GLEN LEOPOLD of GUNHILL ROAD. Their new album GUNHILL ROAD EVERY 40 YEARS.
40 years after their hit single "Back When My Hair Was Short" rocketed to the Top 10 in AM radio markets around the country - Gunhill Road is back.
In November, 2013, the trio - Glenn Leopold, Steve Goldrich and Paul Reisch (who replaced original Gil Roman in the summer of 1973) - returned to the studio to work on the long-awaited third recording, a 19-track CD due for release sometime in 2014.
The band was formed in Mount Vernon, N.Y. in the late 1960s, and first performed at New York's premier club The Bitter End. Soon after, they began to open for many of the top acts of the time, and were considered one of the best opening acts in the business.
They shared the stage with such well-known and diverse names as George Carlin, Carly Simon, Lily Tomlin, Kris Kristofferson, Robert Klein, Jim Croce, Bette Midler, Poco, Harry Chapin, John Sebastian, Cheech and Chong, Gordon Lightfoot, Soupy Sales, Patti Smith, Blood, Sweat & Tears, John Sebastian, Chick Corea, Mongo Santamaria, The Carpenters, Bill Haley and the Comets, Ace Trucking Company, Andy Kaufman, Ry Cooder, Brownsville Station, John Prine, It's a Beautiful Day, Dr Hook ,The Persuasions, Charlie Daniels, Mel Tillis, Martin Mull, Livingston Taylor, John Hartford, and Zippy the Chimp (animal acts are always the toughest to upstage).
Managed by the legendary Paul Colby, the owner of The Bitter End, Gunhill Road recorded two albums in the early 1970s. Their debut LP, "First Stop," was released on Mercury Records in 1971 under the name Gun Hill Road. (In fact, the final track on the album is a song called "Gun Hill Road.") Despite minimal promotion by the record label, the album got a bit of FM airplay, most notably the first single, "42nd Street."
Within just a few months of "First Stop"'s release, Gunhill Road was off Mercury and on the move, this time to to Kama Sutra Records, a subsidiary of Buddah Records. They headed to Los Angeles to begin recording their next LP with country singer Kenny Rogers at the helm as producer. Recording in both Torrance, California, and New York, the band laid down 10 tracks of melodic folk pop filled with strong lyrics and great harmonies. Shortly after its release, the band was back in the studio for a few changes and additions that would alter the course of Gunhill Road's career..
To facilitate these changes, Neil Bogart, head of Buddah Records, brought in producers Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise (who were instrumental in the discovery of the band KISS.) to supervise the recording of the new version of BWMHWS, as well as three other tunes -- more uptempo versions of "Sailing" and "42nd Street" and a new Leopold song, "Mr. Keyboards," with rollicking piano work by Steve Goldrich.
Sure enough, the new "Back When My Hair Was Short" was released as a single and promoted and Bogart's prediction of a hit proved true.
The revised "Gunhill Road" album, with the four Kerner/Wise -produced songs added, was re-released -- making the first version of the album, with its different versions of "Back When My Hair Was Short," "Sailing", and "42nd Steeet" a collector's item (not to mention the printed lyrics insert that wasn't included in the second release.)"
During the summer of 1973, "Back When My Hair Was Short" cracked the Top 40 of all three major trade publications (Billboard, Record World and Cash Box, reaching the mid 20s on the latter two), made the Top 10 in several different AM radio markets, peaking at different times in different regions throughout the U.S. This unusual trend kept the song from charting higher nationally since it was charting in different places at different times.
The band made the most of their sudden fame, augmenting their frequent tour stops with appearances on such TV shows as American Bandstand" with Dick Clark and "Midnight Special" with Don Kirschner.
Later that summer, Paul Reisch took over on bass/guitar and background vocals from Gil Roman, who had been the lead singer on "Back When My Hair Was Short." The new trio continued to tour into the mid '70s. The follow-up single "Ford DeSoto Cadillac," a high-energy 50s-type pop song didn't chart, and one more single, a re-recording of "She Made A Man Out Of Me" from the second album was released at the end of 1973, but failed to make inroads on the charts.
|GUNHILL ROAD is back.....
40 YEARS LATER!
By the mid 1970s, it was time to move on and the members of Gunhill Road went their own ways, their friendships intact. Leopold headed west to California and has enjoyed a successful career writing scripts and music for television. Goldrich stayed in New York and joined his father's business. Reisch, after spending time in Colorado, returned to New York as well, where he started his own business but also continued to play music professionally.
Gunhill Road was, for several decades, just a great memory -- for its members, for its friends, and for its fans that loved -- and still love-- their music. "Back When My Hair Was Short" continues to get airplay on the "oldies" stations and, in fact, is in the rotation on SiriusXM's "70s on 7" channel.
Back On Track...
Wounded Bird Records released a newly mastered version of the CD Gunhill Road, which included all of the songs that had appeared on both versions of the Kama Sutra LP (meaning both the original and revised versions of "Back When My Hair Was Short," "42nd Street" and "Sailing") as well as "We Can't Ride The Roller Coaster Anymore" (the non-album track which was the B-side to the 45 version of "Back When My Hair Was Short") and "Ford DeSoto Cadillac."
The show was hosted by legendary WNEW-FM DJ Pete Fornatale in what would be one of his last appearances in such a role. Fornatale, a gentleman who had given nearly every act on that stage new generations of listeners by playing their music over the years, passed away in April 2012. The combination of the enthusiastic crowd reception and the enjoyment the band members got out of playing together again led to discussions over the next two years about heading back into the studio to record a long-overdue third full-length CD.
Check out these Gunhill Road links:
Denny's' latest book, Get the Led Out: How Led Zeppelin Became the Biggest Band in the World is now out in paperback.
Denny Somach is a Grammy Award recipient, author and producer of music, radio and television. Somach is considered one of the founders of the format known as Classic Rock which he help to create at WYSP, the premier rock radio station in Philadelphia. He was also instrumental in developing NBC's rock radio network, The Source.Denny Somach Productions is one of the most successful independent producers of syndicated and network radio programming in the country. DSP's landmark programming includes Legends of Rock, Great Moments in Rock (hosted by Bob Costas) and Live from the Hard Rock Cafe for NBC; Rolling Stone Magazine's Continuous History of Rock and Roll for ABC; Psychedelic Psnack for Westwood One and Scott Muni's Ticket to Ride.
During 1999 DSP created and produced one of the most successful radio shows of the year, the Rock of the Century, for Dick Clark's United Stations. The program evolved into The Classics, a two-hour weekly retrospective now in its fourteenth year and running on over 120 rock radio stations. Most recently DSP produced the official radio show for Eric Clapton's Autobiography and Bill Clinton's Xmas Radio Show. In January 2009 he launched a new radio program, Get the Led Out through United Stations. The show currently airs on over 100 radio stations.
Somach has developed and supervised numerous television productions. He served as a producer and reporter for Evening/PM Magazine and had his own show on KYW-TV entitled The Rock and Roll Show. A special edition of the program was produced for CBS-TV that featured an exclusive appearance by the Rolling Stones. Somach also produced the News That Rocked for MTV; the weekly concert series, Hot Spots, on the USA Network and he is the co-creator of Friday Night Videos for NBC-TV.In the field of record and video production, Somach has worked with Johnny Winter, Yes, Todd Rundgren, Alan Parsons, Dave Mason, Asia, Mick Fleetwood and others. Denny Somach is the Executive Producer of Eric Johnson's aural masterpiece, Ah via Musicom. The R.I.A.A. certified ‘platinum' album features the 1992 Grammy Award winning song, "Cliffs of Dover." The song also appears in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.
A recognized rock and roll authority, Somach has appeared on numerous shows, including: The Today Show, Larry King, the CBS Early Show, Dateline NBC, Showbiz Today, Howard Stern and other programs. He is also the author of Ticket to Ride (Wm Morrow & Co.) and Meet the Beatles...Again. His new book, Get the Led Out: How Led Zeppelin Became the Biggest Band in the World was published in November of 2012. The best selling book was updated and released in paperback in April 2014.
Denny initiated and conducted high end merchandising for three Rolling Stones worldwide tours, VooDoo Lounge, Bridges to Babylon and No Security. He also created and executed the merchandising on behalf of the Beatles for their "Live at the BBC" and "Anthology" releases.
He was a promotional and content consultant for the launch of XM RADIO, the satellite radio service that debuted in the fall of 2001 and since merged with Sirius.
Denny is a voting member of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences.
He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Moravian College and currently lives in the Philadelphia suburbs.
Classic Rock Society