Charles Pettigrew began his career in Boston as the lead singer of the New Wave dance band Down Avenue. With his distinctive soulful voice and local radio hits like “Girlfriend” and “Winters Past”, the band won the 1985 WBCN Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble, due in no small part to Charles’ commanding presence and a man that could sing.
As Charles’ voice was best suited to purer Rhythm and Blues, the band went their separate ways. In a chance encounter in New York City, Charles met Eddie Chacon. Together as Charles & Eddie the R&B duo had 4 top 40 hits in the UK and parts of Europe including the #1 hit “Would I Lie to You?” in 1992. They would record one more album together before disbanding in 1996. Charles eventually recorded with Tom Tom Club (Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz post Talking Heads) until he succumbed to cancer in 2001 at the age of 37.
Charles’ voice is reminiscent of Smokey Robinson and in another era Motown would have been his home. He told me at the height of his popularity as Charles & Eddie how exploited he was by the music industry, his kindly nature abused and misused. He saw the underbelly of the business which he despised and which limited his career and cut short his life. The man with the velvet voice and gentle heart once made Boston home.
Published on November 18, 2015