In Search Of The Forgotten Heroes Of 70s Rock
These overlooked 70s rock heroes moved audiences, made fantastic albums, then faded, but are still fondly thought of by diehards. Remember them with love.
We all know about the 70s. The Beatles quit, glam came along – T.Rex, Bowie, Slade; in the background, Floyd, Zeppelin and Sabbath sold squillions of records as 70s rock icons. Yes, ELP, Mike Oldfield and Genesis did prog for educated chaps. Then disco: ELO, ABBA and Queen competed with it, then joined it. Punk rebelled, then came post-punk and Joy Division, plus 2-Tone. There was other stuff, like Bob Marley and Eagles. And we wore platform-heeled hot pants. Cool. Perhaps.
But are the 2010s only about Adele and Ed Sheeran? Beneath their mass appeal lies hundreds of other acts making great music. It was the same for 70s rock coulda-beens: brilliant bands rocked audiences of thousands, made fantastic albums, then faded. Fondly remembered by a troupe of diehards, these acts are almost ignored by the rock’n’roll historians – though many deserved to be lauded like their celebrated contemporaries. Here are but a few: remember them with love, or discover them afresh.
It wasn’t enough for Focus to boast a brilliant guitarist in Jan Akkerman; they had a wily way with a tune and succeeded with an unfashionable form of rock: instrumentals. Focus were The Netherlands’ leading 70s rock band. Formed in 1969, they won attention through early single “House Of The King.” The theme for four UK TV series(!), the unwary might have mistaken it for a Jethro Tull ditty thanks to the flute of Thijs Van Leer, though his group were very different. Their second album, 1971’s II, was Focus’ breakthrough, delivering an international hit in the fierce “Hocus Pocus.” Their third album delivered the elegant descending melody of “Sylvia,” winning further fans worldwide, with Akkerman drawing admiration. The guitarist left in 1976 but returned several times; Focus are still on the road.
Robin Trower, Wishbone Ash
Akkerman wasn’t alone: the 70s adored a guitar hero. Robin Trower, formerly of Procol Harum, was seen by some listeners as the heir to Jimi Hendrix. Trower formed his own power trio in 1973, teasing weeping and wailing from his Stratocaster over a series of fine records, and riding high in the album chart with Bridge Of Sighs in ’74 and For Earth Below in ’75 – chiefly in the US, rather than his native UK. Another notable guitar band were Wishbone Ash, though they went one further, with the double lead axes and vocals of Andy Powell and Ted Turner mesmerizing fans. Pilgrimage (1971) and Argus (1972) were 70s rock classics, mixing melody, blues, and a mythological element. Their “Blowin’ Free” was banned from some guitar shops which grew sick of budding strummers playing its intro. Among them was Steve Harris, heartbeat of Iron Maiden, for whom the Ash was a major influence.
Osibisa, The Strawbs
The second-division 70s rock bands were not remotely generic. Behind the sleeve artwork of famed designer Roger Dean, Osibisa played Afro-rock that mixed Ghanaian highlife, searing rock, and Caribbean grooves; ignore their biggest hit, “Sunshine Day,” and check out their eponymous debut LP and its ’74 follow-up, Woyaya: both made loon pants rave. The Strawbs blended folk (Sandy Denny was an early member, as was Rick Wakeman) with rock, glam, and social comment, hitting with “Part Of The Union” and “Lay Down” in 1972. The band were too diverse for its own good, though Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios (1970) and Grave New World (’72) were widely played and respected. And spare a thought for the Illinois singer-songwriter Emitt Rhodes, a multi-tracking one-man-band given the tag of “the new Paul McCartney.” Gulp. His second, self-titled, album is so full of beautiful, melodic tunes, tending to the baroque, that it’s baffling that it only made No.29 in the US in 1970. Talent? You bet.
The harmonious progressive rock of California quartet Ambrosia illuminated the second half of the 70s. Their imaginative eponymous debut (1975) adapted a Kurt Vonnegut poem for the single “Nice, Nice, Very Nice,” while “Holdin’ On To Yesterday,” an orchestrated beauty with the sort of beat now regarded as a downtempo groove, was a big US hit. The following year, Somewhere I’ve Never Travelled sent FM DJs quietly wild; further fame came when the group cut “Magical Mystery Tour” for the Beatles/war documentary oddity All This And World War II. Scoring warm soul-styled hits in the 80s, these alluring soft rockers are still touring.
Atlanta Rhythm Section
The wonderful Atlanta Rhythm Section faced one drawback: their acronym was ARS. But they made it. No prizes for guessing where they’re from. They delivered five albums between 1972-76, with little fuss and low sales figures: that changed in 1977 when “So Into You,” a cool, steady-chugging chunk of soulful Southern rock, went Top 10 in the US, bringing their A Rock And Roll Alternative with it. The next year they scored again with “Imaginary Lover” and the strolling “I’m Not Going To Let It Bother Me Tonight,” both from the platinum-selling Champagne Jam. Further hits came courtesy of “Do It Or Die” and a revival of “Spooky” – two members of the band had been in Classics IV, who’d first hit with the in ’67. ARS were a class act.
Ozark Mountain Daredevils
Want something that blends with them? Try “Jackie Blue” (1974), the biggest hit by Missouri’s Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Mixing AOR with country-influenced sounds (check out the boogie of “If You Want To Get To Heaven”) and a sense of the absurd (their third LP was called The Car Over The Lake Album, and the sleeve showed just that), they were a reliably fine time on vinyl between 1973-80.
Staying in the south, Wet Willie were named after a schoolyard prank but were no joke. From Alabama, they boasted five or six core members, plus backing singers The Williettes, who included British solo star Elkie Brooks for a while. Their biggest hit was the laconic, steady-rollin’ “Keep On Smilin’” in 1974, title track to their fourth album. For the full blast of their grittily funky rock, however, try the previous year’s superb live set, Drippin’ Wet. And let’s also recall Manassas, who cut two fine albums in 1972-73. And they would be fine, since they were the vision of a bona fide superstar, Steven Stills, and featured Chris Hillman of The Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers amid an array of truly great players. The group’s self-titled debut offered four sides of glorious rootsy country-rock – and whatever else took their fancy. Everyone involved thought the band was amazing, so why weren’t they bigger? Perhaps because fans wanted Crosby, Stills & Nash, instead.
Brinsley Schwarz, Miller Anderson
At the opposite end of the fame spectrum, British 70s rock band Brinsley Schwarz, named after their guitarist, were famously over-hyped when flown to NYC to open at the Fillmore East in front of a gaggle of music hacks, but settled into a low-key country-rock and roots vibe that was a cornerstone of London pub-rock. Building a loyal, if small, following, they toured constantly, supported the likes of Wings and Dave Edmunds, but disbanded unheralded in 1975, leaving us half a dozen albums such as the country-inclined Nervous On The Road. Most members went on to success, notably bassist and songwriter Nick Lowe, who produced The Damned and Elvis Costello, was part of Dave Edmunds’ Rockpile, and wrote Dr. Feelgood’s biggest hit, “Milk And Alcohol.” Another downbeat hero, Scottish guitarist Miller Anderson, breathed blues-fuelled fire into records by Keef Hartley Band, Savoy Brown, Ian Hunter, Jon Lord, and many more. His sole solo set of the 70s, Bright City, on Decca’s progressive Deram imprint, was ambitious, thoughtful, and had a theme concerning 70s urban life, with brilliant orchestral arrangements. It sold… not at all. A dirty rotten shame, as Anderson’s under-exposed vocal talent deserved exposure.
Prog stars Camel, led by guitarist/flautist Andy Latimer and featuring keyboardist Peter Bardens, cut Camel for MCA in ’72, featuring the climactic gem “Never Let Go.” Swapping to Deram, Mirage found a following in the US, and 1975’s instrumental suite, The Snow Goose, became a surprise runaway success, despite a dispute with Paul Gallico, the author of the kids’ book of the same name, involving an unseemly mix-up about whether the band were related to the cigarette brand (they weren’t). The following year’s Moonmadness was another hit amid various line-up changes, and the group kept charting until 1984.
Barclay James Harvest, Gentle Giant
Another act who had to earn it, baby, were prog stalwarts Barclay James Harvest, a quartet who got through five albums without pestering the Top 40, finally scoring with Live, a double set that reflected a fanbase built on hard graft. LPs such as Everyone Is Everyone Else, Octoberon, and Time Honoured Ghosts are classics of their type, with great songs such as “Mocking Bird” and the wry “Poor Man’s Moody Blues” undeservedly little heard today. Then there’s Gentle Giant, who grew (and grew) from the psychedelic-era act Simon Dupree & The Big Sound (and late-60s curiosity The Moles) into one of the most reliable progressive bands of the 70s. While they barely hit in their native UK, a decade of albums on Vertigo label and Chrysalis won a strong following in the US, with Free Hand going Top 50, and the likes of Octopus and The Power And The Glory proving fascinating those with ears to hear.
Finally, two more British 70s rock bands who, sadly, barely registered: Spring, a highly melodious five-piece whose charming self-titled 1971 album is mostly recognized for copious use of the Mellotron (without sounding remotely like The Moody Blues). What ought to be more noted, however, are the heartfelt and distinctive vocals of Pat Moran, who went on to produce Iggy Pop, among many others. And should you think T2 is just a movie, you haven’t heard It’ll All Work Out In Boomland, a legendary progressive album that should have made stars of the trio that recorded it. If you want to know where Neil Young and Bowie meet, hear T2’s singer-drummer Peter Dunton, and you’ll also enjoy the tough guitar stylings of Keith Cross. Despite BBC sessions and an 80s reunion, fame proved elusive for the group. 70s rock fans didn’t know how lucky they were.
Featuring stand-out moments from overlooked heroes Camel and Gentle Giant, along with a host of other prog acts who deserve far wider recognition, follow the Prog Rocks playlist on Spotify.
May 5, 2017 at 7:03 pm
Don’t forget: Pablo Cruise, Moon Martin, Tarney Spencer Band, Sniff n Tears, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and so many more. Linda Ronstadt had a great run but her music is now all but forgotten.
August 31, 2017 at 8:18 am
I don’t think Linda Ronstadt is or will ever be forgotten.
November 17, 2017 at 7:27 am
Thank you for bringing to my attention. Uriah Heep is my favourite band, incidentally, but luckily they are too prolific to call forgotten. Underrated perhaps. My other favourite band is the Abyssinians. They are a reggae band, but they transcend genres, really.
February 7, 2018 at 10:05 pm
Wishbone ash, Hydra, captain Beyond, poco, also exemplified less publicized bands of the time
March 7, 2018 at 3:28 pm
Since the mention of Hydra which was a Capricorn act l want to mention a South Texas act who was the 3rd band signed by Phil Walden and Associates, Donnie McCormick and his mind blowing crew named Eric Quincy Tate. They released their first l.p. on Atlantic Records subsidiary Cotillion produced by Jerry Wexkler and Tom Dowd in 1969 and released in 1970 with the addition of the Memphis Horns. Their 2nd l.p. was produced by Paul Hornsby and released in 1972 on Capricorn resulting in a regional hit called Brown Sugar. The then released their 3rd l.p. on G R C called E Q T resulting in a double regional hit one rock No Rollin’ Boogie one country
September 25, 2018 at 5:12 pm
edgar broughton band, blodwyn pig
May 7, 2017 at 2:38 pm
Loved Osibisa’s debut album. Saw Barclays James Harvest in concert three times. Very under-appreciated. Still play their live album endlessly.
May 7, 2017 at 4:03 pm
What about SRC, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Third Power, 13th Floor Elevator, Mountain, Sky, Rationals, The Frost, Grand Funk, Todd Rundgren, Little Feat
January 24, 2018 at 6:50 am
did you listen SBB ? – ,, Follow My Dream ,, album … ?
May 8, 2017 at 1:28 am
what about whitewitch
October 10, 2017 at 8:35 pm
Saw White Witch in concert in the summer of 1972, I think. Very good.
October 11, 2017 at 2:19 pm
Love White Witch as well as Captain Beyond! Great bands, under promoted!
June 30, 2019 at 8:09 pm
My all time favorite! First album to me is home. Captain Beyond also.
May 9, 2017 at 7:23 pm
Oh, no mention about Family ?
May 9, 2017 at 7:46 pm
I was just thinking about this very subject last week – more specifically forgotten UK bands – and one name that sprang to mind was Hookfoot.
May 10, 2017 at 1:54 am
May 10, 2017 at 6:07 am
May 10, 2017 at 7:29 pm
FUSE from Rockford, Pete Brown and Piblokto: poetical Cream, Toe Fat where Cliff Bennet sang but Ken Hensley (ex Gods, future Uriah Heep) played the guitar. Blodwyn Pig with Abrahams, Foghat and their Rock&Roll (or Stone&Bun?) album. West London band Stray, and……..
May 11, 2017 at 10:39 am
I never understood why Clinax Blues Band never really hit the big time. In Colin Cooper they had a fine vocalist. On guitar Peter Haycock was sublime. His slide playing so full of emotion.. I’m glad my formative years musically speaking were late sixties through the seventies.
May 11, 2017 at 3:46 pm
Steamhammer, Trees and of course Wally..
May 12, 2017 at 1:15 pm
Hey people and what about Damnation of Adam Blessing? A 70’s super group from Cleveland.
May 12, 2017 at 7:28 pm
Spooky Tooth , Pluto , Elmer Gantry , Bronco , Caravan ,
Pretty Things , Cochise Hard Meat…………an endless list really and all quality.
September 25, 2018 at 5:10 pm
spooky tooth were a great band
May 12, 2017 at 8:05 pm
Keef Hartley Band (UK), Frumpy (Germany), Burnin’ Red Ivanhoe (DK).
May 16, 2017 at 8:20 pm
Great article, brought back loads of memories,I loved Focus and still do,has anybody heard of Culpepper’s Orchard and the album Second Sight , obscure Dutch prog ,well worth seeking out.
May 16, 2017 at 11:45 pm
Steve Perry..Culpeppers Orchestra was a danish band not dutch!
May 16, 2017 at 11:47 pm
Correction: Culpeppers Orchard.
May 17, 2017 at 9:14 am
Mott The Hoople – the Island albums – never properly re-issued on CD in the UK – shame on you Island Records.
If you think Mott begin and end with All The Young Dudes, do yourself a favour and find those early albums (Mott The Hoople, Mad Shadows, Wildlife and Brain Capers) – they’re still brilliant.
February 7, 2018 at 10:55 pm
The BEST live band ever in the Island years.
May 17, 2017 at 10:11 am
May 18, 2017 at 10:48 am
What about Beggars Opera and Andwella
May 18, 2017 at 10:54 am
Also there was Charlie with their Fantasy Girls album, Horslips with the Tain, and Van Der Graff Generator
May 18, 2017 at 10:41 pm
Forgotten? Forgotten by who? Not those of us that were there at the time, not those of us that bought their albums and enjoyed the music they produced, not those of us that are still alive to the exciting sounds they dared to produce. For me they are not forgotten, they just have not yet been discovewred by the modern listeners who do not know what they have missed. I applaud articles like this and I hope the younger listeners will explore new grounds because of it. I introduced my sons to the 70’s rock scene at an early age to their complete enjoyment.
June 12, 2020 at 2:54 pm
June 12, 2017 at 12:02 am
There was Eloy, Omega, Bloodrock, If, Tasavalan Presidenti, Jane, Finch, Fairfield Parlour, Glass Harp, Dando Shaft, Fruup, Greenslade, Groundhogs, Man, Spermall, Aardvark, Starry Eyed and Laughing, Clouds, String Driven Thing, T2, Taste, Trace, Web, Triumvirat, Affinity, Demian a/k/a Bubble Puppy, Fort Mudge Memorial Dump, Hammer, Whalefeathers, Jasper Wrath, Bead Game, Frijid Pink, Cat Mother, Beggar’s Opera, Julian’s Treatment, Xhol, Can, Amon Duul II, Atoll, Trettioariga Kriget, De De Lind, Amazing Blondel, Aphrodite’s Child, Epsilon, A Euphonious Wail, Josephus, May Blitz, Ambergris, Brainbox, Stud, Fortheringay, Gracious, Mother Tuckers Yellow Duck. I’m going to stop here. I could go on and on. These are just some of the 70s bands that I have albums by.
February 8, 2018 at 4:10 pm
February 8, 2018 at 8:25 pm
And who could forget Anus and Andy, Assgasm, Balls to Picasso, Bedtime for Benzos, Berlin Airlift, Big Dick Daddy and the Bone Dancers, Bloated Bong Monkeys, Bonghit Aneurysm, Canticles of Nantochronty, Chad and the Choadwaffles, Chocolate Clark Henry and the Dorks, Chronoid, Cock Block Redemption, Custard Cannons, Cornfed Connie and The Hamsters, Cornhole Conniption, Deep Blue Dysplasia, and Delirium Tremens?
February 1, 2020 at 2:07 pm
Thanks for the laugh. Humor is good. Custard Cannons. Hilarious.
August 30, 2017 at 11:40 am
Cool rock band not mentioned”QUICKSILVER MESSAGING SERVICE”
August 30, 2017 at 1:32 pm
Curved Air, Zephyr, Matthews Southern Comfort
March 7, 2018 at 12:49 pm
August 30, 2017 at 9:07 pm
August 31, 2017 at 2:05 am
Trapeze, –Bogart, Appice and Lange, McGuinness Flint, The Family Aposolitic, 10cc, Shiva’s Head Band, etc….
August 31, 2017 at 2:07 am
Bubble Puppy and Fever Tree….
September 1, 2017 at 7:59 pm
How does playing music make one a “hero”? They’re just musicians, FFS.
September 2, 2017 at 2:07 pm
Ducks Deluxe, Man, Deke Leonard, Southern Hillman and Furay Band, Lindisfarne,….
October 10, 2017 at 5:29 pm
Many consider Shawn Phillips one the best kept secrets of the 70’s. He’s still playing at around 70 years old.
October 10, 2017 at 7:02 pm
Edgar Broughton Band
October 11, 2017 at 6:11 pm
Budgie, Groundhogs, Pink Fairies to name but a few, Chicken Shacks ( Christine Perfect ) version of “Id rather go blind” is breathtaking
January 18, 2018 at 6:54 pm
The most of the 70’s artists are remembered by jourbalists, not comom people or musicians, so, as the media loves pop and minialism all of the artists who own a more worked instrumental are ignored. There is a huge gap in journalistic criticism and an overvaluation in punk and weird/gay rock such as bowie.
February 8, 2018 at 7:10 pm
What a strange comment
January 20, 2018 at 9:11 pm
How about Sun Treader and Mellow Candle? Both obscure and both had great albums! 🙂
January 24, 2018 at 2:16 pm
Missing Badfinger. Powerpopband no
1 with great albums like Straight Up and Wish You Where Here.
February 6, 2018 at 12:48 am
Can’t forget budgie from england and ibis from italy two great bands
March 1, 2019 at 8:29 pm
Actually Budgie were from Wales.
February 6, 2018 at 8:22 pm
February 7, 2018 at 11:41 am
Underrated? 70s, 80s and 90s.
February 8, 2018 at 4:09 pm
March 28, 2021 at 2:51 pm
Yes! Tommy Bolin too.
February 7, 2018 at 7:51 pm
POCO, NGDB, Quicksilver, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Rick Nelson and the Stone Canyon Band, Michael Nesmith and First National Bank
February 7, 2018 at 10:02 pm
Audience, Gnidrolog, Clarke Hutchinson, Velvett Fogg, Fusion Orchestra, Jan Dukes de Grey to be going on with. Nearly forgot Kevin Ayers.
February 8, 2018 at 9:54 am
Did I hear Incredible String Band?
February 8, 2018 at 4:55 pm
Bloodrock, Man, Hot Tuna, Amon Duul II, Stories
February 8, 2018 at 7:29 pm
James Gang,Cochise,Foghat, Stillwater,Marshall Tucker Band,Max Webster,Mountain,Ten Years After,Dream Police,Poco,Buffalo Springfield
February 8, 2018 at 8:33 pm
Honorable mention: Dixon Cocks, Dookie Twinkle, Dr. Bob’s Nightmare, Drippy Dick and the Knob Nibblers, Eichmann’s Undies,
Floating Turd Henry and the Onions, Four Hideous Horsemen, Freddy’s Frenulum, Gag the Giraffe, Solitan Shithammer, Hateful Christian Bastards, Hawking Loogies, Incubaitors, Aunt Annie’s Jackboot, and The Jerkin MahGherkins.
March 3, 2018 at 1:29 pm
I’d like to mention some great, long forgotten European and UK artists from the 70s period -Il Baricentro, Dedalus, Solution, Quatermass, Libra, Hard Stuff, Headstone, and most of all, Germany’s Triumvirat.
May 6, 2018 at 6:49 pm
Crack The Sky, Rory Gallagher, Audience and Family.
May 11, 2018 at 9:03 pm
I have forgotten none of these bands but would like to add It’s A Beautiful Day.
May 31, 2018 at 8:49 pm
June 2, 2018 at 7:25 pm
June 4, 2018 at 4:32 pm
Did anyone mention Captain Beyond, The Flock, or It’s A Beautiful Day?
July 12, 2018 at 8:10 am
May I add my upvote to that of Peter Meyer for Babe Ruth, and remind all of 13th Floor Elevators and remind all of:
some, that I think should considered classic
1) Socrates (drunk the conium)
3) Manfred Man’s Earth Band
4) Kaleidoscope (USA)
5) Sweet Smoke
and some that are worth the mention, in my opinion
6) Dan Ar Braz
8) Moby Grape…
Hope to have helped broaden the content of the playing list…
September 25, 2018 at 8:51 pm
Illinois Speed Press
March 1, 2019 at 8:29 pm
How about Yes? They should be on a list like this imo. Almost totally ignored by the younger generation. I think it’s because their music is just too out there and they had a reputation for long songs. People these days have short attention spans and don’t want to hear anything over five minutes it seems.
May 3, 2019 at 8:10 pm
Musicians? Yes! Heroes? NO! And you forgot the GODZ!
September 29, 2019 at 3:56 am
“Gotta keep a running” was huge in San Antonio. Forever on my play list.
January 26, 2020 at 8:49 pm
Been searching for ages for a band that I saw on swedish television back in the 70s. I believe that it was a British band and they had a song I believe was called “Zambia” and the lyric went: Ey Zambia where(‘d) you hide I could love you if I tried…… and later in the song: watch them come watch them go eating ice cream in the snow.
I know it’s not much…..but who knows……maybe someone remembers the song and perhaps the name of the band.
Angus Martin Montgomery
November 15, 2020 at 8:42 am
Mr Big…not the US one,UK one…
February 1, 2020 at 2:22 pm
Renaissance, Quatermass, Camel, Nektar, Kayak, Shawn Phillips, Lake, Duncan Browne, Lindisfarne, Sandy Denny, Fotheringay,
January 9, 2021 at 8:38 am
The Enid, Horslips, Its a Beautiful Day, King Crimson,ELP, Foghat, Savoy Brown,Nazareth, Capt. Beefheart, Alex Harvey, some of the amazing bands of that era.
March 5, 2021 at 12:27 am
Country Joe McDonald, Judee Sill, Tracy Nelson & Mother Earth, Andrew Gold, David Blue, Gypsy, The Hoodoo Rhythm Devils, Sutherland Brothers & Quiver, Wendy Waldman, Barefoot Jerry, Grinderswitch, The Section, Pousette-Dart Band, Ian Matthews, Orleans, Dory Previn, Wet Willie, Black Oak Arkansas, Al Stewart, Ian Thomas, Cowboy, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Danny O’Keefe
April 30, 2022 at 1:33 am
Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks.
May 28, 2022 at 7:29 pm
Renaissance. Annie Haslam is still touring, in Brazil at the moment…
May 29, 2022 at 3:04 am
Head East played many of the 70’s stadium super-jams, including the Cotton Bowl, the LA Colisseum, Arrowhead Stadium, and Busch Stadium, toured regularly with Ted Nugent, Foghat, J. Geils, and Kansas… and recorded what many in America’s heartland consider THE rock and roll anthem of their generation, “There’s Never Been Any Reason”. Overlooked, underappreciated, but not forgotten.
John Di Donato
May 29, 2022 at 5:58 am
What about ten wheel drive there song through the eye of a needle
May 30, 2022 at 8:59 pm
The Sparks. Nightwish.
May 31, 2022 at 9:53 pm
Moby Grape, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Cactus, Vanilla Fudge, Traffic, Uriah Heep, Captain Beyond, Iron Butterfly, Blue Cheer, Montrose, Foghat, Molly Hatchet, King Crimson, The Scorpions, UFO, etc!
June 1, 2022 at 5:22 am
Since Wet Willy was mentioned but as a Phil Walden and Capricorn Records band they did achieve a Top 10 hit fir (?) 1974 in a self composed tune, Keep On Smiling.
But several of Phil Walden and Capricorn bands deserve mention as not having any national hit songs,Grinderswitch,Cowboy(who composed the1974 Eric Clapton hit song Please be with me, and Donnie McCormick mind-blowing crew from way Southeast Texas Gulf of Mexico act signed by Phil Walden in 1969,also signed to Jerry Wexler and Atlantic Records in September of 1969 and the members of Donnie McCormick act moved to Memphis and recorded and played Memphis for a year finally moving their base to Atlanta where they were closer to Macon Georgia central operations at Capricorn Studio and Records. They released Eric Quincy Tate in early 1970 recorded at Criteria Studio in Memphis uner production of Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd,and Tony Joe White. The 2nd LP was signed in 1971 to Capricorn Records and assigned to Paul Hornsby, his 2nd attempt at producing. The LP named Drinking Man’s Friend became a long-term LP as Records show 500,000 units were manufactured in many attempts but a 3rd LP was rejected 3 or 4 times by Capricorn
but, a single was released in 1975 on GRC Records of Atlanta released EQT in 1975,and a single of a medley Honky Tonk Man/No Rollin Boogie on the A Side with Chattahoochee Coochie Man all 3 Capricorn rejects reached #44 with a red bullet and high reviews both of the LP and the single but at the six week point of a tour of the Southeast US, GRC Records went bankrupt and in spite of many Studio attempts and live recordings were released for sale to fans in the period of 1975 to 1982, several reunion tours were recorded but no national hits followed.
Tony Joe White said the Donnie McCormick was his favorite performer as drummer,singer,and band leader. Guitarist Tommy Carlyle was for years his favorite Guitarist. EQT was Southern Rock before the journalists came up with the name and that in 1969 “those boys played with abandonment. Paul Hornsby said that Donnie McCormick was the South’s next super star in waiting and that the Eric Quincy Tate Group was the best damned live bar band that he has heard in his career. But unfortunately no national hits appeared and in spite of all the recording the Eric Quincy Tate Group did with him the A & R heads never authorized any further releases.
Several live recordings by the Capricorn engineer sound crews ended up as bootlegs which resulted in the band desire for a release which was very measly signed late in 1974 resulted in the almost immediate signing by GRC Records and the 3rd national attempts.
The 1st LP was reissued on Rhino/Atlantic/Warner Music Group in 2006 with 7 unreleased songs, a previous self released single (unfinished),4 of the 7-10 Macon demos which assisted in the signing by Jerry Wexler to Atlantic Records in September of 1969,and several Studio outtakes from 1969 sessions in Memphis or Miami.
The bass player has been re-releasing the 6 LPs and many EPs, singles, Studio outtakes, and the live recordings plus several recordings of the songs sung at post concert/club in the motel rooms.
May 26, 2023 at 9:29 pm
May have missed it but no-one mentioned PFM? And only one comment mentioned Caravan.