70s Music

Introduction to Mac and Katie Kissoon

Katie Kissoon

Who are Mac and Katie Kissoon?

The brother-and-sister vocal pop/rock duo, Mac and Katie Kissoon were both born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and raised in the UK. They are best known for their chart smashes during the 1970s such as “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep,” “Sugar Candy Kisses,” and “Don’t Do It Baby,” all of which were big homeland hits. After their chart-making power lost steam and they ceased to perform as a duo, Katie and Mac (mostly separately) went on in their careers mostly as backing vocalists namely, for Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, The Pet Shop Boys, Roger Waters, Robbie Williams and George Harrison. After Harrison’s death, Katie also appeared at the Concert for George memorial event at the Royal Albert Hall in November 2002.

 

The siblings’ early life and career

The male and female sibling vocal duo consisted of Mac Kissoon and Katie Kissoon. Mac was born Gerald Farthing on November 11, 1943 while Katie was born Katherine Farthing on March 11, 1951. Both were born in Port of Spain, on the island of Trinidad in the West Indies.

During the early 1960s, the siblings and their family immigrated to the United Kingdom where they were raised. In 1965, Mac and Katie Kissoon became part of vocal group the Marionettes, an act consisting of two male and two female members. Separately, Katie had cut a handful of solo recordings under the name Peanut, while Mac used to front his own band that had toured around Europe. He also released his solo records, one of which was his cover version of the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”

 

 

A hit with “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep”

The siblings also formed as part of another group called the Rag Dolls before they started their own act. In 1971, they did a cover version of Middle of the Road hit “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep” which was written by British singer-songwriter Lally Stott. Stott recorded the song’s original version, which had made dents on some European charts as well as in Australia and the US.

All three versions of “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep” were released in 1971, including the Lally Stott original. The Middle of the Road’s rendition was the most successful, topping the official national singles chart. While Mac and Katie Kissoon’s version didn’t do quite as well in the UK (only peaking at #41), it otherwise became successful in the United States, peaking at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also reached #10 on the Billboard adult contemporary singles chart.

The duo continued to record and perform together. They weren’t able to surpass or even just match their initial US chart success, but their singles became hits in Europe particularly in the Netherlands and Belgium.

 

 

UK breakthrough hits

In 1975, Mac and Katie Kissoon finally achieved breakthrough chart success in the UK via the single “Sugar Candy Kisses” which made it to #3. They followed this up with another Top 10 UK smash “Don’t Do It Baby” which peaked at #9. Both of these hits were written by Tony Waddington and Wayne Bickerton.

The siblings in their own separate careers

When bubblegum pop was starting to lose favor among the listening public, the siblings returned their focus to their separate careers. For a time, though, Mac and Katie also became members of German big band leader James Last’s backing singers. According to a source, Mac Kissoon still performs with Last’s up to this day. In 1997, the siblings reunited and released their last record together yet,From Now On that contained all new material.

Katie Kissoon continued her own successful career as a backup/session singer, having collaborated with such luminaries like George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Elkie Brooks, Roger Waters, Robbie Williams and Van Morrison, among many others. In 2002, Kissoon also performed at Concert for George which commemorated Harrison’s first death anniversary. She’s still active recording and touring up to the present. Kissoon is the mother of Seb Stone, a singer-songwriter, musician and record producer.

 

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