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The Climax Blues Band
The Climax Blues Band

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The original members:

Derek Holt, Colin Cooper, Arthur Wood, George Newsome, Richard Jones, Peter Haycock

Other members through the years:

John Cuffley, John "Rhino" Edwards, Anton Farmer
Peter Filleul, Roger Inniss, Nicky Hopkins, Dave Marquee, Johnny Pugh, Jeff Rich, Henry Spinetti

The most recent lineup:

Roy Adams, Lester Hunt, George Glover, Johnny Mars , Neil Simpson

 

In the late sixties in Stafford, England vocalist and harmonica player Colin Cooper left the R&B band Hipster Image and formed a new R&B band, Gospel Truth, with guitarist Peter Haycock. Soon after they decided to go in a more blues oriented direction and they brought in guitarist Derek Holt, bassist Richard Jones, keyboardist Arthur Wood, drummer George Newsome and the Climax Chicago Blues Band was formed. A few years later the name was shortened to The Climax Blues Band to avoid confusion with the American band, Chicago. Prior to the release of their second album, Plays On, Richard Jones left the group to attend Cambridge University. In 1969 Anton Farmer was brought in on keyboards and appears on the, A Lot of Bottle, album. He did live performaces with the band until 1973 because Wood prefered to work in the studio. After the bands fourth album, Tightly Knit, Newsome was replaced by John Cuffley. Newsome joined the band Mad Wax for a short time and then went on doing shows with Alexis Korner. Korner was a major influence in bringing together English blues musicians. Then in 2007 Newsome joined The Tim Jenks Band. Arthur Wood left the band in 1973 before the Rich Man album and went on to become a producer for Radio Stoke and Radio Three. Wood died in 2005.

By now the band was a four piece with Cooper on vocals, harp, and guitar, Pete Haycock on vocals and guitar, Derek Holt on vocals and bass with John Cuffley on drums. The band became a headline act after the release of FM/Live in 1973. It was recorded in New York and was also broadcast live on the radio. It became their best-selling album, charting for 30 weeks and peaking at #107. The Stamp album from 1975 saw the return of Richard Jones on keyboards and the band got on the singles charts when, Using the Power, reached #110 in the US. In 1976 Gold Plated had the top ten hit, Couldn't Get It Right. It reached #3 in the US and #10 in the UK and it is the most played of their songs on the radio. At this time Jones left the band and was replaced with Peter Filleul on the Shine On album with Makin' Love peaking at #91 in the US. Filleul left after the Real to Reel album and has played in The Parlor Band, The O-Band and The Blues Band he would later go on to produce movie soundtracks. In 1980 the Flying the Flag album had the US hits I Love You which charted at #12 and Gotta Have More Love which made it to #47. This album had the session keyboardist Nicky Hopkins in the studio. His career is impressive having worked with some of the greatest rockers in history the list is long and includes, The Kinks, The Who, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Peter Frampton, Joe Walsh, Nilsson and others. He died in 1994 from complications resulting from surgery presumably related to his long battle with Crohn's Disease. By this time they were drawing crowds of up to 20,000 at U.S. concerts but the crowds started to dwindle as punk rock was becoming popular so they decided to become a mainstream pop-rock band. The 1981 album 'Lucky for Some' was the last to feature the Cooper, Haycock, Holt, Cuffley line up. Derek Holt was soon to leave and formed the band Grand Alliance and through the years he did several solo albums. He wrote and recorded a series of library music and occasionally performs a tribute to Pink Floyd as Floyd Pink. John Cuffley also moved on but continued to play drums and doing projects with current and past Climax band members.

Cooper and Haycock kept the band going with various musicians until Cooper died of cancer in 2008. Cooper was replaced by Johnny Pugh, but illness forced Pugh into retirement in 2012 and he was replaced by Johnny Mars. Band members from 1983 to present day include: George Glover, keyboards and backing vocals, 1983 to present day. Jeff Rich on drums and John "Rhino" Edwards on bass, 1983 to 1985, they left to join the band Status Quo. Henry Spinetts on drums and Dave Markee on bass in 1983 on the Sample and Hold album. Spinetti is a session musician who has worked with Procol Harum, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and many others. Markee is also a session musician whose credits include Frank Zappa, Eric Clapton and Roger Daltrey. Roger Inniss on bass, 1985 to 1991, another session musician who now has his own band, The Roger Inniss Zone. Roy Adams on drums and Lester Hunt on guitar and backing vocals, 1985 to present day. Johnny Pugh, vocals, saxophone, harmonica from 2008 to 2012.

The band continues to this day with; George Glover on keyboards and backing vocals; Lester Hunt on guitar and backing vocals; Neil Simpson on bass; Roy Adams on drums and Johnny Mars on vocals and harmonica.

  1. "Wikipedia", last modified November 26, 2014, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climax_Blues_Band
  2. Jason Ankeny and Stephen Thomas, All Music Guide to Rock, 3rd edition (San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 2002), 225
  3. http://climaxbluesband.com/home.php
 

The Climax Chicago
Blues Band

The Climax Chicago Blues Band

1969


Plays On

Plays On

1969


A Lot of Bottle

A Lot of Bottle

1970


Tightly Knit

Tightly Knit

1971

Rich Man

Rich Man

1972

FM Live

FM Live

1973

Sense of Direction

Sense of Direction

1974

Stamp Album

Stamp Album

1975

Gold Plated

Gold Plated

1976

Shine On

Shine On

1978

Real to Reel

Real to Reel

1979

Flying the Flag

Flying the Flag

1980

Lucky For Some

Lucky For Some

1981

Sample and Hold

Sample and Hold

1983

Drastic Steps

Drastic Steps

1988

Blues From The Attic

Blues From The Attic

1993

25 Years 1968-1993

25 Years 1968-1993

1994

Big Blues

Big Blues

2004

The River Sessions

The River Sessions

2005

Security Alert

Security Alert

2014

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Copyright © 2000 by Ricky J. Brown, rjcreations@myfairpoint.net. All rights reserved. Updated May 2014.