The Chas and Dave singer, who has died at the age of 74, gave voice to working-class London
Chas Hodges – in company with Dave Peacock – was one of the most original British musicians to have come out of the rock’n’roll era. Chas and Dave did something that had never occurred to anyone else: combining rock, blues, country and music hall with the sound of a London that was already disappearing by the time they released their first album, One Fing ’n’ Anuvver, in 1975.
You might, justifiably, compare the best of their writing to Ronnie Lane, or to Ray Davies, the difference being that Chas and Dave sounded less like a Kinks song than the music one of Davies’ characters might have made.
The best of their songs were the memories of the yellowed wallpaper of the public bar – never the saloon bar – given voice: overheard arguments, declarations of love and shady deals, conducted over two pints of mild and a pack of fags.
Hodges, of course, had a long pedigree before Chas and Dave: he had recorded with Joe Meek, been in the Outlaws with Ritchie Blackmore (which later led to him playing bass for Deep Purple at one show). He played with Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent. Most famously, the hook he and Peacock recorded for Labi Siffre’s I Got The … became the chassis of Eminem’s first hit, My Name Is [ . . . ]