Two for Tuesday: Grand Funk Railroad

The critics hated them. Everybody else loved them. Mark Farner (guitar, vocals), Mel Schacher (bass), and Don Brewer (drums, vocals) formed Grand Funk Railroad in 1969. Farner and Brewer were veterans of Terry Knight and the Pack, Schacher had been the bassist with Question Mark and the Mysterians. Based in Flint, Michigan, their name was a play on Michigan’s Grand Trunk Railroad. Their first two albums, Grand Funk Railroad and Grand Funk (“The Red Album”) were both certified gold in 1970. Thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign by manager Terry Knight, their next album, Closer to Home, went multi-platinum and was a critical success. Naturally, they fired Knight and ended up in nasty legal battles with him. Adding Keyboardist Craig Frost to the mix, their sound changed from power trio to more commercial in nature. The band went their separate ways in 1976, reuniting in 1982 and 1996. Frost left in 1976, and Farner, who underwent a religious conversion at some point, left in 1998. Brewer and Schacher have kept the band going since then.

“I’m Your Captain (Closer To Home)” is the first song here. From their album of the same name, it was a more mellow tune than most of the rest of their work up to that point. The full song is almost ten minutes long, and was shortened to under four minutes for radio airplay. (It’s an easy song to play, with two chords, D and C.) The second song, “(We’re An) American Band,” was released in 1973 and became their first Number One hit.

More music from my high school days… And that is your Two for Tuesday.

(Thanks, as always, to Wikipedia for their assistance.)

4 thoughts on “Two for Tuesday: Grand Funk Railroad

  1. I liked their first album the best, but remained a fan over the years. In about 1988 I believe it was, I promoted a Mark Farner concert in Knoxville Tennessee. Due to my hasty promotion efforts the concert ticket sales was a flop and i lost a lot of money, but the concert itself was darn good. Mark was a very nice and humble guy. He put on a great show even though there were probably fewer than 300 people in the audience.

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    1. I can see where Mark Farner wouid put on a great concert even if the audience wasn’t all that big. I would imagine that there were a lot of people who saw the signs for the show and said “Who’s Mark Farner? Who’s Grand Funk Railroad?” even in a college town.

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