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Grand Funk Railroad

Grand Funk Railroad (also known as Grand Funk) is an American rock band that was highly popular during the 1970s. Grand Funk Railroad sold more than 25 million records, toured constantly, packed arenas worldwide, and received four RIAA gold albums during 1970—the most for any American group that year. The current Grand Funk Railroad lineup uses the nickname “The American Band”, a reference to its 1973 hit “We’re an American Band”. A popular take on the band during its heyday was that, although the critics hated them, audiences loved them. The band’s name is a play on words of the Grand Trunk Railroad, a railroad line that ran through the band’s home town of Flint, Michigan.

History

Formation (1968)

The band was formed in 1968 by Mark Farner (guitars, keyboards, lead vocals) and Don Brewer (drums, lead vocals) from Terry Knight and the Pack, and Mel Schacher (bass guitar) from Question Mark & the Mysterians. Terry Knight, a former band-mate of Farner and Brewer, soon became the band’s manager. Knight 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. After a raucous, well-received set on the first day of the festival, Grand Funk Railroad was asked back to play two additional days. Patterned after hard rock power trios such as Cream, Grand Funk Railroad, with Terry Knight’s marketing savvy, developed its own popular style. In 1970, they sold more albums than any other American band and became a major concert attraction. In 1969, the band released its first album titled On Time, which sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold record in 1970. During the same year, a second album, Grand Funk (aka the Red Album), was awarded gold status. The hit single “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)”, from the album Closer to Home, was also released in 1970 and was considered stylistically representative of Terry Knight and the Pack’s recordings. The band spent $100,000 on a New York Times Square billboard to advertise Closer to Home. By 1971, Grand Funk broke The Beatles’ Shea Stadium attendance record by selling out in just 72 hours.

Despite critical pans and a lack of airplay, the group’s first six albums (five studio releases and one live album) were quite successful. In 1970, Knight launched an intensive advertising campaign to promote the album Closer To Home. That album was certified multi-platinum despite a lack of critical approval. Following Closer To Home, Live Album was also released in 1970, and was another gold disc recipient. Survival and E Pluribus Funk were both released in 1971. E Pluribus Funk celebrated the Shea Stadium show with a die-cut depiction of the stadium on the album cover’s reverse.

Discography

Studio Albums

On Time – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/grand-funk-railroad-on-time/

Grand Funk – coming soon 10/10/2017

Compilations

The Collector Series – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/grand-funk-railroad-collector-series/

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