Blood, Sweat & Tears

BS&TBlood, Sweat & Tears is a band that has experienced several dramatic changes in their structure over the years. Very well known for their music from the late 1960s and early 1970s, Blood, Sweat & Tears are a contemporary jazz-rock music group known for their combination of brass and rock instruments. The band recorded songs by noted rock/folk songwriters that include Laura Nyro, James Taylor, Robbie Robertson of the Band, the Rolling Stones, Billie Holiday, and Eric Satie. The band formed in 1967, and since their beginning, the band has gone through numerous lineup changes. Blood, Sweat & Tears had three major eras.

The Al Kooper Era

The original Blood, Sweat & Tears was Al Kooper, Jim Fielder, Fred Lipsius, Randy Brecker, Jerry Weiss, Dick Halligan, Steve Katz, and Bobby Colomby. Influences included bands like the Buckinghams and their producer, James William Guercio, along with the early 1960s Roulette-era Maynard Ferguson Orchestra. The name Blood, Sweat & Tears was chosen by Kooper, naming the band after the 1963 album by Johnny Cash that had the same name.

The band’s initial leader, Kooper insisted that he be in charge, because he had previous experience with the Blues Project. Kooper and Katz had both been a part of the Blues Project. Fielder had been a part of the Mothers of Invention as well as Buffalo Springfield. Kooper was also highly regarded within the industry having worked with the likes of Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix.

In September of 1967, Kooper, Colomby, Katz, and Fielder played a few shows as a quartet at the Cafe Au Go Go in New York City where they opened for Moby Grape. Two months later saw Lipsius join the band, and a few more shows were scheduled, including one at the Fillmore East. Lipsius recruited the other three members of the band, all New York jazz horn players. The full lineup debut at the Cafe Au Go Go in November of ’67, then moving to play The Scene the following week. The audience liked the innovative sound of Blood, Sweat & Tears, mixing jazz with acid rock and psychedelia.

The band signed to Columbia Records and released the brilliant album Child is Father to the Man. The album featured a cover of the Harry Nilsson song, “Without Her”, along with one of Kooper’s best blues songs, “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know”. The artwork on the album was unique, featuring the band along with a child-sized version of each member. Colomby and Katz wanted Kooper on keyboards and composing duties and hire a stronger singer to replace him.

Blood, Sweat & Tears would soon start finding commercial success along with other acts of a similar style such as Chicago and Electric Flag. In April of 1968, Al Kooper was forced to leave the band. He would become a record producer for Columbia, but before that he arranged some of the songs that were to be on the next Blood, Sweat & Tears album. Brecker and Weiss also left the group after the album was released. They would be replaced by Lew Soloff and Chuck Winfield.

The David Clayton-Thomas Era

Since they were the ones who wanted a new singer, Colomby and Katz began searching, initially considering Alex Chilton who’s band The Box Tops had just split up. They also considered Stephen Stills and Laura Nyro. Eventually, an English-born Canadian named David Clayton Thomas was chosen. Judy Collins is said to have seen Clayton-Thomas perform in New York and was totally blown away. She called Colomby and Katz, suggesting they give him a try. The new lineup would again debut at the Cafe Au Go Go in June of 1968, at the beginning of a two week stay.

The second album by Blood, Sweat & Tears was their self-titled release, produced by James William Guercio. The album was released in late 1968, and was much more pop-oriented than the band’s debut. The album soared to the top of the charts, and won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, beating out the Beatles Abbey Road. There were three major hits off of the second album; a cover of Berry Gordon and Brenda Holloway’s “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”, Clayton-Thomas’ “Spinning Wheel”, and a cover of Laura Nyro’s “And When I Die”. All three songs made it to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Due to their commercial success, the band got the chance to play at the Woodstock Festival in August of 1969, receiving headliner status.

After the departure of Al Kooper, Blood, Sweat & Tears had a difficult time maintaining their status as members of the counter culture. It did little to help their cause when the United States Department of State sponsored a tour of Eastern Europe in May/June of 1970. Associating with the government voluntarily was very “uncool” and the band was ridiculed as a result.

Upon their return to the U.S., the band released the album Blood, Sweat & Tears 3. The album was another success, with hits like a cover of Carole King’s “Hi-De-Ho” and Clayton Thomas’ “Lucretia MacEvil”. The sound of the band was similar to what it had been all along, but more and more, they were relying on covers instead of their own material. The image of Blood, Sweat & Tears continued to take a hit when they played venues such as Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip. These places were seen as too mainstream for acts that delved into topics like radical politics. The band also provided music for the 1970 soundtrack of the film The Owl and the Pussycat, starring Barbra Streisand and George Segal. In 1971, after all the controversy, Blood, Sweat & Tears relocated to San Francisco, working with Don Heckman as their producer. Dave Bargeron would replace Jerry Hyman, and the band recorded what would become Blood, Sweat & Tears 4. For the first time since their debut, the album featured material that was mostly written by the band. The album earned gold status, but none of its singles broke the Top 30. The period after the fourth album would mark the band’s commercial decline.

The Jerry Fisher Era

When issues began to arise concerning the style the band would be, David Clayton-Thomas decided to leave in January of 1972. Clayton-Thomas was briefly replaced by Bobby Doyle and then Jerry Fisher. Lipsius also left the band and was replaced by Joe Henderson. Henderson wasn’t in the band long enough to record anything and was replaced by Lou Marini. Halligan also left at this time, replaced by Larry Willis. Georg Wadenius joined as lead guitarist at around the same time.

Blood, Sweat & Tears would find themselves competing with several bands of similar style that were popping up everywhere. Acts like Chase, Ides of March, and Lighthouse began to challenge Blood, Sweat & Tears at their own game. The album New Blood was released in September 1972, which was more jazzy than previous material the band released. In 1973, both Katz and Winfield left the band. Winfield was replaced by Tom Malone.

Members continued to come and go and a rapid pace. David Clayton-Thomas would make a return in 1975, and several albums were released. Blood, Sweat & Tears have continued to make music into the 21st century, with band members changing all the time. ~ Wikipedia

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the 1968 album Child is Father to the Man
Child Is...

  • Morning Glory
  • My Days Are Numbered
  • Just One Smile
  • I Can’t Quit Her
  • Meagan’s Gypsy Eyes
  • House In The Country
  • The Modern Adventures Of Plato, Diogenes And Freud
  • So Much Love/Underture

From the 1968 album Blood, Sweat & Tears
Blood, Sweat & Tears

  • Sometimes In Winter