The Cheynes

Biography by

The Cheynes were a hot British beat band with a hard, blues-influenced sound. Formed by Pete Bardens (who also managed the group) in London during 1963, they were one of thousands of aspiring British…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

The Cheynes were a hot British beat band with a hard, blues-influenced sound. Formed by Pete Bardens (who also managed the group) in London during 1963, they were one of thousands of aspiring British beat bands working during the early '60s. The Cheynes had an excellent reputation as a live act and made some good records, but the group usually gets mentioned in histories 30 years on for the presence of Mick Fleetwood in their lineup. The group had already been playing for most of a year when Bardens asked Fleetwood to join them. They recorded three singles, "Respectable" b/w "It's Gonna Happen to You." "Going to the River" b/w "Cheyne-Re-La," and "Down and Out" b/w "Stop Running Around" for EMI's Columbia label, in 1963, 1964, and 1965, respectively. "Down and Out" b/w "Stop Running Around" was produced by Glyn Johns and Bill Wyman, and Wyman had co-authored (as well as played bass on) "Stop Running Around" with Brian Cade. None of those singles charted, however.

It was during the course of playing the clubs with the Cheynes that Fleetwood first met bassist John McVie. In 1964, the Cheynes were recruited by producer-director Kenneth Hume, who was mostly known as the manager and sometime husband of Shirley Bassey, to play a series of Beatles songs in the short ballet movie Mods and Rockers, choreographed by Peter Darrell. Their performances were good enough, if not exactly constituting the kind of repertory the band would've chosen, but the movie became notorious in pop music circles for its homo-erotic subtext, and as the subject of legal action when it was incorporated into a full-length amalgam-feature, Go-Go, Big Beat, in a publicity campaign in which the Beatles' name loomed larger than that of the Cheynes. The portion of the movie on which the Cheynes worked has been removed from the Rhino Video edition of Go-Go, Big Beat.

The Cheynes fell apart in 1965, but they became the first of several bands that were "farm teams" for Fleetwood Mac. Bardens himself went on to a notable if less illustrious career, first taking up an offer to join Van Morrison's group Them, which was going through some major lineup shifts. He passed through their ranks briefly, long enough to rate a mention on the album Them (the one with "Here Comes the Night" and "Gloria"), but by 1966 had formed a new group of his own, Peter B's Looners, which included Mick Fleetwood on drums, and Peter Green (as well as ex-Cheyne Phil Sawyer, who also passed through the Fleur de Lys and the post-Steve Winwood Spencer Davis Group) on guitar, and evolved -- with the addition of Rod Stewart and Beryl Marsden on vocals -- into Shotgun Express. He later led the band Village, and became the founder of Camel in the '70s. Roger Peacock was later Mark Leehman's successor in The Mark Leehman Five. And Mick Fleetwood went on to groups that sold more records in a year than all of the above-named acts did across their entire respective existences.