Thursday, May 5, 2011

Humble Pie

A lovely little band Humble Pie was, having been formed in 1968 by Ex-Small Faces front man Steve Marriott on guitar and vocals, Greg Ridley, fresh out of Spooky Tooth on bass and vocals, guitarist/vocalist Peter Frampton, formerly of Brit teenybop sensations The Herd, and drummer Jerry Shirley.They signed with Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate Records and released their first single "Natural Born Boogie" which went to #4 on the British charts.
This was followed by an album, Safe AsYesterday Is, hitting  #19 on the Brit album charts, and one of the first albums to be described as heavy metal in a 1970 Rolling Stone review. The second LP, Town And Country, had a more acoustic sound. At the time all four members  wrote songs and their live shows featured an all acoustic section. 1970 came, and with it the force of nature known as Dee Anthony as Humble Pie's manager. He promptly steered the boys away from the acoustic stuff, and towards a harder sound. The band's next album, this time on A&M records, alternated between progressive and hard rock. It failed to chart, but the band was consistently filling seats and tearing it up on the live circuit, particularly in the U.S.
1971 saw both Rock On, their most successful record to date, and the double album Performance:Rocking At The Fillmore, which went gold and to # 29 on the Billboard charts. This album featured the FM radio hit, "I Don't Need No Doctor", a bone-crushing reworking of the Ray Charles classic. By this time Peter Frampton left the band to become , you know, Peter Frampton.
Frampton was replaced by David "Clem" Clempson, and the band continued it's proto-metal bash 'n' boogie style emphasising Marriott's blues and soul roots as well as his Tina Turner-on-crystal meth voice.The album Hot 'N' Nasty came next in 1972 with two singles, the title track and "Thirty Days In The Hole". This album went to #6, helped along by a relentless touring schedule. The band hired backing vocal group The Blackberries for live and studio support. The trio consisted of Venetta Fields, Clydie King, and Sherrie Matthews, former Ikettes and Raelettes. more albums followed, such as Eat It, Street Rats, and Thunderbox. In 1975 the band broke up, then re-formed in 1980 with Marriott, Shirley, Bobby Tench ,formerly of the Jeff Beck Group on guitar and vocals, and Anthony"Sooty" Jones on bass. This line-up recorded the album On To Victory, and the single "Fool For A Pretty Face" went to #52 on the Billboard Hot 100. Marriott began suffering from various health issues, yet continued to work on projects like his band Packet Of Three, and collaborations with Ridley and Frampton at various times. Drummer Jerry Shirley obtained the rights to the name "Humble Pie" in 1985 and put together a band billed as Jerry Shirley's Humble Pie...the less said about that,the better. Steve Marriott died on April 20,1991 in a house fire.He was 44. His lovely little band kicked ass.

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