Nolan Porter

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Nolan Porter
Birth nameNolan Frederick Porter
Also known asNolan, Frederick II, N. F. Porter
Born (1949-05-10) 10 May 1949 (age 70)
OriginLos Angeles, California, USA
GenresSoul, rock
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
Years active1968 to present
LabelsLizard, Vulture, ABC-Dunhill, Probe

Nolan Frederick Porter (born May 10th 1949 in Los Angeles) is an American R&B singer and songwriter[1] who recorded two albums and six singles in the early 1970s. His best known song is "Keep On Keeping On", a northern soul track popularized in 1978 by the Manchester and Salford band Joy Division when they used the guitar riff from Porter's song for their "Interzone".[2] [note 1]


Based in Los Angeles, Porter's first recorded song (as Nolan) was a version of Van Morrison's "Crazy Love" released on the Lizard label in 1971. Two other 45s were released on Lizard, including "Keep On Keeping On" before he switched to the larger imprint ABC for two final 45 releases. The first of these, "If I Could Only Be Sure" was covered by Paul Weller and released on his Studio 150 album in 2004 and would become a popular song in UK northern soul dance halls. Porter also recorded "Groovin' (Out On Life)" as Frederick II on Gabriel Mekler's Vulture label and earned a small R&B hit.[3] Porter is also married to Frank Zappa's sister Candy.[4]

Album releases[edit]

Porter has released two albums. The first, No Apologies, appeared in 1970 on Mekler's Lizard imprint and features songs by Steve Cropper, Booker T Jones and Randy Newman as well as Porter originals. The musicians for much of the album consisted of former members of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention.[5] Lowell George contributes guitar parts. Reviewing in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau said: "A black singer whose idiom is rock-influenced soul (or vice versa) turns Randy Newman's 'Let's Burn Down the Cornfield' into a song about smoldering sharecropper unrest (well, sort of) and finds good ones by David Blue (well, sort of) and Booker T. Plus writing wise, witty, rocking songs of his own, songs that belong in this company, many of them about racial identity. Formally, this is the Rod Stewart strategy, and the artistic achievement is comparable. But does he have Stewart's backing on the radio or in the express? Well, no."[6]

In August 1972, Porter returned to the studio to record his second and last album, Nolan[7] The album contained four new songs and re-recorded mixes[citation needed] of older songs such as "Groovin (Out On Life)" and "If I Could Only Be Sure". The album and an accompanying single "Singer Man" resulted in few takers. Mekler's labels collapsed towards the end of 1973 and Porter's short recording career came to an end. Material he recorded later in the decade was not released.[8]

Porter continued working in Los Angeles nightclubs as a musician and comedian. He has also performed in clubs in his home country and overseas in Spain and United Kingdom.


  1. ^ Bernie Binnick, former record owner and impresario for RCA wanted a punk band to record a version of Porter's "Keep On Keeping On".


  1. ^ Joel Whitburn's Music Stars 2009
  2. ^ M Middles, Factory: The Story of the Record Label, Chapter Six, Virgin, 2009 ISBN 0753518252
  3. ^ Crossfire Publications Nolan Porter, Nolan - No Apologies
  4. ^ Northern Soul Official Interview with Nolan Porter by Michael - The 45s Club
  5. ^ Northern Soul Official Interview with Nolan Porter by Michael - The 45s Club
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: N". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 8, 2019 – via
  7. ^ Crossfire Publications Nolan Porter Nolan (album info)
  8. ^ Crossfire Publications Nolan Porter Nolan

External links[edit]