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Rare Earth

Rare Earth began as an R&B band called the Sunliners in Detroit in 1961. Of the musicians who would be part of the band dubbed Rare Earth, only sax player Gil Bridges and drummer Pete Rivera were present. John Parrish joined on bass in 1962. Rod Richards became a guitarist with the group in 1966. Keyboardist Kenny James came into the fold the same year. After years of doing the club circuit, the group changed their name to Rare Earth and released Dreams/Answers on Verve. The album received little reaction and the group was picked up by Motown Records as the first act on their yet-to-be-named new label. Rare Earth suggested to Motown that the label name their new subsidiary after the band and Rare Earth Records was born.

When they set out to record their first album, they essentially ran out of material and did a 21-minute rendition of the Temptation's "Get Ready" to fill out the space. The album was making no headway on the charts for a long period of time. So they took the first three minutes of "Get Ready," released it as a single and it made its way into the U.S. Top Ten list, peaking at number four. Pulled along by the success of the single, the album also began to sell, breaking the Top 20, and Rare Earth's career was officially on its way. The second album, Ecology, was released in June of 1970, a couple months short of a year after "Get Ready" had been put out. Interestingly enough, Ecology was not really the group's second album, but their third. An album entitled Generation was recorded as the soundtrack to the film of the same name. When the film stalled at the box office, the album was shelved. Still, Ecology would yield not one, but two hit singles. The first was "(I Know) I'm Losing You" (another Temptations cover), which also broke the Top Ten. The second single, "Born to Wander," did not fare quite so well, but did make the Top 20. The album was catapulted to number 15.

Not wanting to lose momentum, One World followed almost exactly a year after Ecology, and yielded another hit single in a longtime classic, "I Just Want to Celebrate." The song peaked on the pop charts at number seven and the album broke the Top 50. They released a live album in December of the same year. For the next album, Willie Remembers, the group insisted on doing all originals, a move that was not common around the Motown camp. Unfortunately, for a band trying to prove a point, the album never reached the type of sales of previous records. Indeed, it stalled out at number 90, and the single "Good Time Sally" didn't even break the Top 50.

Motown tightened the creative grip on the group and original producer Norman Whitfield, who had worked with the group on earlier albums, was brought in to save the day. The resulting album, Ma, was released in May of 1973 and fared just a little better than Willie Remembers, peaking at number 65. The label was not pleased and sent the group into the studio to record with Stevie Wonder. That pairing did not really gel, though, and only two tracks were recorded, neither of which were released. Instead, the label sought to release another live album, trying to regain the spark that Rare Earth had had. That project also fell by the wayside, though.

What followed was a series of lineup changes and legal battles, and the group stopped touring altogether in 1974. The following year Rare Earth, in a new lineup, released Back to Earth. The album did a bit better than the previous one, reaching number 59 on the charts. The single, appropriately entitled "It Makes You Happy (But It Ain't Gonna Last Too Long)" stalled just outside the Top 100. A disco-oriented excursion entitled Midnight Lady was released in 1976, but failed to really go anywhere. To make matters worse, Rare Earth Records was discontinued altogether. The band had broken up by this time.

As fate would have it, though, this was not the end of Rare Earth. Instead, Barney Ales, who had presided over Rare Earth Records, started his own label Prodigal Records. He talked the group into reuniting to record the label debut. The resulting album, Rare Earth, was released in 1977 and made no real waves in the music business. Rare Earth got things together again for a marathon recording session the following year. That session yielded not one, but two albums. The first was Band Together, released in April of 1978, with Grand Slam following in September. Neither of those albums every really took off, either. The group essentially broke up in 1978, although a version of the original lineup was touring all the way into 1983. A different incarnation of the group, with just two original members, still makes the circuits. ~ Gary Hill, Rovi
full bio

Comments

ray.cervante s 7
The long version s great.
rena9297
yes,yes,oh omg love some rare earth back in the day and today the brother's are bad.
tai.chi.chua n . s t u d e n t
July 19, 1972, Mississippi River Festival: One of the best jam bands ever!!!
No mention of their hit Hey, Big Brother
I saw them at the old Allen theater in Cleveland ,the home of rock & roll easy e 1953
rare earth ok
richard_davi s 5
PANDORA ROCKS...RARE EARTH GET READY' full 21 minute version...i' m hooked.
When I first heard this, 1972 or 73,USMC, We had left Panama, was underway to Cuba and locked down during General Quarters on an LST, (that's an old troop transport ship) no A/C just piped in air out of a single port. some of the guys started smoking, well by the time General Quarters was canceled that song was burned into my brain. LOL.
hodgdons7
What was the piece I remember? Can't Believe .... I'm losing you
dshuff0
I attend church with Peter Rivera. Great guy!
marc2614
I remember seeing them for the first time on Don Kirchners Rock Concert. The rest bece musical history for me. I was 13.
gs11005
HUB was a great album! Especially the cut The Boogie Man. Too bad its no where to be found.
bpetree30
Doesn't get any better than this.....
Pete Rivera, the drummer, was the lead singer....
williamcaubl e
only left out one thing: Who the heck is singing!?!?! ?
Awesome....g r e w up with these guys, still love playing and reminising of the 'good 'ol days...'
Solid band, great vocals. Still pissed that someone ripped off their first album and Mountain Climbin' at a party, oh, about 42 years ago!
loved them back in the day, on 8-track, and still love them today on cd
Great blue eyed soul!!
deering349
best version of tobacco road I have ever heard
Peter, Michael and Tom released two albums under the name of HUB on Capitol Records in the late 1970's
Lets not forget percussionis t Eddie Guzman
Loved em for long time;) I broadcast live on www.vaughnli v e . t v playing air guitar to these guys .
Remember them in Norwich, CT 1969 under a tent, police tried to stop them 10 minutes into Get Ready...last another 15...
Was and still is one of my favorite groups, wish I could find a CD of the album Willie Remembers for my collection. B Boyd-Old School Fan
there music still sounds good
just some good ol jam y'all.
I saw them a few days ago, July 29, 2011, near D.C. at the Birchmere. They were tight and funky, and I hope they record soon. A great jam band!
saw them at the scope in Norfolk Va 1975 I think
bar band makes good !!!!!!!!!!
carltonysull i v a n
Folks I fell in love with these guys when I saqw them as the opening act for War and Sly & the Family Stone at the 1970 concert in Madison Square Garden. Talk about your contact highs.......
ssapper7
I saw these guy's 2 times in concert in the 70's Great show
milosdad
Wrong gig. Rare Earth was not with Frampton or JW. Have to look at my records closer. Still remember loving the show though. Maybe it was with Mike Pinera and Cactus.
milosdad
If memory serves me, Saw these guys early 75' with Johnny Winter and Peter Frampton as the opening act. Rare Earth was huge in the latino community. Could not escape them.
charlesjtx
this is what i grew up with yea these were the days
loving this!!!!!! Grew up with these guys!!!! all of themmmmmm
bradlmartin
I saw these guys for free in Pt St Lucie FL 2 years ago and they were great. Best "old guys" I have seen - to date. Loved it.
These guys were my first concert back in Indianapolis . The fire marshall tried to shut down the concert because the fans rushed the stage. Rivera threw his drum sticks into the crowd and we went wild. Finally one of the band members pleaded with the crowd to clear the aisles and we did and the concert went on from there.
hahaha...yea h , not quite as good as the real thing.
jimdayod
I jumped the fence to Birmingham's "Legion Field" labor day 1974, Great Concert. BB King, James Brown, but Rare Earth got the stadium to empty on the field!
These guys are killer.
lisa.faulkne r
WHAT MEMORIES LISTENING TO THESE GUYS
dillpickle4
Talented white Guys with some soul funk!!
Jay Roy said, "funky white dudes - talented - something we don't see in today's music"...... . . . . . . D u d e , turn off the TV and radio and actually go see some music! There is a TON of funky white dudes playing some damn good music, today. Nothing personal, I just hate reading-hear i n g that. Music is all around us, you just have to dig a little to find the jewels!!
diego martin days in trinidad west indies!!!! thanks mom!!!! R.I.P.
can you still dig it
Rare Earth - the best version of Get Ready is a live version from the earlier catalog - a laid down all nite jam - Funky White Dudes - talented - something we don't see in today's music.
They were brand new and funky. Motown had the right idea! Brought on some new funk to the scene.
hmorrisjr
Funky white dudes! (as opposed to unfunky white dudes. Nothing racial, mind you!)

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