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
Associated actsSly & the Family Stone, Prince
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 & the Family Stone). The name is a pun on New York City's Grand Central Terminal, often colloquially called Grand Central Station.


The band's origins[4][5][6] 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 & the Family Stone, and Pete Sears (keyboards), from Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship. Santana bass guitar player Tom Rutley would move into the bass spot with Azteca. That band, like Santana with heavy Latin influences, would eventually morph into Graham Central Station, while Schon would form 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.


Graham Central Station's biggest hit was "Your Love", which charted at number 38 in 1975. 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.[7]



Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

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

Compilation albums[edit]

  • 1996 – The Best of Larry Graham and Graham Central Station, Vol. 1, Warner Bros.
  • 2001 – The Jam: The Larry Graham & Graham Central Station Anthology,[6] Rhino
  • 2003 – Greatest Hits, Rhino Flashback


Year Song US R&B[11] US Pop[11] UK[11]
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 I)" 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


  1. ^ 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". The San Francisco Chronicle.
  4. ^ a b liebman, jon. "Interview - Larry Graham". For Bass Players Only. Retrieved 29 June 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. ^ BLAKE, MARCUS. "RAISE UP EVEN HIGHER: Larry Graham on Graham Central Station & Sly And The Family Stone". Blurt Magazine. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  6. ^ a b Vincent, Rickey. "The Jam: The Larry Graham & Graham Central Station Anthology - LINER NOTES". Archived from the original on September 16, 2003. Retrieved 2003-09-16.
  7. ^ "Review: Prince's Welcome 2 America Tour". Culture Brats. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
  8. ^ "Vallejo musicians inducted into West Coast Blues Hall of Fame". Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Graham Central Station's David 'Dynamite' Vega has passed away". Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Gold & Platinum - RIAA". RIAA. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  11. ^ a b c "Graham Central Station Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography". Music VF. Retrieved 1 October 2020.

External links[edit]