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Climax Blues Band

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The Climax Blues Band (originally known as the Climax Chicago Blues Band) were formed in Stafford, England in 1968. The original founding members were lead guitarist/vocalist Peter Haycock, guitarist Derek Holt; keyboardist Arthur Wood; bassist Richard Jones; drummer George Newsome; and Colin Cooper (saxophone/vocals)

In 1970, the group shortened its name to the Climax Blues Band due to pressure from the American band, Chicago Transit Authority The band has released at least 17 albums and had a Top 10 hit in the UK with "Couldn't Get It Right". That song and "I Love You" were American hits as well; "Couldn't Get It Right" reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1977, and "I Love You" peaked at No. 12 in 1981.

The original Climax Blues Band was one of the leading lights of the late 1960s UK blues boom. Prior to the release of 1969's Plays On, Jones left the group, prompting Holt to move to bass. In 1970 they moved to the Harvest label, at the same time shifting towards a more rock-oriented sound on A Lot of Bottle. Around the release of 1971's Tightly Knit, Newsome was replaced by John Cuffley; upon Wood's exit in the wake of 1972's Rich Man, they continued on as a quartet, also dropping the "Chicago" portion of their name to avoid confusion with the American band of a similar name.

In 1974 the Climax Blues Band issued FM Live, a document of a New York radio concert. 1975's Stamp Album was their commercial breakthrough, and 1976's Gold Plated fared even better, spurred on by the success of the hit "Couldn't Get It Right". By the mid-1970s they were drawing crowds of up to 20,000 at U.S. concerts. However, the rise of punk rock effectively stopped the group in their tracks. By 1981 the band had left their blues roots behind and attempted to become a mainstream pop-rock band. Derek Holt and John Cuffley left in 1983.

In May 2012, the Major League Productions (MLP) record label released an until then unknown vault recording of a 1976 live performance, Climax Blues Band/World Tour 1976.

When it came time to record 1983's Sample and Hold album, Pete Haycock, Colin Cooper, and a newly formed rhythm section were holding down the fort.  A follow-up album was in the works, but Cooper bowed out, citing personal reasons. Haycock went on to record several solo projects, first of which was an album entitled Total Climax, which was recorded by his band, Pete Haycock's Climax. Pete Haycock's Climax toured extensively in Europe, including Communist East Germany, as well as a well-received tour in Australia. After that, Pete was asked by his former Climax Blues Band manager, Miles Copeland, to record an instrumental album for the I.R.S. No Speak label entitled Guitar and Son, as well as the Night of the Guitars live album (from the tour of the same name) After that tour, Haycock teamed up with fellow guitarist Steve Hunter and former Climax Blues bandmate, Derek Holt, to record an album under the name, H Factor. He was later recruited by Bev Bevan as a member of Electric Light Orchestra Part II when they recorded and toured from 1990 onwards. He also started his film score career at this time by playing the lead on Hans Zimmer's score to Thelma and Louise, as well as performing on the Night of The Guitars tours which also featured Derek Holt on bass, keys and occasional vocals.

Holt's penned "I Love You" was one of the Climax Blues Band's biggest hits. It can be found on the Climax Blues Band double album, 25 Years 1968-1993 which was released by the German record label Repertoire in 1993. "I Love You" still gets over 20,000 radio hits a year in the U.S. and has been included in Finn Taylor's 2002 film Cherish, and in Kevin Smith's 2008 film Zach and Miri Make a Porno. Holt released five solo albums - I Love You, After the Climax, Sunflowers, Hear and Now, Paradise Lost and Full Circle.

"Couldn't Get It Right" was covered by the Fun Lovin' Criminals on their album Mimosa. Holt revealed in an interview that the song was "about being on the road in America".

In 1986 Colin Cooper recruited guitarist Lester Hunt, and original member Derek Holt returned to the fold to record the Climax Blues Band album Drastic Steps and toured the UK, Europe and America. The new line-up soon became established with Colin Cooper, George Glover, Lester Hunt, Neil Simpson and Roy Adams in the early 1990s, releasing the live album Blues from the Attic in 1993 and Big Blues in 2004.

Cooper died of cancer, aged 69, in July 2008. He is survived by his wife and two children. Cooper's wishes were for his version of the Climax Blues Band to carry on and move forward, with the core members George Glover and Lester Hunt having been at the centre of the band since 1986, plus Roy Adams and Neil Simpson since 1990. Newer singer, saxophone and harmonica player Johnny Pugh retired after a couple of years with the band and, in 2012, Graham Dee took over the lead vocals with Chris Aldridge on saxophone.

The live album 'Security Alert' was released in 2015, produced by Roy Wood of Wizzard, ELO and The Move fame. The album was a great testament to the appreciation of the history of Climax Blues Band while putting their own stamp on the rich heritage of Climax songs. However, the aim was to always move forwards and new songs became very integral to the set.

'Hands of Time', the first Climax Blues Band album of all new original songs since 'Drastic Steps' in 1985 was released in 2019 and shot straight to the top of Amazon downloads and to Number 3 in iTunes Blues Charts. A superbly crafted album it has been very favourably received by long standing and new fans alike, UK dates and European Tours have cemented the name Climax Blues Band back into the list of 'must see' bands. More than anything, the band is loving making music and keeping the name alive, and is as relevant in 2022 as it was in 1968.

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