Chicory Tip formed at school in Maidstone, Kent, in 1969. They were originally called The Sonics but bass guitarist Barry Mayger saw a bottle of Camp Coffee and suggested the new name.
Excuse Me Baby gave them a Top Of The Pops slot but not a hit. Proposed follow-up single I Love Onions was withdrawn when an opportunity arose to record a version of the Georgio Moroder and Pete Belotte song, Son Of My Father.
A German version by Michael Holm (Nachts Scheint die Sonne) had been a huge hit there. The Chicory Tip version of the song was the first UK #1 single to feature a synthesizer – in this case, a Moog, played by engineer and future star producer Chris Thomas.
The band were unable to follow up on the chart-topper and attempted a sci-fi underpants and greasepaint rethink from March 1973.
“That image was for a single called Good Grief Christina,” explained guitarist Rick Foster. “The management thought it would look striking for Top Of The Pops. I’d left by then – I could see where it was going.”
Indeed, rock mythology has it that the group were abandoned on London’s Westway en route to Top Of The Pops in these very outfits by a disgruntled minibus driver.
By March 1975, Brian Shearer and Barry Mayger had both departed, leaving Peter Hewson the sole surviving member of the act that had risen so high just three years before.
Chicory Tip’s final single (Survivor) – the first release on a new, but short-lived label – was accompanied by a farewell Scandinavian tour and the band called it a day.