Frank Chacksfield (b. May 9, 1914, Battle, Sussex, England; d. June 9, 1995) is a pianist and organist who had a series of hit singles in the '50s, most notably with "Ebb Tide."
Chacksfield learned how to play piano as a child. While he was a boy, he was the deputy organist for the local church. Though his parents discouraged him to pursue 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. In 1940, he enlisted in the British army. During the war, he had his first radio broadcast, "Original Songs At the Piano," which orignated from Glasgow. Shortly after its broadcast, Chacksfield landed a job as the arranger for Stars In Battledress, a World War II entertainment troupe.
After the war, Chacksfield supported Charlie Chester's comedy group, Stand Easy. The connection with Chester led to Chacksfield's first recording, as the accompanist for Frederick Ferrari, one of Chester's lead singers. During this time, he was formed his own group, the Tunesmiths, and conducted orchestras for Henry Hall and Geraldo.
Frank Chacksfield signed with Decca and made his recorded solo debut in the early '50s. Soon, he scored a novelty hit single with "Little Red Monkey," which climbed to number three on the British charts in the spring of 1953. That summer, he had a Top 10 hit on both sides of the Atlantic with the "Theme from Limelight," which featured a lush, sweeping orchestra. The next year, Chacksfield followed with "Ebb Tide," which replicated the arrangement for "Limelight" and was equally successful. It was his first US hit single, peaking at number two.
For the rest of the '50s, Chacksfield released a series of popular instrumental singles, as well as accompanying albums. In the '60s, he had a weekly program on British radio; as he got older, he made the occasional appearance on UK radio shows.
Frank Chacksfield continued to record into the '90s; his last album was Thanks for the Memories (Academy Award Winners 1934-55), which was 1991. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine