A highly respected trio of elite players that, although held in high esteem
by their musical contemporaries, would never reap the just rewards their
undoubted talent deserved. Instead, TRAPEZE would find a loyal sales base
in the southern States of America and after their break up go on to influence
the platinum hued careers of acts of such status as DEEP PURPLE, JUDAS PRIEST and WHITESNAKE.
TRAPEZE were formed around the nucleus of ex PINKERTONS ASSORTED COLOURS drummer, Dave Holland, ex RED CAPS guitarist, Mel Galley and ex THE HOOKER-LEES/THE INTRUDERS/THE IN PACK/THE NEWS bassist/vocalist,
Glenn Hughes. The trio originally came together to form FINDERS KEEPERS with guitarist Alan Clees and vocalist Ian "Sludge" Lees. The latter individual later found success out of the rock'n'roll field, as a comedian.
Sidenote - THE MONTANAS
One of the most popular local Wolverhampton groups of the 1960's, The Montanas, came together in 1964 with Johnny Jones as vocalist, Bill Hayward on lead guitar, Terry Rowley on bass and Graham Crewe on drums. The group was renowned for their comedy sketches as well as their superb renditions of contemporary American harmonies.
They recorded on Picadilly and Pye Records and their best remembered numbers, both released in 1967, were 'Ciao Baby' and 'Anyone There', the latter made it into the lower half of the American Hot 100.
In 1967Jake Elcock joined the group from FINDERS KEEPERS and Graham Hollis became the drummer. In 1969 the group underwent a fundamental personnel change when Johnny Jones and Terry Rowley joined the original five-piece, TRAPEZE.
The third of four 1967 Pye Records UK releases garnered their biggest hit, 'You've Got To Be Loved' backed with 'Difference Of Opinion'.
Hughes, Holland and Galley split to form TRAPEZE with ex THE MONTANAS vocalist Johnny Jones and keyboard player Terry Rowley. With this line up the band appeared on the TV show COLOUR ME POP, scoring interest from Threshold Records. This was a new label set up by MOODY BLUES bassist John Lodge.
Terry Rowley took over production duties in order to record the debut 'Trapeze' album in 1969. The album was a noted success, with BBC Radio One actually playing the album in its entirety from start to finish!
Despite this straight out of the box success all was not well within the
band as Jones and Rowley quit. Coincidentally, when TRAPEZE slimmed down to the more familiar trio, Jones followed Ian Lees into a Comedy career.
TRAPEZE's second album, 'Medusa', released in 1970, was another success and the single 'Black Cloud' gained the band valuable American airplay. TRAPEZE by now specialised in hard Funk Rock workouts and achieved remarkable success in Texas, so much so that the band relocated to the US state. This would lead to TRAPEZE touring America six times in three years.
Needless to say, the band played infrequently in their home country due to concentrating on America. When the band did undertake the occasional club gig it was known that LED ZEPPELIN drummer, John Bonham, would often jam with them for encores if they were playing in the Midlands.
During one of their rare home country appearances, they were offered a slot on a BBC radio broadcast. One of the highlights of the set was a stunning rendition of 'What Is A Woman's Role'.
Also included in that performance's line-up, was none other than, John Ogden, featured on the Congas. There was also mention of Glenn Hughes' plans to give up his Bass role and switching to Rhythm Guitar!! That never came to be, as shortly after this appearance he accepted an offer to join DEEP PURPLE.
TRAPEZE only really came to public attention in their home country when
Hughes left to join DEEP PURPLE in mid-1973 following the 'You Are The Music, We're Just The Band' album, released the previous year, 1972. Hughes, after a creative if turbulent spell in DEEP PURPLE, was also to turn up later in various shades of distinction with
HUGHES/THRALL, BLACK SABBATH and GARY MOORE.
TRAPEZE soldiered on, adding guitarist Rob Kendrick and bassist Pete Wright. The band's profile was kept high by the release of the compilation album 'The Final Swing' in 1974, which featured two new tracks in 'Good Love' and 'Dat's It'. It was the band's first album to crack the national American charts, peaking at number 172.
The new line up signed to Warner Bros. Records to release 1974's 'Hot Wire', another chart album reaching number 146. A further two albums followed with TRAPEZE maintaining their cult status in the southern States.
There was a brief reunion of the original 3-piece lineup in 1976. Glenn Hughes, having just left the then disbanded, DEEP PURPLE, reformed TRAPEZE - it was to be a full-fledged reunion with an album of new songs to be released, followed by a World Tour. In the end, a handful of North American dates were successfully completed under the banner, The Appreciation Tour. The expected album was later released as a Glenn Hughes solo album entitled, Play Me Out, two songs of which were included in this tour's setlist, LA Cut-Off and Space High.
Later and after Mel Galley continued on, having added vocalist Pete Goalby and bassist Peter Mackie, both previously with Wolverhampton band FABLE, in 1978TRAPEZE debuted their new singer with a show supporting HUMBLE PIE before touring as support to NAZARETH. During the same year Holland upped and left to join JUDAS PRIEST, a stay that lasted
until 1990 and included platinum albums such as 'Screaming For Vengeance' and 'Turbo'.
The 1981TRAPEZE live album therefore featured drummer Steve Bray, as Goalby quit, briefly joining RAINBOW before finding a more solid base with URIAH HEEP.
TRAPEZE reassembled the same year with Galley, Bray, ex BIG DAISY vocalist Mervyn 'Spam' Spence and erstwhile MAGNUM keyboard player Richard Bailey.
This line up toured Britain supporting EDGAR WINTER. Bray was replaced by
another ex MAGNUM member, Kex Gorin, and the band began recording for a projected album. However, Galley was also working on the PHENOMENA concept album project and was eventually lured to WHITESNAKE. Bailey teamed up with ALASKA. Many of the TRAPEZE recording session songs from this time were to turn up on the next WHITESNAKE release and the PHENOMENA album.
TRAPEZE eventually reformed as the classic trio and toured in 1992 with the addition of ASIA and YES keyboard player, GEOFF DOWNES. A few years later a live release was issued of one of their London shows, titled Welcome To The Real World - Trapeze - Live At The Borderline.
The original line-up reunited once again in February 1994 when they played a New York show in tribute to former BADLANDS and BLACK SABBATH vocalist RAY GILLEN. Rumours of a more permanent Hughes/Galley/Holland reunion in 1993 finally bore fruit in mid 1994 with a batch of American and European dates that also included veteran blues guitarist, Craig Erickson accompanying Mel on both lead and rhythm guitar.