The Totally Unofficial & Unauthorized
BREAD RELEASES in the U.S. and U.K. (updated Sept. 18, 2015).
Solo & Duo Releases, Part 1 – Gates (updated Feb. 13, 2009): Includes David Gates' early rockabilly singles and notes on his collaborations with Billy Dean and Melissa Manchester. Check out footnote "D2" for a photo of a David Gates 78 rpm record!
Solo & Duo Releases, Part 2 – Griffin, Botts and Knechtel (updated April 29, 2015): Includes James Griffin's start on the Reprise label in 1962 through his duet with Holly released in April, 2005 and ultimately several recent downloadable releases! Also included is a rare LP pressed for the Armed Forces Radio & TV Services. His 1976 duet with Terry Sylvester on "Travellin' Boy" is indicated here.
Related Groups (updated Aug. 13, 2012): The Fencemen, The Avalanches, The De-Fenders, The Deuce Coupes, The Darts, The Vanguard Voyagers, The Pleasure Fair (aka The Rainy Day People), The Morning Glories, The Travelers 3 / Na Kama Hele, Joshua Fox, Black Tie, The Remingtons, and GYG (Griffin, Yancey and Guilbeau) whose CD is still available!
My Favorite Bread Album for All Time, and it is exactly as described herein.
My Very First Bread Page on the Web (seen here rendered with the old Mosaic browser).
Links on this page to outside resources will usually open them up in a separate
ELSEWHERE ON THE WEB:
As excellent and tasteful have been the David Gates songs that many of us grew up with and love, notions about Bread that are based only on top-40 radio listening are not entirely valid.
Being a long-time Bread fan – ever since hearing "Make It With You" blasting out of my brand-new 1970 Gremlin's AM radio – I continue to be most impressed by the amazing variety and depth of Bread's material above and beyond the "baker's dozen" Billboard chart hits that made it onto the airwaves. Now that the entire Bread LP catalog has been made available on CDs (it took awhile!), one can easily experience B-sides and album cuts which range from the ethereal to the metallic. (Bread Zeppelin indeed!)
You need not just take my word for the above which probably flies in the face of what you may have come to understand from years of radio listening. Indeed, those Bread hits were certainly worthy of scoring high on the record charts (one example of which is here). Now one can sample and/or download any of the 70-plus Bread releases on such sites as Amazon.com. And then you get to hear more than just one lead singer, for one thing.
The members of Bread – individually and collectively – have built around themselves a veritable musical kaleidoscope spanning most of rock's history. One can dig deep into the vinyl to find solo releases and items done with other bands – including some genuine Buddy Holly-era rockabilly by David Gates with Russell Bridges (aka Leon Russell) on keyboards and Carl Radle on bass. (See The Kansas/ Oklahoma 60's Rock Discography by Tom W. Tourville on which the David Gates discography herein was initially based.) A listing of the substantial contribution to the music industry by David Gates, Jimmy Griffin, Robb Royer, Mike Botts and Larry Knechtel – as vocalists, instrumentalists, writers, arrangers, producers and engineers for so many decades – could fill many web pages and perhaps someday will. It would behoove an oldies reissue label to come out with compilations of solo recordings centered on the individual members of Bread! Certainly such a thing would appeal to more than just the die-hard completists and rock history buffs. As for songwriting, one may find a relatively inexpensive copy of the CD "David Gates, the Early Years," a real collector's item which features a tiny fraction of the songs which he wrote for recording artists of the 1960s. A great example of Griffin and Royer's songwriting collaboration is the 1970 Academy Award-winning "For All We Know" – which was written along with Fred Karlin and made into a no. 1 hit by The Carpenters. The original demo was eventually released on Bread's 1996 "Retrospective" CD.
On the related groups page are lists of groups (and their personnel) with which members of Bread have been associated. Very unfortunately I have given short shrift on that page to Larry Knechtel who was a member of a number of groups including the Shindogs and Duane Eddy and the Rebels. For decades he was highly renowned as a session musician (usually on keyboards), having played hundreds of sessions as part of The Wrecking Crew which also included drummer Hal Blaine and bassist Joe Osborn. A couple obscure groups he was a part of were Jamme and Ceyleib People. A multi-page listing of much of his work (with sound samples) starts here. Larry's website has biographical details and a link to a discography.
As a session drummer, Mike Botts brightened up a number of album projects, many of which are listed on his discography. A significant omission on that list is the 1977 LP "Blowin' Away" by Joan Baez which contains "Time Rag" – a disco rap song in which Mike played drums with Dean Parks on guitar and Larry Knechtel on organ. The Joan Baez sessions were a lot of fun for Mike as he recounted later. Mike was a member of Na Kama Hele (formerly The Travelers 3) and was also significantly associated with Linda Ronstadt, Andrew Gold, Dan Fogelberg and many others.
Hopefully, Bread fans and collectors will find this site informative and useful, and it is certainly (and refreshingly to some) not oriented to their chart hits. Here and there are links to photos of interesting record labels and album covers. A few examples follow (not in any particular order):
Until the more enlightened biographies of the past decade or so, one would always be reading the same tired old litany about how David Gates, James Griffin and Robb Royer toiled in the studio as "Pleasure Faire" prior to their becoming "Bread." Whether or not "Pleasure Faire" was ever under serious consideration as their group name, there did exist the distinct, pre-Bread, Gates-produced quartet THE PLEASURE FAIR (without that final "E") who released an album and two singles under that name (listed here) in 1967 and '68. The "Pleasure Faire" appellation (with that final "E") still seems to persist among those who embrace the press jive of their youth. (Or it could be a simple speling mistake.) I once asked a PF member about the "problem" and he replied "to E or not to E" and then happily went on to a different topic.
The same group was known by various other names including The Rainy Day People whose 1966 pop masterpiece is shown here. One of the co-writers informs me that the A side ("Junior Executive") was written as a takeoff on the Kinks' "A Well Respected Man" and is not meant to be about any particular individual. Although Snuff Garrett is shown as producer on this record (one of the very few HBR singles to indicate producer credit), he sent the group to Leon Russell and J. J. Cale who were the actual producers of this single.
Following are some notable facts about the members of The Pleasure Fair – definitely a supergroup in retrospect. In alphabetical order:
The Pleasure Fair made a brief TV appearance on "Ironside" in the episode "Tagged For Murder" which was aired October, 1967. This was Episode 8 in the first "Ironside" season which is now available on DVD. The group is shown listening to a playback of "Turnaway" in a recording studio.
A summary of the group's history can be found on Wikipedia where one also can find reasonable biographies of various individuals mentioned on this breadsite. And you can listen to "Morning Glory Days" on YouTube here.
The Recipe for Bread
The Pleasure Fair has been thought of as being Bread's precursor. However, keep in mind the following:
Griffin had an earlier partnership with Michael Z. Gordon, writing more than 60 songs for over 50 highly diverse hit artists of the sixties including Ed Ames (whose recording of "Apologize" was a BMI Award-winner) and Rudy Vallee. The Ames and Vallee releases are shown on the right (top row). A few additional notes:
Here is where Bread comes together: An interesting Dot single by THE CURTAIN CALLS came out in 1968 which showed James Griffin as Producer and David Gates as Arranger. The A-side, "Sock It To Me Sunshine," is sung in falsetto by the three individuals listed on the 45 who performed the song on the TV show "Laugh-In": Stan Jay, Merryl Jay and Garry Lynn. The B-side, "Say What You See" (written by Robb Royer and Tim Hallinan), sounds like an energized Pleasure Fair but the extent of their actual involvement may have been minimal. At any rate, production of this single was the point from which Griffin, Royer and Gates combined their talents into the group that made BREAD their name.
But why "Bread"? The original inspiration came to Robb Royer when he and Jimmy Griffin encountered a Barbara Ann Bread truck while in heavy traffic. When decision time came to name the group officially and "Bread" was offered, it was pointed out that a lot of musicians put on a show of disdain when it comes to the thought of deriving bread (as in monetary riches) from their art. There being no need to be phony in that regard (and to take any pride in humility such as this), then why not just go with the name?
Bread's first album from 1969 is still a breath of fresh air, a reflection of the many inventive directions rock was taking in the late 60s. Pre-Mike Botts drummers Ron Edgar and Jim Gordon were listed among the supporting artists as was Tim Hallinan.
One may occasionally hear or read about "The Plastic Sibling" and the now-released "Cosmo and Robetta" which were Royer and Griffin-related multi-media (and ahead-of-their-time) productions that gave rise to Bread songs eventually released as "Family Doctor" and "Fly Away," respectively.
Bread contributed to the music for the obscure late-60s movie "Cover Me Babe" (aka "Run Shadow Run"). Included in the movie's soundtrack were "Cover Me Babe" (sung by Gates) and "So You Say" (sung by Griffin). Fred Karlin wrote the music for both songs; lyrics for "Cover Me Babe" and "So You Say" were by Randy Newman and the Griffin/Royer team respectively. This would have made an interesting Bread single. However, the 45 that became associated with the movie featured the title track in a very heavily-arranged (quite "un-Breadlike" with lots of echo) production with a lead singer who sounded quite a bit like David Gates (but apparently wasn't), and the B-side ("It's Gotta Be Real") was a non-movie song with a female lead vocalist. This single came out in 1970 on the Trump label (no. 2890, also PRO-5095/5096) as by THE SUNSHINE TROLLEY, and both sides were produced by Tommy Cogbill & Chips Moman. Trump was a Memphis-based label and a subsidiary of Capitol Records. Among its varied releases was "Old Joe Clark"/"Orange Juice Commercial" (Trump 3135) by the Memphis group Montage which is not to be confused with The Montage – an offshoot of The Left Banke. (Got all that? We'll have a quiz later.)
Continued on Page Two
This Bread collectors' site started out as an HTML exercise in table-making and has been on the web in one form or another since May 18, 1997. There is nothing like the freedom of doing one's own HTML routine. Corrections and additions to the history and discography are always welcome.
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This page was last updated on 4/2/19 at 7:00 P.M., CDT as
Bread is the Tiffany of rock groups. Why settle for cheap imitation?