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Starting as a piano prodigy, Chacksfield moved to conducting at the age of 22. During World War II, he was assigned to the British Army entertainment unit, and after the war he became a regular performer on BBC.
In 1953, he formed an orchestra he called "The Tunesmiths" and won a contract with Parlophone Records. Within two years, he expanded group from a traditional big band into an orchestra with strings and released a series of "mood music" albums. His sound was much along the lines of Mantovani and Melachrino. His biggest hits, in both the UK and the US, were "Ebb Tide" and "Limelight."
He stuck to material similar to Mantovani's: ballads, waltzes, and movie themes. He continued to record a series of albums featuring the works of single composers such as Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Irving Berlin. He continued to tour with a band into the 1990s. He once said that, "Orchestra's are more than just a combination of sounds, they are not unlike people. Orchestra's have moods and feelings and above all they can express those feelings. The best orchestras can make you angry and sad and even fall in love."
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