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Head East's "hit" single and album on A&M

Mike Blakesley

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I was listening to a classic rock station on Amazon "Unlimited" this morning, and the song "Never Been Any Reason" from Head East came up. This is one of those songs that has been pretty much ubiquitous on every classic rock station, even though it was never really a big hit! It only made #68 on the Billboard charts, and the accompanying album (Flat as a Pancake) only got to #126 on the Billboard album chart -- yet it was certified gold.

The rest of the songs on the album are really good, too.... it isn't like "Never Been Any Reason" was the only good thing they ever did. My other fave on the record is "Love Me Tonight," which did a little better on the chart (#54) but you hardly ever hear it today.

Their next album, Get Yourself Up, was just as good as the first (in my opinion, at least) but has never been out on CD, sadly, and isn't available on any music service that I've seen. There's a song on that album "Separate Ways," that should have been a hit, IMHO.

They staged a bit of a comeback with their self-titled album a few years later, which included "Since You Been Gone," written by Russ Ballard. But it still didn't get past the mid-40s on the chart and only managed to drag the album to #78 -- their best chart performances. That album had their most elaborate cover, too... it looked like a vandalized road sign, had die-cut rounded corners and embossed "paint splotches," and was colored a florescent orange that would glow under a blacklight.
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They were one of those bands that A&M stuck with through thick and thin, releasing a half-dozen or more albums (including a double live LP) even though the band never really got much traction.

I saw the band once in concert -- they opened the show for Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Heart in the Yellowstone Metra, in 1976. It was the first major rock concert to be held in the building. I still remember lead singer John Schlitt's outfit -- he was wearing blue denim with paisley-type patches on it that had mirrors embedded, so he would reflect streaks of light across the arena like a mirrorball.

Good times indeed.
 
I think "Never Been Any Reason", "Love Me Tonight", and "Since You Been Gone" were all digitized by the Japanese on that rare A&M HISTORY 100 set, plus they all managed to get placed on their 20th Century Millennium collection.
 
All of their A&M albums are available on streaming services, except that second one, Get Yourself Up. It seems to be lost to the ages. Then again, it WAS the lowest charting album of their career.

Tapes must have been lost in the Universal fire, if not before.
 
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