On this day in 1969, Blind Faith reached #1 with their self-titled album in the UK. The album also made it to #1 in the States.
The band was an English supergroup consisting of Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker, and Ric Grech. Their collaboration was short-lived, lasting only a few months and producing just one album.
How Blind Faith Started
In December of 1968, Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood were playing together in Clapton’s basement. Clapton’s band, Cream, had broken up the month before due to animosity between Jack Bruce (bass) and Ginger Baker (drums).
In early 1969, the pair moved to a rehearsal cottage that Winwood’s band, Traffic, normally used. Traffic had started a year earlier but was already down a guitarist.
What started out as informal jam sessions quickly evolved into Blind Faith when Baker joined in.
Initially, Clapton didn’t think a band with him and Baker was a good idea. Firstly, he had promised Bruce that if any of Cream’s members performed together again, all three of them would play, but he had little interest in reuniting the trio only 9 weeks after the band had called it quits. He was also hesitant to start working with another group whose members each had their own individual fame. He wanted to do something more low-key.
But Winwood pushed the issue and Clapton eventually agreed to let Baker into the band.
Traffic disbanded when the supergroup formed and Windwood began focusing his attention on Blind Faith.
Releasing Their One And Only Album
In May of 1969, Ric Grech left his current band, Family, to join Blind Faith.
Blind Faith quickly began recording their self-titled album, which released in July of 1969. Upon its release, the album sold more than 500,000 copies in a single month. It also helped refresh sales for Cream’s albums. In fact, while Blind Faith was sitting in the top position, Best of Cream moved up to #3 on the Billboard charts.
A Controversial Cover
The original release of Blind Faith’s self-titled album had a photo of a topless 11-year-old girl holding a silver spaceship.
As you would expected, the cover provoked a lot of controversy. As a result, the US release instead used an image of the band on the cover.
Leading up to the album’s release, Blind Faith held a free concert at Hyde Park in London. They performed all 6 songs that would appear on the album as well as covers of Rolling Stone, Traffic, and Sam Myer songs.
While the band still needed to spend more time rehearsing to tighten up the show, their management pushed them to continue touring. They started at small venues in Scandinavia to help prepare for the bigger audiences they would have in the UK and US. They then travelled to the US, where they debuted at Madison Square Garden. Because their set list was so short, Blind Faith had to fill time with covers of Cream and Traffic songs.
Free, Taste, and Delaney & Bonnie were the opening acts for the show. As the tour progressed Clapton began spending more time with Delaney & Bonnie. He would sit in on their sets and sometimes take up percussion to support them. Soon he was more interested in them headlining the show instead of Blind Faith.
Following the completion of their US tour on August 24, Winwood and Clapton decided to disband. While they told Grech right away, Baker didn’t find out until returning from a trip to Jamaica. News of the band’s break up became official in October of 1969.
Other Notable Rock Events From September 20
1957 – Buddy Holly released “Peggy Sue.”
1968 – Still recording as The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin started to record their debut album.
1969 – CCR went to #1 for the second time with the release of “Bad Moon Rising.”
1969 – John Lennon left The Beatles after his performance at Rock And Roll Revival in Toronto. The break-up didn’t become public knowledge until a later date. The group officially broke up in April 1970.
1969 – Associated TV bought Northern Songs, The Beatles’ music publishing company, for millions of pounds.
1969 – Eric Clapton won Best Musician, Bob Dylan won Best Male Singer and Best Album, The Beatles won Best Group and Janis Jolin won Best Female Singer in the Melody Maker Readers Poll.
1970 – Get Your Ya-Yas Out, by the Rolling Stones, hit #1 in the UK and stayed there for 2 weeks.
1970 – Having previously been charged with lewd and lascivious behaviour, Jim Morrison was acquitted. He was, however, charged for exposing himself during a concert resulting in 6 months of hard labour and a fine of $500. The sentence was appealed but Morrison died before it went to trial.
1972 – Paul and Linda McCartney were arrested for possession of weed. It was the second time it had happened in 4 weeks.
1973 – Jim Croce and 5 others died when a charted aircraft hit a tree during takeoff in Louisiana.
1973 – The body of Gram Parsons, guitarist for The Byrds, is stolen and set on fire at Joshua Tree National Park.
1975 – David Bowie’s song “Fame” became his first US #1 single.
1975 – Genesis won Best Live Act, Led Zeppelin won Best Album and Robert Plant won Best Singer in the Melody Makers Readers Poll.
1976 – AC/DC released Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.
1977 – Ringo Starr released Ringo The 4th.
1978 – The Who’s Who Are You went gold.
1992 – “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough” by Don Henley (Eagles) and Patty Smyth made it to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
1994 – Dave Matthews Band released Under The Table And Dreaming.
1997 – Barry Loukaitis was cited as saying the “Jeremy” music video by Pearl Jam was one of the reasons he snapped and murdered three people.
1997 – Elton John’s “Something About The Way You Look Tonight”/”Candle In The Wind 97” started its 6-week run at #1 in the UK.
2004 – Billy Joel got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
2005 – JD Fortune replaced Michael Hutchence as the lead singer for INXS, beating out two other finalists as part of a reality TV show.
2007 – Kelly Jones, lead singer for Stereophonics, was injured by a security team at a London club and hospitalized.
2009 – “The Resistance” by Muse went to #1 in the UK.
2010 – Leonard Skinner died at 77. He was a teacher who inspired Lynyrd Skynyrd to use his misspelled name for their band.
2012 – A developer purchased the Highgate house in London. The original members of Pink Floyd lived at the house in the 1960s. The previous owner was actually the inspiration for one of Pink FLoyd’s earliest names, Leonard’s Lodgers.
2016 – Elton John told Good Morning Britain that he was thinking of retiring.
“My records don’t sell anymore because people have enough Elton John records in their collection. I love making them, but it’s someone else’s turn now.”— Elton John
2020 – Tommy DeVito of Four Seasons died at 92.
1949 – Chuck Panozzo of Styx (Bass)
1949 – John Panozzo of Styx (Drums)
On This Day In History – September 20
From the birth of rock legends to the electrifying performances that reverberated through generations, September 20 has etched its own unique rhythm on the musical timeline.