Stone the Crows

Stone the Crows were a Scottish soul-rock band that released four albums on Polydor between 1970 and 1972. Their guitarist and songwriter Leslie Harvey (brother of Alex Harvey) was electrocuted on stage in 1972. Early bassist James Dewar subsequently fronted the Robin Trower band. Singer Maggie Bell cut two solo albums and later fronted Midnight Flyer.

Members: Maggie Bell (vocals), Colin Allen (drums), John McGinnis (keyboards, 1969-71), James Dewar (bass, 1969-71), Leslie Harvey (guitar, 1969-72), Ronnie Leahy (keyboards, 1971-73), Stephen Thompson (bass, 1971-73), Jimmy McCulloch (guitar, 1972-73)


Background

Stone the Crows formed in late 1969 from the ashes of the Kinning Park Ramblers, a blues-rock band with singer Maggie Bell and guitarist Leslie Harvey. They were introduced by Leslie’s older brother, Alex Harvey, after Bell jumped on stage at a Ramblers gig.

Leslie Harvey (1944–1972), first played with his brother in the Alex Harvey Soul Band, a mid-’60s R&B/beat combo. He passed on an invitation by The Animals and joined The Blues Council, which issued the 1965 album Baby Don’t Look Down but disbanded after a tour van crash that killed their singer and bassist. After the Ramblers, he joined Scottish popsters Cartoone and played on their unreleased second album Reflections.

Bell (b. 1945) cut two 1966 Decca singles in the soul-pop duo Frankie and Johnny with songwriter Bobby Kerr (aka Johnny Curtis). She followed the Ramblers with stints in two Glasgow ballroom bands, the Mecca Band and the Dennistoun Palais Band. In late 1969, she reteamed with Harvey in Power. They hired bassist James Dewar, drummer Colin Allen, and keyboardist John McGinnis.

Dewar (1942–2002) first emerged in Scottish popsters Lulu and the Luvvers, which cut numerous mid-’60s Decca singles before the breakout stardom of frontwoman Lulu. In 1967, he joined soul-rockers Sock It to ‘Em J, which featured up-and-coming Glaswegian belter Frankie Miller. Soon thereafter, Dewar and Miller formed the pop-psych trio Stoics, which issued the 1968 RCA single “Earth, Fire, Air and Water” (b/w “Search for the Sea”).

Allen (b. 1938) got his career start in Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band, an R&B act that also featured (later-Police) guitarist Andy Summers. They morphed into the pop-psych Dantalian’s Chariot, which cut the 1967 single “Madman Running Through the Fields” and an album’s worth of material. In 1968, he drummer on the album Blues from Laurel Canyon by John Mayall and the single b-side “Cracking Up Over Christmas” by original Yardbirds guitarist Top Topham.

Power signed on with Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant, who changed their name to Stone the Crows, a UK/Australian phrase for shock or surprise. He secured them a deal with Polydor and linked then with Mark London, a producer with ties to related earlier acts (Lulu, Cartoone) who acted as their co-manager.


Discography:

  • Stone the Crows (1970)
  • Ode to John Law (1970)
  • Teenage Licks (1971)
  • Ontinuous Performance (1972)

Sources:

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