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Blood, Sweat and Tears

clayton thomas jerry album

Blood, Sweat and Tears influential late 1960s-early 1970s group bringing big-band instrumentation into a rock context. M EMBERSHIP: Al Kooper, kybd., voc. (b. Brooklyn, N.Y., Feb. 5, 1944); Steve Katz, gtr. voc. (b. Brooklyn, May 9, 1945); Jerry Weiss, trpt., flugelhorn (b. N.Y.C., May 1, 1946); Randy Brecker, trpt., flugelhorn (b. Philadelphia, Nov. 27, 1945); Fred Lipsius, alto sax., pno. (b. N.Y.C., Nov. 19, 1944); Dick Halligan, trpt., fit., kybd. (b. Troy, N.Y., Aug. 29, 1943); Jim Fielder, bs. (b. Dentón, Tex., Oct. 4, 1947); Bobby Colomby, drm., voc. (b. N.Y.C., Dec. 20, 1944); Al Kooper, Jerry Weiss, and Randy Brecker left after the first album, to be replaced by David Clayton-Thomas, voc. (née David Tomsett; b. Surrey, England, Sept. 13, 1941); Lew Soloff, trpt., flugel-horn (b. Brooklyn, Feb. 20, 1944); Chuck Winfield, trpt., flugelhorn (b. Monessen, Pa., Feb. 5, 1943); Jerry Hy-man, trmb., ree. (b. Brooklyn, May 19, 1947).

Blood, Sweat and Tears was formed in 1968 by Al Kooper, Steve Katz, and Bobby Colomby following Katz and Kooper’s departure from The Blues Project. These founders recruited additional musicians Jim Fielder, Jerry Weiss, Randy Brecker, Fred Lipsius, and Dick Halligan. Although their debut album on Columbia, Child Is Father to the Man, failed to generate any hit singles, it contained a number of excellent Al Kooper compositions (”I Love You More Than YouTl Ever Know/’ “My Days Are Numbered/’ and “I Can’t Quit Her”), as well as early versions of Harry Nilsson’s “Without Her” and Randy Newman’s “Just One Smile.”

In mid-1968, Kooper left Blood, Sweat and Tears to accept a lucrative offer from Columbia Records to become a producer. Weiss and Brecker also left, to be replaced by Lew Soloff, Chuck Winfield, and Jerry Hyman. The lead vocalist role was taken over by David Clayton-Thomas. Clayton-Thomas had worked around Toronto for ten years, recording five Canadian gold-award records with The Bossmen. The new lineup’s first album exploded onto the music scene in early 1969. In addition to including Steve Katz’ beautiful “Sometimes in Winter” and a remake of Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child,” the album yielded three smash hit singles with Laura Nyro’s “And When I Die,” Brenda Holl-way’s “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” and Clayton-Thomas’ “Spinning Wheel.” Blood, Sweat and Tears’ next album contained two hit singles, “Hi-De-Ho” and “Lucretia MacEvil,” plus the elaborately arranged “Symphony/Sympathy for the Devil” and “40, 000 Headmen.” Their next album included only one moderate hit, “Go Down Gamblin.’”

A series of defections soon struck Blood, Sweat and Tears, effectively crippling the group. Clayton-Thomas and Lipsius departed at the end of 1971, with Clayton Thomas pursuing an undistinguished solo career. Halligan also left, followed by Katz and Winfield in 1973. The group persevered with new personnel and a succession of lead vocalists—Bobby Doyle, Jerry Fisher, and Jerry La Croix.

Clayton-Thomas subsequently rejoined Blood, Sweat and Tears in July 1974. By then, only Bobby Colomby remained from the original group. Personnel shifts continued to plague Blood, Sweat and Tears, and, in 1976, Colomby left. On Jan. 31, 1978, one-year member Gregory Herbert was found dead in an Amsterdam hotel room during the group’s European tour. By 1980, David Clayton-Thomas was the only “original” member left in Blood, Sweat and Tears, although another edition of the group toured the United States in 1988. Blood, Sweat and Tears also appeared at Woodstock ’94.

The first major rock group to successfully augment its sound with horns, Blood, Sweat and Tears displayed an early amalgamation of jazz, rock, and, later, classical music. Following the departure of keyboardist-vocalist Al Kooper after their first album, Blood, Sweat and Tears evolved into an enormously popular, highly arranged pop band fronted by vocalist David Clayton Thomas that set the standard for the blending together of rock, pop, and jazz music.


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