The Chantelles

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The Chantelles are best remembered for their version of "Waiting In The Park", often wrongly confused with Billy Stewart's "Sitting In The Park". The group's line-up comprised Sam Bramwell, Tommy Thomas…
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The Chantelles are best remembered for their version of "Waiting In The Park", often wrongly confused with Billy Stewart's "Sitting In The Park". The group's line-up comprised Sam Bramwell, Tommy Thomas and Lloyd Forrest. Bramwell and Forrest were accomplished performers having had previous experience within the reggae music industry while Thomas gained local notoriety for his vocal skills. Forrest had sung with the Royals who after the split with Roy Cousins became known as the Jayes, who have the notable distinction of releasing possibly the first ever 12-inch discomix, "Truly", alongside DJ Ranking Trevor. Lead vocalist Bramwell had gained experience in the recording studio having released several obscure solo recordings, although he later enjoyed success with "Back In These Arms" and "Rose Marie" recorded with producer Donovan Germain. The Chantelles formed in 1977 and released a series of Jamaican lovers rock songs including "Waiting In The Park", that featured Jah Berry on the discomix. The following year the group changed direction when they released the roots song "True Born African", "How Can I Get Over", "Natty Supper" and a combination discomix, "Children Of Jah", with DJ U. Brown. The group acknowledged that their widespread prominence was thanks to the efforts of the ghetto-based producer Roy Francis. The appropriate response from Francis was that he recorded his productions at Channel One where he attributed the musical prowess of the Revolutionaries as being responsible for their winning formula. The band featured Sly Dunbar's flying cymbal alongside the exceptional bass playing skills of Lloyd Parks, which complimented the crystal clear harmonies of the Chantelles. The group's successful allegiance with the Revolutionaries resulted in international acclaim and arrangements were made for an ill-fated UK tour. The Chantelles arrived at London's Heathrow airport but were unable to perform as one of the group was found to be possession of marijuana. The herbal unearthing resulted in no show as customs officers detained the trio at the airport before sending them home. The incident led to internal contentions and ultimately the group's demise. Prior to the dissolution of the band Roy Francis produced and released "Desperate Time", which demonstrated a certain irony in the lyrics when it detailed how the youth were forced to "turn to crime". After leaving the group Bramwell struggled to survive and in 1983 attempted to enrich his standing by ironically taking part in a bungled armed robbery, which led to him being subsequently shot dead by police. Francis has remained within the Jamaican music industry and is widely recognised as the owner of the Kingston-based Mixing Lab Studios.