Wednesday, December 27, 2006

History of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal: Humble Pie

A showcase for former Small Faces' frontman Steve Marriott and one-time Herd guitar virtuoso Peter Frampton, the hard rock outfit Humble Pie formed in Essex, England in 1969.

Also featuring ex-Spooky Tooth bassist Greg Ridley along with drummer Jerry Shirley, the fledgling group spent the first several months of its existence locked away in Marriott's Essex cottage, maintaining a relentless practice schedule. Signed to the Immediate label, Humble Pie soon issued their debut single "Natural Born Boogie," which hit the British Top Ten and paved the way for the group's premiere LP, As Safe as Yesterday Is.

After touring the U.S. in support of 1969's Town and Country, Humble Pie returned home only to discover that Immediate had declared bankruptcy. The band recruited a new manager, Dee Anthony, who helped land them a new deal with A&M; behind closed doors, Anthony encouraged Marriott to direct the group towards a harder-edged, grittier sound far removed from the acoustic melodies favored by Frampton.

As Marriott's raw blues shouting began to dominate subsequent LPs like 1970's eponymous effort and 1971's Rock On, Frampton's role in the band he co-founded gradually diminished; finally, after a highly charged U.S. tour which yielded 1971's commercial breakthrough Performance: Rockin' the Fillmore, Frampton exited Humble Pie to embark on a solo career.

Humble Pie continued on before disbanding in 1975. Over the years the band would reunite (with the exception of Frampton) and record and tour.

At the dawn of the 1990s, Marriott and Frampton made tentative plans to begin working together once more, but on April 20, 1991, Marriott died in the fire which destroyed his 16th century Arkesden cottage. He was 44 years old.

Humble Pie's blues-tinged, boogie rock inspired a generation of followers, including Foghat and many others. Here is the video for the first hit - "Natural Born Boogie."

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