Clover (band)

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Origin Mill Valley, California, U.S.
Genres Rock
Years active 1967 (1967)–1978 (1978)
Labels Fantasy Records
Associated acts Elvis Costello, Huey Lewis and the News, The Doobie Brothers, Toto, Lucinda Williams
Past members Alex Call
John McFee
John Ciambotti
Mitch Howie
Huey Lewis
Jeff Porcaro
Sean Hopper
Marcus Grossman (aka Marcus David)
Kirk Harwood
Micky Shine
Tony Braunagel
Kevin Wells
Daniel Lenard

Clover was an American country rock band formed in Mill Valley, California, in 1967. They are best known as the backup band for Elvis Costello's 1977 debut album My Aim Is True (recorded in the UK), and for members later forming or joining more successful acts, including Huey Lewis and the News, The Doobie Brothers, Toto, and Lucinda Williams. Clover originally disbanded in 1978. Three members reunited for two concerts backing Costello in San Francisco on November 8, 2007.


Formed by members of the band Tiny Hearing Aid Company, Clover's sound moved on from Bay Area psychedelia to the burgeoning country rock sound, similar to Creedence Clearwater Revival. 1970 saw their debut self-titled album released on Fantasy Records (also Creedence's label), and a 1971 follow-up entitled Fourty Niner [sic]. Later the band moved to the UK and recorded Unavailable and Love on the Wire (both in 1977 and early efforts by producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange), before McFee, Ciambotti, Hopper and Shine backed Elvis Costello on his debut album My Aim Is True. Clover toured as the support group for Thin Lizzy in the UK during the late 1970s.

After Clover[edit]

After Clover originally disbanded in 1978 the ex-members returned home to the USA. Alex Call recorded as a solo artist and wrote hits for Huey Lewis and many other artists, including Tommy Tutone's "867-5309/Jenny". Lewis and Hopper formed Huey Lewis and the News, later recording hits with Lange. McFee joined Southern Pacific and The Doobie Brothers, and also played sessions for Elvis Costello. Ciambotti played sessions for Lucinda Williams, John Prine, and Carlene Carter, and became a chiropractor in Toluca Lake, California. Porcaro had a prolific career as a session musician and co-founded the band Toto. Shine briefly became a member of Tommy Tutone but left the band before they recorded Call's "867-5309".

Carlene Carter covered two of Clover's songs ("Love Is Gone" and "Mr. Moon," both written by Call), then later recorded two songs, "Ring Of Fire" and "Too Proud," with McFee, Ciambotti and Hopper.

Three members of Clover — McFee, Ciambotti, and Hopper — reunited for two concerts backing Elvis Costello in San Francisco on November 8, 2007. The concerts raised funds for the Richard de Lone Special Housing Fund, a non-profit organization designed to help those with Prader-Willi Syndrome.[1]

Founding member Dr. John P. Ciambotti died on March 24, 2010, in Glendale, California, at the age of 67. He had undergone surgery for an abdominal aneurysm.[2]

Band members[edit]

Founding members (1967–1978)[edit]

  • Alex Call - lead vocals, guitar
  • John McFee - guitar, steel guitar
  • John Ciambotti - bass
  • Mitch Howie - drums (left c 1971)

Later members[edit]

  • Huey Lewis - harmonica, vocals
  • Jeff Porcaro - drums
  • Sean Hopper - keyboards
  • Marcus Grossman (aka Marcus David) - drums
  • Kirk Harwood - drums
  • Micky Shine - drums
  • Tony Braunagel - drums
  • Kevin Wells - drums
  • Daniel Lenard - drums



  • "Wade In The Water" / "Stealin'" (Liberty #LBF 15341, UK) (Fantasy #639, US) (1970)
  • "Shotgun" / "Wade In The Water" (America-Records/Fantasy #17016) (France, 1970)
  • "Come" / "Monopoly" (America-Records/Fantasy #M 20-174) (Spain, 1971)
  • "Summer's Here" / "Leavin' Is" (PAC Records) (unreleased, US, 1976)
  • "Chicken Funk" / "Show Me Your Love" (Vertigo #6059 157) (UK, 1976)
  • "I Lie Awake" / "Take Another Look" (Vertigo #6059 164) (UK, 1977)
  • "Love Love" / "Leavin' Is" (Vertigo #6059 171) (UK, 1977)
  • "Chain Gang" / "Streets Of London" (Vertigo #6059 175) (UK, 1977)
  • "Oh Señorita" / "Ain't Nobody" (Vertigo #6059 188) (UK, 1977)
  • "Take Another Look"/ "Take another Look" (Mercury #DJ-504-73935) (promotional issue (promo), US, 1977)
  • "Hearts Under Fire" / "Still Alive" (Mercury #73978) (US, 1977) ("Hearts Under Fire" reached #129 in Record World, spring 1978)
  • "Hearts Under Fire" (edited version) / Hearts Under Fire" (Mercury #DJ-538-73978) (promo, US, 1977)
  • "There Is No Substitute For Real Magic" (Vertigo #4277) (UK, 1977) (promo flexi disc with information and song samples from their album Unavailable)


  • Clover (Fantasy) (1970)
  • Fourty Niner [sic] (Fantasy) (1971)
  • Unavailable (Mercury/Vertigo) (1976)
  • Love On The Wire (Mercury/Vertigo) (1977)
  • Chronicle (Fantasy) (1979)
  • The Best Of Clover: An American Band In London (Mercury) (1986)
  • Various Artists: San Francisco Nights (Magnum Music #CDTB-167) (1996) (three songs)
  • Live At The Paradiso (Sustainable Music) (2006)
  • The Sound City Sessions (Sonic Past Music) (2006)
  • Live Concert At Winterland - December 20, 1975 (Wolfgang's Concert Vault) (8 songs) (streaming audio)


External links[edit]