British novelty duo Chas & Dave (singer/guitarist Charles "Chas" Hodges and singer/bassist Dave Peacock) issued their debut recording, One Fing 'n' Anuvver, in 1976. The pair formed their own record label, Rockney, before embarking on a tour supporting the British doo wop revival act the Darts, with drummer Mick Burt in tow. With the duo's first EMI album, Rockney (1978), and its single " Strummin'," Chas & Dave started to build a following, but their real breakthrough came in the wake of a performance at a pub where they were seen by advertising man John Webster, who thought their sound and image, and a particular song they were doing called "Gertcha," were all perfect for a campaign he was working on for Courage Best beer.
The song, slowed down and with new lyrics, became part of an excruciatingly funny commercial that boosted sales of Courage Best and earned the duo a wide national following for the first time — and "Gertcha" became a national phenomenon. Other Courage Best commercials, even more amusing than the first and built around the Chas & Dave singles "Margate" and "Rabbit," among others, followed over the next 18 months. In the process, the duo and their records were embraced by the nation's beer drinkers and television viewers — "Rabbit" would climb to number eight in the winter of 1980, the football anthem "Ossie's Dream" hit number five in the spring of 1981, and "Ain't No Pleasing You" barely missed hitting the top of the charts, peaking at number two in the spring of 1982.
Ensuing singles failed to match the success of their predecessors, until 1986's "Snooker Loopy" hit number six on the charts. But the single would prove to be their last hit and the duo began to focus on other interests, including running a pub along with sporadic TV appearances and live shows. Chas & Dave returned in the early 21st century with such old-time rock & roll releases as 2000's You're Never Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll, 2001's Rock 'n' Roll Party, and 2002's The World of Chas & Dave, Vol. 2. Over the years, the duo remained active with their live shows and releases of various compilations. Some catered to their core discography, such as 2015's Essential Chas & Dave, while others featured deeper cuts, including 2018's The Other Side of Chas & Dave. Hot on the heels of that rarities collection, the pair released A Little Bit of Us, their first album in 30 years to consist entirely of new material; it featured a mixture of originals and "rocked-up" versions of early 20th century vocal pop standards. Charles "Chas" Hodges died in September 2018 at the age of 74. ~ Greg Prato & Bruce Eder