Spooky Tooth are an English rock band principally active, with intermittent breakups, between 1967 to 1974. In recent years, the band has been reconstituted at various points, and continues to perform occasionally.
Crucial to their sound was their instrumentation; they were one of the relatively few rock acts of the time to adopt the twin keyboard approach (both an organ and a piano player).
They formed in October 1967, when Gary Wright joined the band Art. The band name Art only existed from April to October 1967. Art was renamed from The V.I.P.'s, as the name fitted better to the new musical direction taken on the album Supernatural Fairy Tales. Gary Wright held a significant role from the start. He wrote the majority of the first Spooky Tooth album, some even with record producer Jimmy Miller instead of band members.
The line-up changed several times, but typically was -
- Mike Harrison (born Michael Harrison, 3 September 1945, Carlisle, Cumbria) (keyboards/vocals)
- Greg Ridley (born Alfred Gregory Ridley, 23 October 1947, Aspatria, Cumbria — died 19 November 2003, in Alicante, Spain) (bass guitar/vocals)
- Luther (Luke) Grosvenor (born Luther James Grosvenor, 23 December 1946, Evesham, Worcestershire) (guitar/vocals)
- Mike Kellie, (born Michael Alexander Kellie, 24 March 1947, Birmingham, Warwickshire) (drums)
- Gary Wright, (born Gary Malcolm Wright, 26 April 1943, Cresskill, New Jersey, U.S.) (organ/vocals)
Gary Wright was introduced to the members of Art by Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records.
1969's Spooky Two LP was the last album release by the original lineup. It included the song "Better By You, Better Than Me", which was covered by Judas Priest on their 1978 release Stained Class.
Ridley joined Humble Pie in 1969 and was replaced by Andy Leigh (in time for 1970's album Ceremony) who went on to Matthews Southern Comfort with ex-Fairport Convention vocalist Ian Matthews. The experimental nature of Ceremony received mixed reviews and following its release Wright also bowed out. The core of Harrison, Grosvenor and Kellie struggled on for one more album, The Last Puff, completed with friends from Joe Cocker's Grease Band, after which the band appeared in print ads for Birds Eye Pennsylvania Dutch style vegetables.
They broke up after a European tour in the autumn of 1970 that was undertaken with a lineup of Harrison, Grosvenor, Kellie, keyboardist John Hawken (ex-Nashville Teens) and bassist Steve Thompson. However, after recording solo efforts, Harrison and Wright decided to reform Spooky Tooth in September 1972 with a different line-up. The best known member of these line-ups (from March 1973 to September 1974) was Mick Jones (guitar / vocals), later in Foreigner. From February — May 1974, Mike Patto (vocals) replaced Harrison for the 1974 release The Mirror. The group then split again in November 1974.
Grosvenor later played with Stealers Wheel and, adopting the stage name Ariel Bender, with Mott the Hoople. He later founded the band Widowmaker, which was active in the 1970s. In 2005, he founded The Ariel Bender Band, with which he continues to perform on occasion.
Kellie later joined The Only Ones, a respected rock and punk band that came to prominence in the late 1970s and early 1980s and, having reformed in 2007, continues to perform with substantially all original members.
Ridley, who died in 2003, came to international prominence, particularly in the 1970s, as a member of Humble Pie.
Wright developed an international solo career, commencing in the 1970s, and had a hit with the radio-friendly "Dream Weaver".
Harrison, Grosvenor, Ridley and Kellie reunited at points in 1997 and 1998, which resulted in an album, Cross Purpose, released in 1999.
Harrison played and recorded with The Hamburg Blues Band, releasing an album, Touch, in 2002.
Mike Harrison, Wright and Kellie reunited in 2004 for two concerts in Germany, resulting in a DVD release, Nomad Poets (2007).
In 2006 Harrison released his first solo album in over thirty years, Late Starter.
In February 2008 the latest incarnation of the band, featuring Harrison, Wright and Kellie, along with guitarist Steve Farris (ex-Mr. Mister) and Shem von Shroeck (bass), played a well-received series of European dates. On 29 May 2009 this same lineup (with drummer Tom Brechtlein replacing Kellie) played at Island Records 50th Anniversary at Shepherd's Bush Empire before playing some June German dates.
In September 2012 Mike Kellie was due to release his first solo album, ‘music from...The HIDDEN’.
- 1967 - Supernatural Fairy Tales (as Art : Mike Harrison (voc), Greg Ridley (b), Luther Grosvenor (guitar), Mike Kellie (drums))
- 1968 - It's All About (reissued in 1971 as "Tobacco Road")
- 1969 - Spooky Two
- 1969 - Ceremony (with Pierre Henry)
- 1970 - The Last Puff (credited as Spooky Tooth Featuring Mike Harrison)
- 1973 - You Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw
- 1973 - Witness
- 1974 - The Mirror
- 1999 - Cross Purpose
Compilations & Live
- 1999 - The Best of Spooky Tooth: That Was Only Yesterday
- 2000 - Comic Violence
- 2001 - BBC Sessions
- 2007 - Nomad Poets (DVD)
- 2009 - Lost In My Dream - An Anthology 1968-1974
- 1969 - "Feelin' Bad" US Bubbling Under #132
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Image from Discogs