One Hit Wonderland: Average White Band
Chances are, you don’t know who Average White Band are. It’s probably safe to say that unless you’re a bit of a scholar in the world of funk and soul, or you were in Average White Band, you don’t know much about them. You will, however, certainly know their excellent big hit.
‘Pick Up the Pieces’, released in 1974, isn’t likely a song you’ll know by name. While the title just serves as the sole repeated lyric before the bombastic and climactic second half of the tune (sung only three times in quick succession), it’ll be the bassline and brass section that will, for a lot of people, define funk in the 1970′s: fun, happy and carefree.
Not bad for a small band of white guys from Dundee in Scotland, is it? While you had competition from more established acts like James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic, Sly and the Family Stone, Ohio Players and Confunkshun, it’s pretty impressive fare, particularly when AWB had no initial success in the UK.
They weren’t out of the headlines upon the release of ‘Pick Up the Pieces’, however, meaning their shaky (and tragic) beginnings as reported by the press had likely propelled them to stardom. Drummer Robbie McIntosh died from a heroin overdose at an after-show party, thinking the substance was cocaine. Alan Gorrie, his bandmate and bassist, also took it, but was kept alive. By Cher. Yeah, you read that right.
The band would go on to spawn another great song, ‘Let’s Go Round Again’, in 1980. Still, the one-hit wonder status lives on; it was only when Louise (of Nurding/Redknapp fame) decided to cover it after leaving Eternal that it really became popular.
Of course, you need to listen to it. It’s good enough to say that it’s a necessity in any playlist that you rely on to cheer you up. Most of all, it’s a party-time favourite – be sure to keep it in the back of your mind over Christmas and New Year.
‘Pick Up the Pieces’: