Friday, May 16, 2014

Famous Artists Paying Their Dues

Some people mistakenly get the impression that being a big star happens overnight, and have no idea the tremendous work one must put in, nor the road they must travel prior to being successful.  We created this series to give some insight into what is involved in becoming a successful recording artist.  As we show below, most of the musicians the superstar came into contact with did not meet with the same success.  In fact, if you want to pursue a recording career, your odds are about one million to one.  Doesn't mean you can't join a band and have fun, but understand that the money is hard to come by, and you face tremendous obstacles in becoming successful.
Believe me, there are a ton of talented musicians (the same is true for the arts in general) who never make it big.


Phil Collins

(That's Phil second from left)
Flaming Youth was a progressive band that included 18-year-old Phil Collins.  Brian Chatton was the keyboardist, with Ronnie Caryl on bass and Gordon Smith on guitar.  Rod Mayall was briefly with the group on organ.  Flaming Youth released one album (Ark 2) in 1969 before breaking up.  The album received good reviews but did not sell.
Collins and Caryl both auditioned for Genesis the next year, but only Phil was successful.  Collins later invited Caryl to be the guitarist on his solo tours.

Elton John

(Elton (Reginald Dwight) on the right)
In 1961, fourteen-year-old Elton John and singer/guitarist Stewart Brown, left the group the Corvettes, and formed Bluesology with bassist Rex Bishop and drummer Mick Inkpen.  They began playing pubs in London, and in 1963, earned a weekly gig at the Establishment Club. 
In 1965, Bluesology signed a professional contract, and became the backing band for touring American performers, such as the Isley Brothers, Patti LaBelle and Doris Troy.  They signed a recording contract with Fontana Records, and recorded the single featured above, Dwight's "Come Back Baby" in 1965.  They released another Dwight single, "Mr. Frantic", but were not successful.  They toured Germany, then became the backing band for Major Lance.

Robert Palmer

Dada, the 12-piece jazz-rock fusion band, gave birth to the group Vinegar Joe.  Dada, with vocalist Elkie Brooks and guitarist Pete Gage, had released a self-titled album in 1970.  Palmer and bassist Steve York had joined Dada after the album had been recorded.  The four of them, along with keyboardist Dave Thompson, formed Vinegar Joe and signed with Atlantic Records in the U.S. and Island Records in the U.K.
The group didn't have a drummer, and hired Conrad Isidore and Rob Tait to handle the kit on their self-titled album in 1972.  Although Vinegar Joe never sold a lot of records, they sold out several concerts throughout Great Britain, and received extensive press coverage.

Pink was in an R&B group called Choice, along with Chrissy Conway and Sharon Flanagan.  The song featured above ("Key to My Heart") was sent to L.A. Reid's LaFace Records.  Reid heard it and invited the group to come to Atlanta, Georgia so he could see them perform.  Choice proceeded to sign a recording contract with LaFace, and they recorded an album.  "Key to My Heart" was included on the "kazaam" Soundtrack in 1996.
Afterwards, Reid gave Pink (then Alecia Moore) an ultimatum--either stay with LaFace Records and begin a solo career, or stay with the group and be dropped from the label.  Reluctantly, Moore chose a solo career, and became one of The Top 100 Female Artists of the Rock Era*.



Usher was in the quintet NuBeginning in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  They recorded an album released locally in 1993 before being re-released nationally in 2002 after Usher became famous as NuBeginning Featuring Usher Raymond IV.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.