RAMBLIN ROUND: Groups of ‘strangers’ making music together | Local News


Many of the most famous rock bands were formed in the same way.

A group of friends and sometimes family members got together in someone’s garage, basement or living room, got more proficient on their musical instruments and vocal skills, started playing gigs somewhere, got better and better (hopefully) and finally got a record deal.

Often they were from the same neighborhood or attended the same school or had some other similar connection.

But that’s not the only way some of rock’s biggest bands have come together. Sometimes they came from different parts of the county and converged on one of the musical centers of the country, often in cities like New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco.

A few days ago I thought of a few age-old rock bands or vocal groups that came together in a different way. They weren’t even from the same nation! Of course, a few of them were the so-called super groups that formed after individual members had already achieved great success, either on their own or as a member of another group.

Yet, there are indeed a number of well-known bands whose members hail from different nations and the music world is certainly better off for it. It’s not just my opinion. It’s a sharing shared by thousands – and in some cases, millions – of music fans who have ripped their records off the shelves, along with their cassettes, 8-tracks, CDs and streaming formats. Regardless of how technology has evolved, many of these bands have been in the game, still attracting listeners in a variety of formats and will likely continue to do so in the future.

So, although this is not an exhaustive or comprehensive list, it is some of the biggest rock bands whose members came from different nations – the most common being American and British combinations, as well than groups whose members were made up of American and Canadian musicians. Here are a few that have achieved great success:

• Foreigner — What better band to start with when talking about international bands than a band that takes its name from the fact that the original members of the band came from two different countries, the United States and England.

The original band members included Mick Jones, Dennis Elliott and Ian McDonald from Great Britain, as well as Americans Lou Gramm, Al Greenwood and Ed Gagliardi. Jones was already well known as a guitarist and songwriter, while McDonald had been a member of King Crimson, with Gramm as the new band’s lead singer.

They supposedly based their name on the fact that whether they were performing in the US or Britain, half the band would be foreigners. Those numbers changed when Gagliardi and Greenwood left the band, but Gramm remained on board as the band’s lead singer when Foreigner hit No. 1 on the US and UK charts with “I Want to Know What Love Is” in 1984. .

Their recording of “Waiting for a Girl Like You” spent 10 weeks at number two without reaching number one, while some of the group’s other hits included “Cold as Ice” and “Feels Like the First Time”.

• Fleetwood Mac – Of course, the original members of Fleetwood Mac were all British, consisting of phenomenal guitarist Peter Green, drummer Mick Fleetwood, guitarist Jeremy Spencer and bassist John McVie in 1967.

In 1975, Americans Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Bucking joined Fleetwood Mac, then consisting of Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Christine McVie in what became one of the most successful bands of all time.

Fleetwood Mac’s string of hits includes songs such as ‘Rhiannon’, ‘Go Your Own Way’, ‘You Make Loving Fun’, ‘The Chain’, ‘Gold Dust Woman’ and their single #1 hit, ‘Dreams “.

The band have since recorded and toured in various setups, with a 2021 tour canceled due to COVID-19 concerns and moved to 2022. Still, rumors abound in the music world if Fleetwood’s most successful lineup Mac will all be on stage playing together again.

• The Band – America’s quintessential band, The Band is credited with creating the genre that boasts many listeners today, including its own Grammy category and awards show usually held on the Ryman stage Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Vocalist Conway Twitty and his bassist, Big Joe Lewis, did much to bring the band that later became The Band together, when they advised Arkansas rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins to take his band The Hawks in Canada.

Hawkins drummer Levon Helm recounted how Twitty and Lewis told him and Hawkins that people in Canada liked the style of rockabilly music they played. Hawkins took the advice, so he, Helms and the rest of Hawkins’ band made the trip from Arkansas to Toronto, Canada in 1958 and by the 1960s were part of the rock ‘n’ roll scene. booming.

However, one by one, everyone in Hawkins’ band grew homesick and returned to Arkansas, except for Helm, who had become a notable vocalist as well as a drummer. As the other Arkansas musicians returned home, Hawkins replaced them each with local Canadian musicians: bassist and vocalist Rick Danko, pianist and sometimes drummer Richard Manuel, lead guitarist Robbie Robertson, and keyboard wizard Garth Hudson.

Eventually, The Hawks became so successful that the band struck out on their own, became Bob Dylan’s backing band on his 1966 world tour, and eventually found their own success as The Band, releasing albums landmarks such as “Music From Big Pink”, their self-titled album. “brown” album and “Stage Fright”.

These albums, along with songs such as “The Weight”, “The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down” and “Up On Cripple Creek”, are today considered the precursors of today’s Americana musical genre – even if four of its members were from Canada. !

• Buffalo Springfield — Musicians who would become members of Buffalo Springfield gathered in Los Angeles after traveling to Los Angeles from different parts of the United States and Canada.

Americans Stephen Stills and Richie Furay were in LA shortly before the arrival of Canadians Neil Young and Bruce Palmer. Young and Palmer, who were in a hearse Young had brought and was driving, encountered Stills and Furay in a traffic jam. Young was looking for Stills, wanting to start a band with him, when they spotted each other from their respective vehicles. The four added drummer Dewey Martin to form Buffalo Springfield, known for songs such as Stills’ “For What It’s Worth”, Young’s “Mr. Soul” and Furay’s “Kind Woman”.

• Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young — Although immensely talented, Buffalo Springfield didn’t last long as a band due to internal differences. Stills began jamming with David Crosby, who had been fired from The Byrds by fellow band members Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman.

While Stills and Crosby were both Americans, they had an informal jam session at Cass Elliott’s or Joni Mitchell’s house, depending on who is telling the story. Graham Nash of British band The Hollies stopped by, heard them sing Stills’ song “You Don’t Have to Cry” in two-part harmony and after asking them to play the song twice more, added a third part.

All three were struck by their magical sound. Nash returned to England, left The Hollies, then joined his American pals in a new band called Crosby, Stills and Nash, whose self-titled debut album became a huge seller. The band scored a big hit at the Woodstock Music Festival in what Stills called their second gig as a full band.

CS&N became even more of an international group when they added Canadian Neil Young to the group and changed their name to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Their album “Deja Vu” became one of the most popular albums of the era, with the band members performing in various setups over the years.

I’m only halfway through my list. I will have to continue in another column.

The success of all the aforementioned bands proves once again that a band made up of “outsiders” can make memorable music – with who the outsider is in those particular bands depending on the point of view.

Ask the members of Foreigner.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.


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