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Introduction to Gonzalez

Introduction to Gonzalez

Career summary

Gonzalez was a British band, specializing on R&B and funk. Personnel change occurred too frequently and amounted to over 30 musicians that came and left. The original lineup consisted of Godfrey McLean and Bobby Tench, to be rounded out by Delisle Harper and Lennox Langton. Tench left later on to join the Jeff Beck Group. The band then reformed with new members Mick Eve, Chris Mercer, Geoffrey Beadle, Roy Davies and Gordon Hunte. Gonzalez released their eponymous debut album on EMI-Capitol in 1974. They followed this with other releases Our Only Weapon Is Our Music, which paraded new members: Lenny Zakatek, Colin Jacas, Robert Ahwai, Larry Steele, Bobby Stignac, and Viola Wells, who was the vocalist. The band’s third release Shipwrecked was produced by singer-songwriter Gloria Jones. Her song “Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet” reached the Top 30 pop chart in 1979, and found favor among disco-loving buffs. Jones also produced the following album Move It to the Music. The band’s frequent lineup changes as well as their subsequent flop singles put the band in a rough sailing. In 1986 one of the band’s members Roy Davies died and Gonzalez was no more.

The band’s formation

British R&B/funk band Gonzalez originated in London, Greater London,
England. During the 70s music scene, particularly the disco craze, the band enjoyed their peak of success with the single “Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet” which became a worldwide disco hit. The band did not have a permanent lineup all throughout their career.

Music career

In 1970, the original lineup was put together by Godfrey McLean and Bobby Tench. It composed by Delisle Harper (bassist), Lennox Lanton (percussionist), Tench (vocalist and guitarist), and McLean (drummer). They were also joined by the other members of Gass, the former band of McLean and Tench. Subsequently, Tench left the newly-formed Gonzalez and joined the Jeff Beck Group. In the summer of 1971, the band once again formed with ex-Georgie Fame’s Blue Flames’ tenor saxophonist Mick Eve (born on December 21, 1937 in Walthamston), Roy Davies (ex-keyboardist of Freddy Mack), Steve Gregory, Chris Mercer, Geoffrey “Bud” Beadle (born on  March 24, 1947) and Gordon Hunte. Shortly thereafter, George Chandler, Glen LeFleur, Cliff Lake and Delisle Harper were added in the group who were still actively performing with The Olympic Runners. In 1974, they recruited Lenny Zakatek on vocals and released their eponymous debut album. It was then followed by the sophomore effort Our Only Weapon Is Our Music. In 1977, the band started to get attention with their third album Shipwrecked. Produced by the American singer Gloria Jones, the album contained the single “Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet” which was well-received by the disco enthusiasts, peaking at #26 on the Billboard charts. Because the song was so successful, a remix version was also released which peaked at #7 on the US Club Play chart and #15 in the UK.

In 1979, Gonzalez’s fourth album Move It to the Music was released. The carrier single “Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady” failed to duplicate their earlier successes. A year after, it was followed by their fifth effort Watch Your Step but unfortunately, it was also a flop. Later, the band’s record contract from their previous label expired and left them without any possibility for them to renew their contract. In 1986, Roy Davis died from cancer and the band split afterwards.

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