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Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday Nite Retro

THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY!!! Sorry. . .for a short holiday week, this one was a BEAR! I'm in the mood for some comfort food this evening, so I'm gonna do a short dance with a one-time member of probably my favorite band of all time - Fleetwood Mac. It will likely be a surprise to many of you ('ceptin Robert) that this artist was in Fleetwood Mac; he's far more well known for his short-lived solo work in the late 1970's. His name: Bob Welch!

Bob Welch was actually born into a show business family. His father, Robert Welch, was a producer on many hit films for Paramount Pictures in the 1940s and 1950s. His mother, Templeton, had been a singer and actress who worked with Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, and even appeared on a few episodes of The Honeymooners. As a youth, Welch learned clarinet, switching to guitar in his early teens. He developed an interest in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock music. In the late 1960s, he moved to Paris in order to attend the Sorbonne, but soon dropped out so he could pursue music full time.

Welch struggled with a variety of marginal bands until 1971, when he was invited to join Fleetwood Mac, then an erstwhile English blues band that had lost its two most prominent members, Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer, within a few months. Along with fellow newcomer Christine McVie, Bob helped to steer the band in a more melodic direction, as heard on 1971's Future Games. He wrote songs for and played on several Fleetwood Mac albums, including Bare Trees (1972) and Mystery To Me (1973).

These Welch-era Fleetwood Mac albums sold only moderately well, though Bare Trees included the first recorded version of Welch's song "Sentimental Lady," and Mystery to Me featured the Welch composition "Hypnotized", both of which received some radio airplay. In December 1974, Welch departed the band, citing exhaustion.


In 1975, Welch formed the short-lived hard rock power trio with Jethro Tull bassist Glenn Cornick and Todd Rundgren's Runt drummer Hunt Sales, called Paris, which released two albums, Paris and Big Towne 2061. In September 1977, Welch released his first solo album, French Kiss, a mainstream pop collection featuring contributions from former bandmates Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie. This release brought Welch his greatest success, selling two million copies and yielding three hit singles, a revamped version of "Sentimental Lady," the rocker "Ebony Eyes" and "Hot Love, Cold World."

Sentimental Lady

Ebony Eyes

Welch followed up French Kiss with 1979's Three Hearts, an album that replicated the rock/disco fusion of French Kiss. Another million-seller, it spawned the top 20 hit "Precious Love," while the followup single "Church" also charted.

Precious Love

Welch released solo albums into the early 1980s (The Other One, Man Overboard, Bob Welch, and Eye Contact) with decreasing success, during which time he also developed a heroin addiction. After cleaning himself up in 1986, Welch turned away from performing and recording and focused his attention on songwriting for others. In the early 1990s, he moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where he put together a short-lived group called Avenue M, which backed him on tour and recorded one song for a greatest hits compilation.

In 1999, Welch released an experimental jazz/loop based album, Bob Welch Looks At Bop. He followed this up in 2003, with His Fleetwood Mac Years and Beyond, which contained new recordings of songs he originally recorded with Fleetwood Mac, as well as some solo hits. In 2006, he released His Fleetwood Mac Years and Beyond 2, which mixed a half-dozen new compositions, along with a similar number of his Mac/solo remakes.

And THAT is a wrap for this evening's FNR; although there MAY be a part two - I was AMAZED by the amount of early Fleetwood Mac video on You Tube! Thanks for tuning in, and have a GREAT night!


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Blogger Robert Rouse said...

After Christine McVie, Bob Welch is my all-time favorite member of Fleetwood Mac. "Hypnotized" and "Sentimental Lady" are on my iPod.

title="comment permalink">June 01, 2007 10:31 PM  
Blogger John Good said...

I had always liked Fleetwood Mac; but I was seriously converted after reading "Fleetwood", Mick's auto-bio of the band.

title="comment permalink">June 01, 2007 10:58 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

I knew he was in the band! :) I like all of those songs, but I'd have to say my favorite was "Carolene".

title="comment permalink">June 02, 2007 8:54 PM  

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