75th Year! 75th Year!
Here you will find some short biographies (biogz) of solo artists whose surname commences with this letter or bands with names commencing with this letter (omitting any commonly used prefix such as 'The').
Click on the name below or scroll down the page at your leisure.
Mick Smith - vocals
John Tilt (aka Johnny Valentino) - vocals
Yakety Yak started out in 1969 when Drew Spikes (bass) and Paul Blackaby (guitar) decided to make a total change in their current band's musical direction and turn it into a fifties style rock'n'roll band.
The singer, drummer and keyboard player had different ideas so replacements were drafted in. Drew and Paul's very first band together used to have a singer called Mick Smith. By 1969 he was heavily into the local bikers scene so it seemed natural to call him back in. A young piano player called Rick was recruited, but after two gigs was replaced by another local biker, Steve Taylor. The drummers stool was taken by Bob Tully.
These five christened themselves 'Rock Machine' and started to play the local youth clubs and any rock'n'roll venue that would take them. The music was all hard rocking Vincent, Berry, Domino, Cochran and Little Richard songs, largely lifted from the Wild Angels' first two albums. Gradually a few harmonies crept in, especially once the guys discovered what 'Sha Na Na' were up to.
After about a year the band was in the doldrums, but relaunched itself under the name 'Yakety Yak'. A second singer was drafted in to add depth to the stage show. His name was John Tilt, but was promptly rechristened Johnny Valentino. He was a much better singer and Mick Smith soon decided to call it a day. At various stages in the next two years Bob was replaced on the drums by Steve Day and then by Kenny Ryalls; Mick Smith was superseded by Alan 'Big Al' Jones on rhythm guitar and vocals; a tenor sax was added, played by 'Butch' Evarts; Steve Taylor was eventually replaced by Mick Tobias on the piano.
The emphasis of the band was very much on doo-wop with Johnny taking most of the leads, Paul adding tenor and falsetto harmonies, Drew taking baritone or second tenor parts and Big Al singing bass.
This seven piece line-up was the one that recorded an album 'The Rock 'n' Roll Revival Show' on Dart Records in 1974. It was comprised mainly of classic doo-wop songs. The album was released early the following year as they did a massive amount of gigging up and down the country, with a month long trip to Denmark thrown in. A second trip to the studios resulted in another album's worth of recording, but it was subsequently shelved and has now disappeared.
Drew left the band in that summer, whereupon Mick Tobias took over bass. There were several other temporary members in the next eighteen months, known variously as 'the drunk' or 'the madman'. During that time Dart released a single, 'Keep On', the flip of which was the band's version of the Coasters song, 'Yakety Yak', taken off the album.
The band started to do some radio work and toured as part of a Marty Wilde package. Big Al stayed behind in Denmark on a subsequent tour. Mick Tobias disappeared from sight, whereupon Drew returned after his stint with 'Rocking Pneumonia'. The band was in the doldrums once more and decided to call a halt in 1977.
It wasn't long before it resurfaced with John, Drew and Paul and two new members. Akram Abu Hamdan, a Jordanian architectural student took over on drums. Kit Packham came in to play both tenor and alto sax. All five took their share of vocal duties and produced a fine set of doo-wop songs interlaced with a couple of swing numbers from the Louis Jordan repertoire. The next trip to studio produced a single, 'Run Baby Run' with a cover of the Cadillacs' 'My Girlfriend' on the flip. It came out on Real Kool Records and achieved some airplay. The band started to do trips to Holland on a fairly regular basis.
Akram left to return to Jordan as he finished his studies and his place was taken by Wilgar Campbell, who had originally tasted fame as drummer for Rory Gallagher. The band recorded again, this time for Chickaboom Records. The songs were 'Please Don't Ask' b/w 'Back Together Again', both originals from Drew's pen.
Wilgar left the band to be replaced for a while by Geoff Britton, originally of the Wild Angels, but having passed through Paul McCartney's Wings and Manfred Mann's Earthband in the meantime. After him a young drummer named Carl took the drumseat.
Another attempt at recording took place, with the band themselves producing, resulting in covers of The Madison, 'Footstompin' (originally by the Flares) and another original from Drew, 'Whole Joint Jumpin'. After failing to interest any vaguely major record companies, the band decided to call a halt once again.
At this point Steve Taylor, pianist from the early days, persuaded John Tilt and Paul Blackaby to reform the band with himself and drummer Alan Jordan. They started to play local clubs, occasionally with 'Butch' Evarts joining in on sax. Due to the way Steve plays keyboards, they no longer used a bass player.
An EP was released with versions of 'Johnny Remember Me', 'You'll Never Never Know', 'Jezebel' and 'Bad Boy'. After a while Alan Jordan departed and original drummer, Bob Tully, came back in. At various times later, Paul and Bob left the band, to be replaced by Dean on guitar and Alan Stallworthy on drums. Eventually Richard Keeble took the guitar spot in 1996.
Since Richard and Alan left to form the Alleycats in 1998, Dean has returned on guitar and Bob is back on drums. In the summer of 2000 Steve Taylor had to remember how to make the most of the top half of his 88 keys while he depped with the Alleycats, making that band for a while 80% one-time Yak members ! Steve has since depped several times with the Alleycats.
In 2002 Butch Evarts joined the Alleycats as their regular sax player and since 2003 lead singer, Johnny Valentino, has been doing lead vocal honours for both bands. Yakety Yak performances are extremely rare these days, but the spirit lives on!
Colin Kennedy - vocals, guitar
Yankee were from Ayrshire and comprised of Tom Hyslop on bass, Philip Brown on drums, Andrew Clark on guitar, Graham McGhee on Keyboard and Colin Kennedy on vocals and guitar.
Info courtesy of: Tom Hyslop
Formed in May 1963 at Kingston Art School, Kingston, Surrey, The Yardbirds original line-up had not included Eric Clapton who had been brought in to replace their original lead guitarist, Antony 'Top' Topham. However, it soon became Clapton who drew the audiences with the precision of his play. The group had started out as a dedicated R&B outfit like the Rolling Stones, and in fact one of their first successes was to take over the residency from that band at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond.
The group's first singles were not a great commercial success, though aided by a BBC ban their second release 'Good Morning Little Schoolgirl' got to #44. Their next single, the much more commercial 'For Your Love', did much better. However, the choice of this material was too much for Clapton who already had difficulties in his relationship with Samwell Smith. He decided that his future was in 'blues' not 'pop' and immediately left to join John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. This could have spelt the end for the Yardbirds who had built up a reputation largely based upon Clapton's guitar skills. They were very fortunate indeed to replace him with no other than Jeff Beck.
(It was in the Jeff Beck period of the band that they visited us here at the Kinema in Dunfermline - Ghoulz)
Despite Clapton's misgivings 'Heart Full Of Soul' was the beginning of a nice clutch of high flying singles for the group. In the middle of 1966, Samwell Smith decided that he'd had enough and wanted a career in A&R. Amazingly, the group found another great guitarist to replace him in former session man, Jimmy Page. Sadly, the prospect of Page and Beck together did not last long and Jeff Beck had quit before the end of the year. The band weren't so lucky this time and, under the guidance of failed pop star turned producer Mickie Most, they began recording pop records which finally confirmed Clapton's earlier fears.
The Yardbirds' final split came during early 1968, and only Page managed to go on to greater things. He tried to reconstitute the unit as the 'New Yardbirds' which within a few months had evolved into 'Led Zeppelin'.
Info courtesy of: www.45-rpm.org.uk
Yes played The Kinema Ballroom with their second line-up as follows:
Jon Anderson - vocals
Founded in 1968, Yes proved to be one of the longest lasting and the most successful of the 1970s' progressive rock groups. The band overcame a generational shift in its audience and the departure of its most visible members at key points in its history, to reach the new millennium as the definitive progressive rock band. Their audience remained huge because they've always attracted younger listeners drawn to their mix of daunting virtuosity, mystical lyrics, complex musical textures, and powerful, yet delicate lead vocals.
Lead singer Jon Anderson started out playing in various English 'beat groups' before going solo in 1967, recording two singles on the Parlophone label. He was making a meagre living cleaning up at a London club called 'La Chasse' during June of 1968, and was thinking of starting a new band. One night at the bar, he chanced to meet bassist/vocalist Chris Squire, a former member of the band, the Syn, who had recorded for Deram, the progressive division of Decca.
They recruited Tony Kaye formerly of the Federals, on keyboards; Peter Banks, previously a member of the Syn, on guitar; and drummer Bill Bruford, who had only just joined the blues band Savoy Brown a few weeks earlier. The name 'Yes' was chosen for the band as something short, direct, and memorable.
The group's big break came in October of 1968, when they, on the recommendation of The Nice's manager, Tony Stratton-Smith, played a gig at the Speakeasy Club in London, filling in at yet another missed date by the declining Sly & the Family Stone. The group was later selected to open for Cream's November 26, 1968 farewell concert at Royal Albert Hall. This concert, in turn, led to a residency at London's Marquee Club and their first radio appearance, on John Peel's Top Gear radio show. They subsequently opened for Janis Joplin at her Royal Albert Hall concert in April 1969, and were quickly signed to Atlantic Records.
Their debut single, entitled "Sweetness," was released soon after, and their first album, 'Yes', was released in November of 1969. The record displayed the basic sound that would characterize the band's subsequent records, including impeccable high harmonies, clearly defined, emphatic playing, and an approach to music that derived from folk and classical, far more than the R&B from which most rock music sprung. Also present was a hint of the "space rock" sound (on "Beyond and Before") in which they would later come to specialize.
Anderson's lead vocals gave the music an ethereal quality, while Banks' angular guitar, seemingly all picked and none strummed, drew from folk and skiffle roots. Squire's bass had a huge sound, owing to his playing with a pick, giving him one of the most distinctive sounds on the instrument this side of the Who's John Entwistle, while Bruford's drumming was very complex within the pop-song context, and Kaye's playing was rich and melodic.
The group's fame in England continued to rise as they became an increasingly popular concert attraction, especially after they were seen by millions as the opening act for Iron Butterfly. It was with the release of 'The Yes Album' in April of 1971 that the public began to glimpse the group's full potential.
Despite the early success, Banks began a Yes tradition that would stretch for two and a half decades: He quit the band. All told, the band received eight letters of resignation -- one or more from every founding member except Squire.
As 'The Yes Album' reached number seven in England and number 40 in America, the band made their first U.S. tour opening for Jethro Tull, and came back late in the year, sharing billing with Ten Years After and the J. Geils Band.
By the summer, the band began work on their next album, but were interrupted when keyboard player Tony Kaye left in August, to join Peter Banks in the group, 'Flash'. He was replaced by former Strawbs keyboard player Rick Wakeman, who played his first shows with the band in September and October of 1971.
Wakeman was a far more flamboyant musician than Kaye, not only in his approach to playing but the number of instruments that he used and the way he played them. In place of the three keyboards that Kaye used, Wakeman used an entire bank of upwards of a dozen instruments, including Mellotron, various synthesizers, organ, two or more pianos, and electric harpsichord. This line-up, Anderson, Squire, Howe, Wakeman, and Bruford, which actually only lasted for one year, from August of 1971 until August of 1972, is generally considered the best of all the Yes configurations, and the strongest incarnation of the band.
The group completed their next album, 'Fragile', in less than two months, partly out of a need to get a new album out to help pay for all of Wakeman's equipment. Released in December of 1971, the new album reached number seven in England and number four in America. Its success was enhanced by the release of an edited single called "Roundabout", the group's first (and, for over a decade, only) major hit, which reached number 13 on the U.S. charts. The single's impact among teenage and college-age listeners was far greater than this chart position would indicate. They simply flocked to the band, with the result that not only did 'Fragile' sell in huge numbers, but the group's earlier records (especially The Yes Album) were suddenly in demand again.
Their next recording session produced 'Close to the Edge', in the late spring of 1972 and released in September of that year, consisting of only three long tracks. The fans and critics alike loved 'Close to the Edge', full of rich harmonies and keyboard passages of astonishing beauty and complexity, powerful guitar, and precise drumming. The album reached number four in England and number three in the United States without help from a hit single (though an edited version of "And You and I" did reach number 42 in America).
By the time of the record's release, however, Bill Bruford had left the band to join King Crimson, and was replaced by Alan White, a session drummer who was previously best known for having played with John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Plastic Ono Band. The group then went on tour behind the new album to massive audience response and critical acclaim. As an added bonus for fans, Rick Wakeman had completed his first solo LP, the instrumental concept album 'The Six Wives of Henry VIII', which was released by A&M Records in February of 1973. (Wakeman had played excerpts from it during his featured solo spot during the previous Yes tour)
A large part of the 'Close to the Edge' tour, like the group's prior tour, was recorded, and a three-LP set entitled 'Yessongs', released in May of 1973, was assembled from the best work on the tour. 'Yessongs' became a model for progressive rock live albums. At over 120 minutes, it included the band's entire stage show, all of it uncut and all of it well-played. The live album reached number seven in England and number 12 in the United States.
The group spent the second half of 1973 trying to come up with a follow-up to four successive hit albums. The resulting record, a double LP entitled 'Tales from Topographic Oceans', was released in January of 1974 with such high expectations, that it earned a gold record from its advanced orders. The album took critics and fans by surprise with its long, psychedelic medleys. Apparently out of line with Rick Wakeman's vision, the 1973 album drove a wedge between him and the rest of the band, prompting a hasty departure and an even hastier replacement by the classically trained Patrick Moraz.
Three months later, the group's new album, 'Relayer', was released, reaching the British number four spot and the American number five position. Moraz proved an adequate replacement for Wakeman, but lacked his predecessor's gift for showmanship and extravagance. The group toured in the wake of Relayer's release in November of 1974, and in March of 1975, gave their fans a collection of their early music entitled 'Yesterdays', drawn from the first two albums and various singles, which rose to number 27 in England and number 17 in America.
Amid a series of solo projects, the group's line-up changed once again, as Wakeman announced his return to the fold in late 1976, while Moraz exited. Wakeman's original plan was to assist the group in the studio on their new album, but the sessions proved so productive that he made the decision, fully supported by the band, to return permanently.
Wakeman spearheaded a new movement toward tighter, shorter song structures on the band's next effort, 'Going for the One'. The album topped the British charts for two weeks and reached number eight in America, while the singles "Wonderous Stories" and "Going for the One" rose to numbers 7 and 24, respectively. The group embarked on a massive tour shortly after the album's release, including their most successful American appearances ever, playing to record audiences.
The badly named 'Tormato', released nearly a year later, heralded by the single "Don't Kill the Whale", made the Top Ten in both England and America in the fall of 1978. Once again, after finishing the tour behind the album, the group members began working on solo projects.
In March of 1980, Yes' line-up changed yet again, as Wakeman and then Anderson walked out after an unsuccessful attempt to start work on a new album. Two months later, Trevor Horn (vocals, guitar) and Geoff Downes (keyboards), formerly of the British band, 'Buggles', joined the Yes line-up of Steve Howe, Chris Squire, and Alan White. This configuration recorded a new album, 'Drama', which was released in August of 1980. Rather ominously, this record did dramatically better in England, reaching the number-two spot, than it did in America, where it got no higher than number 18. This hybrid line-up lasted for a year, but the old Yes incarnation remained much closer to the hearts of fans. In January of 1981, Atlantic Record released 'Yesshows', a double live album made up of stage performances dating from 1976 through 1978 that reached number 22 in England and number 43 in America.
Finally, in April of 1981, the total break-up of Yes was announced. Geoff Downes formed 'Asia' with Steve Howe, which went on to some considerable, if short-lived success in the early '80s, and the rest of the band scattered to different projects. For a year-and-a-half, the group seemed a dead issue, until Chris Squire and Alan White announced the formation of a new group called 'Cinema', with original Yes keyboard player Tony Kaye and South African guitarist Trevor Rabin. The line-up failed to gel, and Squire soon called his old friend, Jon Anderson to join. It was about then that everyone realized that they'd reformed virtually the core of the Yes line-up, and that they should simply revive the name.
In late 1983, this Yes line-up, with guitarist/vocalist Trevor Horn serving as producer, released an unexpected chart-topping hit single (number one in the U.S. in January of 1984) in "Owner Of A Lonely Heart", displaying a stripped-down, modern dance-rock sound unlike anything the group had ever produced before. They also released a successful dance-rock style album, '90125', under Horn's guidance, which sold well, but also proved a dead-end, with no follow-up, when Horn chose not to remain with the group.
Yes was fairly inactive for nearly two years after that, until the late 1987 release of 'The Big Generator', which performed only moderately well. Meanwhile, in 1986, Steve Howe re-appeared as a member of the quintet 'GTR', whose self-titled album reached number 11 in America.
The proliferation of ex-Yes members gathering together in various combinations led to an ongoing legal dispute over who owned the group name, which came to a head in 1989. Luckily for four of them, the name "Anderson-Bruford-Wakeman-Howe" was recognizable enough to reach the fans, which sent the resulting album into the US Top 30 and the British Top 20, more or less handing them a victory by acclamation (later supported by court settlement) in their dispute over the name. By touring with "An Evening of Yes Music," they presented their classic repertory to sell-out houses all over the country.
With their success re-kindled, the four sued the other various members who had toured as 'Yes', over the legal use of the name. Happily, in 1991, the legal battles where settled when the foursome kissed and made up with Squire, White, Rabin and Kaye (all of the key past members except Peter Banks) before launching a successful world tour. The accompanying album, 'Union', which displayed somewhat tougher sound than they'd been known for, debuted on the British charts at number seven and reached number 15 in America. This tour, which allowed the band to showcase music from all of its previous incarnations and, in the second half, featured each member who wished it in a solo spot, broke more sales records. These mammoth three-hour shows and the resulting publicity only seemed to heighten interest in the four-CD boxed set, 'YesYears', which was released by Atlantic in 1991.
Unfortunately, the newfound harmony was fleeting. Bruford, Wakeman and Howe left again in 1993, leaving the remaining members to record 'Talk' in 1994.
The group continued to sell CDs in large quantity, and in 1995, Atlantic Records issued upgraded, remastered versions of the group's classic 1960s and '70s albums, even as the work of many of their one-time rivals are consigned to the discount bins.
In 1997, Anderson, Squire, Howe, Sherwood, White and Khoroshev hit the studio to record an album of new material, titled 'Open Your Eyes', and launch a nationwide tour.
Their periodic show, as well as numerous solo albums (especially by Wakeman, and later by Anderson and Howe), are taken very seriously by fans and critics. The band's music of almost every era is regarded with undiminished enthusiasm, and by their critics as respectable attempts at doing something serious with rock music.
In May of 2002, the band announced that Rick Wakeman would be re-joining them.
The DVD - "YES: 35th Anniversary Concert - Songs from Tsongas" was set for release in the Summer of 2005. Filmed in May of 2004, this DVD consists of selections from Yes' summer tour, along with a behind the scenes look at the rehearsals, and interviews with band members.
Info courtesy of: www.classicbands.com
Heather Wood - vocals
The Young Tradition were formed in 1964 & were a critically acclaimed harmony trio but never achieved commercial success. They disbanded in 1968 though their influence continues. Following spells with the Albion Bands and then Swan Arcade, Royston Wood was killed in a car accident, and Peter Bellamy died in 1991 (suicide).
Info courtesy of: www.piper-kj.demon.co.uk
The Young Tradition were Britain's representatives to the Newport (USA) Folk Festival.
At the time they played the ballroom in 1967, the Folk Club was so successful they paid the Young Tradition's airfare to come to Dunfermline! Unheard of at the time.