Born Richard Graham Sarstedt, 29 March 1940, Delhi, India
Eden Kane was one of England’s pre-Beatles teen idols. He had several Top 10 hits in the early 1960s, but after the explosion of the Merseybeat sound his music was considered old hat. However, he has managed to make a living in the entertainment industry until this day.
Richard Sarstedt (his real name) was born in India, where both his parents were civil servants. In 1954 they decided to return to England. His father, Albert, made preparations for the transition, but passed away before the Sarstedts actually arrived in the UK. The family settled in Norbury, Croydon. Inspired by Bill Haley, Richard learned to play guitar and formed a skiffle group, the Fabulous 5, which included his younger brothers Peter and Clive.
In 1960 Richard entered a talent contest at the Classic Cinema in King’s Road, Chelsea, where he won a contract to sing an advertising jingle for Cadbury’s Drinking Chocolate. The record was issued on the Pye label under the title “Hot Chocolate Crazy” and was frequently played on Radio Luxembourg. By this time he had created the name ‘Eden Kane’ for himself. The new moniker, allegedly inspired by the film “Citizen Kane”, had similar biblical connotations to that of the highly successful Adam Faith. His natural good looks enabled him to get a small role in the 1960 film “Drinks All Round”.
In April 1961 Kane signed a recording contract with Decca Records. His first record for the label was “Well I Ask You”, written by Les Vandyke, a pseudonym for the prolific British songwriter Johnny Worth. This proved to be a smash hit, topping the UK charts for one week in August 1961. Kane and his backing band the Downbeats were booked on tours alongside such stars of the era as Cliff Richard, Billy Fury, Joe Brown, Helen Shapiro, Marty Wilde and John Leyton.
In the USA, where the record was covered by Kay Starr and Tony Rossini (on Sun), “Well I Ask You” got no higher than a “bubbling under” placing at # 119. The follow-up was the very similar “Get Lost”, which made # 10, followed by “Forget Me Not”, the second biggest hit of Eden’s career ( # 3). Again both songs came from the pen of Les Vandyke. The fourth Decca single, a revival of “I Don’t Know Why, also did well ( # 7), but the next one, “House To Let”, failed to chart, despite a return to Vandyke. After another flop single on Decca, “Sounds Funny To Me”, Kane switched to Fontana Records. The first two Fontana singles had no chart impact, but the third one, “Boys Cry”, restored his fortunes. More suited to his growling vocal style than some of his previous material, it peaked at # 8 in early 1964. But that’s where his chart run ended. Despite his continued exposure on television (in tandem with the likes of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones), by the end of 1964 his music was considered part of the past. However, he still saw enthusiastic audiences on a tour of Australia (with Roy Orbison, Del Shannon and the Searchers) and was never without work. Such was his success in Australia that Kane temporarily moved there (in 1966), which led to him hosting a TV series in the country.
After his chart success in Britain dried up, Eden relocated to California, and in 1969 he married American journalist Charlene Groman (sister of Stefanie Powers), whom he had first met while passing through Los Angeles in 1963. He remained active in the entertainment business in the USA, mainly as a record producer, and has occasionally returned to England for oldies package tours with such veteran performers as Marty Wilde, Joe Brown and John Leyton. In 1999 he recorded his first new album in 35 years, titled “Y2Kane”, followed by three more albums, the most recent of which is “Fifty Three” (2014), on the Not On label.
Kane was a contract actor on the Star Trek team and made several appearances in the TV series “Star Trek : The Next Generation”, “Star Trek : Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek : Voyager”, under his real name, Richard Sarstedt.
His brothers, Peter and Clive (the latter as Robin Sarstedt), both achieved chart success in the UK. Peter Sarstedt (1941-2017) had a massive hit in 1969 with “Where Do You Go To My Lovely”, which was # 1 in the UK and in thirteen other countries. The follow-up, “Frozen Orange Juice”, also made the Top 10. Robin Sarstedt had a # 3 UK hit in 1976 with “My Resistance Is Low”. The three brothers recorded an album as the Sarstedt Brothers, “Worlds Apart Together”, in 1972, and made their first joint appearance as a group in June 1973 at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls.
Eden Kane continues to live in Los Angeles with his wife Charlene and their family.
More info :
Official website : http://www.edenkane.com/home.html
Discography : http://www.rocky-52.net/chanteursk/kane_eden.htm
CD : Well I Ask You : The Complete 1960s Recordings (RPM, UK, released February 2017). 56 tracks on 2 CDs. http://tinyurl.com/yd2mc7nx
Acknowledgements : Bruce Eder, Wikipedia.
Dik, September 2017
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