Little River Band was formed in Melbourne, Australia in 1975. It was originally a blend of musicians who had enjoyed success in other Australian acts. Their new focus was to get airplay on American radio, and they achieved that goal with good songwriting, powerful vocals, and guitar harmonies. They immediately claimed their place as one of the great vocal bands of the ‘70s…and the ‘80s.
Between 1976 and 1983, chart success in America includes the following singles: It’s a Long Way There, Help Is on Its Way, Happy Anniversary, Reminiscing, Lady, Cool Change, Lonesome Loser, The Night Owls, Take It Easy On Me, Man On Your Mind, We Two, and The Other Guy.
Little River Band is considered to be one of Australia’s most significant bands. Worldwide album and CD sales now top 30 million. They also set a record for having Top 10 hits for 6 consecutive years…the first band to achieve that mark. And according to BMI, Reminiscing has garnered rare status with over 5 million airplays on America radio…and Lady is close behind with over 4 million airplays. LRB was rightfully inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame at the 18th Annual ARIA Music Awards of 2004.
The current lineup brings new energy and arrangements to the classic hits, making new memories for the audience out of each live performance. It’s always fun to watch as people are swept up by the show’s vitality and the volume of hits from LRB’s history. You’ll see plenty of people mouthing the words…”I love this song…I forgot it was one of Little River Band’s hits!”
Jacksonville’s Molly Hatchet meld loud hard rock boogie with guitar jam-oriented Southern rock. Formed in 1975, the group’s original lineup featured three guitarists — Dave Hlubek, Steve Holland, and Duane Roland — plus vocalist Danny Joe Brown, bassist Banner Thomas, and drummer Bruce Crump. They recorded a self-titled debut album in 1978, which quickly went platinum; the follow-up, Flirtin’ with Disaster, was even more successful, selling over two million copies. Brown left the group in 1980 after the constant touring became too tiresome; he was replaced by Jimmy Farrar for Beatin’ the Odds, but Farrar’s voice was less immediately identifiable, and Molly Hatchet’s commercial appeal began a slow decline. The band experimented with horns on Take No Prisoners, but Farrar left for a solo career soon afterwards. Brown rejoined the band in 1982, but the ensuing album, No Guts…No Glory, flopped, and guitarist Hlubek insisted on revamping Molly Hatchet’s sound. After The Deed Is Done, a straightforward pop/rock album, the group took some time off in 1985 while its Double Trouble Live album, a collection of some of its best-known songs, was released. Molly Hatchet returned in 1989 without Hlubek for an album of straight, polished AOR, Lightning Strikes Twice. Not even the group’s fan base bought the record, and Molly Hatchet disbanded shortly afterward. They reunited in the mid-’90s as an active touring outfit, releasing Devil’s Canyon, their first record since Lightning Strikes Twice, in 1996. Continuing to recapture the style of their glory days, Silent Reign of Heroes followed in 1998, and Kingdom of XII appeared in early 2001. A slew of live recordings appeared during the next few years, and the band’s studio follow-up, Warriors of the Rainbow Bridge, was released in 2005. Their 13th album, Justice, appeared in 2010.
Songs, and songwriting keeps me inspired, moving forward. I tend to scribble down notes, lyrics or just random thoughts on pieces of paper, backs of cigarette packs, sometimes on my shirt cuff. Rock n’ roll is closest thing I’ve got to a spiritual power. It’s been the higher voice in my life and it’s never let me down.”
Countless musicians of far lesser accomplishment have probably made similar statements regarding their own personal creative process, but when the confession comes from John Waite – whose been successfully writing, recording and performing some of the most listenable, enduring and appreciated popular music for more than 35 years – one cannot help but both recognize and marvel at the shimmering legacy of this British born rock star.
The ride began when Waite was tapped as bassist and lead vocalist for the Babys who rocketed to Top 20 chart positions with a pair of infections hits, “Isn’t it Time” from the band’s sophomore LP, Broken Heart in 1977 and the monster ballad, “Every Time I Think of You” off 1978’s Head First. But it was the album’s rhythmically aggressive and seductive title track where fans got their first glimpse of the authentic John Waite, a no-holds-barred rock n’ roll performer devoted heart and soul to live performance and making sure every fan in the audience left the concert hall just as elated and exhausted as the band they’d paid to see.
After John Lennon’s assassination, December 9, 1980, a bizarre thing happened during one of those furious Baby’s performances when John was pulled from the stage by an overzealous fan during an encore. The freak event seriously injured his knee and the group disbanded shortly thereafter. From the ashes of the Baby’s, however, rose an abundant and prodigious solo career, ignited by the well-received release, Ignition, that featured the single, “Change,” which rode the AOR charts for weeks in 1982, the year a new cable channel that would alter the course of popular media culture called MTV launched. At the forefront of its early play list was the video for the Holly Knight-penned track that in 1985, was included on the platinum-selling Vision Quest soundtrack.
John’s next solo effort, 1984’s No Brakes, did exactly what the title inferred, barreling at runaway train speed to international acclaim and U.S. platinum success thanks to the smash hit, “Missing You,” which did not stop until it reached Number 1 on the Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles, Album Rock Tracks and Adult Contemporary charts. The following up single, “Tears” was a top 10 hit on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts.
Continuing to evolve as both a songwriter and formidable stage presence, Mask of Smiles was released in 1985, possessing a pair of muscular hit melodies, ”Every Step of the Way,” and “If Anybody Had a Heart,” which appeared on the soundtrack to the 1986 motion picture, About Last Night starring Demi Moore. John’s fourth solo LP, Rover’s Return, highlighted by the superlative, “These Times Are Hard for Lovers.” The same season that Bon Jovi was urging two lovers to live on a prayer, John delivered an aortal anthem of timeless resonance. “Baby we can make it ‘cause our love will pull us through/ these times are hard for lovers its down to me and you/Nothing’s gonna break us if we hang on to what’s true, these times are hard for lovers, I believe I you.”
“I don’t have a plan and most of the songwriting is a knee jerk reaction of being alive. I try to speak from an honest place where the listener can both hear and feel where I’m coming from; the job is mine, to help them understand me. There’s a real need as an artist to express who you are and where you’re coming from.”
A long and prodigious career often combines composition and interpretation, like in 1990 when John recorded the Martin Page and Bernie Taupin-penned track, “Deal for Life” for the Days of Thunder soundtrack. But two years prior to that cinematic adventure, superbly performing another songwriter’s work led to one of the biggest hits on John Waite’s illustrious resume. In 1988, a reunion with former Baby’s band mates, Jonathan Cain and Ricky Phillips –along with uber-guitarist Neal Schon from Journey and drummer Deen Castronovo –resulted in the John Waite fronted supergroup, Bad English. And in 1989, the group’s ballad, “When I See You Smile,” – penned by Grammy-winning songwriter, Diane Warren – went to Number 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and was certified Gold. The album reached Top Five and sold more than two million units in the U.S. alone. Bad English released two albums before breaking up in 1992.
Since returning to the recording studio and concert trek as a solo artist in 1995, John has produced a string of solid, existentially eccentric, courageously eclectic and blisteringly electric rock n’ roll records, including 1995’s Temple Bar, 1997’s When You Were Mine, 2001’s Figure in a Landscape, 2004’s The Hard Way, 2006’s Downtown: Journey of a Heart and 2010’s In Real Time –an extraordinary live recording that featured burning in-concert realizations of the Baby’s “Change”, “Back on My Feet Again” and “Head First”, not to mention Bad English’s “Best of What I’ve Got” as well as a mind-blowing cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll.”
In 2011, John teamed up with Matchbox 20 lead guitarist and songwriter, Kyle Cook. Their creative chemistry birthed the exhilarating Rough & Tumble, a long form exercise in raucous riffs and bloody truths highlighted by “Further the Sky,” “Shadows of Love” and the Classic Radio chart topping title track, a remarkable feat for any musician to reach number one airplay after three and a half decades in the music business trenches.
The story is far from over for the Lancaster, England-born rock star/balladeer/storyteller who was inspired onto his musical path by childhood blues-based heroes like Free, the Small Faces and Humble Pie, along with a deep connection to the Celtic folk music of his homeland. It was this lifelong passion for original Country that inspired John’s sensational 2006 duet with bluegrass legend, Allison Krauss, where the two combined honeysweet vocal forces to remake his international hit, “Missing You.” On February 5, 2007, they performed the song on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
We laid down some tracks in September in Philadelphia for a live record we’re working on. I’m gonna put two studio tracks on that and release it before summer 2013. There’s no name yet. It’s like a Frankenstein thing. You don’t really know what it is until it gets up starts walking around the room. The legacy of John Waite is a beautiful monster of sound and vision, the chronicle of an authentic artist, a superstar, a seeker of truth and a soother of hearts. He walks and rocks among us. Hopefully for many more years to come. — Lonn Friend
You might be forgiven for thinking that someone who wrote and sang the hits for one of the biggest bands in the world in the 80s and 90s would more likely be found on a Florida beach rather than huddled in a dark recording studio or traveling from gig to gig, taking his solo show on the road. But that is the life for Brian Howe, who for the better part of a decade fronted one of the Great British musical exports, the legendary Bad Company. During his tenure with the band, Howe, along with producer Terry Thomas, co-wrote almost a dozen Top 40 Billboard Album Rock hits, including the Number One singles ‘Holy Water’ and ‘If You Needed Somebody’, a poignant, plaintiff ballad that still tugs at the heart of those who spent their High School years watching MTV when the channel actually played music videos. After a decade of touring worldwide, fronting an iconic rock band and recording three acclaimed solo projects, Howe is forging yet another path for himself the old fashioned-way: discipline and hard work. Working once again with producer Brooks Paschal, Howe is continuing to explore a sound he essentially created when he was with Bad Company, the lynchpin being his unmistakable, slightly raspy vocal that is one of the most underrated yet respected voices in rock music. Howe met Paschal when he was searching for a studio to record a new album and he overheard a project that the young producer/writer was helming. Impressed with what he heard, he and Brooks sat down and, in just a few short hours, had written a couple of songs. “That was the moment I realized we had a real chemistry, that we could have a great working relationship,” Howe said later of this first encounter. That initial meeting led to what became the critically acclaimed ‘Circus Bar’ album, the name being an homage to one of Howe’s favorite watering holes in Guatemala, a country with which he has a certain affinity. (When he is not on the road or recording, he spends as much time as he can in this Central American Republic where he is also on the board of a dog rescue foundation called Ayuda). Currently in a Florida studio working on his fourth solo project, Howe has his musical vision set on a big horizon, different from anything he’s done before. The album release will coincide with solo acoustic shows that will celebrate a deep well of his influences — ranging from Cat Stevens to The Beatles to renowned Scottish songsmiths Gallagher and Lyle — as well as new originals and gems from his days fronting his previous partnership with Mick Ralphs and Simon Kirke, Bad Company. “I’m hoping to tour small theaters where I can actually talk to the audience,” Howe said. “That really intrigues me. If they’ve taken time out of their day to come and see me, I want to treat them as friends, not just people in the audience.” Howe exploded onto the scene when he partnered with multi-platinum artist Ted Nugent for the 1983 album, Penetrator. The success of that album propelled Howe into the spotlight, and it wasn’t long before Bad Company came calling. The band had enjoyed massive popular success in the 70s with hits like “Feel Like Making Love” and “Rock and Roll Fantasy,” but with the departure of founder Paul Rodgers and falling record sales, the group’s business was in a downward spiral and was in desperate need of a strong “kick start.” “Joining Bad Company was a challenge and I knew it was going to take a lot of hard work” said Howe. In 1986, on his first U.S. tour with Bad Company, they were opening for Deep Purple when, sadly, (Deep Purple guitarist) Ritchie Blackmore broke a finger,” Howe said. “That left us in America with no gigs. I’m not joking, we were playing small bars and night clubs. I knew that if something didn’t happen this was going to fail…we needed a hit record. Howe approached management with his concerns for the band’s future, and they introduced him to producer Terry Thomas with the idea that they should write three songs for the band’s next album. The duo finished three new songs in three days. When none of his bandmates contributed any songs of their own, he and Thomas finished writing the majority of their 1988 album, Dangerous Age, a project that yielded the hit singles “No Smoke Without a Fire”, “One Night “, and “Shake It Up”. All three songs landed in the Billboard Top 10 Album Rock Tracks chart. Buoyed by that success, Howe and Thomas set to work on the now iconic 1990 platinum album, Holy Water. The album yielded the singles “If You Needed Somebody,” “Walk Through Fire” and the title track, which hit Number 1 for two weeks on the AOR charts. The success continued with the Gold certified Here Comes Trouble, producing the hit “How About That”. Having stretched his creative wings in the studio, Howe focused on recapturing the band’s live performance reputation and subsequently led them to becoming one of the top 5 grossing acts of 1991. During Howe’s tenure with the band (1986 — 1994), Bad Company sold more than 19 million records worldwide. Howe’s success leading the band did not come without problems, though. Despite the band’s resurgence with Holy Water, Howe’s bandmates seemed more interested in sticking to their past accolades rather than continue creating new music. “At some point, you want to move on artistically,” Howe said. “If you’re not creating something new, then what’s the point? It gets very difficult to love music anymore when what you’re doing is resting on your past hits.” The upside for Howe, though, was that it pressed him to broaden his own artistry. “All I’d ever wanted to do was to sing and write songs,” he said, “But when I joined we were really a sinking ship. I knew what it would take to turn the band around, and that was hard work. For whatever reason, the other guys were not bringing any new songs to the table, so I was forced to take over as the songwriter. I never expected that job, but to survive I knew that we had to have new material.” “Still, it was an incredible decade for me,” he adds. “In terms of becoming a better writer and performer, it was amazing. I knew what it took to turn Bad Company around. I had a fixed idea of what needed to be done. Mick and Simon were in a different place to me, they had already enjoyed hugely successful careers and I was the new kid on the block, perhaps I wanted it a little more, so selling a ton of records gave me a great deal of confidence for the music I’m creating now. Even though it was an acrimonious split, the whole experience made me a lot of money and allowed me the freedom to explore my musical interests.” ‘Hot Tin Roof’ is the new single, the first track to be released from sessions that have been spread over the past three years and recorded in a variety of locations. It is an up tempo, hard rocking love song that is resonating both with his core base and new fans. With the new material comes new opportunity, and this Fall, Howe will embark on his first European shows since his last world tour with Bad Company in 1993. He has found a new sense of purpose with a dynamic live band that includes Pete Mendillo on drums, Chris Turnbow on guitar, Abe White on bass and the newest addition, guitarist Paul Warren, who for more than a dozen years traveled the world with Rod Stewart. In an interesting twist, when Paul was playing with Richard Marx in the 80s, he recalls Richard and he returning to the bus after every show and putting on ‘Holy Water’. Today he is enjoying playing those songs on stage with Howe… and Howe is enjoying sharing that stage with a wealth of talent. Four decades on, Brian Howe still has many things he wants to achieve musically, and ‘Hot Tin Roof’ is the first salvo of new music that he hopes will be well received by his audience worldwide.
Fran Cosmo exploded onto the Rock scene when he took over for Brad Delp as the lead singer for the Legendary group BOSTON in 1992. Fran was featured as the lead vocalist on the “Walk On” Album which sold over a million copies worldwide. Certified Platinum in America and certified Platinum in Canada.
Fran’s Lead vocals was also featured on four of the songs off the “Corporate America” Album and both of BOSTON’S Greatest Hits.The song “Livin For You” in which Fran also sang lead on was the only LIVE BOSTON song ever released on the Greatest Hits Albums.
Before joining Boston Fran was a highly respected lead vocalist and was the lead singer and co-songwriter for Both the ORION THE HUNTER and Barry Goudreau Albums. The Song “So You Ran” was an MTV hit and climbed to number #4 on the US Billboard Charts. The band then toured with Aerosmith’s “Back in the Saddle” Tour.
The Band also features Anton Cosmo former member of BOSTON. Anton wrote and performed four songs off the “Corporate America” Album and performed as the backing vocalist and guitarist on the 2003-2004 world tours.
Fran Cosmo a Classic Rock Legend, is a MUST SEE in live performance and is known for his high energy and outstanding vocals that very few can still perform.
Bertie Higgins was born and raised in Tarpon Springs, Florida, and while still in his teens, Bertie met and became a protégé of the actor/directors, Richard Boone and his friend, Burt Reynolds who saw Bertie’s writing potential and tutored him in screen writing. His screen writing career would have to wait, however, as he diverted his creative abilities toward the music business. Bertie had been working on a song and that song became KEY LARGO. After being released on the CBS/SONY label, it blew a hole in the U.S. charts and when it reached number one in the nation, the world took notice and it became an international evergreen. Other hit singles followed like JUST ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE and CASABLANCA. Casablanca became song of the year in all of the Pacific Rim countries and when the CD reached multi platinum status, Bertie became an international recording star literally overnight. He has appeared on all the major network talk and variety shows, was featured as an actor in THE GUIDING LIGHT as well as THE ABC MYSTERY MOVIE OF THE WEEK and starred in the feature film, OUT OF HAND. He recently performed in 2016 with Michael Bolton and Arnold Schwarzenegger during international and Chinese New Years on two television shows from Beijing. The performances were viewed by an audience of three billion people worldwide.
Bertie opened an office in Burbank, California in 2010 to pursue his love of filmmaking and to work with his son, Julian Higgins, who was a film student majoring in film direction. After writing several screenplays he decided to form a production company with Julian and they began producing their own projects. The first film was entitled BEAST BENEATH and was released by LION’S GATE in early 2012. The next film was entitled, POKER RUN. Bertie co-wrote the script, produced, took a role in and supervised the music in the film. It is being distributed domestically and internationally. Their current film projects now completed and are entitled, THE COLOMBIAN CONNECTION, starring Tom Sizemore also in international distribution, CHRISTMAS IN HOLLYWOOD, a family film now being distributed in China and North America and STILL ROCKIN’, a documentary about the creation of Rock and Roll which is nearing completion. These are the first of many projects forthcoming from Cayo Largo Productions and the company looks forward to a bright future. Bertie has just completed his twenty fifth album entitled, “SON OF A BEACH” and it is due out Summer 2017. This will be distributed by Toucan Cove and Universal Music. Also in 2017 Bertie was knighted, inducted into the Florida Music Hall of Fame, (presented by Burt Reyolds) received the Mozart Award, the Beethoven Award, received an honorary PHD in music and holds the title of Sir Bertie Higgins, PHD. Also in a duet with the Bellamy Brothers in 2017 he won best folk acoustic song in the International Acoustic Awards.
To be certain, it will always be just another day in paradise for Bertie Higgins and he’ll be waiting for you under the next palm tree for years to come. This pirate and poet continues to write and sing about turquoise lagoons, golden sands and islands in the sun in a style he affectionately refers to as “Trop Rock”.
Ron Dante along with Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods
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Pop music fans know Ron Dante as the voice of The Archies who performed the legendary hit song “Sugar, Sugar”. His hit single top the charts for over 7 weeks and was the “Record of the Year” in Billboard Magazine for 1969 selling over 10 million copies.
Dante was the singing voice on hundreds of popular radio and tv commercials.
It’s Dante’s voice you hear on spots for Coke, Dr. Pepper, McDonalds, American Airlines and even today Dante is the voice of Yoplaits new campaign singing “Itsy Bitsy Yellow Poka Dot Bikini”.
Dante is also known for his work as a producer for such artists as Barry Manilow, Pat Benetar, Cher, Ray Charles, John Denver and other major recording artists.
BO DONALDSON AND THE HEYWOODS had been performing for nearly a decade when they hit Teen-Idol pay dirt. Touring in the mid 60’s as an opening act for supergroups like The Rascals, Paul Revere and The Raiders, Box-Tops, Grassroots and Herman’s Hermits gave the group enough exposure to garner them a strong following on the live circuit. An opening stint for The Osmond Brothers and appearances on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and “Action ’73” TV shows poised Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods into the right realm for the stardom they would soon achieve. The first single, “Special Someone,” hit the charts in 1972 then the next single “Deeper and Deeper’ came in 1973. “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero” was all that was necessary to shoot Bo and The Heywoods up to the #1 spot for two weeks, sell more than three million copies and earn The Heywoods a gold record. Four more Top 40 singles followed on the heels of “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero.” The Top 15 follow up hit, “Who Do You Think You Are,” was an utterly irresistible pop song from the pens of Jigsaws Clive Scoff and Des Dyer. The acts next Top 40 hit, “The Heartbreak Kid,” was written by Michael Price and Dan Walsh, who had written hits for The Grassroots. The next single “House on Telegraph Hill” dealt with the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. The band’s last chart showing was the ballad, “Our Last Song Together’wriften by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. Although “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero” went to #1 over twenty-five years ago, it has maintained a presence in the entertainment industry even today. Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods and “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero” have been mentioned in Stephen King’s book “The Stand” and also in such Television shows as “Get A Life,” “ALF,” and “Friends”. The song was also used in such feature films as Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs” and in the unique film “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”. VH-l’s 8 Track Flashback with Suzanne Summers featured The Heywoods and “Billy.” “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero” can currently be found on Rhino Records “Super Hits of the 70’s” and on the 7 CD box set “Have a Nice Decade.”
Dennis Tufano and the 1910 Fruitgum Company
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The “Original Voice” of The Buckinghams’ Hits – Kind of A Drag, Don’t You Care, Mercy-Mercy-Mercy, Hey Baby-They’re Playing Our Song, Susan & more.
Dennis Tufano, a native of Chicago, was the “Original Voice of The Buckinghams”, 2009 inductees into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame. With Dennis’ vocals leading the way, the Chicago- based group scored with a string of five Top Ten hits in the late- sixties including , the No#1 “Kind Of A Drag”, “Don’t You Care”, “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”, “Hey Baby, They’re Playing Our Song”, “Susan” and “Back In Love Again”. Following his success in the Buckinghams he was part of the song writing duo “Tufano and Giammarese” and recorded three albums with Lou Adler’s custom label, Ode Records (1971 to 1976). In 1978, he wrote the music and performed with Bernie Taupin, Elton John’s lyricist, on Taupin’s album, ” He Who Rides The Tiger “. He has also performed as guest vocalist and co-written with renowned composer and musician Tom Scott. With Scott as composer, Dennis performed the “original title/theme song” for the long running “Family Ties” television show. (first 13 episodes) In 1982, Dennis toured with Olivia Newton-John and was featured, with Olivia, on her HBO Special in two dramatically inspired duets. In 1995 Dennis was invited, once again, to co-write, co-produce and perform with Bernie Taupin, Robin Le Mesurier and Jim Cregan on the Discovery Records CD “Farm Dogs, Last Stand In Open Country”.
The 1910 Fruitgum Company® virtually exploded onto the National charts in 1968 with the first single release, “SIMON SAYS”. The song quickly moved up the charts to become a # 2 record on the national charts and reached the top of the charts in the United Kingdom. The 1910 Fruitgum Company followed up this initial success with another smash hit, “1-2-3 RED LIGHT”. The group’s next hit record, “INDIAN GIVER” became The 1910 Fruitgum Company’s third Gold record. Other releases to follow included, “MAY I TAKE A GIANT STEP”, “SPECIAL DELIVERY”, “THE TRAIN”, “WHEN WE GET MARRIED” and “REFLECTIONS IN THE LOOKING GLASS”.
Several other songs created a virtual treasure chest of albums!Today, The 1910 Fruitgum Company travels and performs throughout the United States. Our venues include large capacity concerts and we have appeared on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and numerous tv and radio shows as well as Las Vegas and Atlantic City. The group has shared the stage and toured with such music and entertainment giants as, The Beach Boys, Lou Christie, Sly and the Family Stone, The Buckinghams, John Ford Coley, Maxine Nightingale, Tommy Roe, Mark Lindsey (original lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders), The Vogues, The Archies’ Ron Dante, Gary US Bonds, Jim Yester of the Association, Melanie, Commander Cody and numerous other top acts.Today, the group is back, with original founding member Frank Jeckell along with Mick Mansueto, and going strong.
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Canned Heat rose to fame because their knowledge and love of blues music was both wide and deep. Emerging in 1966, Canned Heat was founded by blues historians and record collectors Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson and Bob “The Bear” Hite. Hite took the name “Canned Heat” from a 1928 recording by Tommy Johnson. They were joined by Henry “The Sunflower” Vestine, another ardent record collector who was a former member of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention. Rounding out the band in 1967 were Larry “The Mole” Taylor on bass, an experienced session musician who had played with Jerry Lee Lewis and The Monkees and Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra on drums who had played in two of the biggest Latin American bands, Los Sinners and Los Hooligans.
With the leadership of manager/producer Skip Taylor, the band attained three worldwide hits, “On The Road Again” in 1968, “Going Up The Country” in 1969 and “Let’s Work Together” in 1970. These recordings became rock anthems throughout the world with “Going Up The Country” later being adopted as the unofficial theme song for the film Woodstock and the “Woodstock Generation.”
They secured their niche in the pages of rock ‘n roll history with their performances at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival (along with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and The Who) and the headlining slot at the original Woodstock Festival in 1969. The band can boast of collaborations with John Mayall and Little Richard and later with blues icon, John Lee Hooker, the musician that they initially got much of their musical inspiration from in the first place. This union produced the spirited and revered album, “Hooker ‘n Heat.” The band is also credited with bringing a number of other forgotten bluesmen to the forefront of modern blues including Sunnyland Slim, who they found driving a taxi in Chicago, Skip James, who they found in a hospital in Tunica, Mississippi and took to the Newport Festival, Memphis Slim and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown with whom they recorded in France and Albert Collins.
On September 3rd, 1970, the band was shattered by the suicide of Alan Wilson. His death sparked reconstruction within the group and member changes have continued throughout the past five decades. On April 5th, 1981, at the Palamino in Los Angeles, gargantuan vocalist, Bob Hite, collapsed and died of a heart attack and on October 20th, 1997, Henry Vestine died in Paris, France following the final gig of a European tour. In 2008, singer/harmonica frontman Robert Lucas passed away from a drug overdose and on October 1st, of 2018, singer, slide guitarist James (James T) Thornberry passed in Australia where he called home for the past 25 years… he was the frontman for The Heat for ten years from 1985-1995.
Despite these untimely deaths and assorted musical trends, Canned Heat has survived. They have performed at world-renowned venues such as Paris’ Olympia, both Fillmore Auditoriums, The Kaleidoscope, Carnegie Hall (with John Lee Hooker), Madison Square Garden and even Royal Albert Hall and have played more biker festivals and charity events than any other band in the world. They and/or their music have been featured on television (In Concert, David Frost, Merv Griffin, Midnight Special, Playboy After Dark, etc.), and in films (“Woodstock,” “Flashback,” and “Forrest Gump”) etc. Their legend has recently been heard and felt in various television commercials (“On The Road Again” for Miller Beer, “Goin’ Up The Country” for Geico Insurance, Pepsi, Chevrolet and McDonalds, “Let’s Work Together” for Lloyd’s Bank, England’s Electric Company and for Target Stores along with other songs for 7-Up, Levi’s and Heineken Beer).
Now, more than fifty years later and with thirty-eight albums to their credit, Canned Heat is still going strong. They have been anchored throughout the past fifty years by the steady hand of drummer/band leader Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra. Joining “Fito” is original bassist Larry “The Mole” Taylor and New Orleans legend, Dale Spalding on harmonica, guitar and lead vocals. John “JP” Paulus handles guitar, bass and vocals.
Canned Heat “Up The Country” Featured in GEICO Office Commercial – 2017
The Osmond Brothers, Merrill and Jay, are no strangers to show business.
When they started their barbershop quartet with Brothers Alan and Wayne, they never imagined that it would become the group that music historians note as the longest running group in history, having never been disbanded. Their barbershop roots create that familiar harmonizing that has become the “signature” of their music.
Their career started when they wanted to earn the money to purchase hearing aids for their two older brothers, Virl & Tom. These older brothers were heroes to them then and they continue to inspire them to this day.
The brothers were discovered by Walt Disney in 1961. As he mentored them, they were asked by Andy Williams to join his show weekly in 1962. The four original Brothers continued working with Andy, becoming a world class success. They also entertained in Sweden, Japan and other countries in the summers for several years. Their career also included regular guest appearances on The Jerry Lewis Show, The Glen Campbell Good Time Hour, The Sonny & Cher Show, The Flip Wilson Show and Many others. They also starred along with Kurt Russell in “The travels of Jamie McPheeters. The four brothers added Donny in the 60s and the group of five continued to evolve. They were honored by Walt Disney when they were asked to launch the Haunted Mansion attraction in Disneyland along with friend Kurt Russell. This also was made into a television movie.
Selling millions of records worldwide, the family earned more than 53 gold and platinum records along with other prestigious awards. The Osmond Brothers surpassed both Elvis and the Beatles best single year success by being honored with nine gold records in 1971. In Las Vegas the Osmond Brothers were voted ‘Best Musical variety Act of 1974’ which was followed by them being presented with the ‘People’s Choice Award’ as America’s Favorite Musical Group in 1975.
When The Osmond Brothers entertained in Las Vegas with Nancy Sinatra, they became good friends with her Father, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. Elvis became as a Big Brother to them and greatly influenced their careers by watching his interaction and devotion with his fans. They emulated his charisma and he even shared his wardrobe designs with the Brothers.
The Osmond Brothers have created a niche all their own in the field of entertainment. Their remarkable success with Pop, Rock & Roll, Country, and Gospel music has enabled them to touch audiences both young and old, and every age in between. Mastering this variety of musical genres is the contributing factor that has seen the Osmond Brothers tremendous success in television, recording, and concert performances.
Their membership in the Mormon church and devotion to God and family, along with a wide-range of talent, creates the unique combination that has led to the tremendous success of the Osmond Brothers.
In the late 70s, Marie and Jimmy added their talents to the group and the group became the Osmonds. The Brothers, Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay had several country hits in the 80s, winning them a prestigious CMA award for best song and video. In the early 90s, Jimmy became a part of the Osmond Brothers in Branson, Missouri and continued to perform with them until 2016 when he decided to step out and make his solo career.
Because of health reasons, Brothers Alan and Wayne no longer perform with the Brothers. Merrill and Jay as the Osmond Brothers are still going strong and are re-visiting their Rock & Roll roots. They have recently recorded their favorite hits from the 70s and have released it by popular demand. The Vintage hits with their mature voices have received great reviews and they continue to have tremendous support from their fans, who have become more like friends over the decades that they have been together. The Osmond Brothers are as at home on the road as they have been when performing for record-breaking crowds for many years all over the world. The audiences who come to see Merrill and Jay not only see a world class show, but leave feeling like a family. It’s that charismatic interaction these brothers have with people that make audiences come back show after show.
Highlights in their careers involve a BBC Documentary, “On tour with the Osmonds” and “Osmonds at Shepheards Bush” in the early 70s. Also, an ABC made-for- television movie about the Osmond family, “Inside the Osmonds,” which aired in 2001. Several CDs have recently been released, including “The Osmonds Ultimate Collection” which soared to the top of the U.K. charts in 2003. August 7, 2003 brought a highly esteemed honor to the Osmond family; the seven performing Osmonds received a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame. All six performing Osmond Brothers were honored to be among the performers for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh at the 75th Royal Variety Performance held in Edinburgh November 24, 2003. The Osmond Brothers were honored once again, when they received an unprecedented two standing ovations during this Royal Variety Performance. There have recently been several sold-out U.K. tours, as well as many successful tour dates across the U.S., including the August 2007 50th Anniversary Celebration with all family members joining together onstage in Las Vegas.
Merrill Osmond, the middle son of nine children in the Osmond Family, has spent his entertainment career as the Osmond Brothers’ lead singer and an established solo artist. In collaboration with his brothers, Merrill has written the music and lyrics for five number one hit records and contributed vocally and instrumentally to the group’s collective 27 gold records – many of which he shared the production credits. Merrill is also no stranger to live theater. He has recently performed in productions with the music of many great composers such as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, and Rodgers and Hammerstein. Merrill’s most recent live theater performance was in the lead role of “The Civil War” with the music of Frank Wildhorn.
Merrill’s experience in providing great entertainment for audiences has enabled him to develop important skills in working with people from all aspects of the industry. His hand in producing special events and festivals was also lent to a special and memorable event when Merrill produced the “Making of an Inauguration” for President Ronald Regan. Inexhaustible energy, creative thinking, decisive management skills and charismatic performing abilities are all talents of Merrill Osmond. He continues to entertain with his brother, Jay, as well as a solo artist, is a writer, and a motivational speaker.
Jay Osmond went from the little guy following the cameras on The Andy Williams Show, to a polished and multi-talented entertainer. He was the instigator on many of the projects that kept the family together and moving forward during all the years of success. Jay is the youngest of the original Osmond Brothers group, with a career in entertainment that started at the age of two and a half. Jay was eight years old when he learned to play the drums, and went on to be voted one of the top 10 drummers in the country during the 1970s. Jay, along with the brothers, co-wrote many of the hit records. In 1972, Jay sang lead on “Crazy Horses,” which skyrocketed to the Osmonds’ best selling single overseas, and it remains a fan favorite to this day.
Jay choreographed the shows for the Brothers, as well as Donny & Marie. His style was influenced by his karate skills learned from his personal instructor, Chuck Norris. Jay has also worked “behind the scenes” as a producer. His production credits include the 1970s television programs, “The Donny & Marie Show” and “The Osmond Family Hour,” the 1980s variety show “Marie,” the movie depicting the life of the Osmond family “Side by Side,” and the family’s50th Anniversary PBS special and DVD projects. Jay released a solo CD, “It’s About Time Again” in 2009, and his autobiography, “Stages”.
The hard work and dedication that started in their youth and evolved into the hysteria caused by five teenaged boys has evolved into a genuine love and respect.
Deserving of all that, they have managed to stayed true to themselves, their Christian religion of LDS beliefs, their fans, and the talents they still share with us today.
Looking at the lifetime of achievements and the success of the Osmond Brothers shows how they truly are Legends and Icons in the entertainment world.
As a pioneer with the legendary Beserkley Records, Greg Kihn helped write the book on revolutionary west coast rock and roll. He’s toured the world, had hit records, and has won several awards for his hit songs “Jeopardy”, “Break Up Song” and “Lucky”. Greg has lived the Rockstar lifestyle to the hilt and Kihntinues to rock on!
Greg recently obtained the rights to all his old recordings and has re-released his entire catalogue. In support of these releases and his NEW album “ReKihndled”, the iconic San Francisco Bay area rocker, radio personality and author has been going out with the Greg Kihn Band across the country.
The GKB is rockin’ and looking to play Theaters, Fairs, Festivals, Casinos, and select Clubs for 2018! The NEW Greg Kihn Band consists of Greg Kihn on lead vocals/guitar, Greg’s son Ry Kihn on lead guitar/vocals, Robert Berry on bass/vocals, and David Lauser on drums.
Fans who see the band will really appreciate the NEW 90 minute set consisting of all Greg Kihn original material: like the big hits “Jeopardy” and “Break Up Song”, fan favorites such as “Happy Man” and “Can’t Stop Hurtin’ Myself” as well as new material from his new “ReKihndled” album.