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Wishbone Ash

Wishbone Ash

Wishbone Ash are a British rock band who achieved success in the early and mid-1970s. Their popular records included Wishbone Ash (1970), Pilgrimage (1971), Argus (1972), There's the Rub (1974), and New England (1976). They were one of the first bands to use twin lead guitars.Wishbone Ash are considered to be one of the major innovators of the harmony twin lead guitar format. Their contributions helped Andy Powell and Ted Turner to be voted "Two of the Ten Most Important Guitarists in Rock History" (Traffic magazine 1989), and to appear in the "Top 20 Guitarists Of All Time" (Rolling Stone). Melody Maker (1972) described Powell and Turner as "the most interesting two guitar team since the days when Beck and Page graced The Yardbirds".Formed in Torquay, Devon, in 1969, out of the ashes of trio The Empty Vessels (originally known as The Torinoes, later briefly being renamed Tanglewood in 1969), which had been formed by Wishbone Ash's founding member Martin Turner (bass & vocals) in 1963 and complemented by Steve Upton (drums and percussion) in 1966. The original Wishbone Ash line-up was completed by guitarists/vocalists Andy Powell and Ted Turner. In 1974, Ted Turner left the band, and was replaced by Laurie Wisefield. The band continued on with strong critical and commercial success until 1980.After revolving line-ups featuring former members from King Crimson, Trapeze, and Uriah Heep, Wisefield left in 1985. In 1987, however, the original line-up reunited for several albums – Nouveau Calls, Here to Hear and Strange Affair – until 1990, when Upton quit the band. After Martin Turner was replaced in 1991, the band recorded The Ash Live in Chicago, before Ted Turner left in 1993.Formation and rise to fame (1969–1980)Wishbone Ash were formed in October 1969 by bass guitarist Martin Turner and drummer Steve Upton. When Tanglewood's original guitarist, Martin's brother Glenn Turner left the trio and returned to his native Devon, their manager, Miles Copeland III advertised for a guitar player and also for a keyboard player. After an extensive search for a guitarist, the band could not decide between the final two candidates, Andy Powell and Ted Turner (no relation to Martin). It was suggested that they try both guitar players "just to see what it sounds like". Differing from the twin lead sound of The Allman Brothers Band, Wishbone Ash included strong elements of progressive rock, and also of folk and classical music. After the band members wrote several suggested band names on two sheets of paper, Martin Turner picked one word from each list - 'Wishbone' and 'Ash'.In early 1970, the band scored an opening spot for Deep Purple. Blackmore later recommended the band to producer Derek Lawrence and helped them secure a record deal with Decca/MCA Records.The band's eponymous debut album, Wishbone Ash, was released in December 1970. One year later, the group released Pilgrimage. The band peaked commercially in 1972 with Argus, their highest placed entry in the UK Albums Chart (#3). The album was voted by the readers of Sounds as the "best rock album of the year", also "Top British Album" (Melody Maker). The band were getting international acclaim for their live performances as they gained popularity around the world.The band had now begun to play major arenas as headliners. Wishbone Four (1973) was the band's first record without producer Derek Lawrence, as the band decided to produce the album themselves. In December 1973, the band released a double live album, Live Dates. There was an album released called Wishbone Ash Live in Memphis, which was a promo to FM radio stations but never sold in stores . Not long after, guitarist Ted Turner left the band. After replacing Turner with guitarist Laurie Wisefield, the band relocated to the United States and recorded There's the Rub (1974). Locked In (1976), produced by Tom Dowd, saw the band moving towards US soft-rock territory and the group began touring with a keyboard player.1976's New England returned to the traditional Wishbone Ash style. Front Page News (1977) was the band's final in USA recorded album of this period.In 1978, after years of experimental albums, the band decided to return to its roots with No Smoke Without Fire, the first to be produced by Derek Lawrence since Argus in 1972. The album contained mainly songs written by Laurie Wisefield and Martin Turner. The band spent six months making the next album, Just Testing which was released in February 1980. Pressured by MCA to make more commercial music, the band considered bringing in a lead singer and restricting Martin Turner's duties to bass guitar only. After eleven years, Martin Turner decided to part company with the band.

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