Rock and Goal
Introduction by Stuart Clarkson
It was a moment I will never forget, having just left school, my dad was driving me home after working with him for the day on a building site. As I contemplated starting an office job and stepping into the real world, the radio shattered my concentration with the dulcet tones of Roger Chapman belting out the opening to "In my own time". Thirty four years on and putting together several features on famous football fans, it suddenly occurred to me that it was time Leicester City fans were reunited with one of their most famous supporters, one who had helped formulate the musical outlook of this writer and no doubt many of you in the early seventies. What follows is a feature that made it into the Leicester City V Leeds United programme for City's last home game of season 2004/05. My thanks go to John Hodson for linking me up with the great man, to Neil Medhurst for his superb photo which brought the text to life, to Jon Dale of Leicester City who found the space and persuaded the City hierarchy to include the piece and to Chappo himself who made it one of the most entertaining interviews I have ever done. Since then I managed to get hold of Frank Worthington who was delighted to hear about the article. Like John Hodson he was at the last ever Family gig at Leicester Polytechnic on the 13th October 1973 and told me, " I have always admired Roger's singing, I put him in the same league as Joe Cocker and Family were a special band with a unique sound. That last show is a great memory for me, the band were at the game in the afternoon, then I joined them at the gig and the party afterwards at the Holiday Inn, which included most of us in the hotel Pool fully clothed!"
2. The Article
In a one-off feature, freelance writer Stuart Clarkson talks to one of the greatest British rock vocalists of all time. Roger Chapman is the singer best-known in Britain for his work with Family and the 70s RnB band Streetwalkers. But what not many people realise is that ‘Chappo’ is a huge Leicester City fan. This afternoon he reveals all to the Matchday Magazine
Roger Chapman’s family know better than to discuss Leicester City on a Saturday evening, just in case the club’s result has gone the wrong way. Despite supporting the club since the sixties, he is still not comfortable with them losing and by his own admission is “hard to live with” if the Foxes have lost. The Rock singer first came to fame in the early seventies with another Family, the group, who made their mark on the British music scene with their own brand of contemporary rock. Though primarily an albums band, they also released several classic singles, the most successful being the 1971 UK Top Ten entry ‘In my own time’. When the band split not even half way through the decade, they left a sound that has never been replicated probably due to its originality fuelled by the tremendous range of Chappo’s vocal and the clever offbeat guitar licks of Charlie Whitney. The website dedicated to the group ‘Strange Band’ affectionately mourns the lost potential by stating “...a band whose quest for world domination never quite got past Leicester Polytechnic.” But they did leave behind a piece of vinyl that reminded the world of their sound and a love of Leicester City Football Club.
The cover of the greatest hits package featured a painting of a City game very possibly at Filbert Street. Roger told us whose idea that was and about his own connection with the club through one of its best-loved players.
He said: “It was our manager’s idea to go with the Foxes album cover which was appropriate as we were all local lads and four of the band were fans.
“As it was also a ‘best of’ package it seemed a good idea to draw attention to Leicester, the place as well as the club, because we were a Leicester band.
“During those days I also became mates with Frank Worthington - and he gave me his City Shirt which I wore on stage many times.
“I have still got it but it’s a bit small for me now and I don’t think it’s shrunk!” “People ask me what was special about Frank and I tell them he knew how to party! He was a seriously good footballer but he was also a gifted raver which was something I could help him with.”
In the late seventies Roger recorded his first solo album ‘Chappo’ and while the media and fans alike enthusiastically received his 1979 R&B tour of Britain, it became a tough period for this ‘Rockaholic’ whose contemporary sound collided with the Punk revolution.
He then took up an invitation to appear on the German rock show ‘Rockpalast’ and that proved to be his salvation. With his long time backing band “The Shortlist” he has spent the last 25 years writing, recording and touring primarily in Europe. Despite Chappo’s continuous workload, retirement is not in the vocabulary, though he does admit to taking things a little more leisurely these days.
So with another year well and truly rolling, what has Roger got rocking for 2005?
He added: “I am just about to start an album with my old buddy Jim Cregan at his studio.
‘Jim and I will write together which we’ve done in the past and I’ll let you know when we’ve got a title.
“We will be touring after that with the UK lined up for October, including our now annual Christmas gig in Leicester.
“That’s always a good night with a fair number of City fans in evidence and my bands include a horn section and a couple of female backing singers, so we like to make a lot of noise.
“Life is still very busy but I must admit to enjoying a few more holidays these days, getting away somewhere and I keep watching Leicester usually with my son who is a Chelsea fan.
“But that’s not surprising since he was brought up in London where I’ve lived for the past 30 years.
“We usually watch City games in the capital which suits us both as he goes to university in London; or at least that’s where he said he was going this morning!”