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Pete Chaff (born Peter Robert Chaffinch, June 15th, 1925, in Taunton, Somerset) was a British singer-songwriter, author, poet, and occasional car mechanic, who was a major figure in folk music for about six weeks. Much of Chaff's most celebrated work dates from the 1970s, when The Wurzels' version of his signature song (The Farmer's Wife's Got A Four Inch Crack In Her, But She Ain't) Broken topped the charts in 1977.
A number of his songs, such as "Dogmuck on the Carpet" and "Twats In The Town Hall", became anthems for the Taunton anti-car park charging riots of 1988. As a song writer, he is best known as the author of "Milking My Prostrate", "Smother Nan With A Pillow" and "Bury or Burn?" which have been recorded by many artists both in and outside the folk revival movement and are still sung throughout the world today.
edit Life and career
In his youth, Chaff formed several bands: the first, Two Shunts and a Grunt lasted for just one song, while his next band, Fuck lasted longer and spent a year touring the old people's homes of Somerset playing hits from the 1920s.
Pete Chaff's fan club was started in 1968 in the family home's garden shed by his Mother. Today, aged 102, she still devotes a large portion of her time replying to the many fan letters. Although by her own admission, she is baffled by word processors, choosing to write each reply by hand. Working at a feverish rate, she can write as many as 3 replies a month.
Chaff married childhood sweetheart Polly Peachum on April 8, 1962; their first child, Fanny Chaff, was born the following month. Pete and Polly had six children: Fanny, Johnny, Mungo, Eziekel, Tim, and Pete jnr. Chaff also adopted Polly's son from a previous marriage, an Orphan from one of Taunton's children's homes, and their next door neighbour's little girl. After divorcing Polly in 1970, Chaff married his late cousin Terry's wife, Shirley. They divorced in 1971.
In January 1982, Chaff married his sixth wife, a passer-by off the street whom he met the previous day, called Brenda. Their daughter, Deanna Donna Dee-Dee Diselle Ding Ding Chaff, was born on March 30, 1983. The couple divorced in May 1984.
edit Religious beliefs
In 1978, Chaff was imprisoned three months for his religious beliefs: He believed he could masturbate in church. Chaff was renowned for converting to as many religons as possible, sometimes at the rate of one a week, often getting himself ejected from each religon after writing songs which were viewed by many as highly critical essays of their practices. Songs like "I Don't Like Christianity Much", "I Hate Judaism", and "That God's A Bit of A Funny Bloke, Ain't He?" saw a rapid loss of much of his fan base.
When his friend the singer Cat Stevens converted to Islam at the height of his fame in 1977, adopting his Muslim name Yusuf Islam, Chaff struck a similar note, and like Stevens, sold all his instruments for charity. However, Chaff continued performing his music under a new name, Pete Church Of The Latter-Day Saints.
He finished recording his final album, I'll Go On Forever on the day he died. Tragically, he was killed in a freak buffalo stampede a few minutes after leaving the studio on August 29, 2000. He was 75.