Friday, March 2, 2012

The Foundations

Having the distinction of being the first multi-racial group to have a hit in the U.K., The Foundations were also diverse in their ages. Saxophonist Mike Elliot was 38 years old, while drummer Tim Harris was barely out of school at 18 years of age. Formed in London in 1967, the band was rounded out by Pat Burke also on saxophone, Eric Allendale on trombone, Peter Macbeth on bass guitar, Allen Warner on guitar, keyboardist Tony Gomez and vocalist Clem Burke. The band practiced in a basement club called The Butterfly Club, which interestingly enough, they owned and operated while playing nightly. They eventually signed on to Pye Records and released their first single "Baby Now That I Found You" which went to #1 in the U.K. and to #11 in the U.S.

The success of the single was well-timed, given that the U.K. was undergoing a huge interest in American soul music with American soul acts visiting the country often. This gave The Foundations the opportunity to tour with acts such as Edwin Starr and The Toys, thus increasing the band's visibility. Their second single "Back On My Feet Again", while not as successful as their previous outing , did reach #18  in the U.K.

After the band's third single "Any Old Time (you're Lonely And Sad)" was released getting only to #48 U.K., vocalist Clem Curtis and sax man Mike Elliott left the group due to those pesky "creative differences". Elliott was never replaced. Curtis hung around until his replacement was found, a gentleman by the name of Colin Young. It was 1968.
Young's debut single with the group "Build Me Up Buttercup" went to #2 in the U.K. and to #3 in the U.S., the band's second biggest release. The follow-up "In The Bad Bad Old Days (Before You Loved Me)" climbed to #8 on the U.K. charts.

(my apologies for the poor synchronization,but this vid had the best sound quality.)

These hits came in 1969. when 1970 rolled around the bassist Peter MacBeth left the band to be replaced by Steve Bingham. Management changes ensued and a Bill Graham-sponsored tour supporting The Temptations followed. The band broke up later that year.
Their last single, "My Little Chickadee" barely touched the top 100.

Since the break-up many different permutations of the band with old and new members came and went. Clem Curtis still performs as Clem Curtis And The Foundations at various oldies revues as does Colin Young using the name The Foundations performing new material along with the group's old hits.

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