Neil Christian, (4 February 1943* – 4 January 2010) was an English pop singer who greatly contributed to the formative days of British rock. He fronted his backing group the Crusaders from 1960 to 1967, before starting a solo career in Germany. He had a solo hit single in 1966, with "That's Nice." He remains, however, a one-hit wonder. Follow-up singles "Oops" and "Two at a Time" never reached the charts..Neil Christian (born Christopher Tidmarsh on 4 February 1940) grew up in Shoreditch, East London. He was infatuated by Rock & Roll, but with no desire to perform.By 1960 he was working as the driver for Red E Lewis & The Redcaps when he heard about a talented new guitarist and travelled to a hall Epsom to see him. It was the 15-year-old Jimmy Page, still at school, and – thanks to Mr Tidmarsh – about to join his first professional band.When Red E Lewis failed to turn up to a gig one night, Page suggested Neil front the band.
After a name change to Neil Christian & The Crusaders they recorded their first single – November 1962’s Joe Meek-produced The Road To Love. Neils group was a breeding ground for many great young musicians and included, at various times, among others guitarists Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Paul Brett (Arthur Brown), Albert Lee (Chris Farlowe), Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple) and Mick Abrahams (Jethro Tull); bass players, Alex Dmchowski, Tony Dangerfield and Rick Brown; pianist Nicky Hopkins (Jeff Beck Group), and drummer Carlo Little (Rollingstones).
When most of the line-up left to join Lord Sutch's Savages in 1965, Christian took on members of Luton Band The Hustlers, including Mick Abrahams, although in 1966 a touring version of The Crusaders was put together to promote the hit single "That's Nice" which consisted of Tony Marsh piano (b. Anthony Marsh, 1946); Tornado Evans drums; Ritchie Blackmore guitar; and Bibi Blange bass. Further singles failed to reach the charts, however, and Christian moved to Germany, where he remained popular.
He had recorded Merseybeat-ish numbers, British R&B, and bloated MOR pop, but none of his 8 singles made a mark at home, except of "That's Nice" that reached #16 in 1966.
Christian released his final British 45 “You're All Things Bright And Beautiful” for Pye in 1967. He moved to Vogue for whom he recorded “My Baby's Left Me / Yakity Yak” with Richie Blackmore on guitar, Nicky Hopkins on piano, Rick Brown on bass and Carlo Little on drums, although it was not released until the following year.
In summer 1967, he began a solo career though he still released records as “Neil Christian & The Crusaders.” He released some additional tracks in Germany, in the late '60s where he did better.
In 1971, Neil took over management of the band Crushed Butler when they changed their name to Tiger. Neil brought them into the recording studios in Wembley and Tooting, London where he produced them. However, the band was unable to secure a record deal and split in late 1971. A final single was recorded by Neil for a release on the Satril label with "She's Got the Power" b/w "Someone's Following Me Around" seeing a release in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. Neil Christian passed away January 4 2010 following a long battle with cancer.
Everything Christian released between 1962 and 1968 has been reissued on the CD compilation, That's Nice, which also added several unreleased recordings from the same era.
(Info edited from various sources inc.Wikipedia & 45cat)
(* other sources give 14 Feb as birth date also some give 1940 as year)