Formed as a jazz-rock group in New York City in 1967, Blood, Sweat & Tears are known for their combination of brass and rock band instrumentation. They have recorded songs with many rock stars and folk artists such as Billie Holiday, Laura Nyro, Eric Satie, James Taylor, The Band, and The Rolling Stones. Thelonious Monk and Sergei Prokofiev arrangements have also been put into what Blood, Sweat & Tears has incorporated into their music. From the beginning, this band has undergone through many personnel changes, which has all contributed towards the varying music styles that Blood, Sweat & Tears has been known for. Their music has notable arrangements of blues, horn instrumentals, improvised jazz, pop and rock influences. This combination of varying music styles is what gave Blood, Sweat & Tears the classification of a jazz-rock band. They are not to be confused with jazz-fusion bands, all of whom are noted for displaying instrumental facility and experimentation of electrical instruments. Blood, Sweat & Tears purposely merged the styles of pop, rock, and soul music with big band elements and 20th century classical and small combo jazz traditions.
Original Blood, Sweat & Tears
Randy Brecker, Bobby Colombay, Jim Fielder, Dick Halligan, Steve Katz, Al Kooper, Fred Lipsius, and Jerry Weiss are the original members who formed the band known as Blood, Sweat & Tears. They debuted in 1967 through their performance at Cafe Au Go Go in New York City. They later signed with Columbia Records and released their first album, Child Is Father to the Man. However, due to creative differences, Al Kooper left the band April 1968.
After Al Kooper’s departure from the band, he was replaced by Canadian singer David Clayton-Thomas. Thomas was previously with the band known as the Box Tops. The band’s second album was released that same year and it was during the David Clayton-Thomas era where Blood, Sweat & Tears first realized true commercial success that would find their music on the billboard charts and earn themselves worldwide recognition. However, Blood, Sweat & Tears endured a number of changes due to controversies, as well as many personal and professional differences. After the departure of David Clayton-Thomas come December 31,1971 (after performing at the Anaheim Convention Center), he was briefly replaced by Bobby Doyle and then soon after, Jerry Fisher. By the end of 1974, Fisher grew tired of the band’s heavy travel schedule and left.
Through Blood, Sweat & Tears
From 1967 until 1981, Blood, Sweat & Tears remained as a band, performing worldwide, despite the many changes that took place among the band itself, as well as their supporting crew. From 1981 until 1984 the band took a break before getting back together and still remain as an active band that still produces music, as well as live tours.
The Top 10 Songs of All Time
With so much music coming from Blood, Sweat & Tears, it’s not so easy to pick what can be rightfully classified as their top ten. However, for the sake of going with overall chart performance, we’ve managed to list a countdown, starting at #10 and finishing at #1. That list, according to Wikipedia’s Blood, Sweat & Tears is as follows;
10. Tell Me That I’m Wrong
Reaching the 83rd spot on Billboard’s Top 100 Chart in May 1974, Tell Me That I’m Wrong came from the album Mirror Image, which was released by Columbia Records July 1974.
9. Lisa, Listen to Me
Blood, Sweat & Tears’ fourth album, BS&T 4 (released June 1971) produced the song known as Lisa, Listen to Me that managed to peak at #73 with the Billboard’s Top 100 and at #33 in Adult Contemporary’s chart. Lisa, Listen to Me is one of two songs from the album that earned a spot as singles with Billboard.
8. Got to Get You into My Life
April 1975 saw the release of the album New City. In May of that same year, Got to Get You into My Life made it to Billboard’s 62nd spot in their top 100 chart.
7. So Long Dixie
#44 is how high So Long Dixie scored on the Billboard chart in September 1972. Coming from the album, New Blood (released October 1972) the slow, jazzy performance by David Clayton-Thomas seems to give a bit of a Charleston Chicago feel that made the “roaring 20’s” so memorable.
6. Go Down Gamblin
BS&T 4’s album saw Go Down Gamblin reach #32 in July 1971. This album, which was Blood, Sweat & Tears fourth, managed to rank #10 after it’s June 1971 with the Billboard’s Top 100 chart. Due to the song’s lyrics, among the Las Vegas Strip, Go Down Gamblin became somewhat a cult favorite and has had many artists perform their own version in their own club performances.
5. Lucretia Mac Evil
Scoring in at #29 with Billboard’s Top 100 and at #39 in Adult Contemporary during October 1970, is Lucretia Mac Evil. The song comes from the band’s third album, Blood, Sweat & Tears 3, which was released June 1970.
Hi-De-Ho, also comes from the album Blood, Sweat & Tears 3. The song’s popularity reached as high as 14th spot in both the Billboard Top 100 and Adult Contemporary charts in August 1970. Considered a cult classic, Hi-De-Ho is still among the top favored songs many artists perform in clubs and concerts, not to mention by the band itself as they still continue to tour this day.
3. You’ve Made Me So Very Happy
March 1969 saw You’ve Made Me So Very Happy reach #2 on the Billboard’s Top 100 charts. As one of three songs that made the charts from their second album release, Blood, Sweat & Tears, You’ve Made Me So Very Happy contributed to the band’s recognition worldwide by it’s popularity reaching #18 on the Adult Contemporary chart, #36 on the R&B chart, and #35 on the UK Singles Chart.
2. And When I Die
And When I Die reached #2 in August 1969 with the Billboard Top 100 charts, as well as #4 with Adult Contemporary, While it did not chart with the R&B, nor UK Singles like You’ve Made Me So Very Happy (from the same album) did, it’s still a classic favorite among Blood, Sweat & Tears fans. It’s upbeat, jazzy performance is what made this band, along with their music, render them as one of the greatest performers of the jazz-rock genre, a classification this band is considered to be the official grandfather of.
1. Spinning Wheel
Hands down, this is the pop culture favorite, even for music lovers who may not be familiar with the band known as Blood, Sweat & Tears. Coming from their second album, which is named after the band, Spinning Wheel earned second spot with the Billboard Top 100 charts in May 1969. It reached top spot with Adult Contemporary, and peaked at #45 with R&B. To this day, this is a favorite song that’s been played in commercials, movies, music clubs, television shows, as well as at social gatherings such as birthdays, reunions, and weddings. The humor involved with the song’s lyrics is a cult classic, which is why it’s still used often among advertisers, comedians, and speakers as part of their message delivery to the audience.