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Blood Sweat & Tears Biography


Home > Music > B > Blood Sweat & Tears > Biography


Birth Place: New York City, New York, U.S.
Years Active: 1967–1981, 1984–present
Genres: Pop Rock, Jazz Rock, Psychedelic Rock


Blood, Sweat & Tears is an American a jazz/rock group that formed in 1967 in New York City. Since forming, their line-up has changed several times and their sound has encompassed a multitude of musical styles. They are known for fusing rock, blues, pop music, horn arrangements and jazz improvisation into a hybrid that came to be known as jazz-rock. The band began with Al Kooper, Jim Fielder, Fred Lipsius, Randy Brecker, Jerry Weiss, Dick Halligan, Steve Katz and Bobby Colomby as the original line-up. Kooper emerged as the initial bandleader, bringing a wealth of experience to the band from his previous work with Steve Katz, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. Fielder came from Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention and played briefly with Buffalo Springfield. Both men became the dominant creative driving force behind the band.

The band got their start playing gigs at the Cafe Au Go Go in New York City, where they were a hit with audiences. Columbia Records signed the band and issued their debut album, “Child Is Father to the Man” in 1968.

As the band began to gain recognition, Kooper's control over band members became unbearable and he was forced out of the band later in 1968. Kooper went on to become a producer for Columbia Records, while trumpeters, Randy Brecker and Jerry Weiss, also left the band around this time and were replaced by Lew Soloff and Chuck Winfield.

Colomby and Katz recruited new singer David Clayton-Thomas. Halligan took over organ duties, with Jerry Hyman joining the band on trombone. The new line-up expanded to nine members in total and put out their self-titled second album in late 1968. The album was a huge commercial success, rising to the Top of the Billboard 200 Albums chart for a collective seven weeks and yielding three successive Top 5 singles. It received a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1970 and has been certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA.

Their third album, “Blood, Sweat & Tears 3,” featuring several cover songs, reached #1 on the Billboard 200 upon its release in mid-1970. After the release of their Top 10 reaching 1971 album, “BS&T 4,” Clayton-Thomas quit in 1972 due to in-band conflicts as did founding members Dick Halligan and Fred Lipsius. Clayton-Thomas was replaced by new frontman Jerry Fisher.

Their next LP, “New Blood,” appeared in 1972, which displayed an overtly jazz-fusion sound. The album spawned a single, “So Long Dixie,” and peaked within the Top 40 of Billboard 200.

Katz left in 1973, unhappy with the band's movement towards a more jazz fusion sound. Blood, Sweat & Tears' next album, “No Sweat,” arrived that same year and continued in the jazz-fusion vein. 1974 saw the addition of vocalist/saxophonist Jerry LaCroix, sax player Bill Tillman, bassist Ron McClure and the exit of Tom Malone, Lew Soloff, and Jim Fielder who appeared on the album, “Mirror Image.”

Fisher grew tired of the band's heavy touring schedule in 1974 and worked with Bobby Colomby to secure the return of David Clayton-Thomas. “New City” was released in 1975 and featured the return of Clayton-Thomas on lead vocals.

By 1979, Clayton-Thomas was one of the last long-term members of Blood, Sweat & Tears to remain. he decided to reinvent the band with an entirely new lineup, which consisted of him and various Canadian musicians. Their final album, “Nuclear Blues,” was issued in 1980 and failed to impact the Billboard 200 chart.