The Charlatans formed in Northwich, Cheshire, England in 1988. The current line-up comprises lead vocalist Tim Burgess, guitarist Mark Collins, bassist Martin Blunt and keyboardist Tony Rogers. All the band's thirteen studio albums have charted in the top 40 of the UK Albums Chart, three of them being number ones. They have also had 22 top 40 singles and four top 10 entries in the UK Singles Chart, including the hits "The Only One I Know" and "One to Another".
Although the Charlatans would later become popularly associated with the Madchester scene, the band's early demos recorded in 1988 in Birmingham and Dudley already evidenced the sound that the band ultimately became famous for, dominated by Collins's Hammond organ but underpinned by the driving rhythm section of Blunt's powerful running bass and Brookes's drumming. With their sound – fusing 1960s soul, R&B and garage rock – inherited from Blunt's earlier 1982 band Makin' Time, the band saw themselves firmly in the West Midlands tradition of hard-edged soul and R&B that included Birmingham bands The Spencer Davis Group and early Dexys Midnight Runners. Blunt has characterised the band's early influences as including the Stranglers, Stax Records, Joy Division and the Doors, but has also credited the band's formation during the explosive growth of the acid house scene as contributing to their sound, so that they "suddenly sounded like the Spencer Davis Group on E".
Although the name The Charlatans was already being used when the original members of the band were still located in the West Midlands, many sources state that they formed in Northwich, Cheshire. This is because the band relocated to the home town of new lead singer Tim Burgess (who was born in Salford, but lived in Northwich from an early age) before the 1990 release of The Charlatans' debut single"Indian Rope", on the band's own Dead Dead Good Records label.