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Biography

Frank Chacksfield, born Francis Charles Chacksfield (May 9, 1914 - June 9, 1995) was a popular conductor in the "easy listening" style.

He was born in Battle, East Sussex, England and is remembered by many music lovers and record collectors for his numerous albums and appearances on radio and television during the era following the second world war.

From the 1950s onwards, Chacksfield was one of Britain's most famous orchestra leaders, and his fame spread around the world. Early in his career he was fortunate to have several big sellers in the USA, which firmly established his reputation world-wide.

During his recording career with Decca alone, it is estimated that he sold 20 million copies.

Chacksfield learned to play the piano as a boy and became the deputy organist for the local church. Though his parents discouraged his pursuit of music as a career, he persevered. In the late '30s, when he was in his mid-20s, he was leading small musical bands in Britain. During World War II, he was assigned to the British Army entertainment unit, and after the war he became a regular performer on the BBC.

In 1953, he formed an orchestra he called "The Tunesmiths" and won a contract with Parlophone Records. Within two years, he expanded the group from a traditional big band into an orchestra with strings and released a series of "mood music" albums. His sound was similar to Mantovani and Melachrino. His biggest hits, in both the UK and the US, were "Ebb Tide" and "Limelight."

Chacksfield was also responsible for the musical arrangement of the first ever British entry into the Eurovision Song Contest, "All" by Patricia Bredin in 1957. Only because BBC musical director Eric Robinson insisted on accompanying Bredin to the contest in Frankfurt, Chacksfield did not get the chance to perform as a conductor on this international stage.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s Chacksfield recorded a large number of instrumental recordings for Starborne Productions. The recordings were licensed for use by "Easy Listening" radio stations and functional music companies. The vast majority of these recordings were not made commercially available to the general public until 2007 by Starborne Productions.

Chacksfield had two giant US hits in 1953, "Ebb Tide" and "Terry's Theme from Limelight". A third single that year, "Golden Violins" appeared in the Cashbox charts (Billboard only ranked to 20 positions at that time.)

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