Runner was an English-American melodic-rock band that released a self-titled album on Island/Acrobat in 1979. They formed when singing guitarists Steve Gould (Rare Bird) and Alan Merrill (Arrows) teamed with the rhythm section of Streetwalkers.

Members: Steve Gould (vocals, guitar), Alan Merrill (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Mickey Feat (bass, vocals), Dave Dowle (drums)


Runner formed in England in 1978 when singer and guitarist Steve Gould teamed with singer, keyboardist, and guitarist Alan Merrill.

Gould (b. 1950, Battersea) originated in the pop-psych band Fruit Machine, which issued three 1968/69 singles on AMM and Spark. From there he graduated to Rare Bird, a post-psych band that released five albums between 1969 and 1974. On their first two, Rare Bird and As Your Mind Flies By, he sang and played bass, his assigned instrument in this guitar-free quartet. After a lineup shuffle and label-switch to Polydor, he played guitar on their three subsequent albums, starting with their 1972 album-plus Epic Forest.

Merrill (b. Allan Preston Sachs, 1951, Bronx — d. 2020) was the son of 1950s jazz singer Helen Merrill. He started as a last-minute member of The Left Banke, which dissolve before he could make any contributions. He then moved to Tokyo, where he joined beatsters The Lead and debuted as a solo artist with the 1970/71 albums Alone in Tokyo and Merrill 1.

In 1972, Merrill formed the glitter-rock outfit Vodka Collins, which opened for the Jackson 5 on their first Japanese tour and released the album Tokyo – New York on EMI Toshiba. In 1974, Merrill moved to London and formed the glitter trio Arrows, which cut multiple singles for Mickie Most’s RAK label. They scored several UK hits (“Touch Too Much,” “My Last Night With You”) and cut the original version of “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” later a chart-topping hit for Joan Jett.

In 1978, Gould played on the Arista release Sailing Down the Years, the long-awaited second album by singer-songwriter Kevin Lamb, a Rare Bird collaborator. Also present for the Sailing Down sessions was bassist Mickey Feat and drummer David Dowle, both fresh from the final lineup of Streetwalkers.

Feat first surfaced in the DJM-era (1974–76) Amazing Blondel. He then joined Streetwalkers for the 1977 albums Vicious But Fair and Live. Both albums feature another recent recruit, Dowle, a graduate of Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express who, years earlier, played in the unsigned psych act Canterbury Glass. At the time of the Lamb sessions, Dowle was a member of Whitesnake.

Gould, Merrill, Feat, and Dowle formed Runner and signed with Island Records (US) and Acrobat, a recently established label with a roster consisting of Gillan, Dollar, and ex-Streetwalkers frontman Roger Chapman.


  • Runner (1979)


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