Average White Band
|Also known as||AWB|
|Genres||Blue-eyed soul, funk, pop rock, soul|
|Labels||Atlantic, RCA, MCA, Rhino, Arista|
|Associated acts||Arif Mardin, Ned Doheny, Tower of Power, The 360 Band|
|Past members||Roger Ball|
Malcolm "Molly" Duncan
Fred "Catfish" Alias
The Average White Band (also known as AWB) are a Scottish funk and R&B band that had a series of soul and disco hits between 1974 and 1980. They are best known for their million-selling instrumental track "Pick Up the Pieces", and their albums AWB and Cut the Cake. The band name was initially proposed by Bonnie Bramlett. They have influenced others, such as the Brand New Heavies, and been sampled by various musicians, including the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, TLC, The Beatnuts, Too Short, Ice Cube, Eric B. & Rakim, Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Christina Milian, and Arrested Development, making them the 15th most sampled act in history. As of 2020, 48 years after their formation, they continue to perform.
AWB was formed in early 1972 in London by Alan Gorrie, and Malcolm "Molly" Duncan, with Owen "Onnie" McIntyre, Michael Rosen (trumpet), Roger Ball, and Robbie McIntosh joining them in the original line-up. Hamish Stuart quickly replaced Rosen. Duncan and Ball, affectionately known as the Dundee Horns, studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art (now part of the University of Dundee, but which at the time was part of the Dundee Institute of Art and Technology, now known as Abertay University), and were previously members of Mogul Thrash. Gorrie and McIntyre had been members of Forever More. McIntyre and McIntosh were used as session musicians on Chuck Berry's recording of "My Ding-a-Ling".
According to Duncan, members of the band had played together before in Scotland, but had moved to London separately and met up by chance at a Traffic concert. They decided to jam together; a friend heard them and remarked: "This is too much for the average white man," which became adapted as the name of the band.
The band's breakthrough was a support slot at Eric Clapton's comeback concert in 1973. MCA Records released their debut album, Show Your Hand (1973), which sold poorly. Bruce McCaskill, who was Clapton's tour manager, liked the band's music and agreed to manage them. He borrowed money to take them to the US and to promote them. McCaskill had many contacts from his days with Clapton and managed to get Atlantic Records to sign them. The band relocated to Los Angeles and released the follow-up, AWB, better known as The White Album. It reached No. 1 and was the first of many with renowned producer Arif Mardin.
McIntosh died of a heroin overdose at a Los Angeles party on 23 September 1974. Gorrie also overdosed, but Cher kept him conscious until medical help arrived. The NME reported in January 1975 that AWB played a benefit show for McIntosh's widow at the Marquee Club in London. McIntosh was replaced by Steve Ferrone, previously of Bloodstone, who had replaced McIntosh before in Brian Auger's Oblivion Express.
In 1975, the single "Pick Up the Pieces", taken from the No. 1 AWB album, reached No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song knocked Linda Ronstadt's "You're No Good" out of No. 1 and sold over one million copies. It was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in March 1975. It also prompted The J.B.'s, the backup band of the "Godfather of Soul", James Brown, to record and release a song in reply, "Pick Up the Pieces, One by One", under the name AABB (Above Average Black Band). It was both a tribute to AWB's knowledge of funk and a tongue-in-cheek play on the Scottish band's name.
AWB followed up with the LPs Cut the Cake (1975) and Soul Searching (1976), both big sellers and yielding further Top 40 singles. Cut the Cake was dedicated by the surviving band members to McIntosh's memory. A double live album "Person To Person" was issued in late 1976. Their next LP, Benny & Us, was a collaboration with Ben E. King.
After several more albums, "Warmer Communications" (1978), "Feel No Fret" (1979) and after a switch to the U.S. Arista label, "Shine" (1980) and "Cupid's In Fashion" (1982), AWB's audience and sales dwindled. The group initially disbanded by 1983. Their 1980 disco hit "Let's Go Round Again" (UK No. 12), was covered in the late 1990s by Louise.
Ferrone went on to work with Duran Duran and later with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers from 1994 until Petty's death in 2017. Hamish Stuart joined Paul McCartney's touring group. In 1985 Gorrie released a solo album, Sleepless Nights.
The classic lineup of Gorrie, McIntyre, Ball, Stuart, Duncan and Ferrone reunited for one last time at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary in 1988. Gorrie, McIntyre, and Ball then continued in 1989 to record Aftershock. Alex Ligertwood (ex-Santana, Jeff Beck Group and another veteran of Brian Auger's Oblivion Express) also appeared on this album, replacing lead singer Hamish Stuart, along with Eliot Lewis who co-wrote with Gorrie and joined the band. Ligertwood left after the album's recording and drummer Tiger McNeil joined for the reunited band's live shows. McNeil was with the group until 1994. He was then succeeded by Peter Abbott (ex-Blood, Sweat & Tears), who in turn was replaced by Fred "Catfish" Alias in September 1998. Drummer Adam Deitch did a two-year stint with AWB from 1999 to 2001.
Average White Band has continued recording (1997's Soul Tattoo, 1999's Face to Face) and touring since. Ball worked on Soul Tattoo with the group but was replaced by Fred Vigdor (aka Freddy V.) in 1996.
Brian Dunne took over the drum chair in 2001 and when Eliot Lewis left the band in September 2002 to pursue other musical opportunities (including a stint with Hall and Oates), he was replaced by Klyde Jones.
Their line-up as of 2002 became Alan Gorrie (bass guitar, guitar, lead and backing vocals), Klyde Jones (keyboards, bass guitar, guitar, lead and backing vocals), Onnie McIntyre (guitar, vocals), Freddy V (sax, keyboards, vocals), and Brian Dunne (drums).
Dunne was replaced by Rocky Bryant as drummer as of the 2006 tour. After Jones left in 2011 to join Hall and Oates, Monte Croft (keyboards, bass, guitar) and former Earth, Wind & Fire member Morris Pleasure (keyboards, bass, guitar) came in to do brief stints before Rob Aries arrived in 2013.
Brent Carter (ex-Tower of Power) has been singing with AWB since 2011.
In July 2015, Malcolm 'Molly' Duncan, Steve Ferrone and Hamish Stuart reunited to form The 360 Band. This is in essence one half of the original AWB. They released an album titled Three Sixty in 2017 and performed live together along with supporting musicians. As of 2019, Alan Gorrie and Onnie McIntyre are the only two original members left in the Average White Band.
Original tenor sax player Molly Duncan died on 8 October 2019, shortly after it had been announced that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
- Current members
- Alan Gorrie – guitars, vocals, bass (1972–1983, 1989–present)
- Owen "Onnie" McIntyre – guitars, vocals (1972–1983, 1989–present)
- Fred Vigdor – tenor saxophone, keyboards (1996–present)
- Rocky Bryant – drums (2006–present)
- Brent Carter – vocals (2011–present)
- Rob Aries – bass, keyboards (2013–present)
- Cliff Lyons – alto saxophone (2015–present)
- Former members
- Roger Ball – alto saxophone, keyboards (1972–1983, 1989–1996)
- Malcolm "Molly" Duncan – tenor saxophone (1972–1983; died 2019)
- Robbie McIntosh – drums (1972–1974; his death)
- Michael Rosen – trumpet (1972)
- Hamish Stuart – guitar, bass, vocals (1972–1983)
- Steve Ferrone – drummer (1974–1983)
- Eliot Lewis – keyboards, guitar, bass, percussion, vocals (1989–2002)
- Peter Ramsey – keyboard (1989–1999)
- Tiger McNeil – drums (1989–1994)
- Alex Ligertwood – vocals (1989)
- Peter Abbott – drums (1994–1998)
- Fred "Catfish" Alias – drums (1998–1999)
- Adam Deitch – drums (1999–2001)
- Brian Dunne – drums (2001–2006)
- Klyde Jones – guitar, keyboards, vocals (2002–2011)
- Morris Pleasure – keyboard, bass, guitar (2011, 2013)
- Monte Croft – keyboard, bass, guitar (2011–2013)
|1973||Show Your Hand||–||–||391||691|
|1975||Cut the Cake||28||71||4||11||RIAA: Gold|
|1976||Soul Searching||60||81||9||20||RIAA: Platinum|
|1977||Benny & Us (w/Ben E. King)||–||–||33|
|1978||Warmer Communications||–||85||28||31||RIAA: Gold|
|1979||Feel No Fret||15||99||32||86||BPI: Silver|
|1982||Cupid's in Fashion||–||–||202|
|2003||Living in Colour||–||–||–||–|
- 1 Charted in 1975 when re-issued as Put It Where You Want It.
|1976||Person to Person (Double Album)||–||28|
|1999||Face to Face||–||–|
|2006||Soul & the City||–||–|
|2011||Live at Montreux 1977 (recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival, 10 July 1977)||–||–|
|2013||Times Squared (recorded at B. B. King's, New York, NY, 18 March 2009)||–||–|
|2015||Access All Areas (recorded at Nottingham's Theatre Royal, summer 1980)||–||–|
|1980||Volume VIII (5 Hits + 4 Unreleased songs)||–||182|
|1992||Pickin' Up the Pieces: The Best of Average White Band||–||–|
|1994||The Best of the Average White Band - Let's Go Round Again||38||–|
|1997||Pick Up the Pieces and Other Hits||-||–|
|2005||Greatest & Latest||–||–|
|2006||The Very Best Of||–||–|
|2009||Pick Up the Pieces (The Very Best Of)||–||–|
|2014||All the Pieces - The Complete Studio Recordings 1971-2003||–||–|
|Year||Single (a-side b/w b-side)||UK||US||R&B||AUS||CAN||Comments|
|1973||"Put It Where You Want It" b/w "Reach Out"||–||–||–||–||–||MCA Records MUS 1187 (UK)|
|"Show Your Hand" b/w "The Jugglers"||–||–||–||–||–||MCA Records MUS 1208 (UK)|
|"This World Has Music" b/w "The Jugglers"||–||–||–||–||–||MCA Records MCA-40168 (US)|
|1974||"How Can You Go Home" b/w "Twilight Zone"||–||–||–||–||–||MCA Records MCA 102 (UK)|
|"Pick Up the Pieces" b/w "You Got It" (US b-side: "Work to Do")||6||1||5||38||4||Atlantic Records K 10489 (UK) / 45-3229 (US, as AWB)|
|"Nothing You Can Do" b/w "I Just Can't Give You Up"||–||–||–||–||–||Atlantic Records K 10498 (UK) / 45-3044 (US, as AWB)|
|1975||"Cut the Cake" b/w "Person to Person"||31||10||7||–||16||Atlantic Records K 10605 (UK) / 45-3261 (US, as AWB)|
|"How Can You Go Home" b/w "Twilight Zone"||–||–||–||–||–||MCA Records MCA 186 (UK, re-issue)|
|"Twilight Zone" b/w "How Can You Go Home"||–||–||–||–||–||MCA Records MCA-40196 (US)|
|"If I Ever Lose This Heaven" b/w "High Flyin' Woman"||–||39||25||–||–||Atlantic Records K 10655 (UK) / 45-3285 (US, as AWB)|
|"School Boy Crush" b/w "Groovin' the Night Away"||–||33||22||–||41||Atlantic Records K 10701 (UK) / 45-3304 (US, as AWB)|
|1976||"Everybody's Darling" b/w "Why?"||–||–||–||–||–||Atlantic Records K 10778 (UK)|
|"Queen of My Soul" b/w "Would You Stay"||23||40||21||–||84||Atlantic Records K 10825 (UK) / 45-3354 (US, as AWB)|
|"A Love of Your Own" b/w "Soul Searching"||–||101||35||–||–||Atlantic Records K 10880 (UK) / 45-3363 (US, as AWB)|
|1977||"Cloudy" b/w "Love Your Life"||–||–||55||–||–||Atlantic Records 45-3388 (US, as AWB)|
|"Goin' Home" b/w "I'm the One||–||–||–||–||–||Atlantic Records K 10912 (UK)|
|"Get It Up" b/w "Keepin' It to Myself"||–||–||21||–||–||Atlantic Records 3402 (US, as AWB and Ben E. King)|
|"A Star In the Ghetto" b/w "Keepin' It to Myself"
(US b-side: "What Is Soul")
|–||–||25||–||–||Atlantic Records K 10977 (UK, as Average White Band and Ben E. King) |
Atlantic Records 3427 (US, as AWB and Ben E. King)
|"The Message" b/w "Fool for You Anyway||–||–||–||–||–||Atlantic Records 3444 (US, as AWB and Ben E. King)|
|"Imagine" b/w "What Is Soul"||–||–||–||–||–||Atlantic Records K 11019 (UK, as AWB and Ben E. King)|
|1978||"One Look Over My Shoulder (Is This Really Goodbye?)"
b/w "Big City Lights"
|–||–||–||–||–||RCA Records XB 9270 (UK)|
|"Your Love Is A Miracle" b/w "One Look Over My Shoulder"||–||–||33||–||–||Atlantic Records 3481 (US, as AWB)|
|"Big City Lights" b/w "She's a Dream"||–||–||–||–||–||Atlantic Records 3500 (US, as AWB)|
|1979||"Atlantic Avenue" b/w "She's a Dream"||–||–||–||–||–||RCA Records XB 1061 (UK)|
|"Walk on By" b/w "Too Late to Cry"||46||92||32||–||–||RCA Records XB 1087 (UK) / Atlantic Records 3563 (US, as AWB)|
|"Feel No Fret" b/w "Fire Burning"||–||–||–||–||–||Atlantic Records 3581 (US, as AWB)|
|"When Will You Be Mine" b/w "Ace of Hearts"||49||–||33||–||–||RCA Records XB 1096 (UK) / Atlantic Records 3614 (US, as AWB)|
|1980||"Let's Go Round Again" Part I b/w "Let's Go Round Again" Part II
(US b-side: "Help Is on the Way")
|12||53||33||–||–||RCA Records AWB-1 (UK) / |
Arista Records AS 0515 (US)
|"For You, for Love" b/w "Help Is on the Way"
(US b-side: "Whatcha Gonna Do for Me")
|46||101||60||–||–||RCA Records AWB-2 (UK) / |
Arista Records AS 0553 (US)
|"Into the Night" b/w "Catch Me (Before I Have to Testify)"||–||–||–||–||–||Arista Records AS 0580 (US)|
|1982||"Easier Said Than Done" b/w "Isn't It Strange"||–||–||–||–||–||Arista Records AS 0679 (US)|
|"Cupid's in Fashion" b/w "Theatre of Excess"||–||–||–||–||–||Arista Records AS 1022 (US)|
|1986||"Cut the Cake" (re-issue)||45||– ||34||66||–||Arista Records AS 1355 (UK)|
|1988||"The Spirit of Love" (12" single): Radio Short Version / Beat Mix /
Long Beat Mix b/w Dance Mix / New York Mix
|–||–||–||–||–||Polydor PZ 56 (UK) / Track Record Company 58831 (US) |
featuring Chaka Khan and Ronnie Laws
|1994||"Let's Go Round Again" (12" single): 12" CCN Remix / 7" CCN Remix
b/w 12" CCN Alternative Mix / Original Mix
|56||–||–||–||–||The Hit Label HLC 5 (UK)|
- Up (1976) – Morrissey–Mullen
- The Atlantic Family Live at Montreux (1977)
- Wish You Were Here (1974) – Average White Horns on "Just a Chance" and "Should I Smoke" – arranged by Roger Ball
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