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All Music Guide:
Frank Chacksfield (b. May 9, 1914, Battle, Sussex, England; d. June 9, 1995) is a pianist and organist who had a series of hit singles in the '50s, most notably with "Ebb Tide."
Chacksfield learned how to play piano as a child. While he was a boy, he was the deputy organist for the local church. Though his parents discouraged him to pursue music as a career, he persevered. In the late '30s, when he was in his mid-20s, he was leading small musical bands in Britain. In 1940, he enlisted in the British army. During the war, he had his first radio broadcast, "Original Songs At the Piano," which orignated from Glasgow. Shortly after its broadcast, Chacksfield landed a job as the arranger for Stars In Battledress, a World War II entertainment troupe.
After the war, Chacksfield supported Charlie Chester's comedy group, Stand Easy. The connection with Chester led to Chacksfield's first recording, as the accompanist for Frederick Ferrari, one of Chester's lead singers. During this time, he was formed his own group, the Tunesmiths, and conducted orchestras for Henry Hall and Geraldo.
Frank Chacksfield signed with Decca and made his recorded solo debut in the early '50s. Soon, he scored a novelty hit single with "Little Red Monkey," which climbed to number three on the British charts in the spring of 1953. That summer, he had a Top 10 hit on both sides of the Atlantic with the "Theme from Limelight," which featured a lush, sweeping orchestra. The next year, Chacksfield followed with "Ebb Tide," which replicated the arrangement for "Limelight" and was equally successful. It was his first US hit single, peaking at number two.
For the rest of the '50s, Chacksfield released a series of popular instrumental singles, as well as accompanying albums. In the '60s, he had a weekly program on British radio; as he got older, he made the occasional appearance on UK radio shows.
Frank Chacksfield continued to record into the '90s; his last album was Thanks for the Memories (Academy Award Winners 1934-55), which was 1991.
Frank Chacksfield (9 May 1914 – 9 June 1995) was an English pianist, organist, composer and conductor of popular light orchestral easy listening music, who had great success in Britain and internationally in the 1950s and early 1960s.
Life and career 
Francis Charles Chacksfield was born in Battle, East Sussex, and as a child learned to play piano and organ. He appeared at Hastings Music Festivals by the time he was 14, and then became deputy church organist at Salehurst. After working for a short period in a solicitor's office he decided on a career in music, and by the late 1930s led a small band at Tonbridge in Kent. At the beginning of World War II he joined the Royal Corps of Signals, and, following a radio broadcast as a pianist, was posted to ENSA at Salisbury where he became the arranger for Stars In Battledress, an armed forces entertainment troupe, and shared an office with comedian Charlie Chester.
After the war, he worked with Chester and on BBC Radio as an arranger and conductor. He also worked as musical director for both Henry Hall and Geraldo, and began recording under his own name in 1951 as "Frank Chacksfield's Tunesmiths". In early 1953 he had his first top ten hit, "Little Red Monkey", on the Parlophone label. This was a novelty recording featuring Jack Jordan on the clavioline, and reportedly the first record featuring an electronic instrument to feature on the UK pop chart. He signed a recording contract with Decca Records in 1953, and formed a 40-piece orchestra with a large string section, the "Singing Strings". His first record release for Decca, Charlie Chaplin's theme for his film Limelight, won him a gold disc in the US, and in the UK, where it reached #2 in the UK Singles Chart, and won him the NME award as 'Record of the Year'. It spent eight weeks at #2 (an all-time UK chart record), and in all thirteen weeks in the top five chart positions, without dislodging Frankie Laine's, "I Believe". His next 78 single, "Ebb Tide", became the first British instrumental recording to reach #1 in some American charts, providing a second gold disc, and he was voted the most promising new orchestra of the year in the US.
He became one of Britain's most well known orchestra leaders internationally, and is estimated to have sold more than 20 million albums worldwide. His material was "mood music", similar to that of Mantovani, including ballads, waltzes, and film themes. In 1954 he began presenting a series on BBC TV, which continued occasionally until the early 1960s. Chacksfield was responsible for the musical arrangement of the first UK entry into the Eurovision Song Contest 1957; "All" by Patricia Bredin. He continued to write music, release singles and albums through the 1950s and 1960s, and appeared regularly on BBC radio.
He continued to record occasionally until the 1990s, from the 1970s primarily on the Phase 4 label. He also developed business interests in publishing and recorded for Starborne Productions, a company supplying "canned music" for use by easy listening radio stations and others. Many of these recordings were made commercially available in 2007. His last album was Thanks for the Memories (Academy Award Winners 1934-55), released in 1991. Chacksfield died in Kent in 1995, after having suffered for several years from Parkinson's Disease.
The main theme from his Latin-American style track "Cuban Boy" was used as the theme music for some broadcast versions of the BBC Scotland sitcom Still Game.
His song, "Après Ski", was featured in the 2006 video game, Saint's Row, for the Xbox 360.
Discography (selected) 
Albums Ebb Tide, London LL 1408Velvet, London LL 1443Evening in Paris, Decca LK 4081Evening in Rome, Decca LK 4095If I Had a Talking Picture of You, Decca LK 4135South Sea Island Magic, Decca LK 4174Opera's Golden Moments, London Phase 4 21092The New Ebb Tide, London Phase 4 44053Globe-Trotting, London Phase 4 SP 44059The New Limelight, London Phase 4 SP 44066Hawaii, London Phase 4 SP 44087Foreign Film Festival, London Phase 4 SP 44112New York, London Phase 4 SP 44141Beatles Songbook, London Phase 4 44142Simon & Garfunkel & Jimmy Webb, London Phase 4 44151Plays Bacharach, London Phase 4 44158Plays Ebb Tide And Other Million Sellers, London Phase 4 44168Chacksfield Plays Rodgers & Hart, London Phase 4 SP 44223The Glory That Was Gershwin, London Phase 4 44254TV's Golden Hits, Compleat Records 671020-1
Singles "Little Red Monkey", Parlophone R3658, 1953, UK # 10"Terry's Theme from 'Limelight'", Decca F10106, 1953, UK # 2"Ebb Tide", Decca F10122, 1954, UK # 9, US # 2 (# 1 in some charts)"In Old Lisbon", Decca F19689, 1956, UK # 15"Port Au Prince" (with Winifred Atwell), Decca F10727, 1956, UK # 18"Donkey Cart", Decca F10743, 1956, UK # 26"On The Beach", (US) London 1901, 1960, US # 47
Recently, Vocalion has been releasing some of the Phase4Stereo (Decca) albums in CD.