Chas Hodges, one half of the famous London musical duo Chas & Dave, has died aged 74.
The musician, famous for songs such as Ain’t No Pleasing You and Rabbit, passed away after being treated for cancer.
A statement on the pair’s website read:
It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the passing of our very own Chas Hodges.
Despite receiving successful treatment for oesophageal cancer recently, Chas suffered organ failure and passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of Saturday September 22nd.
We would like to thank our fans for their fantastic support and goodwill at this difficult time.
It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the passing of our very own Chas Hodges. Despite receiving successful treatment for oesophageal cancer recently, Chas suffered organ failure and passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of this morning. pic.twitter.com/bwxqfHUjUg
— Chas And Dave (@chas_dave) September 22, 2018
Chas & Dave rose to fame in the 1970s, becoming known for their unique musical style of ‘rockney’ – a mixture of rock and cockney, incorporating pub singalongs, music hall comedy, boogie-woogie and rock and roll.
Their 1979 breakthrough hit, Gertcha, peaked at number 20 in the UK Singles Chart. The band had nine charting albums and, most recently, released their first studio album in 18 years, called That’s What Happens, in 2013.
In August this year, they were invited by The Libertines to share the main stage with them at the Wheel & Fins festival in Broadstairs, Kent.
However, due to Chas’ illness and doctors’ orders, the band were forced to cancel all upcoming live appearances.
A statement from Chas at the time said:
In my life as a musician/entertainer I would say the most depressing thing to have to do is to have to cancel a gig or gigs. Fortunately, throughout my career of thousands of gigs with Dave or in other bands these times have been very few & far between, and only extreme illness in the past (and I mean extreme) illness has prompted me/us to have to make this decision.
So it is because of extreme illness on my part that the forthcoming gigs are going to have to be cancelled.
Briefly, recent check-ups have seen no sign of cancer but the treatment has left me well below par and it will be a slow but sure process getting me back to full strength.
Chas Hodges was born in north London in 1943, and began his music career in the 1960s. The idea for the band came to him while on tour in America as a session musician.
Speaking to the Lancashire Evening Post in 2008, Chas said:
I was singing in an American accent. I thought, ‘You’re being a fraud, you should sing in your own accent’, and that’s when I started to work on the idea.
He formed the band Chas & Dave with Dave Peacock in the 1970s and they released their debut album, One Fing ‘n’ Anuvver, in 1975.
— Chas And Dave (@chas_dave) July 9, 2018
In 1979, Chas & Dave opened for Led Zeppelin at Knebworth Festival and appeared numerous times at Glastonbury. Chas said one of his proudest moments was performing at the iconic festival in 2005.
In 1983, the band hosted their own variety show ITV called Chas & Dave’s Knees Up, which featured guests such as Lulu, Lonnie Donegan, Jimmy Cricket and Eric Clapton.
In July this year, the band supported Eric Clapton at his sold-out show in Hyde Park.
Our thoughts are with Chas’ family and friends at this time.
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.