- Bread (band)
Infobox musical artist
Name = Bread
Background = group_or_band
Los Angeles, California, United States
Rock and roll, Soft Rock, Country rock, Pop/Rock
Years_active = 1969 – 1973 ; 1976 -1978 ; 1996 - 1997
David Gates(deceased) Jimmy Griffin Robb Royer(deceased)
Bread was a 1970s rock/pop band from Los Angeles,
California. They were one of the most popular rock groups of the early 1970s, a primary example of what later was labeled " soft rock", earning a string of well-crafted, melodic soft rock singles.
The band consisted of
David Gates(Vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, violin, viola, percussion), Jimmy Griffin(vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion), Robb Royer(bass, guitar, flute, keyboards, percussion, recorder, backing vocals), Mike Botts(drums; joined in 1970), and Larry Knechtel(bass, guitar, keyboards, harmonica; replaced Royer in 1971).
Beginnings and fame
Gates, Griffin, and Royer joined together in 1968 and signed with
Elektra Recordschoosing the name Bread in 1969. Gates and Griffin had both worked with Royer's previous band, The Pleasure Fair. Bread's first single, "Dismal Day", was released in June 1969 but did not chart. Their debut album, "Bread", was released in September 1969 and peaked at #127 on the Billboard 200. Songwriting on the album was split evenly between Gates and the team of Griffin-Royer. Jim Gordon, a top session player, accompanied the band on drums for the album.
Bread became a quartet with their second album, "
On the Waters" (peaking at #12 on the Billboard 200), bringing in Botts as drummer. This time their efforts quickly established Bread as a major act, hitting the mainstream with the Billboard Hot 100#1 hit " Make It with You" in 1970.
For their next single, they released a re-recorded version of "It Don't Matter to Me", a Gates song from their first album. This single was a hit as well, reaching #10. Bread began touring and recording the 1971 album titled "Manna" (#21), which included the Top 5 hit single, "If". As with the first album, songwriting credits were split evenly between Gates and Griffin-Royer.
Royer left the group after three albums; although, he would continue to write with Griffin—and was replaced by Knechtel, a leading session player from the
Los Angelesscene. In January 1972, Bread released " Baby I'm-a Want You", their most successful album, peaking at #3 on the Billboard 200. The title song was established as a hit in late 1971 before the album was released, also hitting #3. Follow-up singles " Everything I Own" and "Diary" also went top-20. The next album, " Guitar Man", was released ten months later and went to #18. The album produced three top-15 singles, " The Guitar Man" (#11), "Sweet Surrender" (#15), and "Aubrey" (#15), with the first two going to #1 on Billboard's adult contemporary chart. The band would have a total of four #1 singles on this chart; "If" and "Baby I'm-a Want You" had also reached the top of the adult contemporary chart during their respective chart runs.
plit and reunion
Despite the band's success, tensions existed between Gates and Griffin. All eleven of Bread's charting singles between 1970 and 1973 had been written and sung by Gates. Elektra Records had invariably selected Gates' songs for the A-sides of the singles, while Griffin felt that the singles should have been split between the two of them.
By 1973, fatigue from constant recording and touring had set in and personal relationships began to show strain. There was also some dissatisfaction with the songs planned for a sixth album. In view of this, Bread decided to disband. Gates and Griffin then began solo careers, with mixed results. "The Best of Bread" compilation album from 1973 was a huge success, peaking at #2 on the Billboard 200 and staying on the chart for over two years. The follow-up, "The Best of Bread, Volume Two", was released in 1974 and went to #32.
The reunion of the group in 1976 came about after Elektra Records expressed serious interest in another Bread album. Initially, Gates had mixed feelings about such a project. But he was on good terms with the label and could understand their position. Gates, Griffin, Botts and Knechtel returned to the studio that year and recorded the album "
Lost Without Your Love", released in January 1977. The title track—again written and sung by Gates—was the band's last top-ten hit, peaking at #9 on the singles chart. This comeback record reached #26 on Billboard's album chart and was Bread's seventh consecutive album (including the two best-ofs) to be RIAA-certified gold. In March 1977, Elektra released a second single, "Hooked On You". It was less successful on the pop chart (peaking at #60) but it reached #2 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart.
The four members of Bread (with hot session guitarist
Dean Parksadded for extra muscle) toured throughout 1977 to support their comeback album. After a short break they commenced the tour's second leg that summer....without Griffin whom Gates failed to invite after further rising tensions. They ended the year with no further plans to record as a group. In 1978, Gates also enjoyed success as a solo artist with the hit singles "Goodbye Girl"(from the movie of the same name) and "Took The Last Train". He then toured with Botts and Knechtel as "David Gates & Bread". The group's 1978 touring line-up also included Warren Ham(woodwinds, keyboards, backing vocals), Bill Ham(guitars) and David Minor(bass). This led to a legal dispute with Griffin over use of the band's name, of which Griffin was co-owner. In the dispute Griffin also complained, once again, that Gates' songs were given preference as singles over his. The resulting litigation was not settled until 1984.
After leaving Bread in 1971, Royer stuck mostly to songwriting (still teaming with Griffin on occasion). Like Griffin, his success was mostly writing for artists in the
Country Musicfield in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1994 Royer, Griffin and Knechtel reunited under the name Toast. Knechtel had continued to be an in demand session player backing up such artists as Elvis Costelloand many others.
In 1994, after being out of the spotlight for 13 years, Gates released a new solo album, "Love Is Always Seventeen". In 1996, having settled their differences, Gates, Griffin, Botts and Knechtel reunited Bread for a successful "25th Anniversary" tour of the United States, South Africa, Europe and Asia. This time out the group was accompanied by
Randy Flowers(guitars), Scott Chambers(bass) and a string section to help them capture the sound of the records. This tour was extended into 1997, after which Gates and the others resumed their individual careers.
In 2005, Griffin and Botts both died from cancer at age 61. Bread was inducted into the
Vocal Group Hall of Famein 2006.
* Date indicates the week the song entered onto the "
Billboard Hot 100"
* All songs above reached their Peak Position on the "
Billboard Hot 100" the same year they entered the chart except for "Lost Without Your Love" which peaked at #9 in 1977.
* Though Bread never had a #1 single in Britain, three cover versions have topped that chart:
Telly Savalas' "If," and two recordings of "Everything I Own," by Ken Bootheand Boy George
* [http://dir.yahoo.com/Entertainment/Music/Artists/By_Genre/Rock_and_Pop/Bread/ Bread in the Yahoo! Directory]
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