David Gates/Jimmy Griffin & Bread
….was born in December in 1940 in Tulsa, Oklahoma son of two musicians. While attending Will Rogers High School he and a few of his school mates backed Chuck Berry (1957) as so he was off and running on a long, diverse and very interesting career in music.
Out of Tulsa….
(From the “Super Seventies Rock Site”):
(His dad told him in the late 1950’s when David was perplexed about his life journey “Take two years and give it a shot. If it doesn’t work out, you can still finish college.” So I saved my nightclub money, which was all of $10 a night at the time. I was married with a one-year-old and a six-week-old, we lived with my parents. I had an old Cadillac that I’d bought from a friend of my dad’s. When I’d saved $200, my wife, the kids, and me took off in the Cadillac for California.
I had a nightclub job waiting because of some friends who had already made the trip from Oklahoma. I go out there, and on my third night in the club we got fired. And the $200 is gone — first month’s rent, gas deposit, phone deposit, groceries. And nobody to help me except my uncle who lived in Whittier. He couldn’t give me any money, but he brought me food.
We drove from club to club, three a night, auditioned for everybody until we finally got a job and got rolling again. And then on Saturday nights, after hours, musicians from all over the city would meet at a place called the Crossbow, in the Valley. It was at the Crossbow that I met guys like Steve Douglas, Glen Campbell, James Burton, Leon Russell, Chuck Blackwell, Jerry Cole. Slowly they were getting into recordings, mostly demo sessions, some union jobs. By jamming with these people, I got more work. All of a sudden, I was being asked to play on demo sessions and then on recordings.”
His first recording came in 1958 on the Robbins label with a group called “The Accents” – The “B” side “Jo-Baby” was a tribute to his college sweetheart who he would marry and amazingly, remain married up to this day into his retirement. Gates recorded, composed, produced and arranged, and produced a remarkable output of recordings leading up to the 1970’s – surprisingly with little chart success. His earliest big success came with his composition of “Popsicles and Icicles – a number three hit for “The Murmaids” who would not hit the Hot 100 again.”
There were many sessions, scores of recordings, with David biding his time – waiting for a big break – all the while making contacts, and establishing a reputation. 1967 Gates produced an LP for a group called “The Pleasure Fair” at which time he befriended band member Robb Royer. The two of them would team up with another Los Angeles artist, Jimmy Griffin.
Griffin had recorded several singles for the Reprise label but did not find any chart success. His 1963 release of “Summer Holiday” had promise but went nowhere in spite of a Reprise LP by the same name. Griffin would join Royer and Gates in 1967 to form the highly successful group “Bread” and they would be joined by a fourth musician, Mike Botts (from”The Travelers Three”) for the recording of their second LP. (In 1970 Royer and Griffin would pen a big hit for the Carpenters using the pseudonyms of “Robb Wilson” and “Arthur James” wining an Oscar that year for “Best Song”. They would also collaborate on many LP tracks for Bread.
Botts was a highly successful session musician and worked with Karla Bonoff, Andrew Gold, Linda Ronstadt, Richard Carpenter and more.
Bread charted on the Billboard Hot 100 13 times with their debut single “Make it With You” being their only number 1 song. Five more would enter the Top 10. Bread scored eight charting long plays on the Billboard LP Charts from to 1977 and one additional released post Bread, a long play of greatest hits. Their two most successful LP’s were 1972’s “Baby I’m a Want You” topping off at number 3 and “The Best of Bread” at number 2 in 1973.
There was some artistic animosity in the group between Griffin and Gates relating to the selection of songs – with both members being composers but apparently not collaborating on tunes and so the group broke up in 1973. Gates continued on with a solo career letting no time pass before releasing his first single “Clouds” in the summer of 1973. He would chart six more times with only mild success – “Goodbye Girl” being his best effort finishing at number 15 and being featured in the movie from the same name.
During Gates’ solo run Bread did manage an attempt at a reunion in 1975 cutting the LP, “Lost Without Your Love” which made it to number 26. Gates managed to release three solo albums but none of the three penetrated the top 100 positions.
Jimmy Griffin would go on to release solo LP’s in the 1970’s. In 1982 he became a member of the group “Black Tie” with Randy Meisner and Billy Swan. Then he would form the group “The Remingtons” in 1991 with Terry Sylvester formerly of “The Hollies”.
Griffin and Gates did a final “Bread Reunion Tour” putting the band back together in 1996 and 1997. Gates is retired living in Washington State with his life long sweetheart Jo Rita.
Jimmy Griffin passed away on January 11th, 2005. Royer is still active and Mike Botts died on December 9th, 2005.
Jimmy Griffin Selected Discography (1960’s)
Jimmy Griffin Beyond Bread
Jimmy Griffin Colorado Connection and Others
Co-wrote The Astronaut’s “Main Street” – Boulder, Colorado group.
The Rainy Day People & The Pleasure Fair (with Robb Royer)
David Gates/Bread Discography – The Singles
These include all singles which could be located containing David Gates’ involvement in some capacity.
David Gates 1958/1959
David Gates 1960/1961
David Gates 1962/1963
David Gates 1964
David Gates 1965
David Gates 1966
David Gates 1967
David Gates 1968/1969
David Gates/Bread 1970
David Gates/Bread 1971
David Gates/Bread 1972
David Gates/Bread 1973
David Gates 1974/1975
David Gates 1976-1979
David Gates 1980’s
David Gates 1990’s
David Gates/Bread Discography – The Long Plays
1969 – Elektra 74044 – “Bread” – Charted #127
1970 – Elektra 74076 – “On the Waters” – Charted #12
1971 – Elektra 74086 – “Manna” – Charted #21
1972 – Elektra 75015 – “Baby I’m-A Want You” – Charted #3
1972 – Elektra 75047 – “Guitar Man” – Charted #18
1973 – Elektra 76056 – “The Best of Bread” – Charted #2
1974 – Elektra 1005 – “The Best of Bread, Volume 2” – Charted #32
1977 – Elektra 1094 – “Lost Without Your Love” – Charted #26
2001 – Elektra Tradtions 74311 – “The Best of Bread” – Charted #163 (CD)