by Ben McLane, Esq.
The American Breed were formed in Chicago, Illinois in the early 1960s. By 1967, they were quite popular in the Chicago area. In 1967, Bill Traut of Dunwich Productions began producing their recordings. With their unique blend of harmonies and jazz-rock, they were soon signed to the new West Coast Dot subsidiary, Acta. Their first (and arguably finest) single, the Goffin-King gem "I Don't Think You Know Me," failed to chart, but the follow-up "Step Out Of Your Mind" hit top 40. Their version of the Goffin-King song "Don't Forget About Me", from the first album, stands head and shoulders above the other covers of that song which were released. Their second album contained the monster top 5 smash "Bend Me, Shape Me." Throughout their career, the group managed to record material written by the finest writers of that time, such as "Any Way That You Want Me" (Chip Taylor), "Ready Willing And Able" (Bob Stone) "Before And After" (Van McCoy) "To Put Up With You"(Paul Williams/Roger Nichols) and "Bend Me, Shape Me" (Scott English/Larry Weiss).
As the 1960s came to a close, the band went through numerous personnel and sound changes , as evidenced by the song "Room At The Top." The ground eventually evolved into the group Rufus, which became a popular integrated soul group in the 1970s (i.e., "Tell Me Something Good"). In 1989, the original band re-formed for a new version of "Bend Me, Shape Me" that was released on Beverly Hills Records.Copyright 1996, Ben McLane
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