The Outsiders (American band)

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The Outsiders
The Outsiders 1967.JPG
The band in 1967.
Background information
Origin Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Genres Rock and roll
Garage rock
Years active 1965–1968
Labels Capitol Records
Associated acts The Starfires
Climax
Past members Tom King (deceased)
Sonny Geraci
Chet Kelley
Mert Madsen
Howard Blank
Al Austin
Ronnie Harkai
Denny Benson
Ricky Baker
Bill Bruno
Richard Kriss
Jim Fox
Bob Turek
Walter Nims
Mike Geraci
Evan Vanguard
Tommy Baker
Richard D'Amato
Pete Shelton
Richie D'Angelo
Dan Donavan
Joe Prodrasky
Mario Vinciguerra
Ron Durback

The Outsiders was an American rock and roll band from Cleveland, Ohio, that was founded and led by guitarist Tom King. The band is best known for its Top 5 hit "Time Won't Let Me" in early 1966, which peaked at No. 5 in the US, but the band also had three other Hot 100 top 40 hit singles in 1966 and released a total of four albums in the mid-1960s.

Allmusic described the act's style: "Part of the secret behind the Outsiders' musical success lay in the group's embellishments [with horns and strings], which slotted in perfectly with their basic three- or four-piece instrumental sound. . . . [H]owever bold and ambitious they got, one never lost the sense of a hard, solid band sound at the core."[1]

Career[edit]

First single[edit]

The Outsiders were a continuation of the Starfires (see article); Tom King, Sonny Geraci, Mert Madsen, Richard Kriss, Al Austin, and drummer Jim Fox (later of James Gang, who left to enter college in 1965 and was replaced by Ronnie Harkai) were the members of the Starfires when the name was changed to the Outsiders in 1965. All (except Fox) performed on the original recording "Time Won't Let Me" by "The Outsiders". After that at various times a total of eight former Starfires were members of the Outsiders at one time or another performing on various studio sessions and traveling on the road. The band was signed to Capitol Records on the strength of their late 1965 recording of "Time Won't Let Me" (written by King and his brother-in-law, Chet Kelley), leaving a local recording label headed by King's uncle, Patrick Connelly (Parma Records); at this time, the band's name was changed. (Most of the band's original songs were written by King and Kelley, although another songwriter, Bob Turek was working with the band by 1967). Reasons for the name change were unclear, although most sources state that it was at the insistence of their new record label.[1] One popular story about the new name was that King and Kelley had become "outsiders" within the family as a result of the label shift.[2] "Time Won't Let Me" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[3]

The Outsiders had a built-in advantage over the numerous American bands that formed in the wake of the British Invasion. Rather than being neophytes, The Starfires had been a very active rhythm and blues band in the Cleveland scene since 1958, often playing six shows a week. King and Kelley proved to be a formidable songwriting team, and the band was also adept at handling covers of R&B standards. King also headed the band's horn section and served as the arranger and sometime producer.

Touring[edit]

The Outsiders promoted their hit single with about a year of nationwide touring, as "Time Won't Let Me" stayed on the national charts for 15 weeks (although their music was released in other countries, the band never toured overseas). The band first toured with Paul Revere and the Raiders and then with Chad and Jeremy. Later, the Outsiders were part of a six-week tour of one-night stands headed by Gene Pitney, and which included seven or eight other acts, among them Len Barry, B.J. Thomas and Bobby Goldsboro. Afterwards, the Outsiders joined a four-week tour with several garage rock and psychedelic rock bands, as recalled by Geraci:

"[W]e did a tour after Pitney with the McCoys, ourselves and ? and the Mysterians, the Shadows of Knight and a group from the west coast called the Seeds...A guy called Pete Shelton from England joined us on bass for this tour. Pete stayed with us until we could find a replacement...he then stayed on for a short while as 'Tour Manager'. There were five rock bands. Was that a crazy tour!"[4]

Later records[edit]

There were several line-up changes over the years, with King and Madsen from the original Starfires along with vocalist Sonny Geraci forming the core of the band in the early years. After drummer Ronnie Harkai left the band to join the Air Force, Denny Benson and then Ricky Baker (real name: Rick Biagiola) handled drumming duties for a period of time. With Ronnie Harkai having departed prior to sessions for the first album, former Starfire Jimmy Fox (who had left the earlier band to go to college) was brought in by King to be the drummer for the remaining tracks of Time Won't Let Me. Following these sessions, Fox decided to return to the music world and founded a band in 1966 called the James Gang that would enjoy considerable success over the coming decade.[1] Ronnie Harkai returned to record cuts on the second album Album No. 2, along with Ricky Baker.

A short-lived but memorable cover of the Isley Brothers' "Respectable" from Album No. 2 reached No. 15 in early September 1966. The Outsiders had performed "Respectable" during their earlier years as the Starfires.[4]

A single by outside songwriters, "Help Me Girl" (from The Outsiders In), had to compete with a version released in the same time period by the Animals. By some accounts, the Animals had already recorded their version, although they assured The Outsiders that they had not.[4] The Outsiders' version peaked at No. 37. They recorded another track by the same songwriters for their third album, but it was not released as a single. The song, "Bend Me, Shape Me", became a major hit on both sides of the Atlantic in early 1968 when it was covered by the American Breed in the USA and by Amen Corner in the UK.

After Mert Madsen left the Outsiders to get married, two other ex-Starfires, Walter Nims and Richard D'Amato, plus Richie D'Angelo on drums joined the band. Other session players were brought in to beef up the band's recordings, among them drummer Hal Blaine and bassist Carol Kaye of the Wrecking Crew; also, some recordings were produced by Richard Delvy, who had worked with Sonny and Cher.[4] Joe Kelley (no relation to Chet Kelley), lead guitarist for the Shadows of Knight, made a guest appearance on the 1967 single "Gotta Leave Us Alone".

Capitol gave tentative approval for a fourth album, which was to have been named after this single, Leave Us Alone. However, the project was abandoned midway through, in favor of a faux live album called Happening Live!, where crowd noises plus song and bandmember introductions by Sonny Geraci were added to stripped-down studio renditions of older recordings, along with some recordings by the new line-up. Not long thereafter, the group disbanded.

The Outsiders were one of the early white American soul-influenced bands.[2] In fact, the band's "Lonely Man" was bootlegged by a small British label and released in the UK, miscredited to Northern Soul band the Detroit Shakers and retitled "Help Me Find My Way."[5] The sound they first created, combining Mersey Rock & Motown, can be felt in the later hits of the Buckinghams and Chicago. Jim Guercio, who would manage both of these Chicago groups, had toured with the Outsiders as a musician on the Gene Pitney Caravan.

Post-breakup[edit]

In 1970, Sonny Geraci organized a new band in Los Angeles that included Walter Nims and released two singles under the name "the Outsiders featuring Sonny Geraci"; on the 45 label, the "O" in Outsiders was a peace symbol. Meanwhile, King was still heading a band called the Outsiders back in Cleveland, and this band also released a single as "the Outsiders (featuring Jon Simonell)"; Simonell was the lead singer who had replaced Geraci. King won a lawsuit in 1970 about the ownership of the name.[6] Geraci's band name was then changed to Climax (see article) and later scored a No. 3 hit in 1972 with Nims' "Precious and Few".

Geraci left the music business in 1980 and spent about five years in sales in his family's home improvement business.[7] In about 1985, he began appearing with several other mid-1960s bands as "oldies" acts and continues to appear in live concerts to this day. Along the way, he has released a handful of solo CDs. Despite the earlier lawsuit about the name, Sonny Geraci began touring in 2007 as Sonny Geraci and the Outsiders. In April 2012 Geraci suffered a brain aneurysm (specifically, a cerebral arteriovenous malformation), requiring intensive care.[8]

King died aged 68, on April 23, 2011, in a Wickliffe, Ohio nursing home. He had suffered from multiple health problems and had been at the Wickliffe Country Place nursing home since he fell and injured himself in August. King's death was announced by Kevin King, one of his sons, and confirmed by the nursing home.[9]

The most recent album by the Outsiders, called 30 Years Live was released in 1996 and reissued in 2006; only two of the original members, King and Nims were on board. The performances were taken from two live concerts in 1991 in Cleveland, Ohio and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Legacy[edit]

"Time Won't Let Me" is still prominent on oldies radio playlists, but this has created a false image of the Outsiders as a "one hit wonder" band. The song was also included on the box set inspired by the classic garage rock compilation album Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968. Another song, "I'm Not Trying to Hurt You" was included in Volume 9 of the Pebbles series. Bill Scheft's novel about a garage rock band being rediscovered by record collectors and then attempting to recapture their glory days as the bandmembers approached the age of 50 was called Time Won't Let Me.

Reissues[edit]

The original Outsiders LPs have never been individually reissued as CDs, Rhino Records released Best of the Outsiders in 1985, while Collectables Records has also released a Capitol Collectors Series retrospective album on CD.

Band members[edit]

The Starfires/The Outsiders 1965 ("Time Won't Let Me" Single)[1][6][edit]

  • Tom King, rhythm guitar, tenor saxophone, vocals
  • Sonny Geraci, lead vocals
  • Mert Madsen, bass guitar, harmonica
  • Al Austin, lead guitar
  • Ronnie Harkai drums

The Outsiders (Basic Line-Up)[1][6][edit]

  • Tom King, rhythm guitar, tenor saxophone, vocals
  • Sonny Geraci, lead vocals
  • Mert Madsen, bass guitar, harmonica
  • Bill Bruno, lead guitar
  • Rick Biagiola, drums

The Outsiders (1967 "Live" Album)[1][edit]

  • Tom King, rhythm guitar, tenor saxophone, vocals
  • Sonny Geraci, lead vocals
  • Richard D'Amato, bass guitar
  • Walter Nims, lead guitar
  • Richie D'Angelo, drums

The Outsiders (1991 "30 Years Live" Album)[10][edit]

  • Tom King, guitar, background vocals
  • Walter Nims, guitar, background vocals
  • Rob Mitchell, vocals, bass guitar
  • Eddie Soto, vocals
  • Ted Sikora, guitar, background vocals
  • Dave Hershy, horns
  • Joe Potnicky, keyboards
  • Dan King, drums
  • Rusty Schmidt, vocals
  • Nick Farcas, keyboards
  • Scott Ingram, bass guitar

Discography[edit]

(Numbers in parentheses indicate Billboard chart peak positions)

Singles[edit]

Initial releases by the original band[edit]

  • "Time Won't Let Me" b/w "Was It Really Real" – Capitol No. 5573; rel. 2/1966 (#5), yellow/orange swirl label
  • "Girl In Love" b/w "What Makes You So Bad, You Weren't Brought Up That Way" – Capitol No. 5646; rel. 5/1966 (#21)
  • "Respectable" b/w "Lost In My World" – Capitol No. 5701; rel. 8/1966 (#15)
  • "Help Me Girl" b/w "You Gotta Look" – Capitol No. 5759; rel. 10/1966 (#37)
  • "I'll Give You Time To Think It Over" b/w "I'm Not Trying To Hurt You" – Capitol No. 5843; rel. 3/1967 (#118)
Picture sleeve erroneously shows B-side title as "I Don't Want To Hurt You"
  • "Gotta Leave Us Alone" b/w "I Just Can't See You Anymore – Capitol #P-5892, promo; pale green label
  • "Gotta Leave Us Alone" b/w "I Just Can't See You Anymore – Capitol No. 5892; rel. 5/1967 (#121)
  • "I'll See You In The Summertime" b/w "And Now You Want My Sympathy" – Capitol No. 5955; rel. 7/1967
  • "Little Bit Of Lovin'" b/w "I Will Love You" – Capitol #P-2055, promo; pale green label
  • "Little Bit Of Lovin'" b/w "I Will Love You" – Capitol No. 2055; rel. 12/1967 (#117)
  • "We Ain't Gonna Make It" b/w "Oh How It Hurts" – Capitol #P-2216, promo; pale green label
  • "We Ain't Gonna Make It" b/w "Oh How It Hurts" – Capitol No. 2216; rel. 6/1968

Reissues and releases outside the U.S.[edit]

  • "Time Won't Let Me" b/w "Was It Really Real" – Capitol No. 5573, red and orange label with target logo
  • "Time Won't Let Me" b/w "Girl in Love" – Capitol/Star-line #K-6165 (two-sided hit reissue), violet label
  • "Time Won't Let Me" b/w "Girl in Love" – Capitol/Star-line No. 6165 (two-sided hit reissue), red and white label
  • "Time Won't Let Me" b/w "Girl in Love" – Capitol/Star-line No. 6165 (two-sided hit reissue), tan label
  • "Time Won't Let Me" b/w "Was It Really Real" – Capitol #K 23187; rel. 1966 in West Germany, violet label
  • "Respectable" b/w "Lost In My World" – Jolly #J-20387; rel. in 1966 in Italy

The Outsiders feat. Jon Simonell[edit]

  • "Tinker Tailor" b/w "Oh, You're Not So Pretty" – Kapp #K-2104; rel. 1970

The Outsiders/Climax[edit]

  • "Lovin' You" b/w "Think I'm Fallin'"
  • "Changes" b/w "Lost In My World" – Bell #B-904; rel. 9/1970 (#107)

EPs[edit]

  • "Time Won't Let Me" and "Listen People" b/w "Girl In Love" and "Rockin' Robin" - Capitol #EAP4-2501; rel. 1966 in Mexico, 7"
  • "Listen People" and "Keep on Running" b/w "Time Won't Let Me" and "Maybe Baby" – Capitol #EAP-4-2501; rel. 1967 in Brazil, 7"
  • "Gotta Leave Us Alone" and "I Just Can't See You Anymore" b/w "I'll See You In The Summertime" and "And Now You Want My Sympathy" - Capitol #EAP1-20984; rel. 1967 in Mexico, 7"
  • "Keep on Running" and "My Girl" b/w "Time Won't Let Me" and "Was it Really Real" – American #TK-45, black and yellow label; 7"

Albums[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

  • Time Won't Let Me – Capitol #T-2501/#ST-2501; rel. 5/1966 (#37)
  • Album No. 2 – Capitol #T-2568/#ST-2568; rel. 9/1966 (#90)
  • The Outsiders In – Capitol #T-2636/#ST-2636; rel. 1/1967 (Did not chart)
  • Leave Us Alone – Capitol (No catalogue number, cancelled before release. However, a tentative album cover slick for this release is shown in the "collage" of The Outsiders' "Capitol Collectors Series" CD booklet)

Live albums[edit]

  • Happening Live! – Capitol #T-2745/#ST-2745; rel. 8/1967 (#103)
  • 30 Years Live – Collectables; rel. 1996

Reissues and releases outside the U.S.[edit]

Retrospective albums[edit]

Compilation albums[11][edit]

  • Time Won't Let Me
  1. Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968 (box set)
  2. Nuggets from Nuggets (CD)
  3. Nuggets, Volume 3 (LP)
  4. Pride from Cleveland Past (LP)

"Time Won't Let Me" has also been included on many other compilation albums that are aimed at mainstream audiences; Allmusic lists more than 40 such albums.

  • I'm Not Trying to Hurt You
  1. Pebbles, Volume 9 (LP)
  • Lost in My World
  1. Nuggets, Volume 4 (LP)
  • And Now You Want My Sympathy
  1. Psychedelic Archives – USA Garage, Volume 1 (Cassette)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Eder, Bruce, Allmusic, Biography of the Outsiders. Retrieved 5 Feb 2008.
  2. ^ a b Eder, Bruce, Yahoo! Music, "The Outsiders" biography. Retrieved 17 Sept. 2007.
  3. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 209. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  4. ^ a b c d Krider, Don. Outsiders biography on Epinions.com. Retrieved 8 Feb 2008.
  5. ^ "Bomp List" archives, 8 Dec. 2001. Retrieved 17 Sept. 2007.
  6. ^ a b c Biography of the band on www.classicbands.com. Retrieved 18 Mar 2008.
  7. ^ James, Gary. Interview with Sonny Geraci. www.classicbands.com. Retrieved 19 Mar 2008.
  8. ^ "Oldies Music News". Retrieved 2012-05-08. 
  9. ^ Cleveland Plain Dealer
  10. ^ Listing on www.CDuniverse.com.
  11. ^ Ugly Things fanzine, "Searchin' for Shakes" on-line database.

Literature[edit]

  • The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 7th ed. by Joel Whitburn (2000)

External links[edit]