The Kinsey Report
Updated 23 June 2024
One of the most successful musical exports from South Africa must be Blondie Chaplin. His success has probably not been fully recognised in his land of birth. Blondie’s interest in music was kindled by the Melbourne Road Flats “musicians”, especially Clemmy Clarisse, who showed him the rudiments of guitar playing, and by the music in his own home. His father, who played the banjo, took him to a number of shows which added to his love of music. While still very young, he joined a band and then moved on to The Kittens. He was then lured to join The Wild Things. I heard him perform and approached the then fourteen-year old to record It’s A Man’s World, a song I had heard him perform as good as the original by James Brown, and which showcased his obvious talent. Unfortunately, before we had made any concrete arrangements, Steve Fataar told me that Blondie was about to join The Flames. In retrospect, I should have gone ahead with the recording because I was recording him as a solo artist. So we lost the opportunity of being able to listen to that young talent. As is recorded in the pages on The Flames page, the group continued to evolve its soulful feel with the new lead singer and went on to record probably of the best soul song to come out of South Africa, For Your Precious Love. The Flames then moved to London where they were beginning to establish themselves when they were spotted by The Beach Boys who were touring the U.K. They were signed up to the Brother label. Then they moved to California where they were renamed Flame so as not to be confused with similarly named groups in the USA. They began to expand their composing talents writing all the material for first American album. This album and the song See The Light were quite successful, and hopes were high for greater success with their second, but unfortunately, this has not been released. Efforts are still being made to overturn this decision. The Flames then broke up in 1972 with Brother Fataar returning to the U.K. and Steve returning to South Africa. Blondie and Ricky Fataar then became part of The Beach Boys touring and recording with them. Blondie’s reputation as a fine musician especially as a guitarist also became a popular session musician and also as a member of a few groups that included ex-members of groups such as The Byrds, Rolling Stones and Beach Boys. Blondie teamed up with two ex-South Africans in Keith Lentin and Anton Fig to form the group Skollie. They recorded three albums together. Perhaps the greatest acknowledgement of his talent is his touring with The Rolling Stones over a number of years as a supporting lead/rhythm guitarist and vocalist. He has also toured with Brian Wilson. Blondie has returned to South Africa a number of times and has performed there in two reunion Flames shows. An excellent article which includes an interview with Blondie can be found here (Special thanks to Rafs Mayet for photos and information) More on Blondie can be found on The Flames Page

Blondie Chaplin

Skollie performing Sail On Sailor
Wild Honey with Brian Wilson & Ricky Fataar