Chas Hodges, one half of the 1970s British rock duo Chas and Dave, has died at 74.
“It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the passing of our very own Chas Hodges,” read a statement announcing Hodges’ passing on the pair’s official Twitter feed on Monday morning (Sept. 24). “Despite receiving successful treatment for oesophageal cancer recently, Chas suffered organ failure and passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of this morning.”
Hodges, born on Dec. 28, 1943, grew to fame in the mid-1970s with partner Dave Peacock thanks to the pair’s often ribald, pub-friendly songs, including 1979’s “Gertcha,” as well as “Ain’t No Pleasing You,” “What a Miserable Saturday Night,” “London Girls” and a number of songs in support of their preferred football team, Tottenham Hotspur, “Ossie’s Dream (Spurs Are on Their Way to Wembley)” and “Tottenham, Tottenham.” Their signature style, referred to commonly as “rockney” for their cockney roots, was also the name of their record label.
“In the tradition of The Kinks and the Small Faces and around the same time as Ian Dury and Squeeze, Chas & Dave wrote and recorded exceptionally witty songs about life in London, performed with a strong affection for all things English reminiscent of many of the great Music Hall artists many years previously,” reads the duo’s official bio. “In their case, however, the musical accompaniment to their sharply observant material was neither rock nor punk but solid, no-nonsense Rock’N’Roll style which had been their background and inspiration.”
Though their fame and blue collar one-of-a-kind mixture of early rock, pub singalongs and boogie woogie piano never quite translated to the United States, they remained popular in the U.K. and in Europe for decades, recording theme songs for popular BBC sitcoms, starring in their own 1983 variety series, Chas and Dave’s Knees Up and playing the Glastonbury Festival in 2005. They released more than a dozen albums, including this year’s final effort, their first in five years, A Little Bit of Us.
Before teaming with Peacock, Hodges worked alongside producer Joe Meek, grinding it out as a session musician for early rockers Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis and Bill Haley, among many others. He’s perhaps best known to modern audiences for the sample of Hodges’ guitar from “I Got The” on Eminem’s “My Name Is.”
The pair were forced to cancel their planned tour dates in August on doctor’s advice that Hodges was too ill to continue. “In my life as a musician/entertainer I would say the most depressing thing to have to do is to have to cancel a gig or gigs,” Hodges wrote on Aug. 17. “Fortunately, throughout my career of thousands of gigs with Dave or in other bands these times have been very few & far between, and only extreme illness in the past (and I mean extreme) illness has prompted me/us to have to make this decision. So it is because of extreme illness on my part that the forthcoming gigs are going to have to be cancelled.”
At the time, he said a recent check-up had shown “no sign of cancer,” revealing that the treatment had left him “well below par,” with the expectation of a slow, steady process to return to full strength. Just months earlier they had debuted the new song “Wonder Where He Is Now?” on the long-running Later… With Jools Holland show on BBC Two.
A number of prominent British musicians have since taken to Twitter to pay tribute to Hodges. Check out some of their messages below.
It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the passing of our very own Chas Hodges. Despite receiving successful treatment for oesophageal cancer recently, Chas suffered organ failure and passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of this morning. pic.twitter.com/bwxqfHUjUg
— Chas And Dave (@chas_dave) September 22, 2018
Chas Hodges, Premier Division Musician and Human being, I am also sadly proud to be among the Heart Broken. All my love to his family and all who loved him. Gertcher! xxx N
— Neil Innes #FBPE (@NeilInnes) September 23, 2018
Oh no Chas Hodges. What a musician, one of my favourite voices. RIP dude.
— Luke Haines (@LukeHaines_News) September 22, 2018
— Dave Davies (@davedavieskinks) September 22, 2018
Everyone at the Club is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of one of our own, Chas Hodges. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/AMB7pWHUa4
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 22, 2018