Multi-million Seller Songwriter/Recording Artist Gretchen Christopher creates a rare rapport with audiences. As one listener said, "She wraps her warm voice around you and leads you down a goose pimple path."
Gretchen Christopher perform, Legendary Jazz Trumpeter
Dizzy Gillespie said,
Meeting Gretchen at the Grammy Awards, Winner Linda Ronstadt exclaimed, "I love your music!"
Gretchen's music has the quality of standards. Her autobiographical lyrics and memorable melodies express themselves softly, profoundly; documenting feelings and experiences from teen years through love, loss, laughter and life thereafter. Audiences share her musical journey, from the 1959 Gold #1 Record and Best Selling Sheet Music "COME SOFTLY TO ME" ('n doo be doo, Dom dom) and Top 40 Hit "GRADUATION'S HERE" (both of which she co-wrote and sang lead on, with The Fleetwoods) to the inspiring and soul-bared lyrics, dynamic and haunting tunes she's writing today, worthy of Broadway.
Cited as "Actress-Singer-Composer" with the
ability to dramatize a song and move
an audience beyond the mere
lyrics and music, Gretchen Christopher
received, in December 1992, the Southern California Motion Picture
honor, the Jeanie Golden Halo Eagle
"Superstar" Award, for her contribution to the
Entertainment Industry and Performing Arts.
When she reprised her autobiographical show "Come Softly To Me, Gretchen Christopher" at Hollywood's Cinegrill in '93 and '94, the Music & Performing Arts Angels presented to her, for lifetime achievement, the Angel Victory Award, naming Gretchen Christopher "Inspirational star, singer, composer, artist, dancer, choreographer." The latest in a distinguished line of honorees, from Sammy Davis Jr. in 1979 to Debbie Reynolds in 1993.
Making her life and living in the arts, Gretchen danced,
choreographed and sang solo on television at age 17, founded
In 1988, delighting the audience by wearing the same gown she'd worn 28 years earlier when Dick Clark presented her with her first gold records, dancer trim, blonde and blue-eyed Gretchen accepted another Gold Record as The Fleetwoods were inducted into the NW MUSIC HALL OF FAME
Kicking off the '90's CD, THE BEST OF THE FLEETWOODS, Gretchen reprised the classics in her concert by the same name. She then introduced one of her new up-tempo tunes and wowed the audience with her dancing and an energy only hinted at in the trio's recordings. Result: Two encores, a standing ovation, and an invitation to headline, with her own songs, the Bob Hope USO Show for the "Chosin Few" (2000+) at the Tropicana in Las Vegas (for survivors of the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir).
Solo, Gretchen has performed her new music and world renowned hits in London, Manchester, Paris, Moscow, Helsinki, Brussels, Edinburgh, and from Mexico City to the Worlds Fair in Vancouver, British Columbia. She's sung and danced across Europe and was featured in "Celebrity Corner" on the HAL Scandinavian Symphony Cruise and First Caribbean Cruise of the New Millennium.
In 1978, appointed to St. Martins College Adjunct Faculty as Sr. Lecturer 1 in
the Discipline of Fine Arts (equivalent
introduced Jazz Dance into the curriculum and numbered monks among her students.
Gretchen Christopher continues to be a woman of many
bridging two centuries. In Seattle, she performed
for the June
25, 2000, Grand Opening
Concert of the Experience Music Project (EMP),
exhibiting her first Fleetwoods tour costume and Gold
the first earned by a
Northwest artist. Her performances of Jazz, Gospel, and Fleetwoods hits followed, in
July, at (Ventures Guitarist)
Nokie's First Northwest Music
In August, Gretchen Christopher and
the Coasters opened Issaquah's First Full Scale
Music Festival, and in November, Gretchen served as Panelist for the first
ROCKRGRL Music Convention 2000.
Gretchen continues to compose original music and lyrics which, in solo
brought standing ovations.
After 11 Billboard hit singles and 15 albums as The Fleetwoods' lead female vocalist, arranger and BMI Million Airs Songwriter, Gretchen Christopher has now written, recorded, produced and released her first SOLO CD, Gretchen's SWEET SIXTEEN (SUITE 16). Recorded in California, Texas and Washington, the 16-song autobiographical concept album and 16-page booklet of liner notes document a true love story and the life of its writer, through six decades. Submitted for Grammy consideration (including new recordings of a cappella "Come Softly", #1 Hit "Come Softly To Me" and Top 40 Hit "Graduations Here"), Suite 16 is among the 2007 Billboard Critics' Picks for 10 Best Albums of the Year.
When Gretchen was 16 and "he" was 18 (the older man in her
life), they met and fell in love for the very first time.
Gretchen recorded the song and the trio at home and took the
tape to Seattle Record Promoter Bob Reisdorff. He listened,
"It'll sell a million!" and formed Dolphin (soon changed to
Dolton) Records. "Come Softly To Me" became the #1 Record,
Best Selling Sheet Music in the U.S. and Britain, a worldwide
hit, and the first Gold Record (million-seller) produced on a
When not singing melody, Gretchen led the vocal arranging, harmonizing and creating the dynamic fills and answer lines that earmarked the "Fleetwoods Sound" -- with the third member following her in close harmony. Such was the case with their third release, "Mr. Blue", which also turned to Gold.
The Fleetwoods became the only group in the world to have two #1 Hits top Billboard in 1959. According to Jerry Osborne's Ask Mr. Music column (6/12/06), "From 1940 through 1969, The Fleetwoods are the only mixed-gender trio to have more than one No 1 hit."
After eleven hit singles on Billboards Hot 100, including nine Top 40, three Top Ten and two Number One Hits, The Fleetwoods chose retirement, and Gretchen continued to write and perform, keeping The Fleetwoods name and music alive.
Following the success of her solo concerts, in 1982 the other group members asked Gretchen to reorganize The Fleetwoods and train a replacement for Barbara Ellis, the female member who retired. Gretchen Christopher was contracted to serve as Manager, with "the sole authority to bind the Original and Replacement Fleetwoods by contract for any performance commitment as manager deems appropriate to carry out the business of The Fleetwoods."
Serving as choreographer, scriptwriter, graphic designer, publicist and P.R. person, Gretchen expanded the trio's performance repertoire, from just the usually-requested top three songs, to a fully choreographed 20-song, one-hour show, complete with dialogue and costume changes. As Manager, she negotiated bookings for the group, from Southern Cal Expo at Del Mar to Madison Square Garden in New York, from Americana Lake Geneva to the Tropicana in Las Vegas, resulting in the most active period of performing since The Fleetwoods first hit.
Near the end of 1983, Gary Troxel, the male member of the group gave his written resignation and relinquished his right to perform as The Fleetwoods. Gretchen Christopher became the only remaining Original still performing. The sole authority to contract for and carry out the business of the Fleetwoods, Gretchen auditioned and trained Replacements on both coasts, and continued to keep the name and music alive, interspersing group bookings between solo performances, as she does to this day.
THE FLEETWOODS starring GRETCHEN CHRISTOPHER headlined in Las Vegas, November 2007, kicking off release of GRETCHEN'S SWEET SIXTEEN (SUITE 16), her autobiographical concept album in which The Fleetwoods are included on one track. Just a month later, they learned that GRETCHEN'S SWEET SIXTEEN (SUITE 16) is among the 2007 BILLBOARD CRITICS' PICKS for 10 BEST ALBUMS of the year!
Treble clef image courtesy of Lisabeth's Music Images at http://www.gymell.com/doc/musicimages.shtml