Emile Ford And The Checkmates

  • Real Name: Emile Sweetman
  • Birth Date: 16th October 1937
  • Birth Place: Castries, St Lucia
  • When Emile arrived in Britain from Nassau in the Bahamas, where he grew up, his main ambition was to become an engineer, and it was through engineering that he would gain a brief but very successful career in Pop music. He had invented a novel sound system that he claimed gave his music a consistently high quality despite the fact that he wasn't really a singer. Emile would insist on using his own equipment for performances rather than that usually offered by the theatres in which he played. Despite the fact that Emile claims that his success was largely because of his sound equipment, there is no doubt that he is also an extremely skilled and versatile musician

    After winning a talent contest sponsored by the Pye record company Emile and his group were given a chance to record. His group, the Checkmates, consisted of his two step-brothers George and Dave, Ken Street, Pete Carter, Les Hart, Alan Hawkshaw, and John Cuffley. They made a version of 'What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For' which was originally destined to be a 'B' side. Fortunately, Pye were shrewd enough to issue this as the 'A' side and the disc took Emile all the way to a UK #1.


    Emile had three EPs released during his 1960s recording career and the one shown here (NEP24119) is the first of them. With the exception of "Red Sails In The Sunset" it contains tracks not found on his singles, so it's a nice way of getting hold of more Emile Ford material on 45rpm. One of the included songs, "Move Along", was written by Emile himself.

    The sleeve pictures Emile with a guitar, which is mentioned in the record's sleeve notes. It is claimed that he learned to play the instrument in only one week, despite his only previous experience being the piano which he played by ear.

    Emile Ford managed to squeeze a few more hits from his patented sound system before having to return to engineering. He faded from the scene somewhat during the latter part of the sixties because he made his home in Scandinavia. However he continued to market his sound system in the UK and used it in the production of other artists with which he became involved. Emile moved to California during the 1990s, but still undertakes stage work from time to time as well as selling his own unique sound equipment whenever the opportunity arises.

    1950s & 1960s 45rpm UK Discography

    • Upper list includes UK 45 singles releases only
    • Collector's Items are shown In Red
    • See lower list for EP releases.

    Pye 7N15225 1959 What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For/ Don't Tell Me Your Troubles #1
    Pye 7N15245 1960 On A Slow Boat To China/ That Lucky Old Sun #3
    Pye 7N15268 1960 You'll Never Know What You're Missin' Til You Try/ Still #12
    Pye 7N15279 1960 Red Sails In The Sunset/ Afraid  
    Pye 7N15282 1960 Them There Eyes/ Question #18
    Pye 7N15314 1960 Counting Teardrops/ White Christmas #4
    Pye 7N15331 1961 What Am I Gonna Do/ A Kiss To Build A Dream On #33
    Piccadilly 7N35003 1961 Half Of My Heart/ Gypsy Love #42
    Piccadilly 7N35007 1961 Hush, Somebody's Calling My Name/ After You've Gone  
    Piccadilly 7N35019 1961 The Alphabet Song/ Keep A-Lovin' Me  
    Piccadilly 7N35033 1962 I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now/ Doin' The Twist #43
    Piccadilly 7N35078 1962 Your Nose Is Gonna Grow/ Rains Come  
    Piccadilly 7N35116 1963 Doin' What You Do To Me/ Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me  

    EP Discography

    • Collector's Items are shown In Red
    • See Upper List For Singles releases

    NEP24119 1959 "Emile" #1
    Red Sails In The Sunset/Move Along/Send For Me/Heavenly
    NEP24124 1960 "Emile Ford Hit Parade"  
    What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For/That Lucky Old Sun/On A Slow Boat To China/Don't Tell Me Your Troubles
    NEP24133 1960 "Emile Ford Hit Parade Vol.2"  
    Them There Eyes/Question/You'll Never Know What You're Missing 'Til You Try/Still

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