time, playing at the Salford Dockers Club, the Sce e ne Club in Oxford Street Manchester, The Creole in Wimslow, The New Elizabethan at Belle Vue, Manchester University, and the high light for us girls the New Century Hall Manchester as the warm up group for The Hollies on the 11 September 1965.|
During this time and through people like Barry Perkins, Danny Betesh and Geoff Cantor from K.S.E we were all given a recording test at EMI studio's in London with John Burgess in July 1965. Dave Barron passed his recording test but unfortunately neither the Chariots or the Adelettes did, but what an unbelievable experience we had.
We left Dave Barron and the Chariots and moved to London in hope of success but alas it was not to be. We were and always will be eternally grateful to Dave Barron,and the Chariots Alan Wallace, Stu Edwards, and Ken Bridge and not forgetting Allan Jones for believing in us and giving us that chance in a lifetime, Thank you gentlemen.
Brenda Scrafton 14/11/12
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 following the diagnosis and he was buried at Stand All Saints Church, Whitefield, on Friday 21 December after a service at OLOG, Prestwich.
Simon Tushingham 24/12/12