Graham Central Station

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Graham Central Station
Wilton Rabb performing with Graham Central Station (Istanbul Jazz Festival, 2010)
Wilton Rabb performing with Graham Central Station (Istanbul Jazz Festival, 2010)
Background information
OriginOakland, California, United States
Years active1973–1979, 1997–1998, 2012
LabelsWarner Bros., WEA, Star Maker, P-Vine, Rhino
Past membersLarry Graham
David Vega
Hershall Kennedy
Willie Sparks[3]
Patryce "Chocolate" Banks[4]

Graham Central Station was an American funk band named after founder Larry Graham (formerly of Sly and the Family Stone).[1][5] The name is a pun on New York City's Grand Central Terminal, often colloquially called Grand Central Station.



The band's origins[4][6][7] date from when Santana guitarist Neal Schon formed the band Azteca in 1972 along with Larry Graham (bass guitar) and Gregg Errico (drums), both from Sly and the Family Stone, and Pete Sears (keyboards), from Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship. Santana bass guitar player Tom Rutley moved into the bass spot with Azteca. That band, like Santana with heavy Latin influences, eventually morphed into Graham Central Station, while Schon formed Journey. The invention of electric slap bass is attributed by many (including Victor Wooten and Bootsy Collins) to Graham, which influenced many musical genres, such as funk, R&B and disco.[4]


In 1974, they released the single "Can You Handle It?". It peaked at number 9 on the R&B charts[1] and number 49 on the Billboard Hot 100. Graham Central Station's biggest hit was "Your Love", which charted at number 1 on the R&B charts in 1975.[1] The same year they issued a cover version of the Detroit Emeralds 1972 hit "Feel the Need in Me".[7] It reached number 18 on the R&B charts and this would be the bands only hit in the UK peaking at number 53.[8] The group also integrated gospel music into their repertoire, and played with the dichotomy between the funk/rock star image and the "sanctified" gospel group image. Some of their recordings feature the Tower of Power horn section.

In 2011, Graham Central Station opened for Prince on Prince's "Welcome 2 America" tour.[9]



Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications Label
1974 Graham Central Station 48 20 Warner Bros
Release Yourself 51 22
1975 Ain't No 'Bout-A-Doubt It 22 4
1976 Mirror
1977 Now Do U Wanta Dance 67 12
1978 My Radio Sure Sounds Good to Me 105 18 WEA
1979 Star Walk 136 44 Warner Bros
1997 By Popular Demand P-Vine
1998 GCS 2000 (produced with Prince) NPG
2012 Raise Up 65 Moosicus Records
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Live albums[edit]

  • Live in Japan '92' (1992) Star Maker – manufactured by PIA Corporation & Edoya Records Inc. (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Live in London (1996) – Funk24 (London, England)
  • Can You Handle This? (2003) – Kezar Stadium – 1975, Big Fro Discs (Japan)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • The Best of Larry Graham and Graham Central Station, Vol. 1 (Warner Bros, 1996)
  • The Jam: The Larry Graham & Graham Central Station Anthology[7] (Rhino, 2001)
  • Greatest Hits (Rhino Flashback, 2003)


Year Title Chart positions
US Pop
1974 "Release Yourself" 56
"Can You Handle It?" 9 49
1975 "Feel the Need" 18 53
"Your Love" 1 38
"It's Alright" 19 92
1976 "Entrow (Part 1)" 21
"Love" 14
"The Jam" 15 63
1977 "Now Do-U-Wanta Dance" 10
"Stomped Beat-Up and Whooped" 25
1978 "Is It Love? 65
"My Radio Sure Sounds Good to Me" 18
"Star Walk" 85
1979 "(You're a) Foxy Lady" 37
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.


  1. ^ a b c d Wynn, Ron (n.d.). "Graham Central Station: Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  2. ^ Dove, Ian (February 15, 1975). "Three Soul Groups Sing at Music Hall". The New York Times. p. 16. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  3. ^ Fagan, Kevin (February 13, 2011). "Transbay Terminal hurdle: hard-core homeless". San Francisco Chronicle.
  4. ^ a b c Liebman, Jon (October 2012). "Interview - Larry Graham". For Bass Players Only. Retrieved June 29, 2015. In the beginning, it was really built around the girl vocalist, Patrice Banks. We called her Chocolate, so we called the group Hot Chocolate. I was intending to be the writer and producer of the group. One night they were doing a gig at this nightclub in San Francisco called Bimbo's and I knew the music well that the band was playing because I wrote and arranged a bunch of it. Towards the end, with the urges of the crowd and everything, I ended up going on and playing with the band and I guess something happened that night. It was like we all knew that something had just happened there and it ended up being my band, with me just replacing the bass player.
  5. ^ "Graham Central Station Page". Retrieved October 5, 2007.
  6. ^ BLAKE, MARCUS (August 27, 2013). "RAISE UP EVEN HIGHER: Larry Graham on Graham Central Station & Sly And The Family Stone". Blurt Magazine. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Vincent, Rickey. "The Jam: The Larry Graham & Graham Central Station Anthology - LINER NOTES". Archived from the original on September 16, 2003. Retrieved September 16, 2003.
  8. ^ a b c d "Graham Central Station Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography". Music VF. Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  9. ^ "Review: Prince's Welcome 2 America Tour". Retrieved May 20, 2011.
  10. ^ "Vallejo musicians inducted into West Coast Blues Hall of Fame". Retrieved January 11, 2018.
  11. ^ "Graham Central Station's David 'Dynamite' Vega has passed away". Retrieved January 11, 2018.
  12. ^ "Larry Graham – Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  13. ^ "Larry Graham – TOP R&B/HIP-HOP ALBUMS". Billboard. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  14. ^ "Gold & Platinum - RIAA". RIAA. Retrieved November 2, 2018.

External links[edit]