Southern Pacific (band)

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Southern Pacific
Southern Pacific.jpg
Southern Pacific (left to right: Knudsen, Cook, McFee, Howell), 1989.
Background information
OriginSan Francisco, California, United States
GenresCountry rock
Years active1983–1991
LabelsWarner Bros., Wounded Bird
Associated actsThe Doobie Brothers, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Tim Goodman, Burnin' Daylight, Pablo Cruise, The Strangers
Past membersKeith Knudsen
John McFee
Jerry Scheff
Tim Goodman
Glen Hardin
Stu Cook
Kurt Howell
David Jenkins

Southern Pacific was an American country rock band that existed from 1983 to 1991. They are best known for hits such as "Any Way the Wind Blows" (1989), which was used in the soundtrack for the film Pink Cadillac starring Clint Eastwood and Bernadette Peters, and "New Shade of Blue" (1988, their highest-ranking single on the country charts in November of that year). Southern Pacific was named New Country Group of the Year when they debuted and have been honored by having their name added to the Country Music Association’s Walkway of Stars in Nashville, Tennessee.


The band was formed in 1983 with former Doobie Brothers members Keith Knudsen and John McFee and bassist Jerry Scheff. Additional founding members include Tim Goodman on vocals and keyboardist Glen Hardin. The group signed with Warner Bros. Records in 1984 through which their debut album, Southern Pacific was released the following year. Scheff left after the album debuted and was replaced by Stu Cook of Creedence Clearwater Revival, while Kurt Howell replaced Hardin on keyboards. Cook and Howell would join the others in the release of Killbilly Hill in 1986. This album would feature the cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac". Goodman left after the second album to pursue a solo career and was replaced by David Jenkins (formerly of Pablo Cruise) in 1987 in time for the production of the group's third album Zuma (1988) where their highest ranking single "New Shade of Blue" was included. Jenkins left after Zuma and the group remained a quartet for the final album County Line (1989) which included the single "Any Way The Wind Blows" that was used in the Pink Cadillac soundtrack and film that same year. The group disbanded and Warner Bros. released their Greatest Hits album in 1991.

After Southern Pacific's breakup, Knudsen and McFee returned to The Doobie Brothers (who had already reunited in 1987). Knudsen died in 2005 while McFee continues to tour with The Doobies. Cook toured with fellow Creedence Clearwater Revival band member Doug Clifford with the group Cosmo's Factory (now Creedence Clearwater Revisited). Goodman continued to tour and record with The Magic Music Band and his solo project, The Tim Goodman Band. Howell formed his own music group, called Burnin' Daylight. This group also included former Exile member Sonny LeMaire and Nashville songwriter Marc Beeson.

Southern Pacific's four studio albums were reissued in 2003 by specialty label Wounded Bird Records in two double-CD packages.

Reunion concert[edit]

On July 12, 2013, Southern Pacific performed a reunion concert at Chain Reaction in Anaheim, California.

Band members[edit]

  • Keith Knudsen – drums, percussion, background vocals
  • John McFee – lead guitar, steel guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, resonator guitar, electric sitar, harmonica, background vocals
  • Stu Cook – bass guitar, background vocals, some lead vocals
  • Kurt Howell – piano, synthesizer, lead vocals, background vocals
  • David Jenkins – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, background vocals
  • Keith Knudsen – drums, percussion, background vocals
  • John McFee – lead vocals, lead guitar, steel guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, resonator guitar, electric sitar, harmonica, background vocals, some lead vocals
  • Stu Cook – bass guitar, background vocals
  • Kurt Howell – piano, synthesizer, lead vocals, background vocals



Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak positions
US Country
Southern Pacific 25
Killbilly Hill
  • Release date: 1986
  • Label: Warner Bros. Records
  • Release date: June 21, 1988
  • Label: Warner Bros. Records
County Line
  • Release date: 1990
  • Label: Warner Bros. Records

Compilation albums[edit]

Title Album details
Greatest Hits
  • Release date: 1991
  • Label: Warner Bros. Records
Rhino Hi-Five: Southern Pacific


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US Country US AC CAN Country
1985 "Someone's Gonna Love Me Tonight" 60 40 Southern Pacific
"Thing About You" (with Emmylou Harris) 14 14
"Perfect Stranger" 18 24
1986 "Reno Bound" 9 19
"A Girl Like Emmylou" 17 19 Killbilly Hill
"Killbilly Hill" 37 20
1987 "Don't Let Go of My Heart" 26 27
1988 "Midnight Highway" 14 16 Zuma
"New Shade of Blue" 2 *
"Honey I Dare You" 5 *
1989 "All Is Lost" 19
"Any Way the Wind Blows" 4 5 Pink Cadillac (soundtrack)
"Time's Up" (with Carlene Carter) 26 19 County Line
1990 "I Go to Pieces" 31 17
"Reckless Heart" 32 23
"Memphis Queen"[1]
"—" denotes releases that did not chart
* denotes unknown peak positions

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
1986 "Killbilly Hill"[2] Ethan Russell
1989 "Any Way the Wind Blows" N/A
1990 "I Go to Pieces"[3] Gerry Wenner

Album appearances[edit]

Year Song Album
1987 "Shoot for the Top" Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol


  1. ^ "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. November 10, 1990.
  2. ^ Billboard - Dec 20, 1986 - Google Books Result. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  3. ^ "New Videoclips" (PDF). Billboard. May 19, 1990. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  • Goldsmith, Thomas. (1998). "Southern Pacific." In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 497–498.

External links[edit]