Climax Blues Band
|Climax Blues Band|
The band in 1974.
|Also known as||Climax Chicago Blues Band (1969-1972)|
|Genres||Blues rock, soft rock|
Major League Productions (MLP)
|Website||Climax Blues Band|
|Past members||Colin Cooper
John "Rhino" Edwards
The Climax Blues Band (originally known as the Climax Chicago Blues Band) were formed in Stafford, England in 1968; founded by vocalist and harmonica player Colin Cooper (1939-2008), guitarist and vocalist Pete Haycock (1951-2013), guitarist Derek Holt (b. 1949), bassist and keyboardist Richard Jones (b. 1949), drummer George Newsome (b. 1947), and keyboardist Arthur Wood (1929-2005).
In 1972, the group shortened its name to the Climax Blues Band due to pressure from the American band, Chicago Transit Authority. The band has released at least 17 albums and had a Top 10 hit in the UK with "Couldn't Get It Right". That song and "I Love You" were American hits as well; "Couldn't Get It Right" reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1977, and "I Love You" peaked at No. 12 in 1981.
The original Climax Blues Band was one of the leading lights of the late 1960s UK blues boom. Prior to the release of 1969's Plays On, Jones left the group, prompting Holt to move to bass. In 1970 they moved to the Harvest label, at the same time shifting towards a more rock oriented sound on A Lot of Bottle. Around the release of 1971's Tightly Knit, Newsome was replaced by John Cuffley; upon Wood's exit in the wake of 1972's Rich Man, they continued on as a quartet, also dropping the "Chicago" portion of their name to avoid confusion with the American band of a similar name.
In 1974 the Climax Blues Band issued FM Live, a document of a New York radio concert. 1975's Stamp Album was their commercial breakthrough, and 1976's Gold Plated fared even better, spurred on by the success of the hit "Couldn't Get It Right". By the mid-1970s they were drawing crowds of up to 20,000 at U.S. concerts. However, the rise of punk rock effectively stopped the group in their tracks. By 1981 the band had left their blues roots behind and attempted to become a mainstream pop-rock band. Derek Holt and John Cuffley left in 1983.
In May 2012, the Major League Productions (MLP) record label released an until then unknown vault recording of a 1976 live performance, Climax Blues Band/World Tour 1976.
When it came time to record 1983's Sample and Hold album, Pete Haycock, Colin Cooper, and a newly formed rhythm section were holding down the fort. A follow-up album was in the works, but Cooper bowed out, citing personal reasons. Haycock went on to record several solo projects, first of which was an album entitled Total Climax, which was recorded by his band, Pete Haycock's Climax. Pete Haycock's Climax toured extensively in Europe, including Communist East Germany, as well as a well-received tour in Australia. After that, Pete was asked by his former Climax Blues Band manager, Miles Copeland, to record an instrumental album for the I.R.S. No Speak label entitled Guitar and Son, as well as the Night of the Guitars live album (from the tour of the same name) After that tour, Haycock teamed up with fellow guitarist Steve Hunter and former Climax Blues bandmate, Derek Holt, to record an album under the name, H Factor. He was later recruited by Bev Bevan as a member of Electric Light Orchestra Part II when they recorded and toured from 1990 onwards. He also started his film score career at this time by playing the lead on Hans Zimmer's score to Thelma and Louise, as well as performing on the Night Of The Guitars tours which also featured Derek Holt on bass, keys and occasional vocals.
Holt's penned "I Love You" was one of the Climax Blues Band's biggest hits. It can be found on the Climax Blues Band double album, 25 Years 1968-1993 which was released by the German record label Repertoire in 1993. "I Love You" still gets over 20,000 radio hits a year in the U.S. and has recently been included in Finn Taylor's 2002 film Cherish, and in Kevin Smith's 2008 film Zach and Miri Make a Porno. Holt released five solo albums - I Love You, After the Climax, Sunflowers, Hear and Now, Paradise Lost and Full Circle.
In 1985 Cooper and Glover recruited guitarist Lester Hunt, drummer Roy Adams, and original member Derek Holt to record the Climax Blues Band album Drastic Steps, and this lineup toured the album in the UK, Europe and America. The new lineup soon became established with Colin Cooper, George Glover, Lester Hunt, Roy Adams and Neil Simpson in the early 1990s, releasing the live album Blues from the Attic in 1993 and Big Blues in 2004.
Cooper died of cancer, aged 69, in July 2008. He is survived by his wife and two children. Cooper desired for the band to continue with his wishes, as the other musicians within the band had all been longserving; with George Glover serving since 1980, Roy Adams and Lester Hunt since 1985, and Neil Simpson since 1991, respectively. Cooper was originally replaced by singer, saxophone and harmonica player Johnny Pugh, who retired in 2012, and later by vocalist Graham Dee and saxophone player Chris Aldridge. The band still continues to perform with this latest lineup to the present day.
In 2013, founding member Haycock launched another version of the "Climax Blues Band", with a lineup consisting of Haycock (vocals, guitar) along with Charley Charlesworth (bass), Mel Collins (saxophone), Robin George (vocals, guitar), Charlie Morgan (drums), and Jacquie Williams (vocals). However, Haycock died October 30, 2013, effectively putting an end to the lineup.
- Current members
- George Glover - keyboards, backing vocals (1980–present)
- Roy Adams - drums (1985–present)
- Lester Hunt - guitar, backing vocals (1985–present)
- Neil Simpson - bass (1991–present)
- Chris Aldridge - saxophone (2012-present)
- Graham Dee - vocals (2012-present)
- Former members
- The Climax Chicago Blues Band (1969)
- Plays On (1969) U.S. No. 197 Billboard 200 (1 week)
- A Lot of Bottle (1970)
- Tightly Knit (1971)
- Rich Man (1972) U.S. No. 150 Billboard 200 (10 weeks)
- FM Live (1973) U.S. No. 107 Billboard 200 (30 weeks)
- Sense of Direction (1974) U.S. No. 37 Billboard 200 (29 weeks)
- Stamp Album (1975) U.S. No. 69 Billboard 200 (11 weeks)
- Gold Plated (1976) U.S. No. 27 Billboard 200 (44 weeks), UK No. 56 UK Albums Chart(1 week)
- Shine On (1978) U.S. No. 71 Billboard 200 (11 weeks)
- Real to Reel (1979) U.S. No. 170 Billboard 200 (6 weeks)
- Flying the Flag (1980) U.S. No. 75 Billboard 200 (16 weeks)
- Lucky for Some (1981)
- Sample and Hold (1983)
- Drastic Steps (1988)
- Blues from the Attic (1993)
- 25 Years 1968-1993 (1994)
- Big Blues (2004)
- Climax Blues Band World Tour 1976 (2011) By Major League Productions
- Three's a Crowd - Tarney-Spencer Band (1978)
- "Using the Power" (1975) U.S. No. 10 Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles(1 week)
- "Couldn't Get It Right" (1976) U.S. No. 3 Billboard Hot 100 (22 weeks), UK No. 10 UK Singles Chart(9 weeks)
- "Makin' Love" (1978) U.S. No. 91 Billboard Hot 100 (4 weeks)
- "Gotta Have More Love" (1980) U.S. No. 47 Billboard Hot 100 (12 weeks)
- "I Love You" (1981) U.S. No. 12 Billboard Hot 100 (27 weeks)
- "Biography by Jason Ankeny". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 110. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Allmusic ((( Climax Blues Band > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))".
- "Obituary by Garth Cartwright". London: Guardian.co.uk. 7 August 2008. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
- "NME biography". NME.com. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
- "Vinyl LP Record Collector's Guide: NIGHT OF THE GUITAR WITH STEVE HOWE, LESLIE WEST, ROBBIE KRIEGER, RANDY CALIFORNIA, STEVE HUNTER, PETE HACOCK, ANDY POWELL, TED TURNER, ALVIN LEE 12" MAXI-SINGLE / LP VINYL". Lp-covers.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
- "Obituary in The Times". London: Timesonline.co.uk. 28 July 2008. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
- "Couldn't Get It Right". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 3 March 2009.
- "Official website biography". Climaxbluesband.com. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
- "Stafford Climax Blues Band founder dies". Staffordshire Newsletter. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
- "Allmusic ((( Climax Blues Band > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))".
- The New Musical Express Book of Rock, 1975, Star Books, ISBN 0-352-30074-4