Having formed and performed with two bands in the late sixties to early seventies, ONE STEP BEYOND & STONED ROSE ( which also featured bass player Chris Cross later of ULTRAVOX )Lead singer Michael Carroll and lead guitarist Pete Hughes decided to concentrate on songwriting.
Having recorded a demo of some songs and hawked it around London they received offers of a songwriting contract with several publishing companies and elected to sign to April Music which was part of CBS.
This led to several recording sessions at CBS studios. Out of these sessions came several very good songs including TOO MUCH FANDANGO.
Fandango created a lot of interest from various record labels and an eventual deal with WARNER BROS.
Pete then came up with a new group name RITZI.
TOO MUCH FANDANGO was released on the Warner Bros label to very good critical acclaim but unfortunately Radio 1 refused to play the song. However the song went to No.1 in Australia and was also a success in Argentina. A Spanish version of the song MUCHO FANDANGO also did well in Israel and Spain.
At this point a live band was required so Pete and Mick then approached an old friend bass player / singer Philip Enright. Steve Wilks joined on drums, ( later to be replaced by Pete Long ) and keyboard player Chris Skornia who
would later play with The Boyfriends and The Truth.
The first thing that the band did was a live radio show at which point Pete decided to change Phil’s name from Phil Enright
to PHIL FREE , a name that has stuck with him for 45 years !!
After a recording session at Pye studios recording the song COMIC BOOK KING new keyboard player Nigel Sawyer joined.
So this became the classic RITZI line-up.
Michael Carroll – lead vocal / guitar
Pete Hughes – lead guitar / vocals
Phil Free – bass guitar / vocals
Nigel Sawyer – keyboards / vocals
Pete (Fong) Long – drums.
The band gained a very good following as a great live act and recorded many songs which are now available.
The band moved down to London and lived in a fabulous mews house in Kensington ( one of the most fashionable areas of London ) The house was owned by Marlene and Robert, an Australian couple who were big fans of Ritzi and only too happy for the boys to live there. Those kind of things just don’t happen any more !!
So lots of great times, great live shows, creative recording sessions and a few beers along the way !!
It was a good ride !!
As previously mentioned Pete and Mick originally approached Phil Free as early as 1970 to join their new band STONED ROSE. However Phil had decided to move to Canada so they eventually were joined by bass player Chris Allen from Tottenham, London. Chris would later change his name to Chris Cross and became a founder member of the very successful UK band ULTRAVOX.
Living in Kensington , London was a lot of fun for RITZI. The five guys all shared the mews house and a lot of good times and good music went down.
The band used to regularly rehearse at a studio in West London called NOMIS. This was a popular rehearsal venue in town and was often frequented by the likes of Doctor Hook, The Police, Lemmy, Dave Edmunds, Elvis Costello, The Jam etc.
Over the years the guys performed with many many top name bands including Status Quo, Fairport Convention, Lindisfarne, Quiver, Blonde On Blonde, May Blitz, Judas Priest, Canned Heat, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Arthur Brown, and the best of the lot, Mott The Hoople !!!
This website contains lots of songs written by Mick & Pete. Many recorded by Ritzi and some tracks that are just Mick and Pete putting down acoustic demos.
Sadly Nigel Sawyer passed away in September 2019 and Michael Carroll was tragically found dead in his apartment on the 5th of October 2019 at the age of 68.