1973 Edgar Winter Group – Free Ride
Edgar Winter and his older brother Johnny were born in Texas and both exhibited albinism. They both became accomplished guitarists.
Edgar released his first solo album in 1970. He followed that with two albums recorded with various musicians from Texas and Louisiana that got listed on the albums as The White Trash.
Edgar formed a completely new band in late 1972 with Ronnie Montrose on lead guitar, Dan Hartman on bass, and Chuck Ruff on drums. Rick Derringer (from the McCoys) produced the new group’s first album, They Only Come Out at Night. The album reached the top five on the Billboard album chart and earned a gold record. Edgar wrote Frankenstein, an instrumental that became the first single from the album. The record topped the Hot 100 in 1973.
The album also included a song written by Dan Hartman, Free Ride. He sang on the song, making it markedly different from their first single. While FM radio stations began playing the album cut, the single they released had a completely different mix that included a fuzz bass over the bridge, additional harmonics, and a brighter mix for the guitar.
You can tell the difference between the two versions of the song right from the start if you listen to it in stereo: the single begins with a guitar strictly on the left side, while the album cut has guitar sounds from both speakers.
Perhaps the difference in the two versions led consumers to prefer one version over the other, resulting in a lesser showing on the charts. The single peaked at only #14 on the Hot 100.
Rick took over lead guitar duties for the group’s next album, but their future singles were not as successful, and only one reached the top forty. The group became The Edgar Winter Group Featuring Rick Derringer for their third album.
Edgar continued with a solo career after the Edgar Winter Group stopped recording and released at least a dozen albums, including live albums recorded with Rick. He also released records that reached the R&B and Hip Hop charts.
Dan began a solo career in 1976 and continued writing and producing other acts as well. He reached #6 on the Hot 100 with his single I Can Dream About You in 1984.
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