The Sensational Alex Harvey Band (SAHB) was a theatrical Scottish hard-rock band that released eight studio albums and a live disc on Vertigo between 1972 and 1978. They formed when veteran soul-rock singer Alex Harvey enlisted hard-rockers Tear Gas as his backing band. Their popularity peaked with the 1974/75 albums The Impossible Dream and Tomorrow Belongs to Me and the singles “Delilah” and “The Boston Tea Party.”
Members: Alex Harvey (guitar, vocals), Zal Cleminson (guitar, vocals), Chris Glen (bass), Ted McKenna (drums), Hugh McKenna (keyboards, 1972-77), Tommy Eyre (keyboards, 1977)
Alex Harvey (1935–1982) first performed in skiffle groups during the mid-1950s. Between 1958 and 1965, he headed Alex Harvey & His Soul Band, which gigged the UK and German club circuits. For a time, the band included his younger brother, guitarist Leslie Harvey (1944–1972). In 1964, they issued three singles and a self-titled album on Polydor, which also issued Harvey’s debut solo album, The Blues, that same year.
In 1965, Harvey cut two singles on Fontana, followed in 1967 by a pair of singles on Decca, both produced by (later Alan Parsons partner) Eric Woolfson. Two singles bearing Harvey’s name, but not involving him, were mysteriously issued on GTA Records in 1966. Harvey’s second solo album, Roman Wall Blues, appeared in 1969 on Fontana. In 1970, he sang on the first of two albums by Rock Workshop, a brass-rock supergroup that featured guitarist Ray Russell, trumpeter Harry Beckett, and reedist Bob Downes.
In early 1972, Harvey’s third solo album, Joker’s Wild, appeared on the German Metronome label. It features some of the last recordings of his brother, who was electrocuted that year during an onstage incident with Stone the Crows. Soon thereafter, Harvey assembled the Sensational Alex Harvey Band with guitarist Zal Cleminson, bassist Chris Glen, and drummer Ted McKenna and his keyboardist cousin Hugh McKenna, all from the final lineup of Tear Gas, which issued a well-regarded eponymous album (their second) the year prior.
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band released their debut album, Framed, in December 1972 on Vertigo.
“There’s No Lights On The Christmas Tree Mother, They’re Burning Big Louie Tonight”
Released: December 1972
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band released their second album, Next…, in November 1973 on Vertigo.
“Giddy Up A Ding Dong”
Released: October 12, 1973 – UK only
Released: 1973 – US only
“The Faith Healer”
Released: February 15, 1974 – UK only
The Impossible Dream
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band released their third album, The Impossible Dream, in October 1974 on Vertigo.
Released: August 2, 1974
Released: November 15, 1974
Tomorrow Belongs to Me
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band released their fourth album, Tomorrow Belongs to Me, in April 1975 on Vertigo.
In September 1975, the Sensational Alex Harvey Band released Live, a document of their May 24 show at London’s Hammersmith Odeon.
The Penthouse Tapes
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band released their fifth studio album, The Penthouse Tapes, in March 1976 on Vertigo.
“Gamblin’ Bar Room Blues”
Released: November 14, 1975
Released: March 5, 1976
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band released their sixth studio album, SAHB Stories, in July 1976 on Mountain (UK) and Vertigo (Europe).
“Boston Tea Party”
Released: May 28, 1976
Released: August 27, 1976
The Sensational Band released Fourplay, their only album without Alex Harvey, in February 1977 on Mountain.
“Pick It Up and Kick It”
Released: January 28, 1977
On August 26, 1977, the Sensational Alex Harvey Band released “Mrs. Blackhouse,” an advance taster of their upcoming album, backed with the exclusive “Engine Room Boogie.”
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band released their seventh album, Rock Drill, in March 1978 on Mountain.
- Framed (1972)
- Next… (1973)
- The Impossible Dream (1974)
- Tomorrow Belongs to Me (1975)
- Live (1975)
- The Penthouse Tapes (1976)
- SAHB Stories (1976)
- Fourplay (1977 • Sensational Alex Harvey Band (Without Alex))
- Rock Drill (1978)
- Discogs: The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
- Scottish Albums Directory (pages 5 and 6)
- 45worlds: Sensational Alex Harvey Band
- 45cat: Sensational Alex Harvey Band
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