Central Line were a post-disco, pop and jazz-funk group, based in London, England. They recorded three albums for Mercury Records in the 1980s, and had two hit singles in the United States, as well as one Top 40 success in their native country.
The band was formed in March 1978, and were signed to Mercury Records early in 1979 by John Stainze. The original founding members were Steve Salvari, Camelle Hinds, Lipson Francis and Henry Defoe. Hinds, Francis and Defoe were previously in a band called TFB (Typical Funk Band), which had contained members that would go on to form Light of the World. TFB also contained the drummer Errol Kennedy, who later joined Imagination. Salvari joined TFB after the departure of Kenny Wellington in late 1976, as their second keyboard player and the band members then stood at Salvari, Hinds, Francis, Defoe and Kennedy. The band gigged for about a year then broke up. Francis and Defoe went to work with a bass player who was in Boney M., and Salvari and Hinds staying together to work on various projects.
In early 1978, four of the TFB members got back together, and expanded the previous format by recruiting Linton Beckles and Jake Le Mesurier. The band decided they needed a new identity, and Defoe came up with the name Central Line, because the band were now running down a central line of funk and soul.
They toured with Roy Ayers, Grover Washington, Fat Larry’s Band and The Real Thing. Central Line released their first single, “Wot We Got Its Hot” to a good reception, but their second single “Sticks & Stones” did not fare so well. They finished the year appearing on BBC Television’s, Linda Lewis’ Roadshow.
Salvari left in early 1980. After working with Barry White, Robert Palmer and Sheena Easton, he continues in the music industry as a record producer. Hinds later formed Hindsight with Defoe, and also played bass in The Style Council. Francis and Beckles are now dedicated to the church, and Le Mesurier died in the 1990s from an accidental drug overdose.
Despite a club hit with “Walking into Sunshine” which sold well in the United States, and a UK Top 40 hit with “Nature Boy”, consistent mainstream success eluded them, and they disbanded in August 1984.