Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde – the British folk-pop duo best known as Chad & Jeremy – are done with life on the road. Five decades after they invaded our shores as part of the British Invasion, their final tour stop - and possibly their final show ever - will take place on Sunday, Oct. 30, at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 901 N. J St.
“It’s the travel, basically. It’s a killer,” Clyde explained. “There have been times on this tour where we’ve been up at 4 in the morning to get to a flight and still find ourselves working at 12 o’clock at night because we’re still packing up stuff and we’ve signed a lot of stuff. Then it’s gonna happen again tomorrow. We’re not spring chickens any more. So it’s that, mainly.”
Perhaps a more pressing factor is Clyde’s day job. At home in London, he is equally known for his work in West End theatre – the English equivalent to Broadway – as he is for Chad & Jeremy’s hits from the 1960s. He will begin work on a major production next year.
“I’m known as Jeremy Clyde, the actor, over there; and over here I’m known as ‘and Jeremy,’” Clyde joked. “I’m not gonna be available for the next year and a half; and who knows what state we’ll be in by then? So this probably is the last hurrah. We’re treating it as such.”
Clyde and Stuart met while attending London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, and by 1962 they had formed a band called The Jerks. They scored a big hit with their first single, “Yesterday’s Gone,” which was produced by composer John Barry, who is perhaps best known for his work scoring James Bond films. However, it was to be their only big score at home.
“We were becoming one-hit wonders,” Clyde recalled. “Then we got a call from our publisher who said, ‘You’re not gonna believe this guys. You’re going up the charts in America. The problem is you’re going up the country charts.’ Then they found out that we were English and we had hair, and that was the end of that. So that’s how we crossed over and became fully paid up members of the British Invasion - through a fluke, really.”
Not that they necessarily fit in with their peers. The duo had started out covering the likes of Peter, Paul & Mary, and they were square pegs next to the heavier power-pop and garage-rock bands that had gained traction in England in the mid-1960s.
“You’ve gotta remember, the British Invasion was about a lot of beat groups, and we aren’t a beat group,” he said. “We were always slightly out of place.” Still, they scored a string of hits in the States, including “Before and After,” their remake of Ann Ronell’s “Willow Weep for Me” and their biggest, “A Summer Song.”
“We were very lucky,” Clyde said. “We were at the right place at the right time. We were the right age. We were in London. Obviously, we knew most of the people who later turned out to be British Invasion people, as you would call them. We worked with them on all the TV shows – the Hollies and all of them. We were on the scene, so to speak, at exactly the right time.
“But at the time all of us – everybody – though that you’d get two years. That’s it, and then back to real life. To be able to look at an audience swaying and singing along to these songs, mouthing the words back at you 50 years later is completely extraordinary. If you told us back then that this would be the case, we wouldn’t believe you.”
It is no accident Clyde and Stuart are winding down their final tour at Immanuel Presbyterian, where Rev. Dave Brown – founder and booker of the church’s Blues Vespers series – has booked them before. The duo wanted to assist Brown’s efforts to raise money for Habitat for Humanity.
“He’s been a great supporter, Dave, and he’s a lovely man,” Clyde said. “So that’s why we’ve chosen that, and it’s going to be quite a party. I’ve got people flying in. My son’s coming to film it. I’ve got friends coming in from England. It’s going to be an extremely special evening, not like others - a quite emotional one, I suspect.”
Sunday’s performance will start at 7 p.m. There will be no cover charge although donations will be collected to benefit Immanuel Presbyterian’s mission trip to build homes in Guatemala for Habitat for Humanity in 2018.