Russ Ballard

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Russ Ballard
Birth name Russell Glyn Ballard
Born (1945-10-31) 31 October 1945 (age 68)
Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, England
Genres Hard rock, Pop, Psychedelic pop, Pop rock, Beat
Occupations Musician, singer, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, vocals, piano, keyboards, harmonica
Years active 1960–present
Labels EMI
Associated acts Argent
Website russ-ballard.de

Russell Glyn "Russ" Ballard (born 31 October 1945, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, England[1]) is an English singer, songwriter and musician.

Career[edit]

Ballard (formerly of Rick Nicholl and the Rebels) was initially a guitarist (Hofner Club 60), appearing stage left, with Buster Meikle & The Day Breakers in 1961, together with Roy Ballard (Russ's older brother) on piano playing behind him, Bernie Benson on bass to the right, and Bob Henrit on drums. After a stint with The Roulettes, backing Adam Faith, he then went on to join Unit 4 + 2 in the early 1960s, before becoming the lead singer and guitarist of Argent (along with Henrit, who joined as drummer), writing their hit "God Gave Rock and Roll to You",[1] which would later be covered by both Petra and KISS. Ballard is most well known as the vocalist on Argent's smash "Hold Your Head Up". In 1972, Ballard performed on Colin Blunstone's album Ennismore, which was produced by Chris White. Ballard also wrote the hit single, "I Don't Believe in Miracles", which featured on that album.

He left Argent in 1974 and pursued a solo and songwriting career. He wrote such hits as Three Dog Night's "Liar"[1] (originally recorded by Argent), Hot Chocolate's 1977 UK chart topper "So You Win Again",[2] and Rainbow's 1979 hit "Since You Been Gone." Head East recorded the song first in 1978 for its self-titled album. The song also is featured on Ballard's second solo album Winning. He also wrote Rainbow's 1981 No. 3 (UK) hit "I Surrender".

Ballard also wrote and performed on Roger Daltrey's first two solo albums, Daltrey (1973) and Ride a Rock Horse (1975). Daltrey recorded some other Russ Ballard originals for his McVicar soundtrack, and his albums Under a Raging Moon and Can't Wait to See the Movie. Ballard did a tour with Roger Daltrey in 1985, playing guitar and even singing one of his own songs.

British pop band Hello recorded Ballard's "New York Groove" in 1975, reaching No. 7 in Germany and No. 9 in the UK.[3] "New York Groove" would also be recorded three years later by Ace Frehley, who turned the tune into a stateside hit.

Ballard also wrote the No. 17, 1981 hit for Santana, called "Winning", which appeared on their album entitled Zebop! and had previously been released by Ballard himself on his second solo album.

Ballard wrote and produced "You Can Do Magic" for the group America on its 1982 album View from the Ground. The single climbed to No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1982, and helped resurrect the band's career. The following year, America brought in Ballard to produce their follow-up album, Your Move. One of its tracks, "The Border", which was co-written by Ballard with Dewey Bunnell, reached No. 33 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Ballard wrote ABBA singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad's 1982 solo hit: "I Know There's Something Going On" (which was produced by Phil Collins, and also featured Collins on drums). The track reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. He also penned "Can't Shake Loose" for fellow ABBA former member, Agnetha Fältskog, which peaked at No. 29 in the same listings.

In 1991 the song he co-wrote with John Waite and Jonathan Cain, "So This Is Eden", appeared on Bad English's album, Backlash.

Ballard has also written and produced for Elkie Brooks, and more recently[when?], acting as a talent scout, he "discovered" Lauren Harris.

Solo recordings[edit]

As a solo artist, Ballard charted once on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, when "On the Rebound" reached No. 58 in 1980.[1] Progressive rock band Uriah Heep covered "On the Rebound" in 1982 on their album, Abominog.

Another notable solo hit, "Voices" – from his second self-titled album (1984) – was featured in the Miami Vice episode "Calderone's Return: Part 2 – Calderone's Demise," which aired on 26 October 1984. The song was a brief hit on rock radio stations, peaking at No. 15 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. However, "Voices" stalled below the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 110. Another song from the same album, "In The Night" was featured in the episode "Calderone's Return: Part 1 – The Hit List." The show also featured "Your Time Is Gonna Come" by Ballard later in its run.

"The Fire Still Burns," the title track of his 1985 album attained No. 15 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.[4]

Ballard and KISS[edit]

In addition to KISS covering "God Gave Rock and Roll to You", retitled as "God Gave Rock 'n' Roll to You II":

  • KISS drummer, Peter Criss, recorded Ballard's "Let Me Rock You" and "Some Kinda Hurricane" on his 1982 Let Me Rock You album.
  • KISS guitarist, Ace Frehley, covered "New York Groove" on his self-titled solo album in 1978. Frehley's version reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and has been a regular staple of KISS live performances, during tours in which Frehley has taken part.
  • During his non-KISS years, Frehley also did a cover of the Ballard song "Into The Night", for his 1987 Frehley's Comet album.

Ballard songs covered by other acts[edit]

Solo discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions Notes
US
1974 Russ Ballard
  • Released: September 1974
  • Label: Epic
  • Format: LP
1976 Winning
  • Released: 1976
  • Labels: Epic
  • Format: LP
1978 At the Third Stroke
  • Released: 1978
  • Label: Epic
  • Format: LP
1980 Barnet Dogs
  • Released: 1980
  • Labels: Epic
  • Format: LP
187
  • Includes "On the Rebound" and "Riding with the Angels"
1981 Into the Fire
  • Released: 1981
  • Label: Epic
  • Format: LP
1984 Russ Ballard
  • Released: 1984
  • Labels: EMI
  • Format: LP
147
  • Includes "Voices" and "In The Night"
1985 The Fire Still Burns
  • Released: 1985
  • Label: EMI
  • Format: LP
166
  • Includes "The Fire Still Burns" and "Dream On"
1993 The Seer
  • Released: 1993
  • Labels: Intercord
  • Format: LP
2006 Book of Love[4]
  • Released: 20 October 2006
  • Labels: Phoenix Music Group
  • Format: LP

Singles[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Allmusic – Biography
  2. ^ Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 184. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 249. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ a b Allmusic – Charts & Awards

External links[edit]