Monday, May 19, 2008

Turn! Turn! Turn!


When the Doobie Brothers released their first album, The Doobie Brothers, in 1971, their lineup was as follows:

Tom Johnston, guitar and vocals
Patrick Simmons, guitar and vocals
Dave Shogren, bass and keyboards
John Hartman, drums

By the time they released their album One Step Closer in 1980, the Doobie Brothers were:

Patrick Simmons, guitar and vocals
John McFee, guitar and vocals
Michael McDonald, vocals and keyboards
Cornelius Bumpus, saxophone
Tiran Porter, bass
Keith Knudsen, drums
Chet McCracken, drums

Then Simmons, the only remaining original member, quit the band, but rather than record another album with an entirely non-native set of Doobies, the band folded its hand. (The later reunion albums included both Johnston and Simmons.) That's a shame, because the Doobie Brothers came precariously close to being the only band I ever knew that completely turned over its personnel while still making albums.

The key was that the Doobies changed frontmen, from Tom Johnston to Michael McDonald, while the rest of the group kept choogling along. Lots of bands have completely turned over everyone but the frontperson - the Pretenders, Guided by Voices, to name two. But is there any band that ended up completely different from the group it started out as? I'm not talking about something like one guy who happened to be in the studio when "Little Egypt" was recorded taking a group on the road as "the Original Coasters." I'm looking for a band with two albums under its belt that were recorded by entirely different sets of people.

Anyone?

29 comments:

Scraps said...

The Supremes?

MJN said...

Don't know whether Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship qualifies, either by having a complete personnel turnover or by being the "same" band. But that's the first one I thought of.

Rob said...

the Velvet Underground. Nobody from "The Velvet Underground and Nico" (1967) or "White Light / White Heat" (1968) was on "Squeeze" (1971).

Pink Floyd came close--except the drummer, right?

Scraps said...

Yep, Nick Mason was always with the group.

How much is "Squeeze" acknowledged to be a real Velvet Underground album?

I know there are bands where a guy joined the band a few years in and ending up being the leader, but I'm having trouble thinking of them.

Scraps said...

Roger McGuinn is the only constant in the Byrds.

Scraps said...

I'm pretty sure, though not absolutely certain, that Dennie Locorriere was the only constant in Dr. Hook.

Scraps said...

Or rather, Dennis.

T. Nawrocki said...

I never even heard of "Squeeze" until this very moment. It's not listed in the first two volumes of the Rolling Stone Record Guide I have, although whaddaya know, there it is in the third one, in an entry Rob wrote, so he oughta know. So we have a winner.

I'll check the Jefferson Incarnations when I have the time.

Scraps said...

Soft Machine completely turned over. The last original member, Mike Ratledge, left in 1976.

Scraps said...

That's a pretty similar situation to the Velvet Underground, though. The later Soft Machine sound completely different, and don't seem to be considered real Soft Machine by fans.

I wonder whether Fairport Convention ever existed with none of their original members? They've had a ton of turnover, but have always maintained their sounds and remained popular with their fans (even while its generally acknowledged that nothing approaches the level of their great work of the late 1960s/early 1970s).

Scraps said...

Fairport Convention definitely qualify. Simon Nicol was the last original member, and he left in 1971.

Rob said...

"Squeeze" is bloody awful. Doug Yule, the bassist who replaced John Cale for the 3rd album, sings lead.

Fairport Convention might be the only band to make GOOD albums with totally different lineups. The late 60s records "Unhalfbricking" and "What We Did On Our Holidays" (2 of my all-time fave albums) have no personnel in common with "Rosie" or "Nine," from the mid 70s, but Fairport fans like them all. The change was so incremental, the alumni do a reunion festival every summer etc., so Fairport fans never had a "fake Lionel" controversy.

T. Nawrocki said...

"Another Nail in My Heart" is a pretty good song, though.

Chris Squire appears to be the only person who appears on all of Yes's albums. There was one in there ("Drama") that was made without Jon Anderson.

Gavin said...

There's a lot of bands with huge turnover but one or two constant members (Fleetwood Mac, for example).

I can also think of a few who persisted for decades, and managed to put out records way past their heyday that had no original members: e.g., Canned Heat, the Temptations. (It's more impressive if you can do it faster, like the Velvets.)

Pink Floyd has always had (at least) two original members: once Roger Waters left, Richard Wright was invited to join again.

Yes should also do an annual reunion festival.

Rob said...

I think Funkadelic counts. Nobody from "Cosmic Slop" played on "Connections & Disconnections." Fuzzy Haskins got mad at George Clinton in the late 70s and formed his own Funkadelic, while George was doing Parliament, and both Funkadelics put out rival albums in 1981, but I guess the P-Funk universe has its own rules.

fortunately for Fairport fans, Simon Nicol rejoined in the late 70s, just in time for "Tipplers' Tales." If I'm not mistaken, Nick Mason was the only official member of Pink Floyd for both "Piper" and "Momentary Lapse of Reason."

Scraps said...

I knew we were forgetting an obvious one: Menudo.

Gavin said...

According to the RS Encyclopedia, Wright returned to the Floyd before =Momentary=.

T. Nawrocki said...

Paul Kantner played on all the Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship records. There were certainly Starship records that didn't have any Jefferson Airplane personnel on them, but by that time, they had completely turned over the band name as well as all the personnel.

Scraps said...

Split Enz. The last remaining original member, Tim Finn, left before their last album, 1984's "See Ya Round".

Gavin said...

I think =Squeeze= is okay, by the way, if you compare it to, say, the Dream Syndicate or some other Velvets-inspired band, as opposed to the VU themselves.

Rob said...

also--just to bring it back to the Doobie Brothers for a sec--there's a Funkadelic song on "Cosmic Slop" ("No Compute") that sounds like "Listen to the Music," although I guess it sounds even more like Orleans' "Still the One," which sounds nothing like Shania's "You're Still the One," which I guess isn't about Mutt anymore.

Mark Lerner said...

I think the Platters qualify, though I think if you look at groups of that vintage and that ilk, there'd be no shortage of contenders.

Rob said...

Poor Richard Wright was a session musician on “Momentary Lapse,” and is listed in the album credits there, along with Carmine Appice and Jim Keltner. That’s cold. (Technically he wasn’t a member of Pink Floyd for “The Wall” either, though he played on it, or “The Final Cut.”) I believe he later joined Menudo.

Grace Slick wasn't on the first Jeff Airplane record, and Kantner got custody of the “Jefferson” when he split, so the original “It’s No Secret” lineup was totally different from the crew who built this city on rock & roll, if you buy the idea that they count as one continuous band. Did Starship do Airplane songs live? I searched YouTube but unfortunately found a clip of Marty Balin from 2007 and am now busy rinsing my eyes with Clorox.

T. Nawrocki said...

Apparently there were legal issues that kept Wright from being listed as a band member on "Lapse." It was just that Roger Waters hated him, so once Waters left, everyone else was glad to have him back.

How can you fire a guy from the band then bring him back as a non-member session musician? And why haven't the Stones done that to Ronnie Wood?

Scraps said...

Again, I'm not sure how much it matters with bands people had stopped caring about, but James Alexander, the last original Bar-Kay, left before their last two albums in 1987 and 1988. (There was a later reunion.)

Gavin said...

How can you fire a guy from the band then bring him back as a non-member session musician? And why haven't the Stones done that to Ronnie Wood?

They invented the move with Ian Stewart, no?

T. Nawrocki said...

This is what's so beautiful about OPC: I am able to marshal together the talent and knowledge of some of the most intelligent people I know, to research and ruminate over a topic that is utterly meaningless.

Pike said...

Isn't the phrase "marshal together" both redundant and uncomfortably close to my actual first name?

You're supposed to know these things. (And I don't mean just my first name.)

Gavin said...

Now we just need to figure out what word was repeated most often in a song by a band that no longer had any of its original members.