1977 Sanford-Townsend Band – Smoke From A Distant Fire
Alabama musicians Ed Sanford and Johnny Townsend worked together in a local Tuscaloosa band in the sixties. They left the band and moved to the Los Angeles area, where they found work as session musicians.
The duo joined another band, Feather. The group reached #79 on the Hot 100 in 1970 with the single Friends. Three of the other members of the group wrote the song, but it did not lead to any lasting success.
The pair continued doing session work and even co-wrote a song with Kenny Loggins that was included in the last Loggins and Messina album in 1976. The pair then cut a demo with producer Jerry Wexler. That gained them a contract with Warner Brothers, and they formed a group and recorded an album in Muscle Shoals.
They released the album in 1976, but sales were scarce.
They then toured as a warm-up act for Fleetwood Mac in 1977 to support that group’s Rumors album, and that helped get the band noticed by a larger audience.
Ed and Johnny had co-written Smoke From A Distant Fire with Steven Stewart and Warner Brothers finally released it as a single in 1977.
In September, the record spent one week at #10 and then crept up to #9 for a week. After that, it dropped out of even the top twenty and two weeks later it was gone from the top forty. They never reached the Hot 100 again.
Their record company responded to the success of the single by renaming their first album Smoke From A Distant Fire and reissuing it.
The band released an unsuccessful new album in each of the next two years, but sales diminished with each release. They then disbanded and simply went back to doing session work.
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