1984 Dwight Twilley – Girls
Dwight Twilley grew up in Tulsa Oklahoma. He met Phil Seymour when the two went to a showing of Hard Day’s Night in 1967, and the two formed a band named Oister. Dwight played guitar and piano, Phil played bass and drums, and the two took turns singing lead and harmony vocals. They briefly moved to Memphis, but when fame and fortune didn’t find them, the duo departed for California in 1974.
The pair signed with Shelter Records in LA, a record company that was owned by Tulsa native Leon Russell and British record producer Denny Cordell. Denny changed the band’s name to the Dwight Twilley Band, which inevitably caused friction with Phil. Shelter Records had a studio in Tulsa, so they were able to record music closer to home.
The group produced their first single in Tulsa and immediately had a hit record. I’m On Fire peaked at #16 on the Hot 100 in 1975. The pair was in England, working with producer Robin Cable at Trident Studios when the record hit the charts. The tracks they created there were set aside, and they returned to the US to record on Leon’s home studio.
They appeared on American Bandstand and performed the song they intended to use for their follow-up single, Shark (In The Dark). Their record label was concerned that because of the success of the film Jaws, their record would be ignored as a novelty release. A different single was selected instead, and it flopped.
The two owners of Shelter Records got into a lawsuit, delaying the release of their album for ten months. In the meantime, Phil provided some backup vocals for Tom Petty on Breakdown and American Girl.
Bill Pitcock IV had begun playing lead guitar on many of the group’s recordings, and he became an official member of the band for their second album. They released the album in 1977, but it failed to do well. Phil left the band, and Dwight began a solo career with Bill on guitar and some backup vocals from Susan Cowsill.
Dwight’s contract with Shelter expired in 1981, and he took advantage of the expiration to move to EMI America Records. His second album on the label came out in 1984. The single Girls featured Tom Petty singing backup vocals, and that helped propel the single to a familiar spot: #16 on the Hot 100. The single also reached #2 on the Billboard Rock Chart. His next single only reached #77, and that was the last time Dwight successfully charted.
Numerous collections of previously released songs from both the band and Dwight’s solo career have appeared over the years. Dwight recorded his most recent album in 2014.
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