CHRISTIAN


CHRISTIAN, the artist formerly known as Chris McClure, is one of Scotland's great showbiz survivor stories.
For 36 years, the Ibrox-born singer has entertained audiences from village halls to the Royal Albert Hall.
Now, the life and times of the singing star is to be celebrated in a new show at the Pavilion Theatre, running from April 26th-28th 2002.
Below, Chris talks to Brian Beacom in an article taken from the Glasgow Evening Times of Saturday 13th April 2002.
He discusses the ambitions that were realised and the dreams that were fulfilled.
He also talks about the father he never knew.

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"I enjoyed my time at school in Bellahouston, but my real love was football. I played for the BOYS BRIGADE and the school team on a Saturday.
Former Scotland boss Andy Roxburgh was in the team and I remember he didn't like to header the ball!
Staying across the road from Ibrox was really handy because I'd go to see them play everybody.
Later on though, I became a director at Motherwell and it was nice to get away from the labelling you can suffer from some of the eejits in Glasgow.

This is my mum Leanorra, who actually used to be a dancer - one of the Morganettes - at the Pavilion, and it's only now I realise what a pivotal role that theatre was to play in my life.
She taught me to dance when I was a kid. I think she was about eighteen when she had me.
I never knew my father, an American entertainer called Chris Gill, who would come over here and play the lead in shows like
Bye Bye Birdy.
I'm not entirely sure of the story, but I think my granny wasn't too keen on my mum marrying him.
I did meet him once though, when I was wee.
All I can remember is this black face with big eyes looking down at me.
I'm curious to know more about him now, but back then it wasn't so important.
My mum married a Norwegian seaman and he was brilliant. He was my father. I had a real family.

There's a point in the new show where I say to the audience,""One of the first places I played in Glasgow was a pub in Govan. You'll never guess what it was called locally - The Black Man!"" - and the audience laugh at that.
This is me in the Black Man
(No;3). I had joined local group The Fireflies at the time. I was 19 and I had been working as a clerk at the William Brock flour mill in York Street, sometimes helping load the vans when work in the office was quiet.
One day I saw a wee ad in the local paper for a band looking for a singer. I had sung since my days in the BB's and I loved music.
For the first gig I think we got about 2-a-night. Anyway, it went really well and we did some Drifters and Buddy Holly songs and I introduced harmonies into the band. I even did some impersonations at the time, people like Johnny Mathis and Kirk Douglas.
In 1971 I heard STV producer David Bell was looking for a singer for a new show called STRAMASH.
We figured we needed a new name so the band became the Chris McClure Section, and it looked good on the drum!
(No;4)
The boys weren't annoyed at my name now fronting the band because we were all such good friends and there was no animosity at all.
We were a unit - we split the money five ways, and the bands success grew. In those days every wee village had a hall and we'd fill the lot of them. In fact, we started a trend in the north-east playing American music with all the local bands copying us.
This is really were I learned the business.
I learned it was my job to make the punters enjoy themselves. It's their night.
Around this time I did OPPOTUNITY KNOCKS, after auditions at the Locarno.
I remember Hughie Green was quite brutal with some of the other acts.
I eventually came second in the show.
If only Hughie had let me sing an up tempo song....

I was with the same management company as Billy Connolly and the boss, Frank Lynch, told me to change my name, suggesting Chris McClure wasn't showbiz enough.
So I picked CHRISTIAN.
Old friends still call me Chris but I think the change worked.
In 1978 I supported Billy Connolly on his British tour.
At this time I actually lived next door to him in Hyndland and we'd blether quite a lot. I would then meet him at gigs he did with the Humblbums.
Sometimes we'd be gigging in the same place like Aberdeen or whatever and we'd give him a lift back in our van. We got on fine. Later we did the London Palladium together and it was one of my greatest moments.

STV did a one-off special around me and then we did eight weeks in my own series. And I loved it! We did pop songs with orchestras and sketches like this Dracula one, (pictured right No;6). The show was a great profiler for me.

The picture on the left No;7 is with some of the dancers from the Pavilion, including on the right, Rainey, the lady who was to become my second wife. Where else would I meet her?
Around this time I had two songs up for selection in the 1978 Eurovision Song Contest final 10,
SHINE IT ON and a ballad HOME.
Up until the last three votes, I was leading and then the English votes came in and blew me away.
As well as that hurdle, there were quite a few coloured acts in the line-up, about seven I think, and maybe I'm wrong here but I could have been one too many.
Anyway, I think Cheryl Baker went on to represent Britain with her band, pre-Bucks fizz of course.
As far as racism was concerned, I don't think I experienced too much of it. When I was a kid growing up in Ibrox you might get a gang coming over from Govan or whatever and shouting
"away you go, ya wee darkie!"
But my pals were all very protective of me and everyone was on my side.
Later on, when I was in the band, I would get a little bit of racist taunting from the jealous boyfriends who had watched their girlfriends stare at us all night from the side of the stage. But overall, it hasn't been a problem in my lfe.

The glam scene had gone and the 80's brought along punk. The work changed so I moved into the clubs to see what they had to offer. Then my uncle Bruce, the famous choreographer, talked me into appearing in panto. I loved it.
During the run of my first panto, Sinbad, I got a chance to appear with the Osmonds at the Albert Hall.
Amazingly, they got an understudy to cover for me while I did the London gig.
Incidentally, the Osmonds were very quiet, very professional, but I chatted to their parents quite a bit and they were really nice.
I've now done 21 pantos in total.
The last was Aladdin, playing the genie at the Pavilion. Its fitting because the very first panto I ever saw featured my uncle Bruce as the genie in Aladdin.
Frank Lynch suggested I entertain the fans at a Celtic-Rangers Skol Cup Final at Hampden in 1986.
I was quite fit and energetic, and a former school champion but I had to race against the Powderhall Champion Roy Herron.
On the day, I was given a 13-yard start but I was so terrified I never even heard the crowd.
Incredibly, I won the race by inches and I was astounded.

Marriage to my first wife, Mary, produced three daughters and I have two kids, a boy and a girl with Rainey.
My daughter Storm is now 14 and is appearing as a singer in the new show and she's determined to become a star.
It should be great fun. I love the place.
In fact, like Tommy Morgan, my ashes will probably be scattered in the place. But hopefully not for a long time!

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on May 13th 2007, Dexter St.Clair from harvey9_andrews@hotmail.com writes;

h@hoharveChris McClure released the folowing singles in the sixties.
As far as i know none have been put onto an official CD.
The singles themselves are quite collectable
1966 When I See My Baby - Polydor 56131 (reached #30, 11th December 1966)
1967 Bless my Soul (I've Been and Gone and Done It) Polydor 56162 (in the Fab 40 from April 16th to 30th 1967 reached #30)
1967 Times Were When Polydor 56189 (released July '67, peaked at #32, 23rd July 1967,
1967 Strawberry Window Polydor 56219 (released later in 1967)

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Lorna from Ontario, Canada, replied

Welcome Dexter,
If my mind serves me right the very first recording Chris made was "White Swan" it didn't go too far, that would have been in the 1964 - '65 era not quite sure
I know we were all going around together at the time so it was in and around that time.
It's funny how Chris's name comes up on here every now and again.
I am still in touch with some of the guys from the band who are all in there mid to late 60's now I was the baby of the crowd.
My girlfriend married one of the band but sadly he passed away last year suddenly.
They were a great group when they started they played in the Brechin Bar in Govan and also the Dennistoun Palais, I could tell you lots of stories about these days, but better not.
Come back and visit us.
Cheers Lorna.

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on July 04th 2008, Pamela from pam4411@yahoo.com.au writes;

Don't know if Chris reads this but if you do - Hello from Pamela (Edinburgh),hope you are well. We had some good times back in the day!! Do you remember?
If he doesn't read this any one who knows him.... say hi to him from me. (I live in Australia now).

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Point of interest;
At one point I had to change the listing from Christian to Chris McClure to grant a request from someone to enable them to read this article in a Middle-Eastern Muslim country where it was forbidden under the original listing.
Chick

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TAKE ME BACK TO GOVAN FOLK PLEASE.

Take me back