Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth was an English hard-rock/soul band that released three albums on Harvest between 1972 and 1975, followed by a further pair of titles on Capitol during the mid-1970s.

Members: Jenne Haan (vocals, 1970-75), Alan Shacklock (guitar, keyboards, 1970-75), Dave Hewitt (bass, 1970-75), Jeff Allen (drums, 1970-71), Dave Punshon (keyboards, 1971-73), Dick Powell (drums, 1971-73), Ed Spevock (drums, 1973-present), Chris Holmes (keyboards, 1973-74), Steve Gurl (keyboards, 1974-76), Bernie Marsden (guitar, 1975-76), Ray Knott (bass, 1975-76), Ellie Hope (vocals, 1975-76), Simon Lambeth (rhythm guitar, 1976)

Babe Ruth germinated from a band called Shacklock, formed in 1970 Hatfield, Hertfordshire, by namesake guitarist Alan Shacklock (b. 1950). As a teenager, he played in the unrecorded beat combo The Juniors with future Bluesbreakers/Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor and later Carmen/Jethro Tull bassist John Glascock. Shacklock also included teenage singer Jenne Haan (b. 1953) and bassist Dave Hewitt. Ex-Beatstalker Jeff Allen initially held the drum slot but left to join East of Eden. With the 1971 additions of keyboardist Dave Punshon and drummer Dick Powell, Shacklock changed its name to Babe Ruth.

Babe Ruth released their debut album, First Base, in November 1972 on EMI Harvest. It features three medium-length songs per side, including the Shacklock originals “Wells Fargo,” “The Mexican,” and “The Runaways.” The album also includes covers of songs by Frank Zappa (“King Kong”) and Jesse Winchester (“Black Dog”). Sessions took place the prior summer at London’s EMI Studios. Shacklock co-produced First Base with label A&R Nick Mobbs. The cover art was illustrated by Roger Dean (Yes, Uriah Heep, Osibisa, Greenslade). “Wells Fargo” and “The Mexican” were issued as singles.

Powell departed before recordings commenced for a followup. His place was taken by drummer Ed Spevock, who briefly played in a post-album lineup of Pete Brown’s Piblokto.

In 1973, Babe Ruth recorded Amar Caballero with engineer Tony Clark. During the sessions, Pushon was replaced by ex-Timebox keyboardist Chris Holmes. The finished album hit shelves in early 1974. It features four songs per side, including the Shacklock/Haan co-writes “Broken Cloud” and “Gimme Some Leg.” Side two’s “We Are Holding On” features violinist Raymond Vincent (Wallace Collection, Esperanto). The opening track, “Lady,” features woodwinds by Dave White (Centipede) and Steve Gregory (Riff-Raff, Gonzalez) with string arrangements by John Georgiadis. The album concludes with the flameco-tinged title-track, a three-part suite with guest percussionist Angelito Perez. Shacklock, who produced the album, plays celesta, electric piano, tambourine, organ, Mellotron, and percussion on select tracks. After the album’s release, Holmes was replaced by ex-Wild Turkey keyboardist Steve Gurl.

In February 1975, Babe Ruth issued their self-titled third album on Harvest, their last for the label. It features nine songs, including “Private Number,” “Sad But Rich,” “Dancer,” and “The Duchess of Orleans.” Also included is a cover of Ennio Morricone’s “A Fistful of Dollars,” originally written for the 1964 Spaghetti Western starring Clint Eastwood. In addition to guitar, Shacklock plays Moog, Mellotron, and vibraphone on certain numbers.

Babe Ruth and its two followups were produced by American multi-media personality Steve Rowland, whose other UK tech credits include records by The Herd, Snafu, and The Real Thing. The album cover features Dickens-styled pictures of each member by photographer Gered Mankowitz (Fox, Shoot, Dana Gillespie, King Crimson, Groundhogs, Murray Head).

Following a stateside tour in support of this release, Shacklock exited Babe Ruth for a career in production. The band recruited guitarist/singer Bernie Marsden, who had done brief, unrecorded stints with UFO and Wild Turkey.

In July 1975, the Marsden/Haan lineup recorded Stealin’ Home at London’s Morgan, Chappell, and Roundhouse Studios. It was released that fall on Capitol. The album features nine songs with writing contributions from Spevock (“Fascination”), Gurl (“Caught at the Plate”), and both as a team (“Elusive,” US Disco #12). Each side closes with a Haan composition: “2000 Sunsets” and “Tomorrow (Joining of the Day).” She and Hewitt resigned after this release, leaving Babe Ruth with no original members.

For its final album of the period, Babe Ruth roped in singer Ellie Hope, the namesake frontwoman of the disco-pop sister act Ellie. Kid’s Stuff was issued on Capitol in 1976. It features nine songs, including “Nickelodeon,” “Welcome to the Show,” and the six-minute closing track “Living a Lie.” Marsden wrote/co-wrote seven of the songs; Spevock and Gurl contributed one apiece. The album features two bassists: Hanson-alumnus Neil Murray (three tracks) and newcomer Ray Knott (the rest). Other guests include keyboardist Don Airey, vibraphonist Frank Riccotti, and veteran jazz percussionists Chris Karin and Tony Carr.

Murray and Airey teamed that same year on Strange New Flesh, the first of three albums by jazz-rockers Colosseum II. Hope and Knott, who met during the recording of Kid’s Stuff, went on to marry and form the disco-funk act Liquid Gold. Marsden augmented power-trio Paice Ashton Lord on their 1977 self-titled album. He then followed Lord (and Murray) into Whitesnake. Spevock played in latter-day lineups of The Alan Ross Band and Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack. Gurl briefly surfaced in popsters Any Trouble.

After leaving Babe Ruth, Shacklock produced recordings by Honey Bane, Dexys Midnight Runners, JoBoxers, Roger Daltery, The Alarm, and Beltane Fire. Haan reappeared with the 1979 EMI single “We Drove Em’ All Mad” (b/w “Forgotten Dreams”). In 1984, she participated in a dance-pop rerecording of “The Mexican” by producer Jellybean Benitez.

In 2005, Babe Ruth’s early 1973 lineup (Haan, Hewitt, Punshon, Shacklock, and Spevock) reunited for the album Que Pasa. It was initially released digitally on the band’s website and subsequently given a CD issue on Revolver Records.


  • First Base (1972)
  • Amar Caballero (1974)
  • Babe Ruth (1975)
  • Stealin’ Home (1975)
  • Kid’s Stuff (1976)


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