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  • Item Category: -
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Nov 18, 2006
  • Channel: Auction House

MARCH 29, 1974
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The band was formed in 1969 by Mark Farner (vocals, guitar) and Don Brewer (vocals, drums), from Terry Knight & the Pack, and Mel Schacher (bass) from ? & the Mysterians in the working class, auto industry town of Flint, Michigan. Former bandmate Terry Knight soon became their manager and named the band after the Grand Trunk Western Railroad, a well-known rail line in Michigan. First achieving recognition at the 1969 Atlanta Pop Festival, the band was signed by Capitol Records. Patterned after Cream, but developing their own populist style, in 1970 they had sold more albums than any other American band and had become a major concert attraction. In that same year they had a hit single "Closer To Home," a song that was closer in style to the old Terry Knight & The Pack than it was to GFR. A year later, they went on to break The Beatles' record at Shea Stadium, selling out in just 71 hours. That record still stands today. Even with critical pans and lack of radio airplay, the group's first eight albums, released in three years, were successful. Knight launched an intense advertising campaign to promote Closer To Home, a multi-platinum, smash hit album that was slammed by virtually every music critic, reportedly paying $100,000 for a huge billboard in New York City's Times Square. In 1972, Grand Funk Railroad fired Knight, who sued for breach of contract, resulting in a protracted legal battle. After recruiting Craig Frost (keyboards), Grand Funk Railroad released Phoenix in 1972, and then as a result of the ongoing legal battle, shortened their name to Grand Funk. This was followed by two huge hit singles, "We're an American Band" (from We're An American Band) and "The Loco-Motion" (written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin for Little Eva). Following a pop-style album, All the Girls in the World Beware!!!, and a name revert back to "Grand Funk Railroad", the band's popularity decreased. After finishing Good Singin', Good Playin' (1976) with producer Frank Zappa, Grand Funk Railroad disbanded. Farner began a solo career, releasing two critically acclaimed albums, while Brewer and Schacher formed Flint with the addition of Billy Ellworthy. Grand Funk Railroad reunited in 1980 with Dennis Bellinger replacing Mel Schacher at the last moment on Bass, and released two albums on the Warner Brothers label Full Moon. Neither album achieved much success. After disbanding a second time, Farner continued as a solo performer, eventually converting to Christianity and becoming a Christian recording artist, while Brewer and Frost joined Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band. Most fans were convinced that they would never see GFR play together again, but in 1996, Grand Funk Railroad reunited once more, playing to 260,000 people in 14 sold out shows in a three month period. In 1997, the band did three sold out Bosnian benefit concerts, releasing a benefit album called Bosnia. In 1999, after three years of touring, and a year longer than he had originally agreed on, Mark Farner left the band to continue his solo career, which he had put on hold. He continues to perform with his band N'r'G, doing mostly GFR tunes as well as some solo material. He no longer has any affiliation with the original band, despite an occasional advertising misquote by some promoters. Terry Knight (Richard Terrance Knapp) was murdered in Killeen, Texas on November 1, 2004. He was 61. As for GFR, after Farner left in 1999, Brewer and Schacher were left with a band that was once again hot and popular, but now without a frontman and principal vocalist. They eventually decided to keep the train rolling by recruiting lead singer Max Carl (of .38 S...