The Christians (band)

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The Christians
The Christians performing in 2014
The Christians performing in 2014
Background information
OriginLiverpool, England
GenresSoul,[1] sophisti-pop,[2] a cappella (early)[1]
Years active1985–present
LabelsCherry Red
MembersGarry Christian
Joey Ankrah
Neil Griffiths
Craig Connet
Bobby Kewley
Mike Triggs
Past membersHenry Priestman
Russell Christian
Paul Barlow
Mike Bulger
Roger Christian (deceased)
Tony Jones
Stewart Boyle
Paul Campbell
Lionel Duke
Cliff Watson
WebsiteThe Christians' Official Website

The Christians are a musical ensemble from Liverpool, England. They had the highest selling debut album of any artist at Island Records and international chart hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Garry Christian at the Shrewsbury Flower Show 2016

Band biography[edit]

The name of the band refers to the surname of the three brothers that were originally in the line-up, and is also coincidentally guitarist Henry Priestman's middle name.[3][4]

Garry Christian[1] (born 27 February 1955, Liverpool) (lead vocals), Roger Christian[1] (born 13 February 1950; died 1998 from brain tumour)[1][5] (vocals, instrumentalist), Russell Christian[1] (born 8 July 1956) (keyboards, saxophone, vocals), and Henry Priestman (born Henry Christian Priestman, 21 June 1955, in Hedon, brought up in Liverpool) (keyboards, guitars, vocals) formed the band in 1985. Paul Barlow (drums), Mike Bulger (guitar/vocals) and Tony Jones on bass were also early members. Because of a reluctance to tour, Roger left in 1987 to record a solo album.

In Rock: The Rough Guide, critic Charles Bottomley, described them as "The Temptations in ripped jeans, producing gritty-centred songs in a sugary vocal shell".[6]

Chart history[edit]

Their first five singles all made the top 40 in Britain, and their debut album The Christians (1987) entered the UK Albums Chart at number 2.[7] It eventually sold over a million copies. The highest-placed single from this album was "Ideal World", which reached number 14 in the UK Singles Chart.[7]

In 1988, they released a cover of the Isley Brothers' "Harvest for the World", with all proceeds going to charity. The video for the track was an animation, created by four leading animation companies, including Aardman Animations. The video won several awards, and the single reached number 8 in the UK singles chart,[7] their sixth consecutive British top 40 hit.[7]

1989 saw another charity single success, this time as performers on a version of "Ferry Cross the Mersey", released in aid of those affected by the Hillsborough disaster.[8] The single stayed at number one for several weeks (No. 5 in Germany).

Their second album, Colour, released in 1990, reached number one in the UK Albums Chart[9] and the top 20 in several other countries;[10] it yielded the international hit "Words",[11] based on the Irish traditional "Women Of Ireland",[12] which was No. 18 in the UK[7] (including the Hillsborough charity single, their eighth consecutive UK top 40 hit) and Sweden, No. 5 in the Netherlands (for two weeks), and No. 1 in France (also for two weeks). The second single from the album, "I Found Out", reached No. 22 in France (No. 56 in the UK).[7]

In 1992, the following LP, Happy in Hell, charted at number 18. Two songs from the album reached the UK top 40, "What's in a Word" (the first single),[13] which also was a top 20 hit in France (with a total chart run of 19 weeks) and entered the top 40 in the Netherlands and the German top 75, reaching No. 60,[14] and "The Bottle",[15] a cover of the Gil Scott-Heron/Brian Jackson song.

The early 1990s saw the band continuing to tour. A greatest hits album, The Best of The Christians, was released in 1993, and peaked at number 22.[7]

Break up and reformation[edit]

Garry Christian moved to Paris in 1995 to record a solo album Your Cool Mystery[16] effectively breaking up the band, although no formal announcement was made, and the door was open to future reformation.[8] In 1998 founding member Roger Christian died from a brain tumour.[8] In 1997 The Christians began to perform together again in an "unplugged" acoustic format. They carried out a thirty-six date tour of the UK, with a similar tour undertaken in 2000, with guitarist and songwriter Paul Campbell, who accompanied them on all of their tours until 2003.

By 2001, The Christians began to write songs for Prodigal Sons, which was released in 2003.[8] This was supported by a UK tour in October 2003, and further promotion in France, Spain and UK throughout 2004.

In 2005, Russell Christian decided he no longer wished to tour, and a decision was made to return to a full band format, rather than the four-man "unplugged" line-up that had been touring since 1999. This new "band" comprising Garry Christian (lead vocals), Joey Ankrah (singer, guitar), Neil Griffiths (singer and acoustic guitar), Cliff Watson (bass guitar), Lionel Duke (drums), Mike Triggs (keyboards) was unveiled on the 2009 tour. A download single (released on download on 5 March 2010) was a cover of Cat Stevens' "Where Do the Children Play?"[8]

2012 was the 25th anniversary for the band, who celebrated with a re-release of The Christians and Colour.[8] A new album called Speed of Life was released in September, with the title track the first single.[8] In August they embarked on a tour of the UK and, on 16 December, they played at Liverpool's Royal Court Theatre. They were briefly joined on stage by former band member, Henry Priestman.

Between September 2013 and January 2014, the Christians toured with Go West and Hue & Cry on a 32 date tour of the UK. Their most recent single, "Inner City Blues", was released in September 2013.

In December 2021, the band released a version of their hit "Man Don't Cry", renaming it "Naz Don't Cry" in reference to the plight of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an Iranian-British dual citizen who was detained in Iran from 3 April 2016 to 16 March 2022 on charges of espionage for the British government.[17][18] The video for the single features her daughter with Richard Ratcliffe, Gabriella.[19]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications
1987 The Christians 2 64
1990 Colour 1 138
1992 Happy in Hell 18
2003 Prodigal Sons
2009 Soul from Liverpool[24]
2012 Speed of Life
The Christians (Deluxe 25th anniversary re-release)
Colour (Deluxe 25th anniversary re-release)[7]
2015 We
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album UK
1993 The Best of The Christians 22
2017 Sings & Strings: Greatest Hits Reimagined
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.


Year Single Peak positions Album

US Dance
1987 "Forgotten Town" 22 63 31 The Christians
"Hooverville (And They Promised Us the World)" 21 18
"When the Fingers Point" 34 73 49 29
"Ideal World" 14 89 11 20 35
1988 "Born Again" 25 27 61 35
"Harvest for the World" (charity single) 8 162 4 28 32 Singles only
1989 "Ferry Cross the Mersey" (charity single with other artists) 1 45 1 21 28 5
"Words" 18 152 6 5 10 1 18 Colour
1990 "I Found Out" 56 140 69 42 22
"Greenbank Drive" 63
1992 "What's in a Word" 33 38 17 60 Happy in Hell
"Father" 55 82 49
1993 "The Bottle" 39 86
"The Perfect Moment" The Best Of
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Ankeny, Jason. "The Christians – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  2. ^ Payne, Aidan (18 December 2009). "Top soul band back in Bahrain for Upstairs Downstairs concert" (PDF). Gulf Daily News. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 December 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  3. ^ Grant, Peter (19 December 2007). "The Christians The Cavern". Liverpool Echo. p. 27. ProQuest 340525807. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  4. ^ Austin, Sue (31 January 2023). "Gary Finds His Ideal World - A Haven From Busy Life on Tour". Shropshire Star. p. 2. ProQuest 2770851442. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  5. ^ Porter, Hilary (4 February 2017). "The Christians front man Gary on 30 years of making hits and family tragedy". Southern Daily Echo. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  6. ^ Jonathan Buckley; Justin Lewis (1996). Rock: The Rough Guide. Rough Guides. ISBN 9781858282015.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 106. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Zacharias, Adam (21 October 2021). "'I thought all brothers fought, but maybe us three took it to the limit'". McClatchy - Tribune Business News. ProQuest 759256867. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  9. ^ "Colour - full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  10. ^ "The Christians - Colour".
  11. ^ "The Christians - Words".
  12. ^ Rotsteeg, Marjolein (3 February 1990). "The Christians - Adding A Little Colour" (PDF). Music & Media: 32 – via
  13. ^ "What's in a Word - full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  14. ^ "The Christians - What's in a Word".
  15. ^ "The Bottle - full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  16. ^ Pride, Dominic (26 April 1997). "Artists & Music Album Spotlight" (PDF). Music & Media: 15 – via
  17. ^ "UK-Iranian-mother-Nazanin-Zaghari-Ratcliffe-'jailed-on-secret-charges'". BBC News. 10 September 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  18. ^ "Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori on way home to UK". BBC News. 16 March 2022. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  19. ^ Waghorn, Dominic (15 December 2021). "The Christians release Christmas single Naz Don't Cry to support imprisoned Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe". Sky News.
  20. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 63. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  21. ^ a b "Bubbling Down Under 5 November 1990". 5 November 2021. Retrieved 6 November 2021.
  22. ^ "Christians - Christians (album)". Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  23. ^ "Christians - Colours". Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  24. ^ "soul from liverpool: christians: Music". Amazon. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  25. ^ "Christians - Best Of ..." Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  26. ^ "Official Charts Company: The Christians". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  27. ^ "The Christians – German Chart". Retrieved 25 May 2014.[dead link]
  28. ^ "The Christians – US Dance Club Songs". Archived from the original on 28 November 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2014.

External links[edit]