Monday, May 30, 2005

The Blue Velvets

The Blue Velvets were formed in 1959 by three high school friends that shared a love for Rock & Roll and Rhythm & Blues. They practiced in the basement of the guitar player’s house and were soon playing school dances and fairs around El Cerrito, California. They were popular and played well enough that they got a job backing up an R&B singer named James Powell for a recording session when they were still in ninth grade.

The guitar player’s older brother Tom had recently quit his job as the singer for a popular local band called Spider Webb and The Insects. Tom asked if he could sing for the Blue Velvets and the band let him join up. Up until this time the Blue Velvets had been an instrumental act, mostly because none of the teens had the courage to sing.

The band had been recording demos and passing them around to local labels. Orchestra, a small Oakland area label liked the songs on the demo tape well enough two release a 45 of two songs written by the brothers. A few months later, two more songs were released on a single.

The records were not hits so the Blue Velvets kept playing frat parties and at bars that they weren’t old enough to drink in. Singing in clubs all night was a strain Tom’s voice so his younger brother John gave him a break and started singing more songs.

In 1964, Fantasy Records, a local jazz label that was looking to sign some rock acts, became interested in the Blue Velvets. Fantasy told the band that they would only if they would change their name to a more modern name: The Visions. That modern name didn’t last long because by the time the record was released, the Visions had changed their name to The Golliwogs, a name that they kept until 1967.


Blogger Fire of lovE said...

Those guys are great. Thanks for this post

30/5/05 11:58 PM  

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