Saturday, January 8, 2011

From Carol Brady to Judas Priest

A young boy named, Gary Wright began his career in 1954 as a child actor on Broadway. He did 888 performances in the musical, "Fanny," along with the star, Florence "Carol Brady" Henderson. The two even performed together on the Ed Sullivan Show.

But as Gary got older, he moved away from acting and started a song-writing career in the band Spooky Tooth. Wright wrote Spooky Tooth's biggest hit "Better by You, Better than Me," which I bet you think you know nothing about… Hold that thought.

But things were looking up when in 1971, Gary Wright played piano on his friend, George Harrison's, first solo album, "All Things Must Pass."

That same year, Wright notably performed on the Dick Cavett Show with George Harrison returning the favor by playing slide guitar in his band, Wonder Wheel. Although Gary and George remained steadfast friends until Harrison's death, I don't believe the band ever lived outside of the realm of that one tv show, but I did actually find the video! Notice how sublime Harrison tries to be:

It wasn't until 5 years later that the Gary Wright most of us know hit it big with his anthemic, "Dream Weaver." In 1976, it went to #2 for three weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, but continues to live on to this day. It's been featured in several movies we've all seen: Wayne's World, The People vs. Larry Flynt, and Toy Story 3.

Personally, I prefer his follow-up hit, "Love is Alive" (which also peaked at #2).

[side note: For you drummer freaks out there, you might like to know that Jim Keltner was the drummer on both of those hit singles.]

Okay, let's go back a little bit. Remember Gary Wright's "big hit" for Spooky Tooth, "Better by You, Better than Me?" Well, that song was covered by Judas Priest.

"So what?" you say? In 1990, Judas Priest was the subject of media attention for being accused of putting subliminal messages in a song that resulted in a teenage suicide. Judas Priest was found innocent.

The song at the center of the firestorm was "Better by You, Better than Me" by Gary Wright.


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