The Christians was formed in 1985 by three brothers Garry (Vocals), Roger (Vocals, multi-instrumentalist) and Russell Christian (keyboards, saxophone, vocals) hence the name The Christians.
They were joined by Henry Priestman (vocals, keyboards, guitars) and began to write songs together with Garry Christian becoming the front man with his distinctive looks and great, smooth soul voice.
The band were influenced by UK punk and New Wave and were one of a number of soul groups that emerged in the 1980’s.
The band soon recruited Mike Bulger (guitar, vocals), Paul Barlow (drums) and Tony Jones (bass) and began to gig in and around Liverpool. However Roger Christian left the band in 1987 due to his unwillingness to tour with the band.
Despite this setback the bands first three singles became top 40 hits in the UK singles chart with Forgotten Town released on the Island Records label charting at #22.
Two further singles Hooverville (and They Promised us the World) and When the Fingers Point charted at #18 and #34 respectively.
Greater success was to follow for the group with the release of their self-titled debut album which hit the #2 spot going on to sell more than a million records.
Another single Ideal World, became their highest charting single at the time when it peaked at #14 in the UK topping off a vintage 1987 for the band.
1988 brought another single release with April’s Born Again hitting a slightly disappointing #25 but a charity single released in October would fare better giving the band their first top ten single.
Harvest for the World
Harvest for the World, a cover of the Isley Brothers classic, was aided by a promotional video created by Aardman Animations and a number of other animation companies and reached #8 in the UK singles chart with the video winning a number of awards.
Another charity single was released in 1989 to aid the families of the ninety-six Liverpool FC fans who lost their lives in the Hillsborough football disaster.
Ferry across the Mersey, a cover of the Gerry and the Pacemakers song – which also featured Paul McCartney, went straight to the top of the UK singles chart and stayed in the #1 spot for several weeks, also becoming a hit in Germany peaking at #5.
The band scored another #1 success with the release of their second album Colours in 1990 with the album spawning three singles.
Words was released in December 1989 and became an international chart topper for the band with the record hitting the top twenty in Sweden, the top five in the Netherlands and shot to the #1 spot in France for two weeks.
The single charted at #18 in the UK but the next two singles from Colours represented an alarming drop in chart performance for the band.
I Found Out, released in April 1990, could only manage a peak of #56 while the final single from the album, Greenbank Drive fared even worse when it peaked at #63.
The band went back on the road in 1990 and 1991 but returned with a new Long Playing record when Happy in Hell was released in 1992.
Produced by the band and William Orbit (along with Mark Stent and Laurie Latham) the record performed a little disappointingly, especially considering the way Colours charted, only peaking at #18 in the UK album chart.
What’s in a Word
The stand-out single from the album, What’s in a Word hit the #33 spot in the UK but France proved to be something of a chart stronghold for the band peaking in the Top 20 and staying in the country’s charts for 19 weeks. 1993 brought a compilation of the bands best work with The Best of the Christians released by Island records with the album charting at #22 in the UK album chart.
This album was supported by a tour but it would be the last album to be released by the band with their original line-up.
In 1995 Garry Christian relocated to Paris in order to record his debut solo album, and although no official announcement was made, the band was effectively ended with this act.
In 1998 tragedy struck the band and the Christian family as founding member of the group Roger Christian sadly died from a brain tumor.
The Christians Reformed
1999 brought the band together again and they began to tour with a stripped down line-up and arrangements.
By 2003, the band had released their fourth studio album Prodigal Sons supported by another tour in the UK and on continental Europe.
However more line-up changes were forced on the band in 2005 as Russell Christian decided he wanted to leave the road and tour bus behind.
Thus a decision was taken to return the band to a full line up with the new band comprising of Garry Christian (lead vocals), Joey Ankrah (backing vocals, acoustic guitar), Lionel Duke (drums) Cliff Watson (bass guitar) and Stewart Boyle (lead guitar).
The new line-up made their first appearance in 2009 on another Christians tour during which the band also signed a licensing deal with French record label Archambault Records and as a result a new album was released.
Soul from Liverpool became the bands fifth studio album with a new single released called Whirlwind.
The band continue to tour and released a live album in 2010 they are also currently working with Island records on another greatest hits compilation to be supported by new compositions.