Ambrosia were an American symphonic/art-rock band that released two albums on 20th Century in 1975 and 1976, followed by a trio of titles on Warner Bros. between 1978 and 1982.

Members: Joe Puerta (vocals, bass, guitar), Burleigh Drummond (drums, vocals), David Pack (vocals, guitar, keyboards, 1970-82), Christopher North (keyboards, vocals), Royce Jones (vocals, percussion, 1978-82), David Lewis (keyboards, 1978-82), Cliff Woolley (guitar, harmonica, vocals, 1980), Bruce Hornsby (keyboards, 1982)

Ambrosia formed in 1970 in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County, Calif. The call was initiated by drummer/percussionist Burleigh Drummond (b. 1951, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.), who joined a $5 musician’s contact services that, within a week, summoned singer/guitarist David Pack (b. 1952, Huntington Park, Calif.), bassist Joe Puerta (b. 1951, Lomita, Calif.), and keyboardist Christopher North (b. 1951, San Francisco).

Drummond’s interest in percussion stemmed from an early childhood experience at his father’s military base in Ankara, Turkey, where young Burleigh absorbed the sight and sound of manual copper-plate production, a process he’d later describe as “spinning and hammering in sublime synchronicity.” (Hernandez) As a teenager, he filtered through several garage bands before joining the contact service.

North’s background traces to the 1960s San Pedro garage-rock scene, where he played in The Proones, The Livin End, Thee Exceptions, and the more psych-tinged Blue Toad Flax with musician Tom Trefethen, who’d later play a technical role in Ambrosia’s recordings.

They initially wanted to name their band Ambergris Might, but soon learned about the brass-rock ensemble named Ambergris. Searching adjacent words in the dictionary, they picked Ambrosia because its meaning (the food or drink of the Greek) suited their musical vision.

The four members had mutual roots in California harmony pop (The Beach Boys) and British Invasion rock (namely The Beatles). During their later teens, the spectrum harmonies of Crosby Stills & Nash and the lavish epicism of King Crimson advanced their concepts of vocal and musical arrangements.

After a year in rehearsals, a soundman friend of Ambrosia picked them to test the newly installed sound system at the Hollywood Bowl. Their test performance floored the head engineer, who introduced them to Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Zubin Mehta, who featured Ambrosia in the All-American Dream Concert.

After a no-go audition for Herb Alpert of A&M Records, Ambrosia signed to 20th Century Records, which released their first two albums.



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