Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera

Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera were an English rock combo that was active during the late 1960s. The band released several singles and one self-titled album on Direction in 1968. A change in lineup produced one further album under a shortened band name.

Members: Colin Forster (guitar, 1967-68, 1970), Dave Terry [aka Elmer Gantry] (vocals, guitar, 1967-68), Richard Hudson (drums, 1967-70), John Ford (bass, 1967-70), Paul Brett (vocals, guitar, 1968-69), Johnny Joyce (guitar, 1968-69), Colin Bass (bass, 1970), Dave MacTavish (vocals, 1970), Mike Fincher (drums, 1970)

The band were initially calling themselves Velvet Opera when vocalist Dave Terry donned a stage cape in ode to the titular character in the 1960 Burt Lancaster vehicle Elmer Gantry, hence the newly prefixed band-name. The band’s eponymous 1968 album crosses tuneful Pepper-esque whimsy with the thunderous sounds just emerging on the UK scene.

After that one album, Terry left the band, which trimmed back its name and soldiered on with singer/guitarist Paul Brett for one further longplayer, Ride a Hustler’s Dream, in 1969. Terry later formed a band called Legs that became embroiled in a scandal when they agreed to assume Fleetwood Mac‘s nameplate for a 1974 fill-in tour of the US — a ruse designed by the management that handled both bands. Terry subsequently formed the hard-rock/blues band Stretch, which released four albums between 1975 and 1978.

When Velvet Opera folded, the rhythm section joined the Strawbs for three albums. They subsequently recorded four albums as Hudson–Ford and later morphed into spoof-punks The Monks.



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