Russ Ballard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Russ Ballard
Birth nameRussell Glyn Ballard
Born (1945-10-31) 31 October 1945 (age 74)
Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, England
GenresHard rock, Glam rock, psychedelic pop, pop rock, beat
Occupation(s)Musician, singer, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals, piano, keyboards, harmonica
Years active1960–present
Associated actsArgent

Russell Glyn Ballard (born 31 October 1945) is an English singer, songwriter and musician.[1]

Originally coming to prominence as the lead singer and guitarist for the band Argent, Ballard became known by the late 1970s as a songwriter and producer. His compositions "New York Groove", "You Can Do Magic", "Since You Been Gone", "Liar", "Winning", "I Know There's Something Going On", "So You Win Again" and "God Gave Rock and Roll to You" were hits for other artists during the 1970s and 1980s. He also scored several minor hits under his own name in the early and mid-1980s.

Early life[edit]

Ballard was born in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, England.[1]


Ballard was initially a guitarist, joining Buster Meikle & The Day Breakers in 1961 together with his older brother Roy and their friend the drummer Bob Henrit. After a stint with The Roulettes, backing Adam Faith, he then went on to join Unit 4 + 2 in 1967, 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",[1] 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"[1] (originally recorded by Argent), Hot Chocolate's 1977 UK chart topper "So You Win Again",[1][2] and Rainbow's 1979 hit "Since You Been Gone". Head East had also recorded the song in 1978 for its self-titled album, and before that it was included in Ballard's 1976 solo album Winning. Ballard 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 undertook a tour with Roger Daltrey in 1985, playing guitar and 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.[3] "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, performing at large theatre venues in Europe and medium-sized clubs such as The Bottom Line in New York and the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles.

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.

Returning to a harder rock vein, Ballard wrote "I Did It For Love," which became the last Billboard Hot 100 hit for Night Ranger, appearing on their 1988 Man in Motion album. In 1991 the song he co-wrote with John Waite and Jonathan Cain, "So This Is Eden", appeared on Bad English's album, Backlash.

Ballard has also written and produced for Elkie Brooks, and in 2005 acting as a talent scout, he "discovered" Lauren Harris.[4][5]

Solo recordings[edit]

As a solo artist, Ballard charted once on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, when "On the Rebound" reached No. 58 in 1980.[1] 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. It reached no. 187 on the Billboard 200.[6]

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.

"The Fire Still Burns", the title track of his 1985 album matched the placement of the previous year's "Voices," peaking at No. 15 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.[7]

Ballard and Kiss[edit]

In addition to Kiss covering "God Gave Rock and Roll to You", retitled as "God Gave Rock 'n' Roll to You II":[8]

  • Kiss drummer Peter Criss recorded Ballard's "Let Me Rock You" and "Some Kinda Hurricane" on his 1982 Let Me Rock You album.[9]
  • Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley covered "New York Groove" on his self-titled solo album in 1978.[10] 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.[11]

Ballard songs recorded by other acts[edit]

Solo discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions Notes
1974 Russ Ballard
  • Released: September 1974
  • Label: Epic
  • Format: LP
1976 Winning
  • Released: 1976
  • Labels: Epic
  • Format: LP
1979 At the Third Stroke
  • Released: 1978
  • Label: Epic
  • Format: LP
  • Includes "Treat Her Right"
1980 Barnet Dogs
  • Released: 1980
  • Labels: Epic
  • Format: LP
  • Includes "On the Rebound" and "Riding with the Angels"
1981 Into the Fire
  • Released: 1981
  • Label: Epic
  • Format: LP
1984 Russ Ballard
  • Released: 1984
  • Labels: EMI
  • Format: LP
  • Includes "Voices" and "In the Night"
1985 The Fire Still Burns
  • Released: 1985
  • Label: EMI
  • Format: LP
  • Includes "The Fire Still Burns" and "Dream On"
1993 The Seer
  • Released: 1993
  • Labels: Intercord
  • Format: LP
2006 Book of Love[7]
  • Released: 20 October 2006
  • Labels: Phoenix Music Group

Format: CD

2015/2020 It's Good To Be Here[7]
  • Released: 27 March 2015
  • Labels: UMU Music Group
  • Format: Download

Re-worked and re-released 21 February 2020

  • First available in 2015 only as digital download via UMU Music Group, Russ worked on the tracks the coming years
  • After signing a contract with BMG Rights Management UK Ltd the album is available as CD, LP, Digital
  • First Single (available on major streaming services since 9 December 2019) is "Kicking' The Can"


Charting singles[edit]

  • "On the Rebound" (1980) - no. 58 on Billboard Hot 100.[15]
  • "Voices" (1984) - no. 110 on Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles / no. 15 Top Tracks (Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart).[16]
  • "The Fire Still Burns" (1985) - no. 105 on Billboard Bubbling Under The Hot 100 Singles / no. 15 Top Rock Tracks (Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart).[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f William Ruhlmann (31 October 1945). "Russ Ballard | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 249. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ Willschick, Aaron (10 November 2008). "Interview with Lauren Harris". Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  5. ^ "Lauren Harris: A storm is brewing". 1 August 2008. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  6. ^ "Russ Ballard - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Allmusic – Charts & Awards[dead link]
  8. ^ "Kiss - God Gave Rock & Roll To You II (Vinyl)". 30 December 1991. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  9. ^ Doug Stone. "Let Me Rock You - Peter Criss | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  10. ^ Greg Prato. "Ace Frehley - Ace Frehley,Kiss | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  11. ^ Greg Prato. "Frehley's Comet - Ace Frehley | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  12. ^ "Russ Ballard | Credits". AllMusic. 31 October 1945. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  13. ^ "Russ Ballard | Songs". AllMusic. 31 October 1945. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  14. ^ "Russ Ballard | Album Discography". AllMusic. 31 October 1945. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Russ Ballard - Chart history". Billboard. 26 July 1980. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  16. ^ a b "Russ Ballard - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 24 July 2017.