The Sons of Champlin

The Sons of Champlin were an American brass-rock/soul band from San Francisco, formed in 1965 by namesake vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist, and songwriter Bill Champlin.

Members: Bill Champlin (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Tim Cain (saxophone, 1965-70), Terry Haggerty (guitar, 1965-77), John Prosser (bass, 1965-67), Jim Meyers (drums, 1965-67), Geoff Palmer (keyboards, alto saxophone, vibraphone, 1967-77, 1997-present), Jim Beem (trumpet, 1967-70), Al Strong (bass, 1967-70), Bill Bowen (drums, 1967-70), Bill Vitt (drums, 1971-72), David Schallock (bass, 1971-77, 1997-present), James Preston (drums, 1972-77, 1997-present), Mark Isham (trumpet, synthesizer, 1972-?)

The Sons of Champlin evolved from Marin County garage rockers The Opposite Six, which issued three small-press singles in the mid-1960s. After the draft claimed the band’s rhythm section, frontman Bill Champlin enlisted guitarist Terry Haggerty, bassist John Prosser, drummer Jim Meyers, and saxophonist Tim Cain. This lineup became the original Sons of Champlin, which recorded an album for Trident Productions in 1966.

The project yielded one single that year on Verve, “Sing Me a Rainbow” (b/w “Fat City”). They planned to issue their cover of the Mann/Weil composition “Shades of Grey,” but were beaten to the punch by The Monkees. Dismayed with Trident’s practices, the Sons left the company in June 1967 and the proposed album, Fat City, went unreleased for 32 years.

In late 1967, the Sons rhythm section cleared way for bassist Al Strong and drummer Bill Bowen. The band expanded to a seven-piece with trumpeter Jim Beem and multi-instrumentalist Geoff Palmer. Over the next year, the Sons became a popular Bay Area live attraction amid the local groundswell of acid rock (Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Steve Miller Band).

The Sons developed a setlist of lengthier, jam-oriented numbers influenced by R&B and the nascent sounds of brass rock (Blood Sweat & Tears, Electric Flag). In 1968, the band signed to Capitol Records.


  • Loosen Up Naturally (1969)
  • The Sons (1969 • The Sons)
  • Minus Seeds And Stems (1970)
  • Follow Your Heart (1971 • The Sons)
  • Welcome to the Dance (1973)
  • The Sons of Champlin (1975)
  • A Circle Filled With Love (1976)
  • Loving Is Why (1977)
  • Fat City [archival] (1999)
  • Hip Li’l Dreams (2005)


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