The Karaoke Years



I'd been writing and recording songs from 1972 to 1986

and I also thought it was very amusing changing the words of well known songs

and playing them to anyone who'd listen .....

these were usually very rude, which went down well on 'lad's weekends away'.


It was about 1991 when an old mate of mine called Mike Brocklehurst
introduced me to karaoke ......

Mike had a very good singing voice, so he was as keen as me to seek out karaoke venues,

that's how we met Stuart Dutton ...... he loved to sing and had a great voice.

I remember dragging my friend Pete Drinkwater out on many Fridays to karaoke shows,

and Pete didn't sing ..... sorry Pete.  Alison Sands had a good night going at Silks in Bowden.


It soon became apparent that not many of these KJs (Karaoke Jockeys)

knew much about sound and mixing, so in 1992 Stuart and I decided to get our own

gear as a vehicle for us to sing and be in control.

We put in £5,000 each to buy a Pioneer system (laser discs were over £100 each!!!).


Although Pioneer were market leaders in karaoke players and discs,

their amplifiers and speakers were not good enough for larger venues,

so we went to HW Audio in Bolton and spent another £10,000.

This was way over the top for karaoke,  but as I said,  we wanted the best gear for ourselves,

but it meant we had to do over 200 gigs before we were to break even.

We kept upgrading the equipment and buying the latest discs,

and eventually we made up another karaoke system suitable for smaller venues,

so with Mike Brocklehurst's help we could do 2 gigs on the same night.


In 1993 we did 187 gigs,  and in 1994 we did 247 gigs.

Our busiest year was 1995 .......

I still find it hard to believe that we actually did 298 gigs that year.


That was too many really, it killed the enjoyment somewhat, so in 1996 we did

less gigs (207) for more money ....  we had an advert in Yellow Pages that said,

"If you can find someone more expensive, we'll match their price".






In 1997 and 1998 we were just averaging 3 gigs a week,

and we also started doing gigs as a vocal duo.

On our karaoke shows, Stuart and I would always start off with a few songs,

then invite our regular singers up, then we'd do a couple more songs in the middle,

then some more karaoke,

then we'd finish off the night with some great rock songs that we did well together.


We were fairly famous for finishing the night off with songs like

'Taking Care of Business', 'Unchain My Heart', 'Caroline', 'Just A Gigolo'.

Because we were set up for quality rather than the average way karaoke was done,

we had great singers travelling miles to show off on our equipment,

which brought in a good audience who wanted to see them perform.


We had Mike Brocklehurst, Steve Swarbrick, Keith Myerscough, Frank Driver,

Pete McDonough and Derek Dutton to help us, which was lucky because

Stuart discovered he had cancer in his eye and was being treated from March 1999.

I did the gigs with Steve for a few months until Stuart returned,

and then he had to take it easy.

A smokey pub wasn't the healthiest place to be at the best of times,

and I've always wondered if the smoke could have caused the cancer in the first place.


We only did 95 gigs in 1999 because I just wasn't interested

when Stuart wasn't around.


Our longest running weekly gig was at the Crown Hawk Green from 1993 - 2002.

Louise was one of our regular singers from when she was only about 16.

Joan used to bring her along and encourage her ... she's just as enthusiastic now.

Adi & Jamie, Greg Morton, Wayne, Jessica, Zac, Maria, Pete, Chrissy & others

came along most weeks, and many now do singing gigs of their own .....


Jamie Sykes            Greg Morton            Maria            Wayne


Pete Valentine - George Michael Tribute Artist


Baker Street Bar (above the Bamboo Club) Hazel Grove was another weekly venue

from 1994 - 1999 where we had regular singers like Lisa, Jo, Pete, Prince Andrew etc.

We did the Crown in Bredbury weekly from 1994 - 1997.


Our highest paid gig was 31st December 1999,

Millennium Eve at the Summer Palace Hazel Grove ...... £1,750.


Stuart had more time off in 2000, so we only did 67 gigs,

but quite a lot of them were as a vocal duo.

A similar story in 2001 until August when Stuart discovered

he had secondary cancer in his liver.

He was having tests and missed a few more gigs,

sometimes he'd call in at the venue just to sing a couple of songs.

The last time was at our first duo gig at the Blue Pig in Audenshaw,

Steve stood in, and Stuart turned up to do a 'guest spot'.

He loved it, and so did the audience, but he left early because he felt tired.

Three days later it was 9/11, and 4 weeks later it was 10/11 ......

Stuart died on Thursday 11th October 2001.



I'm writing this four and a half years later and I'm in tears!!!!!

I'm just adding a bit more in June 09 .... and I'm in tears again.


11th October 2009:  It's 8 years ago today that my friend & singing partner Stuart died.

As sad as it is, it's nice to remember all the good times, and there were many.

We did around 1400 gigs together between 1992 & 2001.


Well, here we are, another year on,  I can only repeat the above .... I'm filling up again.

11th October 2010:  It's 9 years ago today that my friend & singing partner Stuart died.

As sad as it is, it's nice to remember all the good times, and there were many.

We did around 1400 gigs together between 1992 & 2001.


11th October 2011:  It's 10 years ago today that my friend & singing partner Stuart died,

but his memory and his songs still live on.


11th October 2012:  It's 11 years ago today ..... still thinking of you Stuart.


11th October 2013:  It's 12 years ago today ..... still thinking of you Stuart.


11th October 2014:  It's 13 years ago today ..... still thinking of you Stuart.


11th October 2015:  It's 14 years ago today ..... still thinking of you Stuart.


11th October 2016:  It's 15 years ago today ..... still thinking of you Stuart.


11th October 2017:  It's 16 years ago today ..... still thinking of you Stuart.


A Song for Stuart




Fortunately, I recorded many of our shows on minidisc, here are some of the songs


Unchain My Heart


Just A Gigolo


Takin' Care of Business






Two Out of Three Ain't Bad


Mack the Knife


Kingston Town


That's Life


Your Song




Ain't That a Shame


Right Here Waiting


Runaround Sue


Poetry In Motion


The Wanderer


Bye Bye Love


Wind Beneath My Wings





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11th October 2011:
Hi Chris.
Fond memories indeed for lots of reasons.
You guys were great together
'Just a Gigolo' & 'Unchain my Heart' still bring a tear to my eyes.
Going to to see the 'Karaoke Kings' certainly changed my life!
10 years on, Frank & I are in Florida with a framed picture of you & Stuart
above the desk in the office.
Love you both!
Sandra Driver
(that brought a tear to my eye Sandra - Chris xx)
Gosh, RIP Stuart, those 10 years have flown past.
Used to love Thursday evenings at the Crown Hawk Green
and Sundays at the Crown in Bredbury.
What a lovely man and a wonderful singer.
I still listen to the CD you made of him Chris.
Lisa Marie Corrigan xXx
Sweet Jesus, 10 years?  It seems like the blink of an eye.
Great fella, hell of a sense of humour.
Together you were instrumental in me falling in love with t'other side o' Pennines.
There are very fondly remembered chunks of my life that would never had happenned
had it not been for you two.
RIP the Karaoke Kings.
Jamie Sykes
So sad Chris, he was a lovely guy.
Griff 'Meister' Bayley
Hi Chris.
Read with amazement that it’s been 10 years since Stuart died.
I really miss the guy, we all had so much fun at The Mousetrap in Disley
and also the Crown in Hawk Green, those evenings were legendary
and gave lots of people a good opportunity to try out their voices on awesome equipment.
Can you remember Stuart pretending to paint the walls of the pubs while singing
“Jessie paint your pictures about how its gonna be”?
Sadly missed mate.
Lotza luv 
Martin & Pat Francis
Hi Chris.
I remember you & Stuart very well,  very professional
and proof that karaoke done well can be a great night's entertainment.
Was very sad to hear about Stuart (great voice)
Paul Tyree
RIP Stuart,  he was a singing legend.
Andy Morrison
Here's to Stuart, Chris, and boy could he sing xxx
Joanne Oldham


Brought a tear to my eye Chris, remember Stuart fondly.

'Unchain My Heart' will always be a classic of yours xxxx

Julie Chorlton




Fond memories of a top bloke.

He was always full of a happy-go-lucky attitude.

Sadly missed.

Keith Myerscough




 Wow, 10 years!!

It's a rare person who can evoke so many positive

fond memories on a regular basis who isn't family.

He was certainly a great character with quite an intriguing side to him,

but he made even the most casual acquaintance at a gig feel like they

belonged and were always welcome back.

He really is missed.

Steve Swarbrick




 Still remember meeting and singing with you guys at the RNCM JCR

way back when, always filling the place out.

That was one of the things that made me believe I could make a career from singing.

Sadly missed, but always a part of what I do.

Greg Morton




'Just A Gigolo', what a song, I can still listen to that CD all day long

Max Dutton




Top voice

Danny Muldoon




Wow!!  Really moved by this Chris

Neil Andrew Roberts








  Published: 20th November 2001
  Karaoke Kings!

   Chris Statham, left, and Stuart Dutton.


   KARAOKE king Chris Statham is dedicating a night of songs to

   the other half of his popular musical duo who died of cancer last month.

   Fellow singer Stuart Dutton lost his battle with the disease that he

   had been fighting since 1999, leaving Chris devastated.

   The pair have been putting on a show together for over 9 years

   and are well known in the clubs and bars of Stockport.

  Chris, 52, from Bank Road, Bredbury, said:

  "We met while going to other karaoke nights and it was something we had in common.

  "Then we got our own gear in 1992 and started doing karaoke nights ourselves.
  We specialised in quality singing and concentrated on having good equipment.
  It wasn't just a messing about type show."

  Stuart's cancer was first diagnosed after he developed a tumour behind his eye,

  which he eventually had to have removed, and then secondary cancer of the liver.

  He was one month into his course of chemotherapy when he died.

  Chris is going solo for the time being but finding it difficult to carry on.

  He said: "He was the one of us that had the really good voice.
  We blended well together, but he was the best singer."

  Chris and Stuart, who was 46 when he died, met hundreds of performers over the years

  and Chris is hoping to get as many as possible to come and sing a song in tribute to Stuart.

  The special night will be held at The Crown in Hawk Green, Marple where the duo became

  a weekly favourite for the last nine years.

  All the money raised will go to Cancer Research and Chris will be singing some of

  his friend's favourite tunes.

  He said: "We'll do the songs that Stuart was well known to do, maybe 'Just a Gigolo'

  by Dave Lee Roth & 'Unchain my Heart' by Joe Cocker."

  Stuart lived in Hadfield where his family own a flower shop currently run by his mum, Sylvia.

  Chris, a former builder, says: "It will be hard without Stuart.
  It is a difficult time at the moment.  We're still at The Crown every week.
  Steve Swarbrick has been helping us since Stuart got ill.

  "It was Stuart's wish that we continue doing it."

  The tribute and celebration night in memory of Stuart will be held on Saturday,

  November 24 starting at 8.30pm.

  First published by the Stockport Express







  Christie Hospital press release
  12th December 2001





  The tragic death of 46-year-old karaoke king Stuart Dutton, from Hadfield, Glossop,

  has prompted donations totalling £4,050 to Manchester's Christie Hospital.

  The first £2,050 came from a tribute evening organised by Stuart's karaoke partner,

  Chris Statham, at the Crown Inn, Hawk Green, Marple, where the duo often performed.


  "People came from as far afield as London and Newcastle-on-Tyne especially to sing

  in memory of Stuart, who died from cancer in October," says Chris, from Bredbury. 

  At the height of their karaoke fame the duo performed in many Stockport pubs and clubs,

  but the Crown Inn was a regular venue.

  Chris still performs there with Steve Swarbrick, of Woodley.

  It was after Chris and Steve put on a karaoke evening at Marple Golf Club

  that a further £2,000 went into Christie's coffers.
  The evening was one of several social functions that businessman Peter Humphries

  and about 30 friends - all regulars of the Railway pub in Rose Hill, Marple -
  had organised just to get together and enjoy themselves.

  "Chris told us about his fundraising for Christie's.
  We had raised cash at some of our functions and had about £2,000 in the kitty,
  so we decided that should go to Christie's too," says Peter.

  He felt it would be a better use of funds than when the group invested in a

  racing greyhound called Rhino Shunter.

  "All it did was shunt our money down the drain," adds Peter.

  "At least the cash we re giving to Christie's will do some good."

  All £4,050 has gone into the Christie's against Cancer Fund to finance the work

  of scientists and clinicians who are researching and developing new ways to treat,

  and prevent cancer.




  Christie Hospital press release
  21st November 2002

  More Cash For Christie's In Karaoke King's Memory

  Singer Stuart Dutton, known as 'the karaoke king', was just 46 when he died

  from cancer last year. But his singing partner Chris Statham ensures that his

  legend lives on - by raising cash for Christie Hospital in Stuart's name. 

  Chris, from Bredbury, has just added another £1,000 to the cancer centre's coffers

  from a karaoke evening at the Stock Dove pub, Romiley.

  "All the singers taking part were specially invited, so they were all very good,

  and each paid £10 to sing," says Chris.

  He also boosted the evening's proceeds by selling CDs featuring Stuart,

  who lived in Hadfield, Glossop. 



  Photo: Gill Tushingham, chair of Stockport Campaigners for Christie, accepts
  the cheque from Steve Swarbrick (left) and Chris Statham. 

  Last year a tribute evening organised by Chris, plus donations from others entertained

  by his karaoke performances, brought in more than £4,000 for Christie's.

  The latest event was co-organised by Steve Swarbrick, from Woodley,

  who helps him run a regular Wednesday karaoke evening at the Stock Dove in Romiley.

  Chris and Steve presented the £1,000 to Gill Tushingham,

  chair of Stockport Campaigners for Christie fundraising group.

  Says Christie regional appeals officer Sarah Bate:

  "We are very grateful for Chris's continued support.

  It's not easy to carry on raising funds when you have lost a friend or relative

  because the reminders can be painful, yet we know it can also help to

  keep good memories alive.

  We do appreciate the effort, both practical and emotional,

  that people make for us in such circumstances".