|Birth name||Russell Glyn Ballard|
31 October 1945 |
Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, England
|Genres||Hard rock, Pop, Psychedelic pop, Pop rock, Beat|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, singer, songwriter|
|Instruments||Guitar, vocals, piano, keyboards, harmonica|
Ballard (formerly of Rick Nicholl and the Rebels) was initially a guitarist (Hofner Club 60), appearing stage left, with Buster Meikle & The Day Breakers in 1961, together with Roy Ballard (Russ's older brother) on piano playing behind him, Bernie Benson on bass to the right, and Bob Henrit on drums. After a stint with The Roulettes, backing Adam Faith, he then went on to join Unit 4 + 2 in the early 1960s, before becoming the lead singer and guitarist of Argent (along with Henrit, who joined as drummer), writing their hit "God Gave Rock and Roll to You", which would later be covered by both Petra and KISS. Ballard is most well known as the vocalist on Argent's smash "Hold Your Head Up". In 1972, Ballard performed on Colin Blunstone's album Ennismore, which was produced by Chris White. Ballard also wrote the hit single, "I Don't Believe in Miracles", which featured on that album.
He left Argent in 1974 and pursued a solo and songwriting career. He wrote such hits as Three Dog Night's "Liar" (originally recorded by Argent), Hot Chocolate's 1977 UK chart topper "So You Win Again", and Rainbow's 1979 hit "Since You Been Gone." Head East recorded the song first in 1978 for its self-titled album. The song also is featured on Ballard's second solo album Winning. He also wrote Rainbow's 1981 No. 3 (UK) hit "I Surrender".
Ballard also wrote and performed on Roger Daltrey's first two solo albums, Daltrey (1973) and Ride a Rock Horse (1975). Daltrey recorded some other Russ Ballard originals for his McVicar soundtrack, and his albums Under a Raging Moon and Can't Wait to See the Movie. Ballard did a tour with Roger Daltrey in 1985, playing guitar and even singing one of his own songs.
British pop band Hello recorded Ballard's "New York Groove" in 1975, reaching No. 7 in Germany and No. 9 in the UK. "New York Groove" would also be recorded three years later by Ace Frehley, who turned the tune into a stateside hit.
Ballard also wrote the No. 17, 1981 hit for Santana, called "Winning", which appeared on their album entitled Zebop! and had previously been released by Ballard himself on his second solo album. To promote the Winning album he toured Europe and the US in October and November 1976 working with the John Stanley Media Management Company and a four piece band doing large theatre venues in Europe and medium-sized clubs like The Bottom Line in New York and the Whisky A Go Go in LA in the States with excellent results. Ground Control sound engineer Robin Mayhew looked after the sound for both tours.
Ballard wrote and produced "You Can Do Magic" for the group America on its 1982 album View from the Ground. The single climbed to No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1982, and helped resurrect the band's career. The following year, America brought in Ballard to produce their follow-up album, Your Move. One of its tracks, "The Border", which was co-written by Ballard with Dewey Bunnell, reached No. 33 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Ballard wrote ABBA singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad's 1982 solo hit: "I Know There's Something Going On" (which was produced by Phil Collins, and also featured Collins on drums). The track reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. He also penned "Can't Shake Loose" for fellow ABBA former member Agnetha Fältskog, which peaked at No. 29 in the same listings.
As a solo artist, Ballard charted once on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, when "On the Rebound" reached No. 58 in 1980. English rock band Uriah Heep covered "On the Rebound" in 1982 on their album Abominog. In 1980, he released a solo album on Epic entitled Barnet Dogs.
Another notable solo hit, "Voices" – from his second self-titled album (1984) – was featured in the Miami Vice episode "Calderone's Return: Part 2 – Calderone's Demise," which aired on 26 October 1984. The song was a brief hit on rock radio stations, peaking at No. 15 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. However, "Voices" stalled below the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 110. Another song from the same album, "In The Night" was featured in the episode "Calderone's Return: Part 1 – The Hit List." The show also featured "Your Time Is Gonna Come" by Ballard later in its run.
Ballard and KISS
- KISS drummer Peter Criss recorded Ballard's "Let Me Rock You" and "Some Kinda Hurricane" on his 1982 Let Me Rock You album.
- KISS guitarist Ace Frehley covered "New York Groove" on his self-titled solo album in 1978. Frehley's version reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and has been a regular staple of KISS live performances, during tours in which Frehley has taken part.
- During his non-KISS years, Frehley also did a cover of the Ballard song "Into The Night", for his 1987 Frehley's Comet album.
Ballard and UMU Music
On the 17th February 2014, Ballard joined UMU Music to supply an exclusive backstage pass into his personal music life, letting his fans see behind the scenes and exclusively receiving his 10th studio album. Within the subscription, he released a brand new & re-mastered version of the notable solo hit ‘voices’ from his second self-titled album (1984).
Ballard songs covered by other acts
- "Can't Shake Loose", recorded by Agnetha Fältskog.
- "Cuckoo", recorded by Bay City Rollers.
- "Dream On", recorded by King Kobra.
- "Feels like the real thing", recorded by Stormbringer (same titled album - 1983).
- "Free Me", recorded by Roger Daltrey (Soundtrack album of McVicar – 1980).
- "God Gave Rock 'n' Roll to You", recorded by Argent, Petra, and Kiss.
- "Hearts of Fire", recorded by Roger Daltrey (on his album Can't Wait to See the Movie).
- "I Did It For Love," recorded by Night Ranger
- "I Don't Believe in Miracles", recorded by Colin Blunstone.
- "I Know There's Something Going On", recorded by Frida.
- "I Surrender", recorded by Head East, Rainbow, Cherie & Marie Currie, At Vance, and Stratovarius.
- "I Will Be There", recorded by Gogmagog.
- "I'm the One Who Loves You", recorded by A II Z.
- "Into the Night", recorded by Frehley's Comet.
- "Is Anybody There", recorded by E. F. Band (Deep Cut – 1982).
- "Juliet", recorded by Girl (Killing Time – 1997).
- "Just a Dream Away", recorded by Roger Daltrey (Soundtrack album of McVicar – 1980).
- "Let Me Rock You", recorded by Peter Criss.
- "Liar", recorded by Argent, Three Dog Night, Graham Bonnet and Blackfoot
- "Lost City", recorded by the Shadows (Sound of the Shadows – 1965)
- "Love Is a Game", recorded by Girl, and E. F. Band.
- "My Time Is Gonna Come", recorded by Roger Daltrey (Soundtrack album of McVicar – 1980).
- "New York Groove", recorded by Hello, Ace Frehley and The Sweet.
- "No More The Fool", recorded by Elkie Brooks.
- "Nothing Feels Good", recorded by Sam Roman.
- "On the Rebound", recorded by Uriah Heep (Abominog – 1982).
- "Panic Attack", recorded by Bert Heerink (Better Yet – 2009).
- "Riding With the Angels", recorded by Samson, Heretic, and Bruce Dickinson.
- "S.O.S.", recorded by Graham Bonnet.
- "Since You Been Gone", recorded by Clout, Cherie & Marie Currie, Head East, Rainbow, Alcatrazz, Impellitteri, and Brian May.
- "So You Win Again", recorded by Hot Chocolate and South African band Copperfield.
- "Some Kinda Hurricane", recorded by Peter Criss.
- "Voices", recorded by Cydonia (The Dark Flower – 2003).
- "Winning", recorded by Nona Hendryx and later Santana.
- "You Can Do Magic", recorded by America.
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Notes|
|1978||At the Third Stroke||–|
|1981||Into the Fire||–|
|1985||The Fire Still Burns||166||
|2006||Book of Love
|2015||"It's Good To Be Here
- "On the Rebound" (#58 on US Hot 100)
- Allmusic – Biography
- Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 184. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 249. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Allmusic – Charts & Awards