Thursday, May 10, 2018

David Gates (Bread)

David Ashworth Gates was born in 1940, and grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His father was a piano teacher and band director so he was surrounded by music. He became proficient in piano, bass and guitar by the time he was a young teenager attending Tulsa's Will Rogers High School. He was a member of several local bands including his high school band backed which backed Chuck Berry when he played at their school dance in 1957.

When he left high school he went to the University of Oklahoma and in 1958 recorded his first love song called "Jo-Baby," which sold well locally. David moved to Los Angeles in 1961 and worked as a studio musician and music copyist, before becoming a producer for many artists including, Pat Boone.

David was a prolific song writer and soon had chart success with "Popsicles and Icicles" (1964 No. 3) for The Murmaids; and The Monkees "Saturday's Child" (1966), which is widely regarded as one of their best album tracks. Gates also arranged “Baby the Rain Must Fall" for Glenn Yarbrough; and in 1966, produced two singles for Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band.

David continued to pursue a solo career and released many singles on several labels in the early 60s. In 1965, he even tried pseudonyms like Del Asley , and to capitalise on the English Invasion, The Manchesters, but success as a recording artist eluded him.

David Gates met Robb Royer (vocalist for Pleasure Fair), when he was producing and arranging the debut album of the band. A little over a year later, both joined forces with Jimmy Griffin (vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion), and Jim Gordon (drums) to form soft rock band, Bread in 1967. Stuck in traffic behind a Wonder Bread truck, the group decided fate had determined they call themself Bread and signed for Elektra. They released their first album, self titled Bread in 1969. The album did well but the debut single from the album, penned by David Gates, called "Dismal Day", bombed, but in 1970, "Make It With You" went all the way to the top of the Billboard singles chart. The follow up, was a remake of "It Don't Matter To Me" from their first album took the group into the Top Ten once again.

On the Waters, Bread's second album, was released in 1970, and became a breakout success. It contained the No. 1 single "Make It with You." The line up was complete with and Larry Knechtel (keyboards, bass, guitar, harmonica) who replaced Royer in 1971. Mike Botts joined the band as a replacement drummer in 1969 and they began touring and recording in 1971, before releasing Manna, which included the Top 5 hit single, "If". When Robb Royer left the group later that year, he was replaced by Larry Knechtel, who as a session musician played piano on Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Baby I'm-a Want You (1972) became their most successful album, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. The title track was previously a hit the year before the album was released, but follow-up singles "Everything I Own" and "Diary" were also chart successes.

The group's fifth album, Guitar Man, came out in 1972 and reached #18 in the album charts. It included three hit singles for the band: with "The Guitar Man" (#11), "Sweet Surrender" (#15), and "Aubrey" (#15).

Continuing disputes between Gates and Griffin over song writing led to a parting of the ways and at the peak of success, the band disbanded in 1973. Bread did reunited in 1976, (Gates, Griffin, Botts and Knechtel) releasing Lost Without Your Love in early 1977. The title track became their last Top Ten hit, peaking at number nine. Elektra released a second single, "Hooked On You," but this was less successful but did chart.

The four members of Bread (along with session guitarist Dean Parks) toured throughout 1977 to support their comeback album. The reunion was short lived however, as old tensions soon returned and Jimmy Griffin split from the group. For a time David carried on with a new version of the group but Griffin sued him for using the name, which they co-owned. A judge ordered the group not to perform, record, or collect royalty payments until the case was resolved and it took another seven years to complete. Meantime the former band members pursued solo careers. David Gates recorded and produced his solo album First in 1973. The single "Clouds", peaked at No. 47 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart, and No. 3 on the Adult Contemporary chart. A second single, "Sail Around the World", reached No. 50 on the singles chart and No. 11 on the Adult Contemporary chart. In 1975, Gates released the album Never Let Her Go. The title track was released as a single, and reached No. 29 on the Hot 100 chart and No. 3 on the Adult Contemporary chart. The album itself reached No. 102 on the Billboard 200.

In 1977, David Gates released his most successful solo single, "The Goodbye Girl", and it peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978. He put an album together in 1978 which featured previous material from his first two solo albums mixed with some new material. "Took the Last Train", reached No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 but the album made little impact. A year later he released Falling in Love Again and Take Me Now. His musical career declined in the '80s and eventually he retired to run his northern California ranch. Then, in 1994, David Gates released a new solo album, Love is Always Seventeen, but by that time, Bread's brand of soft rock had faded in popularity with record buyers.

Once the band eventually settled their differences, Gates, Griffin, Botts and Knechtel reunited Bread for a successful "25th Anniversary" tour of the United States, South Africa, Europe and Asia in 1996. This tour was extended into 1997, and this was the last year the original members of Bread would ever perform together.

Until his death in 2005, Mike Botts remained active in music, working as a studio and touring musician for Linda Ronstadt and Dan Fogelberg. Larry Knechtel continued to perform both live and in the studio with a long list of music stars, including Neil Diamond, Randy Newman, Ray Charles, The Beach Boys, The Doors, Elvis Presley, Hank Williams Jr., Elvis Costello and The Dixie Chicks. Larry Knechtel died of a heart attack, in 2009, and Jimmy Griffin relocated to Nashville where he worked as a songwriter before joining the Remingtons, then forming Dreamer with Randy Meisner. James Griffin died in 2005. Robb Royer continues to be involved in music and released a Jimmy Griffin album in 2010, consisting of songs written by both himself and Griffin.

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