1968 Amboy Dukes – Journey To The Center Of Your Mind
Author Irving Shulman published a novel entitled Amboy Dukes in the UK in 1961, and at least two music groups decided to use that name for their band.
One was a British group formed in 1965 in Reading, Berks in 1965, by Dave Kislingberry. They focused on performing American blues and soul music. The group recorded six singles on Polydor Records between 1966 and 1968, including covers of Judy In Disguise and Simon Says.
The other group was formed in Chicago in 1964 and featured Ted Nugent on lead guitar. The other members of the group changed rapidly over the next eleven years, after which the members of the group became Ted’s uncredited backup band.
It was the 1968 band that finally recorded a hit record. Journey To The Center Of Your Mind was the title song from their album that year. Ted Nugent and singer/guitarist Steve Farmer wrote the psychedelic single, which peaked at #16 on the Hot 100 and also had early undertones of Heavy Metal music.
The group continued to tour and release successful albums through the rest of the decade, although they never again reached the Hot 100.
In 1973, Ted signed a contract with Frank Zappa’s DiscReet Records label and began recording albums as Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes. He disbanded the Amboy Dukes in 1975, signed with Epic Records, and began a solo career. Bass player Rob Grange remained in his new backup band, which also included singer and guitar player Derek St. Holmes and drummer Clifford Davis. Numerous studio musicians were used to fill out the sound of the band on recordings and on tours.
Ted’s biggest solo hit was Cat Scratch Fever, which reached #30 on the Hot 100 in 1977. While all the band’s music lists only Ted as the writer, Derek later claimed that the entire band helped write the music while Ted listed only himself to avoid paying them royalties.
In 1989, Ted joined Tommy Shaw of Styx, Jack Blades of Night Ranger, and drummer Michael Cartellone (who later joined Lynyrd Skynyrd) to form the supergroup Damn Yankees. That group had a string of hits on the Mainstream Rock chart from 1990 to 1993. Their biggest single was the 1990 power ballad High Enough, which also reached #3 on the Hot 100.
Ted returned to recording solo albums in 1995, became active in politics, and has created and starred in several reality-based television shows.
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