Singer and composer: The "Yesterday Man" Chris Andrews turns 80

Actually, Chris Andrews didn't write his most famous hit for himself.

Singer and composer: The "Yesterday Man" Chris Andrews turns 80

Actually, Chris Andrews didn't write his most famous hit for himself. But because pop star Sandie Shaw rejected the song, he sang "Yesterday Man" himself and achieved worldwide success with it.

In his homeland, the Brit reached number 3 in the hit parade, in Ireland, Germany, Austria, South Africa and even New Zealand "Yesterday Man" made it to the top of the charts.

Andrews, who celebrates his 80th birthday on Saturday (October 15), still sings the moody song about a lost love regularly to this day. Because although he wanted to step down some time ago, he is still often on stage. "I actually wanted to retire, but I can't do it," says Andrews in a telephone conversation with the German Press Agency in London.

He lived in the British capital until the 2000s. Today Andrews, who has had German citizenship in addition to British citizenship since 2016, lives in his second marriage with his German wife Alexandra in Selm-Ternsche in North Rhine-Westphalia. He wants to celebrate there on Saturday with around 40 guests. The 80 is not something special, emphasizes Andrews. "It's just another round birthday. You still feel like you're 79." How he is doing? "Everything is fine," he says with his sympathetic English accent.

He's touring again

Performances in Germany, Belgium, Holland, Portugal and a small tour in Croatia are planned for the near future. In November he sings a duet on a TV show with Andy Borg. "It just keeps going," says Andrews. Concert tours are a strain for him. Because he doesn't like to fly, he usually travels in the car. "Always the Autobahn, one construction site after the other, that gets you down." But the passion for the stage prevails.

Christopher Frederick Andrews, born in Romford, East London, England in 1942, founded his first band as a teenager. At 17 he had his first television appearance on the British show "Oh Boy!". However, the first sound recordings did not bring the desired success. Chris Andrews achieved his artistic breakthrough as a songwriter for Adam Faith ("The First Time").

He wrote numerous top ten hits for pop star Sandie Shaw, including "Girl Don't Come", "Long Live Love" and "Message Understood". But "Yesterday Man", which at the time was just a tune with no title and no lyrics, didn't please the singer. "It just didn't sit right for Sandie," Andrews recalled. "She said, 'That's not my style.'" The cancellation proved to be a godsend for the songwriter.

The then Rolling Stones manager Loog Oldham and Stones bassist Bill Wyman, with whom Andrews is still friends, advised him to record the song himself. Actually, he only intended it as a B-side. "But everyone said to me, 'Yesterday Man' is the hit". You were right. The single was released in 1965 and finally made the songwriter Chris Andrews famous as a singer.

He had a loyal fan base in Germany

"Suddenly being in the spotlight with my own song and my own voice was a whole different feeling and a whole different world," recalls Andrews. "Suddenly you're singing all over the world and appearing on TV shows - nice memories." More singles followed. "To Whom It Concerns" reached number 3 in the German hit parade. And with "Pretty Belinda" Andrews managed another huge hit in 1969, which became an evergreen.

Especially in Germany, the Briton won a loyal fan base. He was a welcome guest on German TV shows such as "ZDF-Hitparade" or Ilja Richter's "Disco". Andrews also published some of his songs in German, including "Brown Eyes" under the title "Braune Augen schau'n mich an" or "Lazy Days" - with completely different content - as "A girl with a heart". Today he speaks fluent German, back then only a little bit. "Then I bought "Fix und Foxi" comics and learned a bit of German with them," says Andrews and laughs.

In 1973 he appeared in the mix-up comedy "Blue blooms the gentian" with Ilja Richter, Jutta Speidel, Heino and Hansi Kraus and sang "Sugar Daddy" in German. "It was really fun, even though it was bloody cold," says Andrews, amused. "I can't believe anyone remembers it."

In later years he focused mostly on writing songs. Apart from a few new editions and collaborations, he rarely released songs sung by him from the 1990s onwards. In recent years, his albums have mostly been compilations of his great successes and have titles such as "The Hit Collection", "My Most Beautiful Hits" or "Fifty Fifty - 50 Years on Stage".

In his long career he wrote songs for Cher, Abba singer Agnetha Faltskog, Suzi Quatro and The Mamas And The Papas. And if you ask him today whether he sees himself first as a songwriter or as a singer, Chris Andrews doesn't hesitate for long. "I'm a singer-songwriter, but first and foremost I'm a composer," he clarifies. "That's what my heart beats for."

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