31 October 1945 |
Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, England
|Genres||Hard rock, Pop, Psychedelic pop, Beat|
|Occupations||Musician, singer, songwriter|
|Instruments||Guitar, Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Harmonica|
Ballard (ex 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", 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," originally recorded by Argent, Hot Chocolate's 1977 UK chart topper "So You Win Again", and Rainbow's 1980 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 #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 Under a Raging Moon and Can't Wait to See the Movie, albums. He 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 #7 in Germany and #9 in the UK. "New York Groove" would also be recorded three years later by Ace Frehley, who turned the tune into a stateside hit.
Ballard wrote and produced "You Can Do Magic" for the group America on its 1982 album View from the Ground. The single climbed to #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 #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 and featured drums played by Phil Collins). The track reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. He also penned "Can't Shake Loose" for fellow ABBA former member, Agnetha Fältskog, which peaked at #29 in the same listings.
Solo recordings 
As a solo artist, Ballard charted once on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, when "On the Rebound" reached #58 in 1980. 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 #15 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. However, "Voices" stalled below the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #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.
Ballard and Kiss 
- 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 #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 
- "Liar", recorded by Argent, Three Dog Night and Graham Bonnet
- "Cuckoo", recorded by Bay City Rollers.
- "God Gave Rock 'n' Roll to You", recorded by Argent, Petra, and Kiss.
- "I Don't Believe In Miracles", recorded by Colin Blunstone.
- "I Surrender", recorded by Head East, Rainbow, At Vance, and Stratovarius.
- "I Will Be There", recorded by Gogmagog.
- "Into the Night", recorded by Frehley's Comet.
- "Born on Haloween", recorded by SUZANNE on Ringo'Records
- "Just a Dream Away", recorded by Roger Daltrey (Soundtrack album of McVicar-1980).
- "Free Me", recorded by Roger Daltrey (Soundtrack album of McVicar-1980).
- "My Time Is Gonna Come", recorded by Roger Daltrey (Soundtrack album of McVicar-1980).
- "No More The Fool", recorded by Elkie Brooks.
- "Let Me Rock You", recorded by Peter Criss.
- "New York Groove", recorded by Hello, Ace Frehley and The Sweet.
- "On the Rebound (song)", recorded by Uriah Heep 1982 on Abominog.
- "I'm the One Who Loves You", recorded by A II Z
- "Riding With the Angels", recorded by Samson, Heretic, and Bruce Dickinson.
- "Since You Been Gone", recorded by Clout, Cherie Currie, Head East, Rainbow, Alcatrazz, Impellitteri, and Brian May.
- "Some Kinda Hurricane", recorded by Peter Criss.
- "Is Anybody There", recorded by E. F. Band (Deep Cut - 1982).
- "Winning", recorded by Santana.
- "I Know There's Something Going On", recorded by Frida.
- "Can't Shake Loose", recorded by Agnetha Fältskog.
- "Nothing Feels Good", recorded by Sam Roman.
- "So You Win Again", recorded by Hot Chocolate and South African band, Copperfield.
- "Love Is a Game", recorded by Girl, and E. F. Band.
- "You Can Do Magic", recorded by America.
- "Panic attack", recorded by Bert Heerink (Better Yet - 2009).
- "Dream On", recorded by King Kobra.
- "S.O.S.", recorded by Graham Bonnet.
- "Voices", recorded in 2003. by Cydonia, on "The Dark Flower" album.
Solo Discography 
- 1974 Russ Ballard
- 1976 Winning: includes "Winning" (covered by Santana), "Since You Been Gone" (covered by Alcatrazz, Cherie Currie, Clout, Head East, Impellitteri, Master Blaster[disambiguation needed], the Brian May Band, and Rainbow), and "Just A Dream Away" (covered by Roger Daltrey)
- 1978 At The Third Stroke
- 1980 Barnet Dogs (#187 on US Billboard 200): includes "On the Rebound" (Ballard's only solo hit to chart on the Billboard Hot 100) and "Riding With The Angels" (covered by Heretic and Samson)
- 1981 Into The Fire
- 1984 Russ Ballard (#147 on Billboard 200): includes "Voices" and "In The Night" (later covered by Frehley's Comet)
- 1985 The Fire Still Burns (#166 on Billboard 200): includes "The Fire Still Burns" and "Dream On" (later covered by King Kobra)
- 1993 The Seer
- 2006 Book of Love
See also 
- Allmusic - Biography
- 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.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 249. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Allmusic - Charts & Awards