Jobriath

Jobriath Salisbury (1946–1983) was an American singer, pianist, and songwriter who released the 1973–74 Elektra albums Jobriath and Creatures of the Street.


Background

Jobriath was born Bruce Wayne Campbell on December 14, 1946, in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. As a child, he played organ at his family church and gained recognition as a piano prodigy by Philadelphia Orchestra director Eugene Ormandy. At Upper Merion High School, Campbell composed two movements for a symphony. He left the work unfinished after his interests shifted to the nascent folk-rock scene.

In 1965, Campbell linked with identical twins Marty and Grace in The Last Three, a folk trio that gigged briefly on the Philly coffee-house circuit. He then enrolled as a music major at Temple University, but left after one semester. In 1966, he was drafted into the US Army but deserted before his deployment.

Under the alias Jobriath Salisbury, he surfaced in Los Angeles where he auditioned for the West Coast production of the counter-culture musical Hair. Director Tom O’Horgan cast Jobriath as Woof, who sings the Act One numbers “Sodomy,” “Ain’t Got No,” and “Don’t Put It Down.” Despite plaudits for his portrayal of the flamboyant character, O’Horgan dropped him for allegedly outshining his fellow cast members.

In 1969, Jobriath joined Pidgeon, a folk-psych quartet that released a self-titled album and a standalone single on Decca Records. After their disbandment, military police tracked and arrested Jobriath, who suffered a nervous breakdown and spent six months in a psychiatric ward. He aided his own recovery through the art of songwriting.

In December 1972, Jobriath’s demo tape landed before Columbia Records president Clive Davis, who didn’t recognize the artistry. Despite Clive’s indignation, talent scout Jerry Brandt (the ex-manager of Carly Simon) overheard the tape from a nearby room and tracked Jobriath down in California, where the singer hustled in substandard living conditions. Brandt secured Jobriath a deal with Elektra Records, which signed the artist for a then-astronomical $500,000.


Jobriath

Jobriath released his self-titled debut album in October 1973 on Elektra.

A1. “Take Me I’m Yours” (4:10)
A2. “Be Still” (3:37)
A3. “World Without End” (3:41)
A4. “Space Clown” (2:34)
A5. “Earthling” (3:29)
A6. “Movie Queen” (1:56)
B1. “I’m a Man” (3:33)
B2. “Inside” (3:46)
B3. “Morning Star Ship” (3:27)
B4. “Rock of Ages” (2:21)
B5. “Blow Away” (4:55)

Producer – Edwin H. Kramer, Jobriath

Jobriath — writer, performer, producer
Steve Love — guitar
Billy Schwartz — guitar
John Syomis — performer
Andy Muson — performer
Ken Bichel — performer
Peter Frampton — performer
Carl Hall — performer
Tasha Thomas — performer
Rhetta Hughes — performer
Heather Macrae — performer
Zenobia — performer
Peggy Nestor — performer
Gerhard — performer

Shig Ikeda — photography
Robert L. Heimall — art direction, design


Creatures of the Street

Jobriath released his second album, Creatures of the Street, in January 1974 on Elektra.

A1. “Heartbeat” (2:44)
A2. “Dietrich / Fondyke (A Brief History of Movie Music)” (2:18)
A3. “Street Corner Love” (2:33)
A4. “Ooh La La” (4:08)
A5. “Scumbag” (2:48)
A6. “Ecubyan” (2:40)
B1. “Good Time” (2:50)
B2. “Sister Sue” (3:05)
B3. “What a Pretty” (1:28)
B4. “Liten Up” (4:05)
B5. “Gone Tomorrow” (3:43)
B6. “Ooh La La (Reprise and Exit Music)” (2:43)

Producer, Engineer – Edwin H. Kramer, Jobriath
Presenter – Jerry Brandt
Arranged By, Orchestrated By, Painting – J Boone
Conductor – Michael Reeves

Directed By, Performer [Principal Creature] – Jobriath Boone
Backing Vocals [Creature Without Whom] – Carl Hall, Heather MacRae, Rosetta Hightower, Tasha Thomas, Zenobia (5)
Musician [Guest Star] – George Ricci, Jerry Patterson, John Paul Jones, Chris Peterson*, Peter Frampton, The Jobriath Symphony Orchestra
Musician [Important Player] – Andy Muson, Pretty Purdy, Cornell Dupree, Gordon Edwards, Jerry Jemmott, Jimmy Maeulen, John Syomis, Ken Bichel
Performer [Principal Creature] – Billy Schwartz, Gregg Diamond, Hayden Wayne, Jim Gregory, Steve Love

Design – Shiah Grumet
Art Direction – Glen Christensen
Photography By – Gered Mankowitz


Discography:

  • Jobriath (1973)
  • Creatures of the Street (1974)
  • As the River Flows (2014, recorded 1972)

Sources:

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