This Date In PPL History

Fan Forum for Pure Prairie League

Postby Tom » Mon Aug 28, 2006 11:03 pm

PURE PRAIRIE LEAGUE'S GOLDEN HIGHWAY

That was the title of the article in the August 28th , 1975 issue of Rollng Stone magazine.

The article was the icing on the cake for PPL as the band had two LP's go gold and their music filled the airwaves. With numerous TV appearances, sold out concerts nationwide , PPL was now being mentioned along with the Eagles as being a major force that carried country rock into the national mainstream.

The article briefly detailed their history up to that point and the struggle to succeed and achieve national attention. Mike Reilly addressed that stating " our reserves were getting depleted. We kept it alive by getting other gigs and with our savings. Most groups would have fallen apart. But we just had too much going."

The exposue the band received from the article was something they had been working at for several years, doing 200-250 shows a year. By this point , PPL had now forged their way into all the main media outlets, gave the country rock genre a much needed boost and were in the spotlight, a place they would remain throughout their career.

Take care,
Tom
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Postby Tom » Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:11 pm

If there is a single day in PPL history that stands out as significant in terms of their determination to succeed , if there is one day that can define PPL, then perhaps it is Labor Day.

It was Labor Day in 1972 when PPL took off on tour following the recording of Bustin' Out. It was also the first official gig Mike Reilly had as a member of PPL. Mike had been in Toronto with PPL but a bass player had already been tapped. The band members and Bob Ringe all liked Mike, and as Ringe put it "...we needed a bass player and Michael, who we liked so much fom the sessions, we asked him to stay with us..."

The bands tour was cut short when Craig's request for a C.O.status came to a head. At that point, in early Feb. '73, PPL went off the road while awaiting the outcome of Craig's situation. Unfortunately after about 6 months, Craig decided he did not have the proper time or energy to continue.

Mike Reilly, Billy Hinds, Mike Connor and George Powell decided to press on. Reilly hired a new agent and manager. Said Mike:"The first thing we did was get John Call back in the band."

Labor Day 1973: One year later, PPL embarks on a grueling schedule. The final piece of the puzzle is added as Larry Goshorn joins PPL. " The six of us took off on tour. That was actually when PPL became a solid band, a full time 6 piece unit.â€
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Postby Tom » Sun Sep 24, 2006 7:59 pm

In September 1975 Circus magazine had a feature article on PPL.

The front page of the magazine had among their headers:

PRAIRIE LEAGUE
Truckstop Cowboys From The Midwest
Prairie League In The Passing Lane

At this time, PPL had turned the corner and had done so in a huge way. Long since gone was the "obscure country band' comment mentioned by a reviewer a few years prior. Now PPL was being hailed in all the major music magazines as the LP's Two Lane Highway and Bustin' Out were going gold. They would go on to platinum status.

Among other things, George Powell commented on Mick Ronson on Bustin' Out: "Mick lived with us for almost a month and a half." " You know, he's a gardener's son, he's a real person. Our personalities worked very well together." It also mentions how Ronson was so taken by PPL that he recorded Angel #9 on his own LP, Play Don't Worry.

The article gave a great review of the Two Lane Highway LP and described PPL as " a country rock band that can be rollicking and good timey or cry of lost loves.The rock has muscle;while the music is rich in soaring harmonies and liquid pedal steel riffs, it also flashes with growling guitars and a gunslinger hipness. The natural twang in their music has lifted them from a crowded genre..."

All the best,
Tom
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Postby Tom » Fri Oct 06, 2006 8:50 pm

In 1979, this weekend of Oct. 6th, PPL was at the University Of Northern Iowa as the main musical attraction for the University's Homecoming Weekend.

It was the second year in a row PPL was asked to play there. The previous year PPL was there with Willie Nelson. Willie was not arrested that day.

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Tom
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Postby Tom » Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:50 am

On October 17th, 1979 PPL performed at Speak's , then a rising club in Island Park, Long Island. The show was broadcast live. Although it was a weekday night and the show had a very late starting time, somehwre around 11:00 pm, the place sold out, the crowd very responsive.The lineup that night was Mike Reilly, Mike Connor, Vince Gill, Pat Bolen and Billy Hinds.

The band played KC Southern, Place In The Middle, Flat Tire Merle, Goodbye So Long, Louise, White Line, Can't Hold Back, I'll Be Damned, Misery Train, Janny Lou, Amie, That'll Be The Day, I Can't Believe and Two Lane Highway. Misery Train was hot, hot, hot ! I Can't Believe was also ripping good as the band really turned this one up in concert. Bolen excelled on guitar and steel, a wonderful musician.

All the best,
Tom
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Postby Tom » Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:57 pm

December 1974

Pure Prairie League entered the studio to begin recording their third LP.

There were many critical moments in PPL's storied history but this was perhaps the one with the biggest impact, as the future of PPL was rdiing on the outcome.

After being dropped by RCA in 1973, the band reorganized and went on a grueling tour, playing mostly in the Midwest , Northeast and Southeast, hitting colleges, clubs, basically anywhere they could get a gig.

With John David Call back in the fold and the addition of Larry Goshorn, Mike Reilly, Mike Connor , George Powell and Billy Hinds had peformed about 250 shows a year, a breakneck pace designed to get their music out there and bring PPL to life.

They developed a strong fan base and suddenly radio stations were being flooded with requests for PPL.The band was playing some tunes from the first two LP's, doing cover tunes that had become part of the PPL tradition( She Made Me Lose My Blues, It's Not Love , K.C. Jones etc) while George and Larry added in their own new music.

A somewhat embarrassed RCA was now in the position of having a hot band on their hands with no contract and no clue as to their whereabouts. They found PPL, resigned them and immediately brought them into the studio. In addition, RCA started the process of pressing the first two LP's for re-release.

But the situation was clearly a do or die one for PPL in December 1974. The new LP would have to be a success, the band had proved themselves on the road but now was in a position of proving the new material would generate enough interest to keep them alive.RCA was quick to drop them once, certainly a second time was not unthinkable.

When PPL entered the studio they were at a crossroads. They exited with one of the all time country rock classics, Two Lane Highway.Not to mention putting to rest the question of whether PPL could succeed without Craig. And yes, RCA would keep them.PPL had rekindled their past and lit up their future in December 1974.

All the best,
Tom
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Postby Tom » Tue Dec 19, 2006 10:05 am

December 18th, 1974

Pure Prairie League records the song Memories, co-written by Larry "The Lizard" Goshorn. It was one of 5 songs either written or co written by The Lizard which would appear on the Two Lane Highway LP.

In an extremely rare move, the song is then released as a single on the B side of Amie, a single from the Bustin' Out LP a few years earlier which unfortunately had been largely ignored for a variety of reasons.That would all change by the springtime of 1975 as PPL burst into the national music mainsteam, no longer struggling for airplay or recognition.

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Tom
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Postby fanzine » Wed Dec 20, 2006 6:33 pm

Tom,
wasn't the version of "Memories" on the b-side of "Amie" a somewhat different version than the one on "Two Lane Highway"?
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Postby Tom » Sun Dec 24, 2006 10:28 am

Hi Steve,

I have that single and yes, the version of Memories was different. I haven't listened to it in ages but I believe it did not contain the background vocals ! I have never heard a reason why it was done this way, so I'll just take a guess and say it was another RCA "special " !

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Tom
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Postby Tom » Sun Mar 18, 2007 6:17 am

March 1975 proved to be arguably the most important month in PPL history.

The long awaited third LP from PPL, Two Lane Highway was released by RCA.

After touring at a breakneck pace for about two years without a contract after Craig Fuller's departure, Mike Reilly, John David Call, Billy Hinds, George Powell, Larry Goshorn and Mike Connor had entered the studio in Dec 1974 after RCA resigned them to begin recording. The band had developed a strong fan base and fans were now calling stations requesting PPL. However, they still had to prove themselves to the skeptics and RCA that their new material would capture the publics ear.They had to be more than just a successful road band.

The recording was completed in January 1975, and the band hit the road again. There were 175,000 advance orders for Two Lane Highway, shocking RCA. The LP was an instant hit, as these copies flew off the shelves. PPL entered the studio a question mark in the eyes of some, but exited with what was halied as a classic of the genre.

The newest PPL member, Larry "the Lizard" Goshorn made an immediate impact, writing or co-writing 5 of the tunes. The LP showcased the bands versatility, honing in on their blues, rock and country background as the band expanded their musical direction.

The LP was an instant success, as magazines and television networks lined up to get a glimpse of PPL. Two Lane Highway rocketed up the major sales charts to the #24 selling LP in the country, at a time when country rock in general was given a small opportunity at best.

PPL was now being credited as a major force in bringing country rock into the national music mainstream, an extremely difficult task.

As if this wasn't enough for one month, March 1975 also saw another major development for PPL.

The national singles sales charts saw an extremely unlikely entry on March 1st, 1975. After being released in the Fall of 1972 and then heading directly to the RCA shelves, the beloved, enduring PPL classic Amie snuck into the charts at #95. Like the new LP, the demands of the very loyal PPL fans, the prairiedoigs, resulted in some swift action by RCA. RCA went back to the drawing borad, rereleasing the single Amie as well as the LP Bustin' Out.

The Two Lane Highway LP, Amie and Bustin' Out would all go on to tremendous success, as PPL was now in the national spotlight, a place they would remain until they retired in 1988.

All the best,
Tom
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Postby Tom » Tue Mar 27, 2007 6:59 am

On March 26-27, 1977 , Pure Prairie League was the headline act at the famed Bottom Line in New York City. Both nights were sellout shows as the band continued it's surge.

In addition to what had now become country rock classics and standard fare at PPL shows ( Amie, Two Lane Highway, KC Southern, Flat Tire Merle,etc), the band unveiled several new tunes which ultimately would appear on Live ! Takin' The Stage several months later. Came Through, Dark Colors, Heart Of Her Own were an instant success with the crowd. George Powell was unleashing a flurry of tunes and putting on monster shows, in addition to performing Lucille Crawfield, Pickin' To Beat The Devil and Dance. John David Call was on fire, his steel described as "scorching" and his "twin leads" with the Lizard, Larry Goshorn, had both fans and critics heaping the highest of praise on PPL.

While country rock was , to a large extent struggling for survival during this time period (in terms of airplay, publicity), PPL was still proudly carrying the torch into the music mainstream with recognition in numerous national magazines and television shows.

All the best,
Tom
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Postby Tom » Thu Apr 26, 2007 5:07 am

On April 25, 1974 Pure Prairie League played at Regents Hall, N. Kentucky State in Highland Heights, Kentucky.

The band was playing without a contract at this point, as Mike Reilly, Billy Hinds, John David Call, Mike Connor, George Ed Powell and Larry Goshorn forged ahead at a grueling pace, playing gigs whenever and wherever they could to get the music out there.

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Tom
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Postby Tom » Sat Jul 14, 2007 5:45 pm

The week of July 12, 1980 saw PPL's single from the Firin' Up LP, Let Me Love You Tonight crash into the top ten.

It was sweet success for PPL, who left RCA, citing a lack of support, and signed up with Casablanca, known primarily for disco music.

July 12, 1980

10. Let Me Love You Tonight - Pure Prairie League
9. Let’s Get Serious - Jermaine Jackson
8. Magic - Olivia Newton-John
7. Funkytown - Lipps Inc
6. Steal Away - Robbie Dupree
5. Cupid/I’ve Loved You For A Long Time - Spinners
4. Little Jeannie - Elton John
3. The Rose - Bette Midler
2. It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me - Billy Joel
1. Coming Up (Live at Glasgow) - Paul McCartney and Wings

PPL's ability to maintain a formidable presence in the national music scene was uncanny, gven the personnel changes the band had been through. Yet here they were entering the 80's with a red hot single, LP and another appearance on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert as well as several other TV shows.

All the best,
Tom
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Postby Tom » Wed Nov 21, 2007 11:14 am

Let's catch up on a few November dates:


On November 13, 1976 the band played at Jai Alai Fronton ,Miami FL with Leon Russel.


On November 27, 2005 PPL played two shows at The RamsHead in MD. About 200 lucky fans receive advance copies of All In Good Time, PPL's first studio LP of new tunes since 1981's Something In The Night.

The band had promised to have some CD's at the show, in fact, thought it might be released by then, but decided to alter a few things in the studio, delaying the release. Not to disappoint the fans, the band pressed copies of what had been recorded, much to the delight of those at the concert. All the copies were sold immediately, leaving even the band members without one. Said Mike Reilly: " We thought a few were going to be held on the side for us. But they were selling so quickly, no one remembered to grab a few. When we looked for our copies, there wasn't even one left !"

All the best,
Tom Sheridan
"I have seen the future of country music and it's name is Pure Prairie League."
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Postby Tom » Mon Dec 31, 2007 9:59 pm

OK I've 5 minutes to slip in my last post for 2007.

On December 31, 1979 PPL made a special New Year's Appearance at Toad's in New Haven CT.

Below are the details.

Image

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"I have seen the future of country music and it's name is Pure Prairie League."
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