Still in a music groove. (The pun wasn’t intended, and might have been missed had I not noted it.) I’ve been musing again about whether bands can legitimately use their name after members leave and years go by.
The Lovin’ SpoonfulThe current group features Joe Butler (father of actress Yancy Butler) and Steve Boone from the original group, plus Jerry Yester, who replaced Zal Yanovsky in 1967. So the group has the historic right to lay claim to the name. Still, it’s hard to recognize them as such without John Sebastian. Not so incidentally, the group is playing tomorrow (Wednesday) at the Empire State Plaza in Albany.
The Temptations– I’ll make the point up front: when Otis Williams, the last original Temp retires or dies, I believe this will STILL be a legitimately named group. You started with Eddie Kendricks, Melvin Franklin, Paul williams, Otis, and Elbridge Bryant. David Ruffin replaces Elbridge, Dennis Edwards replaces David, Richard Street replaces Paul, Ricky Owens replaces Eddie. And on and on. Think Mormon Tabernacle Choir; people come and go, but it’s still the MTC. (An odd analogy sure, but it makes the point.)
The 1980-1 lineup was Otis, Melvin, Dennis, Richard, and Glenn Leonard, augmented by the briefly returning David and Eddie. I saw this septet perform; one of the two or three best concerts I ever saw. They performed as seven, but also as various permutations of the five that were on that particular recording that they were singing (Richard took the Paul parts, Paul having commited suicide in 1973.)
One of the things I liked about the Jefferson Airplane is that when they changed musically, they changed their name, to Jefferson Starship, then Starship. As a consumer, I always appreciated that. (I have no Starship.)
The Who – I really love the music of the Who. When Keith Moon died in 1978, and was replaced by Kenny Jones, there were people who wondered if they were still the Who. But when John Entwhistle died in 2002, and Pete Townsend and Roger Daltry performed a few days later, it was clear the SURVIVORS thought they were still the Who. I just don’t think so, though the Townsend website refers to Who activities in 2004.
Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham died in 1980, and LZ broke up. Robert Plant and Jimmy Page have since performed together, but as Page/Plant, which I consider a good model. Here’s an Onion piece about the Who and commercials.
The Dave Clark Five got together, decided to call a day in 1971 (although Mike Smith and Dave played with others as “Dave Clark & Friends” for a time for contractual obligation reasons.)
The Supremes – a tricky case. The Supremes (nee the Primettes) were Diane (later Diana) Ross, Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, and Barbara Martin, who left before fame struck. Flo left in 1967 (and died in 1976), replaced by Cindy Birdsong, as the group became Diana Ross and the Supremes. Diana left in 1969 for a solo career and was replaced by boxer Ernie Terrell’s sister Jean. To the surprise of many, the group continued to have hits. Cindy left in 1972, replaced by Lynda Lawrence. Eventually, the group consists of Mary, Cindy and Freda Payne’s sister Scherrie. In 1978, after the hits stopped, Mary toured with two other women. In 2000, Diana toured with Scherrie and Lynda, Mary’s old cohorts! Reportedly, there’s still bad blood between Mary (who had, but lost the rights to the “Supremes” name) and Diana. Oy! When Mary came to Albany last month, there was no pretense that it was the Supremes, only a Supreme. It’s likely that there never will be a Supremes again.