Thursday, 4 December 2014

The History Of Emile Ford

Emile Ford

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Emile Ford
Birth nameMichael Emile Telford Miller
Also known asEmile Sweetnam
Born16 October 1937 (age 77)
CastriesSaint LuciaWest Indies
GenresRock and roll, pop
Occupation(s)Singer, guitarist, sound engineer
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, keyboards, drums
Years active1957–late 1960s
Associated actsThe Checkmates
Emile Ford (born 16 October 1937) is a musician and singer, who was popular in the United Kingdom in the late 1950s and early 1960s as the leader of Emile Ford & the Checkmates.



Life and career[edit]

Emile Ford was born in CastriesSaint Lucia, in the West Indies. According to his own web page,[1] he was born Michael Emile Telford Miller, the son of a Barbadian politician, Frederick Edward Miller, and Madge Murray, a singer and musical theatre director whose father had founded and conducted the St. Lucia Philharmonic Band. His mother married again, taking the name of Sweetnam;[2] some sources erroneously give Emile Ford's birth name as Sweetnam or Sweetman.
He moved to London with his mother and family in the mid-1950s, partly motivated by his desire to explore improved sound reproduction technology,[3] and was educated at the Paddington Technical College in London.[4] It was during this time that he taught himself to play a number of musical instruments. These included the guitar, piano, violin, bass guitar and drums.
Ford first entered show business at the age of 20, and made his first public performance at the Buttery, Kensington. His first appearance with a backing group was at the Athenaeum Ballroom in Muswell Hill. His TV appearances in 1958 included outings onThe Music Shop, the Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson ShowOh, Boy!, and Six-Five Special.
He teamed up in January 1959 with his half-brother, bassist George Sweetnam-Ford (born 1 January 1941), electric guitarist Ken Street (born 1943) and drummer John Cuffley as Emile Ford and the Checkmates. The band appeared on the TV programme Sunday Serenade, which ran for six weeks. They won the Soho Fair talent contest in July 1959, but turned down a recording contract with EMI because the company would not allow Ford to produce their records, and instead agreed a deal with Pye Records.[5]
Their first self-produced recording, "What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?", a song originally recorded by Ada Jones and Billy Murray in 1917, went to number onein the UK Singles Chart at the end of 1959 and stayed there for six weeks.[6] Ford was the first black British artist to sell one million copies of a single.[7]
In January 1960, Ford signed a two-year employment management contract with Leslie Grade. He had several more hits in the UK, and also scored a number one EP in 1960. The readers of the British music magazine New Musical Express voted Emile Ford and the Checkmates as the "Best New Act" in 1960.[8] Ford's debut album was made up ofcovers. He made several albums, but his last studio recordings were in 1963.[3] His half-brothers George and Dave Sweetnam-Ford were later members of the Ferris Wheel.[2]
According to his own site, Emile Ford was responsible for creating a backing track system for stage shows, first used in 1960, which later became known as karaoke.[1] In 1969, he set up a recording studio in Barbados with the help of his father, before moving to live in Sweden.[6] While there, he further developed a new open-air playback system for stage shows.[1]
Counting Teardrops, an anthology including all of Ford's work with Pye Records, was released in 2001.[3]


UK singles chart credits[edit]

(α – Credited to Emile Ford. All other recordings credit Emile Ford and the Checkmates).[9]


  • New Tracks (Pye)
  • Emile (Pye)
  • Emile Ford (Hallmark Records)
  • What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?
  • On a Slow Boat to China
  • My Kind of Country

Compilation album[edit]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to comment or plug your own site. Will allow anything as long as it won't get me into trouble.

Blog Index