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Average White Band

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Average White Band
Average White Band in 2013
Average White Band in 2013
Background information
Also known asAWB
OriginDundee, Scotland
GenresBlue-eyed soul, funk, pop rock, soul[1]
Years active1972–1983, 1990–present
LabelsAtlantic, RCA, MCA, Rhino, Arista
MembersAlan Gorrie
Onnie McIntyre
Fred Vigdor
Cliff Lyons
Rocky Bryant
Brent Carter
Rob Aries
Past membersRoger Ball
Malcolm "Molly" Duncan
Robbie McIntosh
Michael Rosen
Hamish Stuart
Steve Ferrone
Eliot Lewis
Alex Ligertwood
Tiger McNeil
Peter Abbott
Fred "Catfish" Alias
Adam Deitch
Brian Dunne
Klyde Jones
Morris Pleasure
Monte Croft

The Average White Band (also known as AWB) are a Scottish funk and R&B band that had a series of soul and disco hits between 1974 and 1980. They are best known for their million-selling instrumental track "Pick Up the Pieces", and their albums AWB and Cut the Cake. The band name was initially proposed by Bonnie Bramlett. They have influenced others, such as the Brand New Heavies, and been sampled by various musicians, including the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, TLC, The Beatnuts, Too Short, Ice Cube, Eric B. & Rakim, Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Christina Milian, and Arrested Development,[2] making them the 15th most sampled act in history.[3]



AWB was formed in early 1972[4] in London by Alan Gorrie,[5] and Malcolm "Molly" Duncan, with Owen "Onnie" McIntyre,[6] Michael Rosen (trumpet), Roger Ball, and Robbie McIntosh[7] joining them in the original line-up. Hamish Stuart[8] quickly replaced Rosen. Duncan and Ball, affectionately known as the Dundee Horns, studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art (now part of the University of Dundee, but which at the time was part of the Dundee Institute of Art and Technology, now known as Abertay University), and were previously members of Mogul Thrash. Gorrie and McIntyre had been members of Forever More. McIntyre and McIntosh were used as session musicians on Chuck Berry's recording of "My Ding-a-Ling".[4]

According to Duncan, members of the band had played together before in Scotland, but had moved to London separately and met up by chance at a Traffic concert. They decided to jam together; a friend heard them and remarked: "This is too much for the average white man," which became adapted as the name of the band.[9]


The band's breakthrough was a support slot at Eric Clapton's comeback concert in 1973. MCA Records released their debut album, Show Your Hand (1973), which sold poorly.[1] Bruce McCaskill, who was Clapton's tour manager, liked the band's music and agreed to manage them. He borrowed money to take them to the US and to promote them. McCaskill had many contacts from his days with Clapton and managed to get Atlantic Records to sign them. The band relocated to Los Angeles and released the follow-up, AWB, better known as The White Album. It reached No. 1 and was the first of many with renowned producer Arif Mardin.[1]

McIntosh died of a heroin overdose at a Los Angeles party on 23 September 1974.[2][1] Gorrie also overdosed, but Cher kept him conscious until medical help arrived.[10] The NME reported in January 1975 that AWB played a benefit show for McIntosh's widow at the Marquee Club in London.[11] McIntosh was replaced by Steve Ferrone, previously of Bloodstone, who had replaced McIntosh before in Brian Auger's Oblivion Express.[2]

In 1975, the single "Pick Up the Pieces", taken from the No. 1 AWB album, reached No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song knocked Linda Ronstadt's "You're No Good" out of No. 1 and sold over one million copies. It was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in March 1975.[12] It also prompted The J.B.'s, the backup band of the "Godfather of Soul", James Brown, to record and release a song in reply, "Pick Up the Pieces, One by One", under the name AABB (Above Average Black Band). It was both a tribute to AWB's knowledge of funk and a tongue-in-cheek play on the Scottish band's name.

AWB followed up with the LPs Cut the Cake (1975) and Soul Searching (1976), both big sellers and yielding further Top 40 singles. Cut the Cake was dedicated by the surviving band members to McIntosh's memory. A double live album "Person To Person" was issued in late 1976. Their next LP, Benny & Us, was a collaboration with Ben E. King.[1]

Later career[edit]

After several more albums, "Warmer Communications" (1978), "Feel No Fret" (1979) and after a switch to the U.S. Arista label, "Shine" (1980) and "Cupid's In Fashion" (1982), AWB's audience and sales dwindled. The group initially disbanded by 1983. Their 1980 disco hit "Let's Go Round Again" (UK No. 12),[13] was covered in the late 1990s by Louise.

Ferrone went on to work with Duran Duran and later with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers from 1994 until Petty's death in 2017. Hamish Stuart joined Paul McCartney's touring group.[1] In 1985 Gorrie released a solo album, Sleepless Nights.

The classic lineup of Gorrie, McIntyre, Ball, Stuart, Duncan and Ferrone reunited for one last time at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary in 1988. Gorrie, McIntyre, and Ball then continued in 1989 to record Aftershock.[14] Alex Ligertwood (ex-Santana, Jeff Beck Group and another veteran of Brian Auger's Oblivion Express) also appeared on this album, replacing lead singer Hamish Stuart, along with Eliot Lewis who co-wrote with Gorrie and joined the band. Ligertwood left after the album's recording and drummer Tiger McNeil joined for the reunited band's live shows. McNeil was with the group until 1994. He was then succeeded by Peter Abbott (ex-Blood, Sweat & Tears), who in turn was replaced by Fred "Catfish" Alias in September 1998. Drummer Adam Deitch did a two-year stint with AWB from 1999 to 2001.

Average White Band has continued recording (1997's Soul Tattoo, 1999's Face to Face) and touring since. Ball worked on Soul Tattoo with the group but was replaced by Fred Vigdor (aka Freddy V.) in 1996.

Brian Dunne took over the drum chair in 2001 and when Eliot Lewis left the band in September 2002 to pursue other musical opportunities (including a stint with Hall and Oates), he was replaced by Klyde Jones.[15]

Their line-up as of 2002 became Alan Gorrie (bass guitar, guitar, lead and backing vocals), Klyde Jones (keyboards, bass guitar, guitar, lead and backing vocals), Onnie McIntyre (guitar, vocals), Freddy V (sax, keyboards, vocals), and Brian Dunne (drums).

Dunne was replaced by Rocky Bryant as drummer as of the 2006 tour. After Jones left in 2011 to join Hall and Oates, Monte Croft (keyboards, bass, guitar) and former Earth, Wind & Fire member Morris Pleasure (keyboards, bass, guitar) came in to do brief stints before Rob Aries arrived in 2013.

Brent Carter (ex-Tower of Power) has been singing with AWB since 2011.

In July 2015, Malcolm 'Molly' Duncan, Steve Ferrone and Hamish Stuart reunited to form The 360 Band. This is in essence one half of the classic AWB. They released an album titled Three Sixty in 2017 and performed live together along with supporting musicians. As of 2019, Alan Gorrie and Onnie McIntyre are the only two original members left in the Average White Band.

Original tenor sax player Molly Duncan died on 8 October 2019, shortly after it had been announced that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.[16]

In June 2023, AWB announced their final tour, Let's Go Round Again One Last Time.[17] "That it's finally coming to an end is going to mean a highly emotional tour next year, but one which will mean we bow out at the top level," Gorrie said. "Please join us in a final celebration of that journey, and to a last hurrah of epic proportions with your presence and your aye-ready appreciation!"[18]


Current members
  • Alan Gorrie – bass, guitars, vocals, keyboards (1972–1983, 1989–present)
  • Owen "Onnie" McIntyre – guitars, backing vocals (1972–1983, 1989–present)
  • Fred Vigdor – tenor saxophone, keyboards, backing vocals (1996–present)
  • Rocky Bryant – drums (2006–present)
  • Brent Carter – vocals (2011–present)
  • Rob Aries – keyboards, bass (2013–present)
  • Cliff Lyons – alto saxophone (2015–present)
Former members
  • Roger Ball – alto saxophone, keyboards (1972–1983, 1989–1996)
  • Malcolm "Molly" Duncantenor saxophone (1972–1983; died 2019)
  • Robbie McIntosh – drums (1972–1974; his death)
  • Michael Rosen – trumpet, guitar (1972)
  • Hamish Stuart – guitar, bass, vocals (1972–1983)
  • Steve Ferrone – drums (1974–1983)
  • Eliot Lewis – keyboards, guitar, bass, percussion, vocals (1989–2002)
  • Tiger McNeil – drums (1989–1994)
  • Alex Ligertwood – vocals (1989)
  • Peter Abbott – drums (1994–1998)
  • Fred "Catfish" Alias – drums (1998–1999)
  • Adam Deitch – drums (1999–2001)
  • Brian Dunne – drums (2001–2006)
  • Klyde Jones – keyboards, guitar, bass, vocals (2002–2011)
  • Morris Pleasure – keyboard, bass, guitar (2011, 2013)
  • Monte Croft – keyboard, bass, guitar (2011–2013)



Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications
1973 Show Your Hand 39[A] 39[A] 69[A]
1974 AWB 6 22 1 1 2
1975 Cut the Cake 28 71 4 1 11
1976 Soul Searching 60 81 9 2 20
1977 Benny & Us
(with Ben E. King)
33 14
1978 Warmer Communications 85 28 12 31
1979 Feel No Fret 15 99 32 30 86
1980 Shine 14 116 38
1982 Cupid's in Fashion 49
1989 Aftershock 69
1997 Soul Tattoo
2003 Living in Colour
2018 Inside Out
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Live albums[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions
1976 Person to Person (double album) 28 9
1999 Face to Face
2006 Soul & the City
2011 Live at Montreux 1977
(recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival, 10 July 1977)
2013 Times Squared
(recorded at B. B. King's, New York, NY, 18 March 2009)
2015 Access All Areas
(recorded at Nottingham's Theatre Royal, summer 1980)
2016 AWB R&B
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications
1980 Volume VIII (contains 5 hits and 4 unreleased songs) 182
1992 Pickin' Up the Pieces: The Best of Average White Band
1994 The Best of the Average White Band - Let's Go Round Again 38
1997 Pick Up the Pieces and Other Hits
2005 Greatest & Latest
2006 The Very Best Of
2009 Pick Up the Pieces (The Very Best Of)
2014 All the Pieces - The Complete Studio Recordings 1971–2003
2019 Gold 99
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.


Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications Album
US Dance
1973 "Put It Where You Want It" Show Your Hand
"Show Your Hand"
"This World Has Music"
1974 "The Jugglers"
"How Can You Go Home" Put It Where You Want It[B]
"You Got It" AWB
"Nothing You Can Do"
"Pick Up the Pieces" 6 1 5 11 38 4
1975 "Cut the Cake" 31 10 7 13 16 Cut the Cake
"If I Ever Lose This Heaven" 39 25
"School Boy Crush" 33 22 41
1976 "Cloudy" 55
"Everybody's Darling" Soul Searching
"I'm the One"
"Queen of My Soul" 23 40 21 83
"A Love of Your Own" 35
1977 "Goin' Home"
"Get It Up" (with Ben E. King) 21 Benny and Us (with Ben E. King)
"A Star in the Ghetto" (with Ben E. King) 25
"Fool for You Anyway" (with Ben E. King)
"Imagine" (with Ben E. King)
"Get It Up for Love" (with Ben E. King)
1978 "One Look Over My Shoulder (Is This Really Goodbye?)" Warmer Communications
"Your Love Is a Miracle" 33
"Big City Lights"
"Same Feeling, Different Song"
"She's a Dream"
1979 "Walk on By" 46 92 32 Feel No Fret
"When Will You Be Mine" 49
"Atlantic Avenue"
"Feel No Fret"
1980 "Let's Go Round Again" 12 53 40 24 Shine
"For You, for Love" 46 60
"Into the Night"
1982 "Easier Said Than Done" Cupid's in Fashion
"Cupid's in Fashion"
"You're My Number One"
"I Believe"
1986 "Cut the Cake" (re-issue) 66
1988 "The Spirit of Love" (featuring Chaka Khan and Ronnie Laws) 47 Aftershock
1989 "Sticky Situation"
1994 "Let's Go Round Again" (re-issue/remix) 56
1996 "Every Beat of My Heart" Soul Tattoo
1997 "Back to Basics"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Other contributions[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Charted in 1975 when re-issued as Put It Where You Want It.
  2. ^ This was the title for the 1975 re-issue of Show Your Hand. The track was originally a non-album single.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Ankeny, Jason. "Average White Band". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Roberts, David (1998). Guinness Rockopedia (1st ed.). London: Guinness Publishing Ltd. p. 24. ISBN 0-85112-072-5.
  3. ^ "Average White Band interview by Pete Lewis, 'Blues & Soul' August 2011". Blues & Soul. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  4. ^ a b Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 36–37. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
  5. ^ "Alan Gorrie". Scottish-places.info. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  6. ^ "Owen (Onnie) McIntyre". Scottish-places.info. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  7. ^ "Robert (Robbie) McIntosh 1950 – 1974". Scottish-places.info. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  8. ^ "Hamish Stuart". Scottish-places.info. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  9. ^ Simpson, Dave (14 August 2017). "Average White Band: how we made Pick Up the Pieces". The Guardian.
  10. ^ "Gorrie Overdose". Time.com. 17 March 1975. Archived from the original on 30 December 2010. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  11. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 272. CN 5585.
  12. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 341. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  13. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 34. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  14. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (1993). The Guinness Who's Who of Soul Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. pp. 12/3. ISBN 0-85112-733-9.
  15. ^ "Averagewhiteband.com". Averagewhiteband.com. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  16. ^ "Obituary: Molly Duncan, tenor saxophonist and co-founder of the Average White Band". The Herald. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  17. ^ "Legendary band Average White Band to tour Scotland 'for one last time'". HeraldScotland. 23 May 2023.
  18. ^ Levy, Matt (23 May 2023). "Average White Band tour 2023: Where to buy tickets, schedule". New York Post. Retrieved 15 July 2023.
  19. ^ a b c "Average White Band | full Official Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  20. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 22. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g "The Average White Band - Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 13 March 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  22. ^ a b c d e "Average White Band". riaa.com. RIAA.
  23. ^ "Average White Band - Average White Band (album)". bpi.co.uk. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
  24. ^ "Average White Band: Feel No Fret". bpi.co.uk. BPI.
  25. ^ "Average White Band - The Best of Average White Band". bpi.co.uk. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
  26. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Top Pop Singles: 1955-2008. Record Research. ISBN 978-0-89820-180-2.
  27. ^ "British single certifications – Average White Band – Pick Up the Pieces". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 7 May 2023.
  28. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - January 10, 1976" (PDF).
  29. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - October 23, 1976" (PDF).
  30. ^ "Wish You Were Here – Badfinger : Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  31. ^ Hanlon, Tim (11 January 2020). "EPISODE 146: The NY Cosmos Theme Song – With Musician Steve Ferrone". goodseatsstillavailable.com. "Good Seats Still Available" podcast. Retrieved 5 October 2020.


External links[edit]