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First Class


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There are two artists of this name on, a British pop band and an American rock band:

1. First Class is a Chicago-based band, and the four-piece released their debut album, ‘Somewhere in the Grey’, in 2004.

2. The First Class was the studio creation of the British John Carter and singers Tony Burrows and Chas Mills as an outlet for material Carter wrote with his creative partner and wife, Gillian “Jill” Shakespeare. Carter was a veteran of early beat music, most notably Carter-Lewis and the Southerners, a band Carter formed with fellow producer Ken Lewis. That band dissolved when Carter and Lewis began working extensively as studio singers, appearing on the hits “It’s Not Unusual” (Tom Jones), “I Can’t Explain” (The Who), “Hi Ho Silver Lining” (Jeff Beck), “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me” (Sandie Shaw), “Excerpt From A Teenage Opera” (Keith West) and “Out of Time” (Chris Farlowe). Lewis and Carter formed a vocal harmony band, The Ivy League, that enjoyed three top twenty hits in Britain in 1965: “Tossing and Turning”, “That’s Why I’m Crying”, and “Funny How Love Can Be”.

Carter left The Ivy League in 1966 to focus on his increasingly lucrative career as a songwriter, jingle writer and session singer. Fellow studio singer Tony Burrows (from The Kestrels) was brought in to replace Carter. Carter and Burrows soon worked together in a studio-only group called The Flower Pot Men, who scored a 1967 British hit “Let’s Go To San Francisco”.


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