Artist Biography: Brewer & Shipley

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Introduction

Mike Brewer and Tom Shipley are members of the folk duo Brewer & Shipley who are known for their Billboard top 10 pop hit “One Toke Over the Line” during the early 70s music era. Both Midwestern natives, the two musicians crossed paths in the West Coast where they began teaming up and writing songs together. Their only major hit came as a surprise, considering its reference to pot which caused the song to be banned by several radio stations. Despite not having any further chart hits, Brewer and Shipley have continued to perform actively, together as a duo as well as separately. More on Brewer and Shipley here in this article!

The early years of Brewer and Shipley

Comprising of singer-songwriters Mike Brewer (born Michael Brewer on April 14, 1944 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) and Tom Shipley (born Thomas Shipley on April 1, 1941 in Mineral, Ridge, Ohio),  Brewer and Shipley were an American folk rock duo formed in the mid- 1960’s in Los Angeles. The two met in 1964 in Ohio where they were performing as solo folk artists of the area’s coffee house circuit. In the following year, Brewer moved to Los Angeles and was signed to Columbia imprint as the other half of the duo Mastin and Brewer. After releasing a single record, the duo split.

Brewer, meanwhile, was employed at Good Sam Music as a staff songwriter. Shipley eventually went to Los Angeles and worked as a writer for A&M label in 1967. He went there to see Brewer to start their songwriting team as well.

The duo’s hit releases 

Brewer and Shipley had been recording from 1968 t0 1975, releasing several singles for a variety of labels such as A&M, Kama Sutra, Buddha and Capitol. However, most of their hit singles were issued on Kama Sutra imprint; their debut single for the label “One Toke Over the Line” was a huge commercial success. Included on the album Tarkio, it peaked at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song which was written “just for fun” became the duo’s best known and most successful song of their career. Minor hits followed such as “Tarkio Road” (1970) and “Shake off the Demon” (1971), making both to the national chart at #55 and #98 respectively. 

Recent years

After the hiatus, Brewer and Shipley performed in a show in 1989 and from there, they started working together as a duo again, albeit intermittently as they have had their own commitments. They released Brewer and Shipley Greatest Hits in that year and had produced a couple of albums during the 90’s (SHANGHAI, 1993 and Heartland, 1997). The duo is still actively performing up to this day, especially to oldies music/classic rock and folk enthusiasts.

Brewer and Shipley’s discography (may be partial)

A&M Records

(1968)

Michael Brewer And Tom Shipley

  • A: Keeper Of The Keys
  • B: I Can’t See Her

(May 1968)

Michael Brewer And Tom Shipley

  • A: Truly Right
  • B: Green Bamboo

(Nov 1968)

Mike Brewer And Tom Shipley

  • A: Time And Changes
  • B: Dreamin’ In The Shade

Buddah Records

(Dec 1969)

Brewer And Shipley

  • A: Rise Up Easy Rider
  • B: Boomerang

Kama Sutra Records

(1970)

Brewer And Shipley

Kama Sutra Records LP Sampler

  • A1: All Along The Watchtower
  • A2: Lady Like You
  • B1: Oh, Sweet Lady
  • B2: Witchi-Tai-To

(Jul 1970)

Brewer And Shipley

  • A: People Love Each Other
  • B: Witchi-Tai-To

(Jan 1971)

Brewer And Shipley

  • A: One Toke Over The Line
  • B: Oh Mommy

(May 1971)

Brewer And Shipley

  • A: Tarkio Road
  • B: Seems Like A Long Time

(Jan 1972)

Brewer And Shipley

  • A: Shake Off The Demon
  • B: Shake Off The Demon

(Jan 1972)

Brewer And Shipley

  • A: Shake Off The Demon
  • B: Indian Summer

(Jun 1972)

Brewer And Shipley

  • A: Yankee Lady [Stereo]
  • B: Yankee Lady [Mono]

(1973)

Brewer And Shipley

  • A: Black Sky [Mono]
  • B: Black Sky [Stereo]

Capitol Records

(1974)

Brewer And Shipley

  • A: Fair Play [Mono]
  • B: Fair Play [Stereo]

(1975)

Brewer And Shipley

  • A: Brain Damage [Mono]
  • B: Brain Damage [Stereo]

Buddah Records

(1984)

Brewer And Shipley

  • A: One Toke Over The Line
  • B: Tarkio Road

Flashback/Buddah/Arista Records

Brewer And Shipley

  • A: One Toke Over The Line
  • B: Oh Mommy

(Collectables Records)

Brewer And Shipley

  • A: One Toke Over The Line
  • B: Tarkio Road

Radio Active Gold

Brewer And Shipley

  • A: One Toke Over The Line
  • B: Oh Mommy

Albums

  • Down in L.A. (1968)
  • Weeds (1969)
  • Tarkio (1970)
  • Shake Off the Demon (1971)
  • Rural Space (1972)
  • ST11261 (1974)
  • Welcome To Riddle Bridge (1976)
  • Brewer and Shipley Greatest Hits (1989)
  • SHANGHAI (1993)
  • Archive Alive! (1997)
  • Heartland (1997)
  • One Toke Over the Line: The Best of Brewer & Shipley (2001)
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