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If you lived in the UK in the 1970s you wouldn’t have heard much of Grand Funk Railroad, but if you were in America, you’d have been pushed not to hear them for years and years. Rarely has a band been so popular in one country and so ignored in another.
They were playing stadiums in USA, but never charted in the UK. Surprising really, as we love a good bluesy hard rock in the UK.
They charted from 1969 to 1981 and had many top tens and gold records aplenty.
If you caught one of their live shows in the early 70s they were impressively dynamic. Driven on by Mark Farner, they rocked hard as you can hear on two of their live LP's and they were so popular that incarnations of the band and Farner's own show still sell well.
Their best seller is ‘We’re an American Band’. That got to number 2 as an album and #1 as a single in 1973. The album went platinum and is still very much their calling card ‘Sweet, Sweet Connie’ has just passed. They came to UK to play Reading festival, but their only charting record in UK is 1970's live album which made the top thirty an the and the singles ‘Inside Looking Out’ (1970 #45) and The Locomotion at #57. Perhaps they were felt to be an American boogie band and we didn’t want another of them.
But they still tour, albeit without Farner and have gone through many changes. Farner tours too, often using the American Band logo. They don’t chart anymore and haven’t since 1981, but are now an American institution.
You can’t really appreciate 70s rock in America without GFR being in the discussion.