Hudson Brothers in 1974, left to right: Bill, Brett, and Mark
|Also known as|
|Origin||Portland, Oregon, U.S.|
|Labels||Scepter, Jerden, Warner Bros. Records, Decca, Lionel, Playboy, Rocket, Casablanca, Arista, Elektra, Columbia|
The Hudson Brothers were an American musical group formed in Portland, Oregon, consisting of brothers Bill Hudson, Brett Hudson and Mark Hudson. They were discovered by a record producer while recording music at a local studio, and offered a recording contract. After releasing several garage rock singles in the late 1960s as The New Yorkers, the group began releasing material under the names Everyday Hudson, and Hudson.
They garnered fame as teen idols in the 1970s after making an appearance on the Sonny & Cher show, which resulted in them performing their own variety hour series for CBS, The Hudson Brothers Show, which ran throughout 1974 and 1975. They also released numerous hit singles during this time for producer Bernie Taupin, including "So You Are a Star" (1974), "Rendezvous" (1975), "Lonely School Year" (1975), and "Help Wanted" (1976).
1965–1972: Formation and early singles
The Hudson Brothers had their beginnings as a trio composed of teenage brothers Bill, Mark and Brett Hudson in the early 1960s. The three brothers had been raised in Portland, Oregon by their Italian American mother who was also a singer and encouraged the boys to play music. Early on, the three brothers had formed a band known as the My Sirs.
After winning several local "battle of the bands"-type contest, the group recorded several songs at a local recording studio, where they received the attention of a local promoter, who offered them a contract promoting Chrysler automobiles. They were subsequently renamed The New Yorkers, after the Chrysler model of the same name. In spring 1967 they released the single "When I'm Gone" (SCE-12190) on Scepter Records, which became a radio hit in the Pacific Northwest. This was followed in August 1967 with the single "Mr. Kirby" (SCE-12199), and then "Show Me the Way to Love" (SCE-12207) in autumn 1967. To support the singles, the group toured with several popular music acts, such as Buffalo Springfield, The Supremes, Johnny Nash, and The Buckinghams. By October 1968, The New Yorkers had switched to Jerry Dennon's Pacific Northwest label Jerden Records and issued "Adrianne" (#906), following that up with "Land of Ur" (#908) in March 1969. Later in 1969 The New Yorkers also recorded "Lonely" (#7318) for Warner Bros. Records and the Harry Nilsson song "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City" (#32569) for Decca Records.
On Decca Records they changed their name to Everyday Hudson in early 1970, releasing "Love Is the Word" (#32634). For the release in spring 1971 of "Love Nobody" on Lionel Records (L-3211), their name was shortened to Hudson. This name was also used in 1972 after switching to the newly re-activated Playboy Records, with the release of "Leavin' It's Over" (originally "Leave and It's Over", the song was mislabeled by Playboy, and it has never been corrected) (P-50001), Billboard Bubbling Under Chart #110. The group's self-titled debut album was released in 1972.
1972–1979: Teen idols
One of the group's earliest appearances on television as The Hudson Brothers, was in the summer of 1972, for the television game show What's My Line?, where they introduced "hot pants" to the American daytime television viewing audience, wearing them during the performance of one of their songs in a short promo. Hot Pants (short, "briefs"-length women's, and, sometimes, men's leg-wear) are, typically, made of more expensive or exotic materials, such as crushed-velvet). They were a short-lived fashion rage in the summer of that year. In 1973, the group received the attention of producer Bernie Taupin, who signed them with Elton John's record label, The Rocket Record Company. Under the name Hudson, they released "If You Really Need Me" (MCA-40141), which was recorded in France and produced by Taupin and mixed by Andy Scott. It was followed by "Sunday Driver" (MCA-40317).
After appearing as guests on the Sonny & Cher show in early 1974, a producer for CBS was impressed by brothers' stage presence and offered them their own variety hour on the network for the summer slot. The Hudson Brothers Show aired Wednesday nights on CBS from July 31, 1974 to August 28, 1974. The show was so successful that CBS devised The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show, which aired on Saturday mornings, from September 7, 1974 to August 30, 1975, in a half-hour format. The group's television exposure accrued the group a heightened level of fame, and resulted in the brothers becoming teen idols.
Their first release as The Hudson Brothers came in September 1974 with their single "So You Are a Star" on Casablanca Records (NES 0108), which peaked on the Billboard charts at #21 in November 1974. The group's second studio album, Totally Out of Control (1974), was released through The Rocket Record Company, and charted at #179 on the Billboard 200 in December 1974. Their third studio album, Hollywood Situation simultaneously peaked at #174.
They subsequently released the single "Coochie Coochie Coo" (NES 816) in 1975, which peaked on the Bubbling Under Chart at #108. They rebounded slightly that same year with "Rendezvous" (#26 U.S. Billboard Hot 100) from their fourth studio album, Ba-Fa. John Rockwell of The New York Times, reviewing one of the group's summer shows in 1975, wrote:
They make a hard rock sound and, at least in a club context, they try to project a raunchier image than television might lead one to expect... The result isn't entirely successful, however. The between songs routines still have a touch of slickness to them, and the comedy effort—although those in the audience who knew the television show seemed to find them uproarious —sounded lame indeed. Musically, this is a fully confident. competent group, capable of knocking out imitations of the nineteen‐fifties or original material with no embarrassment at all.
Ba-Fa charted on the Billboard 200 at #176 in January 1976. They returned to The Rocket Record Company to release additional 45 RPM singles in 1975 with Taupin, later switching to Arista Records in 1976, with whom they released the single "Help Wanted," which peaked at #70 on the Billboard charts. The three then starred alongside Robert "Bob" Monkhouse, a comedy actor best known in the United States for the Carry On franchise of comedy films, in Bonkers!, a half-hour syndicated comedy show in 1978, produced in Britain by ATV (Jack Burns was its American producer) and distributed by ITC. The same year, they each appeared together in the comedy film Zero to Sixty (1978).
1980–1981: Final album and dissolution
In 1980, the group reverted their named back to Hudson after they signed with Elektra Records. (The "Hudsons" which recorded for Columbia in 1983 is not the same group.) The brothers guest-starred on an episode of The Love Boat in 1980. Their final studio album, Damn Those Kids (1980), was released by Elektra. In 1983, the three brothers appeared in Hysterical, a horror-comedy film.
Richard Unterberger of AllMusic wrote of the group: "Those that remember the Hudson Brothers usually think of them as a bubblegum act of sorts, due to the fact that they hosted some comedy-variety TV shows in the mid-'70s. But they were in fact a real group, extremely Anglophile in orientation, with heavy debts to the Beatles and Beach Boys, and occasional hints of the Kinks."
- Bill Hudson — guitar, vocals (1964–1981)
- Brett Hudson — bass, vocals (1964–1981)
- Mark Hudson — drums, keyboards, vocals (1964–1981)
- Kent Fillmore — guitar (1964–1967)
- Bob Haworth — guitar (1968–1970)
Backing band (1978–1981)
- Barry Pullman — synthesizers
- Phil Reed — guitar
- Michael Parker — keyboards
- Craig Krampf — drums, percussion
- Larkin 2006, p. 2623.
- Nite & Newman 1978, p. 233.
- Hudson, Brett (January 2, 2015). "The Hudson Bros. Story told by Brett Hudson - The Beginning". RockTalk TV. Retrieved December 7, 2018 – via YouTube.
- "The Hudson Brothers Discography". AllMusic. AllRovi. Archived from the original on December 7, 2018.
- Woolery 1983, p. 237.
- Jacobs, A.J. (July 12, 1996). "Catching up with the Hudson Brothers". Entertainment Weekly. Meredith Corporation. Archived from the original on October 14, 2016.
- Leszczak 2015, p. 159.
- "The Hudson Brothers - Chart History - Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media, LLC. Archived from the original on December 7, 2018.
- "The Hudson Brothers - Chart History - Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media, LLC. Archived from the original on December 7, 2018.
- Rockwell, John (July 9, 1975). "Hudson Brothers Blend Hard Rock At the Bottom Line". The New York Times. p. 24.
- Pilchak 2005, p. 97.
- Unterberger, Richard. "The Hudson Brothers Biography". AllMovie. AllRovi. Archived from the original on December 9, 2015.
- Larkin, Colin, ed. (2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. 4. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-195-31373-4.
- Leszczak, Bob (2015). From Small Screen to Vinyl: A Guide to Television Stars Who Made Records, 1950-2000. New York: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-442-24274-6.
- Nite, Norm N.; Newman, Ralph M. (1978). Rock On: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock 'n Roll, The Modern Years. 2. New York: T. Y. Crowell Co. ISBN 978-0-690-01196-8.
- Pilchak, Angela M. (2005). Contemporary Musicians: Profiles of the People in Music. Detroit, Michigan: Cengage Gale. ISBN 978-0-787-68069-5.
- Woolery, George F. (1983). Children's Television: The First 35 Years, 1946 - 1981. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-810-81557-5.
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