The Foundations

The Foundations fue una banda de soul británica, activa de 1967 a 1970. El grupo, compuesto por antillanos, White British y Sri Lanka, es mejor conocido por sus dos éxitos más importantes, “Baby Now That I’ve Found You”. (número uno en el Reino Unido y Canadá, y número once en los Estados Unidos), escrito por Tony Macaulay y John MacLeod; y “Build Me Up Buttercup” (número dos en el Reino Unido y número tres en los EE.UU. Billboard Hot 100), coescrito por Macaulay con Mike d’Abo, en ese momento el vocalista principal de Manfred Mann. El grupo fue el primer grupo multirracial en tener un éxito número uno en el Reino Unido en la década de 1960.

The Foundations fue uno de los pocos actos británicos en imitar con éxito lo que se conoció como el Sonido Motown. The Foundations firmó con Pye, en ese momento una de las cuatro grandes compañías discográficas del Reino Unido (las otras eran EMI con sus sellos HMV, Columbia Records y Parlophone, Decca y Philips, que también era propietaria de Fontana).

Las Fundaciones atrajeron mucho interés e intriga debido al tamaño y la estructura del grupo. No solo hubo una mezcla étnica diversa en el grupo, sino que también hubo diversidad en las edades y los antecedentes musicales. El miembro más antiguo del grupo era Mike Elliott, que tenía 38 años. El más joven era Tim Harris, quien, a los 18 años, apenas había salido de la escuela. La sección de cuernos de las Indias Occidentales, compuesta por los jamaiquinos Mike Elliott y Pat Burke, ambos saxofonistas y el dominicano Eric Allandale en el trombón. Todos eran músicos con mucha experiencia que provenían del jazz profesional y del rock and roll. Mike Elliott había tocado en varias bandas de jazz y rock como Tubby Hayes y Ronnie Scott, los Cabin Boys (dirigidos por el hermano de Tommy Steele, Colin Hicks) y otros. Pat Burke, un músico profesional, era del London Music Conservatorium. Eric Allandale había dirigido su propia banda en un momento, además de haber tocado con Edmundo Ros y haber sido miembro de las bandas de Terry Lightfoot y Alex Welsh. Alan Warner fue el guitarrista. El bajista Peter Macbeth fue un antiguo maestro. Tony Gomez, el tecladista, era un antiguo empleado, mientras que Clem Curtis había sido decorador de interiores y boxeador profesional.

La historia de los orígenes de las Fundaciones puede ser un tanto sorprendente y un poco confusa en cuanto a quién fue el responsable de elegir el nombre de la banda, y varias fuentes dan versiones ligeramente diferentes de sus comienzos. Una versión es que originalmente se llamaban The Ramong Sound, o The Ramongs, y había dos cantantes principales, Clem Curtis y Raymond Morrison alias Ramong Morrison. Cuando Raymond fue encarcelado durante seis meses, un amigo de la banda sugirió rockero de choque psicodélico Arthur Brown.

Los Fundamentos en realidad se reunieron en Bayswater, Londres, en enero de 1967. Practicaron y jugaron en un club del sótano llamado Butterfly Club, que dirigieron. Mientras manejaban el club ellos mismos, tocaban música todas las noches y se encargaban de cocinar y limpiar. Se acostarían alrededor de las 6 o 7 a.m., dormirían hasta las 4 p.m., se levantarían y comenzarían nuevamente a prepararse para abrir a las 8 p.m. A veces apenas ganan suficiente dinero para pagar el alquiler, y mucho menos para alimentarse. A veces, vivían de las sobras y un par de libras de arroz.

The biography on AllMusic stated that Barry Class was the first to discover them, although others claim it was Ron Fairway.

When they were at the top spot with “Baby, Now That I’ve Found You”, Fairway commented to Melody Maker that most management would pull them out of the “bargain priced dates” that were booked for some time. He expressed gratitude to everyone for their support, and said that they would fulfill every engagement for which they had signed.

Not long after “Baby, Now That I’ve Found You” became a hit, rock historian Roger Dopson describes what followed as a “behind the scenes struggle”, where Fairway was “pushed out” and his partner, Barry Class, remained as sole manager of the group. Fairway later attempted to sue the band, alleging that he was wrongfully dismissed, though the band said that he had resigned of his own accord. Dopson also noted that Fairway also leaked a story to the media saying that the Foundations had broken up which only served to keep the Foundations name in the news headlines. The day Macaulay came to hear them play, he was suffering from what he described as the worst hangover of his life. The band was playing so loud he could not judge how good they were, but he decided to give them a chance. He would later comment in the book, 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, that he woke up that morning with a stinking headache, and when he got to the studio and heard the Foundations, he thought they were pretty terrible. He decided his hangover was to blame, and so he gave them the benefit of the doubt.

At first, they found progress quite slow, and one of their sax players, Pat Burke, had to drop out of the band and take another job while they went through a rough patch. He did rejoin them again later in 1967.

Curtis doubted if this group called The Toys was the original Toys let alone American. They were noticed by Brian Epstein, who added them to the roster of his NEMS Agency, but the contract became void when he died.

When “Baby Now That I’ve Found You” was first released it went nowhere. Luckily the BBC’s newly founded BBC Radio 1 were looking to avoid any records being played by the pirate radio stations and they looked back at some recent releases that the pirate stations had missed. “Baby, Now That I’ve Found You” was one of them. The single then took off and by November was number one in the UK Singles Chart. This was the ideal time because of the soul boom that was happening in England since 1965 and with American R&B stars visiting the UK, interest and intrigue in the Foundations was generated. Their second single released in January 1968, “Back On My Feet Again”, did not do as well but made it to #18 in the UK, and #29 in Canada. Also in January 1968 they were invited to put down some tracks for John Peel’s radio show. One of the tracks that they laid down was a cover of ? and the Mysterians garage classic “96 Tears”. On the same day, PP Arnold was in the studio with Dusty Springfield and Madeline Bell as her backing vocalists.

The Foundations did tour the United States after their first hit and they toured 32 states with Big Brother And The Holding Company, Maxine Brown, Tim Buckley, Solomon Burke, The Byrds, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and The Fifth Dimension.

Around this time after the release of their second single, tensions developed between the band and their songwriter/producer, Tony Macaulay. He would not allow them to record any of their own songs. In an interview, the band’s organ player, Tony Gomez, told the New Musical Express (NME) in an interview that he, Peter MacBeth, and Eric Allandale had some ideas that they wanted to put together. Curtis later recalled that Macaulay was a problem. “Tony Macaulay was very talented, but could be difficult to get on with. When we asked to record some of our own material – just as B sides, we weren’t after the A side – he called us ‘ungrateful’ and stormed out of the studio. The group felt that Macaulay had reined in their “real” sound, making them seem more pop-oriented than they were. Tony Macaulay was later to recall, “I was never close to the Foundations. I couldn’t stand them, and they hated me! But the body of work we recorded was excellent.

A third single, also released in 1968 “Any Old Time (You’re Lonely and Sad)”, reached #48.

DEJA TU COMENTARIO