The Ian "Sammy" Samwell Story
"Let me tell ya baby, it's called Rock'n'Roll"

by Ray Baisden

It's like the blind men and the elephant parable; a great many people have had experience of Ian Samwell. His career has been perceived in the light of several different stars, and through some very different times. But in a pop culture so often dominated by the sensation of the moment very few have seen enough to appreciate the real value of Ian's lifelong contribution.

That's what this is about.

And it all started in the earliest days of British rock'n'roll, at the 2 i's Coffee Bar in London's Soho district on Thursday the 3rd of April in 1958 when Sammy, as he was known then, just happened to hear a band called the Drifters.

In Ian's own words, "that was when I got my very first glimpse of the man who would change my life forever, and who, within the next year, would change the entire course of British music." He was really impressed by the singer and the high energy music so, noticing that Norman and Cliff both were basically playing rhythm guitar parts, Ian acted on impulse and walked right up to them after the show and asked if they were looking for a lead guitarist.

After a very brief audition on Saturday afternoon Ian was in the band, and later that night he was playing with them on the same stage where he had seen them just a couple of days before.

Terry Smart, Harry Webb, Ian Samwell and Norman Mitham, The Drifters (before Harry became Cliff) on stage at the 2 i's, 1958
Terry Smart. Harry Webb, Ian Samwell and Norman Mitham,
The Drifters (before Harry became Cliff) on stage at the 2 i's, 1958


Ian, who was fresh from a skiffle band, had never actually played any of these rock'n'roll songs in public before, songs like Twenty Flight Rock, Milk Cow Blues, and Money Honey, but he wasn't worried . . . he knew them all from records.

Three weeks later, when the singer decided to adopt a stage name, Ian offered a suggestion which became an interesting footnote to history. "Why don't we leave off the 's'? That way people will naturally say Cliff Richards and we will be able to correct them. Then they will have heard the name twice and be more likely to remember it."

But Ian's first real claim to rock'n'roll immortality came less than three months after that with the writing of his very first song. It was called Move It, and it became Cliff Richard's first single, the breakout hit which set him on the path to stardom.

It was also the first classic rock'n'roll hit song created anywhere other than in the U.S.A.

Ian wrote Move It in July 1958, fortunately alone with his guitar on the upper deck of a Green Line bus, "trying to figure out how Chuck Berry did what Chuck Berry does," while making the trip to Cliff's house for a band rehearsal.

When he stumbled upon the soon to be famous guitar intro Ian thought to himself, "This is where a song should start," and then hastily wrote down the words as they came to him on the only paper at hand, the envelope for a guitar string. The bus ride took about forty minutes, long enough to change history but not long enough for Ian to finish the second verse, so Cliff simply sang the first one twice on the record.

EMI Records had decided that Cliff's first single would be a pop ballad called Schoolboy Crush, already an American hit for Bobby Helms, so Move It was actually released on the B side pretty much as an afterthought. Although it was coming to an end, this was still a time when recording artists very rarely wrote their own songs.

Everyone in the business was astonished when Move It's razor sharp guitar intro and pulsing rhythm made it a runaway smash. Appearances by Cliff and the Drifters on Jack Good's groundbreaking TV show Oh Boy! gave the song a huge boost, and the record company executives did have sense enough to re-release the disc with Move It on the A side.

Cliff and Ian, 1958
Cliff and Ian -1958

If Ian Samwell had never been heard from again, this one song would have secured his place in history -- he is often referred to as the 'Father of British Rock'n'Roll.' He doesn't accept that title, but his credentials are certainly impressive.

Ian's collaboration with Cliff was far from finished. Move It was followed by a string of hit songs written for Cliff Richard including High Class Baby, Mean Streak, Dynamite, My Feet Hit the Ground, Steady With You, Never Mind, Gee Whiz It's You, I Cannot Find a True Love, and Fall in Love With You.

Recalling this era Ian says that, 'Cliff was, and still is, blessed with his own very distinctive style. His pitch was great, his phrasing was superb and his delivery was terrific. To this day I can close my eyes and know exactly how he would sound singing almost anything.'

Cliff, Norrie Paramor, Ian Samwell


Despite Cliff Richard's shining example (and glittering sales receipts), the next great British band was still turned down by everybody in the record business until they were finally signed by EMI.

The band was the Beatles . . . EMI was Cliff's label . . . you have to wonder how the Beatles would have been received if Cliff (and Ian) hadn't paved the way. The history of rock'n'roll might have been very different indeed.

John Lennon himself once said, "I think the first English record that was anywhere near anything was Move It by Cliff Richard, and before that there'd been nothing."

Move It became a classic, and learning that guitar intro became a rite of passage for generations of future guitar players. Even the basic chords were a bit of a challenge according to Ian 'Mac' McLagan of Small Faces in his wonderful book called All The Rage .

"The first tune that I ever played with Terry and Johnny was Move It by Cliff Richard and the Drifters . . . a rocking little twelve-bar which used the magic combination of E, A and the ever so difficult B7. We'd do the intro together, then start the verse, all three of us thrashing away in E with Johnny singing over the top . . .

"The sound would thin out when we changed to the A chord, because by the time I'd got my fingers round the neck, they'd be back in E, so I'd thrash the E louder to make up for it. But even Johnny, who was a talented bloke, had trouble with the B7, especially as he had to concentrate on singing at the same time. So Terry played that one on his own, with Johnny coming back in on the A, and finally I'd come back in for the E, danga-dangdanging like a good'un. One more time!"

Mac has charmingly admitted that his teenage band needed three guitar players to reproduce Move It. Ian Samwell has never claimed to be a world class guitarist, but in light of Mac's story I think Ian deserves a bit more respect for coming up with those guitar parts and actually playing them all by himself in those early days with the Drifters (except of course on the record where the intro and fills were done by session player Ernie Shear).

It occurs to me, with perhaps a bit of tongue in cheek, that it actually took two guitarists, Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch, to replace Ian in the Drifters.

By the way, Mac McLagan also gave up the guitar, and he went on to become one of the world's great rock'n'roll organ and piano players, recording and touring with people like Rod Stewart, The Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt and Bob Dylan. Read his book; it's brilliant. It's All The Rage.

Far from resenting the fact that he was replaced, Ian has always been great friends with Hank Marvin, and they have collaborated on a lot of things over the years. They worked together on the Cliff Richard hit Gee Whiz It's You, and also on Feelin' Fine, the very first recording by the Shadows on their own.

In 1995 Ian finally completed the second verse to Move It , and sent it to Hank, who now lives in Australia. Hank was already planning on including Move It in a new album of his patented style of instrumentals, but he sent the new lyrics to Cliff who promptly laid down a vocal track in a British studio and sent the tape back to Hank. That's how the new version of Move It with vocal by Cliff Richard came to appear on the hit album Hank Plays Cliff. Later that year Cliff and Hank presented the new version of Move It live before Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Variety Performance.

Cliff's recent concerts continue to feature this updated version of his first hit song. A sensational live concert recording was released in 1999 as an added attraction on the single The Miracle from Cliff's Real As You Wanna Be album. In Ian's opinion, it's the best recorded version of Move It yet! You can listen to a little taste of it right now by clicking here. (This mp3 clip is best downloaded with Internet Explorer 4 or better.)

In 1997 nine songs Ian wrote for Cliff . . . plus six previously unreleased recordings from 1958 on which Ian performed as lead guitarist in 'Cliff Richard and the Drifters' . . . were featured in a special commemorative four CD boxed set entitled Cliff Richard The Rock 'N' Roll Years 1958~1963.

In 1998 the extremely rare and valuable 78 rpm demo record which originally got Cliff Richard and the Drifters in the door at EMI Records was re-issued as a meticulously accurate replica by a company called Cruisin' the 50's.

Demo - Cliff Richard and the Drifters

Adding to the list of recent honours, Move It has been selected as one of the "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll" by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

And, to top it all off, this classic song was performed by Sir Cliff in what will probably stand as its most auspicious setting of all time on 3rd June 2002 at Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee celebration concert at Buckingham Palace. It was also played from the lead float throughout the Golden Jubilee Parade.

It took a little over a year for the original Drifters officially to be transformed into the Shadows, but the process began, even before Cliff was signed, with the departure of his old friend Norman Mitham, probably because at that point there just wasn't enough money to go around.

Johnny Foster, the band's manager who had secured them some critically important bookings including the one at the 2 i's, was the next to fall, having been replaced by an experienced professional named Franklin Boyd. Johnny did stay around for a few more months as personal assistant to Cliff. Ian originally joined the Drifters because they needed a lead guitar, but he shifted to playing bass when Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch joined prior to the band's first national tour with the Kalin Twins.

When Jet Harris was brought in on bass Ian was initially disappointed, but he recognized Jet's superior talent and continued for a time as manager of the Drifters. This change was soon revealed as a hidden blessing when Ian found his way to an even more rewarding future as a songwriter for Cliff and as a writer and record producer for other artists as well.

The last original Drifter was also the first, Terry Smart. Terry had been with Cliff since the skiffle days. In Ian's opinion he was a great rock'n'roll drummer who, had he pursued it, would by now be a legend in his own right. But he was replaced on drums by the more jazz and pop oriented Tony Meehan, and went on to join the merchant marine.

All the members, Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch, Jet Harris and Tony Meehan, were in place in early '59, but the Drifters didn't become the Shadows until a few months later when it became clear that legal complications were arising with the classic American R&B group which Clyde McPhatter had given a prior claim to the name.

In the early '60s as Ian's new 'post Cliff' career as songwriter and producer took shape, he also sort of fell into a side job in which he made a different kind of music history. Ian became the first person to take the previously insignificant position of disc jockey in a club and turn it into something with serious star status.

In 1961 he was invited by the Lyceum music hall to play records in the interval between dance bands such as the Mick Mortimer Quartet and Cyril Stapleton's Orchestra. It wasn't long before he became a bigger draw than the bands, and was headlining shows of his own at the Lyceum and elsewhere as 'London's Number One DJ. 'One important key to his success was that Ian was playing his personal record collection of mostly U.S. rhythm and blues. These songs were a lot hipper than what his audience were likely to hear elsewhere because he was bringing otherwise unavailable records over from the U.S. in the course of his songwriting trips to New York.

In 1999 an impressive book by Bill Brewster and Frank Houghton, entitled Last Night a DJ Saved My Life 'the history of the disc jockey', put Ian's contribution into perspective. "(Ian's) connoisseur quality music was the last piece in a jigsaw. The Lyceum was the first place in which all the recognisable elements of a modern club - lights, upfront dance records, disc jockey and dancefloor - came together . . . in some ways it was the first place that could merit the name discotheque."

This was a new and exciting forum for rock'n'roll (the music which took the name 'disco' was years in the future). And it was all the more important in a country in which radio was government controlled and clinging to its past. The Lyceum and other dance halls provided a formative experience for many of the next wave of movers and shakers . . . including a young man named Jeff Dexter who will reappear in this narrative before long.

Being such a visible 'man on the scene' probably didn't impede Ian's progress in becoming one of Great Britain's first independent record producers, then a founding staff member at Warner Bros. U.K., and then again an independent producer, songwriter and manager in Britain and the U.S.

In those capacities he made some rather more important music history by being the first to record artists such as Georgie Fame, John Mayall, Elkie Brooks, Small Faces, Aynsley Dunbar, Linda Lewis, America, Meic Stevens, Isaac Guillory, Prelude, Hummingbird and Bourgeois Tagg.

In 1965 Ian became the first producer to record the now legendary John Mayall. Sharing his memories with me Ian explained, "I only produced his first single for Decca, Crawlin' up a Hill and Mr. James. Then I went to New York, and while I was gone he recorded a live album at Klooks Kleek (a London Pub). I think he got the idea from my recording of Georgie Fame live at the Flamingo club, on Wardour Street in London's West End. That album was called Rhythm and Blues at The Flamingo."

Acknowledging his debt to Alexis Korner's Blues Inc., John Mayall assembled the other most influential band in British blues rock history, the Bluesbreakers. His regularly changing lineup brought to prominence several superstars of the future, including John McVie (who played on the single Ian produced), Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Mick Taylor.

The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation

Aynsley Dunbar was a former Bluesbreakers drummer when Ian recorded him in 1968 with his own band for the first time as The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation. In what must be one of rock's most varied careers, Dunbar went on to play with The Mothers of Invention, David Bowie, Journey, Jefferson Starship, Whitesnake, Alvin Lee, and Eric Burdon.

Getting back to 1965, Ian also wrote and produced the first single by Small Faces. Called Whatcha Gonna Do About It, this is not only the song which launched the Mod Era, but, as one of the earliest examples of recorded guitar feedback, it had a pivotal effect on many subsequent rock recordings. Artists as diverse as the Velvet Underground and Bryan Adams have acknowledged its influence.

Whatcha Gonna Do About It

Whatcha Gonna Do About It was later recorded by quite a few other groups, The Pretenders being the most notable, and in several languages. The song was featured in the movie 84 Charing X Road starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins, and the Sex Pistols performed it in their movie, The Great Rock and Roll Swindle.

Other songs written by Ian have also been recorded by a number of artists including Johnny Tillotson (Ian's first American hit was Tillotson's version of You Can Never Stop Me Loving You), the Isley Brothers, Joe Brown, Elkie Brooks, Kenny Lynch, Dusty Springfield, Alvin Stardust, Chubby Checker, Dave Edmunds and many others.

As his career progressed Ian joined the staff of a newly founded Warner Bros. U.K. Among the first things he did in that position was to recommend the signings of Linda Lewis and Al Jarreau. Jarreau's subsequent career is well known, of course.

Linda Lewis continues to release splendid solo albums, and she has performed or recorded with many other major talents including John Lee Hooker, Elton John, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Cat Stevens and Rod Stewart. Her talent never really lent itself to being squeezed into a media niche so she was sometimes hard to market, particularly in the US, but Linda may just have been ahead of her time. In the review of her most recent release Amazon.com noted that, "Her signature style of folk, jazz, blues 'n funk predates India.arie by a few decades."

Reach For The Truth - Linda Lewis
In September 2002 a collection of 23 re-mastered songs from Linda's four Warner/Reprise
albums was released to popular and critical acclaim. Ian co-wrote two of these songs
and produced several of the others. Most of these recordings have been unavailable
for some time now except to collectors at high prices.

In 1969 Ian renewed his association with Small Faces. When Steve Marriott abruptly left the group to form Humble Pie with Peter Frampton, Ian introduced to his label the renamed 'Faces.' Continuing members Ronnie Lane, Kenny Jones and Ian 'Mac' McLagan were joined by two artists moving on from the Jeff Beck Group, guitarist Ron Wood (the future Rolling Stone) and an as yet little known singer named Rod Stewart.

Jerry Garcia and Ian in France, 1971
Jerry Garcia and Ian in France, 1971

Also while with Warner Bros., Ian acted as artist liaison for John Sebastian, Seals & Crofts, Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa and the Grateful Dead.

America Logo

In 1971 Ian Samwell undertook the project for which he is best known in the United States. It is a curious quirk of history that they were actually all in England at the time they met, but that's where Ian discovered America

He was drawn from his office at Warner Bros. to listen to a hopeful band in a showcase arranged by Jeff Dexter, his roommate at the time, at the Round House Chalk Farm. Ian's attention was captured by guitarist Gerry Beckley. The band, including Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peek, then played a private audition for Ian and Jeff at the flat of their friend John Masara in Maida Vale. Things went very well, and as the situation evolved, Jeff became America's manager, and Ian agreed to help them make a demo tape.

According to Ian, "We demo'd the entire album except for 'Horse'  at a studio named Central Sound on Denmark Street just around the corner from my office and, coincidentally, the studio at which the Stones recorded their first record." The tape, and the growing popularity of the performances Jeff arranged, eventually convinced Warner Bros. to give the band a contract.


Celebrating America's success in 1972. Kneeling: Ian Samwell
Standing: Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell, Jeff Dexter and Dan Peek
(in back Warner Bros. Ian Ralfini and roadie Claude Taylor).

Following that, Ian and Jeff produced the next series of recording sessions for America at Trident Sound. They resulted in a beautiful record, but one which was released before it was quite ready.

When it failed to generate the level of excitement the band deserved, Ian brought them back into Morgan Studios (Trident was booked) to work up one of Dewey's tunes which he was sure had real hit potential. They had been calling it Desert Song.

Retitled A Horse With No Name, the song was released on an EP (called a Maxi Single in the U.K.to make it eligible for the singles charts) and became a smash hit in the U.S. as well as in England. Warner Bros. had the good judgement to add the song to a re-release of the America album, and the rest, as we all know, is History.

America album cover
This famous album cover photograph was taken in Ian's office
using a mural on the wall for the backdrop.

America initially had to endure quite a bit of flak from rock critics who somehow lost themselves in comparisons with Neil Young or Crosby Stills and Nash. Rolling Stone magazine was particularly unkind, but their review took an unusual turn near the end:

"You'll note with delight that, in spite of the above, the production is alone sufficient reason to give this platter a whirl or two -- were Ian Samwell to take to billing himself the Glyn Johns of the mostly-acoustic set, I, for one, would not so much as smirk. America is definitely worth hearing, if not listening to." . . . Rolling Stone 4/27/1972.

Critics notwithstanding the special qualities apparent to everyone else made the America album a platinum selling monster hit, and earned America the Grammy Award for Best New Artists of 1972 . . . an even more impressive achievement when you consider that the other nominees that year included Loggins & Messina and The Eagles.

The other hits on the America album include I Need You and Sandman. All these classic songs went on to become radio standards, and they are well loved by people who weren't even born in 1972.

America - Human Nature

America has proven to be as durable as they are talented. So far they have released twenty-two subsequent albums, several of which attracted the interest and assistance of legendary Beatles producer George Martin. Their most recent album of new songs was released in 1999. Called Human Nature, it is well deserving of your attention.

As one of the hardest working bands in the world, they continue to delight over a hundred concert audiences world wide every year with their hits as well as an ever varying array of new material. If, like me until just a few years ago, you have only heard them on record, do yourself a BIG favor and go catch them live at your very next opportunity.

Highway- 30 Years of America

And, if you've missed out on some of their records before Human Nature, or would just like to update all that scratchy vinyl, here's your chance. Rhino Records is offering a 3 CD box set of America. It is an impressive package featuring a large and enjoyable booklet of history and photographs.

The set includes 64 tracks of the biggest hits, your personal favorites, perhaps a few you've overlooked, and some never before released demos and alternate mixes, all digitally remastered to a very high standard. It's called Highway: 30 Years of America.

In August 2001 Rhino released a single CD version called The Complete Greatest Hits. This one includes the 22 greatest you really have to have along with two new bonus tracks.

America - Complete Greatest Hits

In 1973 Ian worked with Allen Toussaint and Ry Cooder on an album for Claudia Lennear entitled Phew. An accomplished backup singer for artists like Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, David Bowie and George Harrison, Claudia is also believed to have been the inspiration for the Rolling Stones' song Brown Sugar.

Also in '73 Ian and Jeff Dexter co-produced the first album for Isaac Guillory. It was re-released in 1998 in a special compilation including four tracks from a previously unreleased second album produced by Jeff.

Isaac Gillroy - The Atlantic Years

Guillory became known as perhaps the best acoustic guitarist in Britain and as an accomplished composer, session player and teacher. He put out five more albums of his own, released in 2000 the last is The Days of Forty Nine. He also performed and recorded with other artists including Elkie Brooks, Donovan, Barbara Dickson, Joan Baez and John Renbourn.

Ian's next project was to produce the original cast album for Robert Stigwood's hit stage production of the musical comedy called John, Paul, George, Ringo . . . & Bert.

He wasn't sure how the Beatles felt about the show, so Ian recalls trying to contact them. "John was in New York.  I wrote to George but he never replied, so I called Paul. He wasn't home (I don't remember where he was), but I spoke to Linda and she said, 'Well, you might as well go ahead and do it, because if you don't somebody else will."

Despite the Beatles' lack of enthusiasm, the play ran for quite a while in London's West End, and it was an important early success for writer Willy Russell (whose later credits included Educating Rita).

Ian was pleased with the result of his efforts. "I should add that I was only given three weeks to pull the album together! No pressure there, right? It was Barbara Dickson's debut recording. She went on to become a very popular star in Britain, especially her native Scotland. The drummer was from Fairport Convention - Dave Mattacks - one of the best musicians I have ever had the pleasure to work with."

Later in the '70s, after a chance meeting with singer/guitarist Bobby Tench on a trans-Atlantic flight, Ian took on the roll of full time producer and manager of a band called Hummingbird.

Hummingbird

An impressive collection of proven talents, the band, with Bobby Tench, Max Middleton on keyboards, Clive Chaman on bass and Cozy Powell on drums had originally come together as the Jeff Beck Group, and when Beck exited most of them decided to stay together, replacing Cozy Powell with Conrad Isidore on drums and adding Bernie Holland on guitar. (Bernie is perhaps best known for having composed Diamond Dust, recorded by Jeff Beck on his Blow by Blow album, and more recently he has played with Van Morrison.)

After Hummingbird's first album, Bernie left and Robert Ahwai joined on guitar, and Bernard 'Pretty' Purdie came in on drums. Purdie is a major talent, having been Aretha Franklin's drummer and musical director for several years, and having played on many of the very biggest classic R&B hits.

Hummingbird recorded and released three fine albums for A&M Records, Hummingbird, We can't go on meeting like this, and Diamond Nights.

The vibrant talent of a regional club band named Uncle Rainbow drew Ian to California in 1980. He settled in Sacramento to work on an offshoot project with two of the band's leading members, Brent Bourgeois and Larry Tagg.

Bourgeois Tagg was hot, and Ian found himself staying around much longer than he had intended. He produced several series of demo recordings for them, and even acted as their manager, while the duo became a potent band (the final lineup included Lyle Workman, Mike Urbano, and Scott Moon), developed more and more powerfully original songs, and built a strong reputation among the clubs and musicians of Northern California.

The path to a recording contract was difficult, the industry was in yet another period of transition, but the band was eventually signed to Island Records. They released two albums, Bourgeois Tagg in 1986 and Yoyo (produced by Todd Rundgren) in '87.

Bourgeois Tagg

A world class band, and at the same time a heartbreakingly near miss, Bourgeois Tagg signed a management deal with Bill Graham, were featured on MTV and the Johnny Carson show, toured with people like Robert Palmer, charted a couple of singles with Mutual Surrender and I Don't Mind At All, and they inspired the support of fiercely loyal friends and fans.

But, during the recording of their third album the group broke up. Opinions as to why this happened vary depending upon whom you ask. Larry, Lyle and Mike continued to tour and record with Todd Rundgren for a while. Various of them have reconnected from time to time since then to support each other's projects.

Brent Bourgeois released two fine solo albums, became a successful producer of popular Christian music in Nashville, and has returned to Sacramento.

Larry Tagg pursued a remarkably diverse path which has included a world tour with Hall & Oates, some solo albums of his own, and the writing of a critically acclaimed serious Civil War history entitled The Generals of Gettysburgh.

Lyle Workman has so far released some excellent solo albums as well as having recorded with Jellyfish, Frank Black and jazz great Tony Williams. He has composed or played on at least three film scores. He's also performed and recorded with Beck, and recorded and co-written with Sheryl Crow.

Mike Urbano has been a sought after session drummer for people like Third Eye Blind and Sheryl Crow, and he was a member of Smash Mouth.

In early 1990 Ian's life entered a much more trying time as he began to be overtaken by a mysterious and increasingly debilitating weakness. He was plagued for several months before being diagnosed with an enlarged heart, a life threatening (although to this day unexplained) condition called idiopathic cardiomyopathy.

After several more months and a number of hospital stays, including some anxious trips to the emergency room and days in intensive care, Ian's life was finally and almost miraculously restored by means of a heart transplant on December 10, 1991 when no other measures offered any hope and his time was clearly growing short.

On December 14, 2002 we were able to celebrate the eleventh anniversary of this special occasion with Ian and some special friends. Sadly the medications which had kept him from rejecting the heart were also taking a toll on all of his organs, and this resulted in another creeping onset of weakness in late 2002. This time there were no miracles to be found and Ian's life quietly slipped away on March 13, 2003.

In recent years Ian developed an affection for American country music, and some of his songwriting lately has been in that vein. He had long been a big fan of Nanci Griffith.

He also followed with great interest the career of his good friend Pam Gadd. Pam has played and sung leads on hit records with a critically acclaimed all-female group named Wild Rose who had a top ten country hit with Breaking New Ground. She has also released a fine solo album in 1997,The Long Road, and another in 2001 called Time Of Our Lives (more here).

Ian chose to continue living in the Sacramento area, and he continued writing songs, collaborating with old friends world-wide, travelling periodically to London and Nashville, and keeping his hand in with some excellent local musicians.

Not long ago Ian demonstrated that he was back in top form by producing yet another really splendid album.  Entitled Blonde on the Bayou, it features a red hot Sacramento group called The Beer Dawgs. It's a great record. You should buy a copy. But the music business is cruel, and it did not become the hit it deserved to be.

And, sadly, Ian is not going to have another chance.

Frankly this website was created to enhance his opportunities to do something new and special as he had so many times before. Now that he is no longer with us, I can only hope that it will illuminate the value of his lifelong contribution, and that it might serve in some small way to inspire other artists to reach for their own dreams.

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