According to the music books, this band were comparable to Reo Speedwagon in that they were one of the hardest working bands in the US midwest during the mid to late seventies. Unfortunately, unlike Reo Speedwagon, they didn't last the pace and split in the early eighties. The band were formed in the mid seventies by vocalist John Schlitt, guitarist Mike Somerville, bassist Dan Birney, keyboard player Roger Boyd and drummer Steve Huston. They were signed to A&M Records and they released this debut album in 1975. Their music is best described as very good boogie rock, not unlike Foghat, but with a slightly more commercial feel. Their first three albums were quite good, but they really came into their own with 1978's "Head East", and the following year's "Live" album gave a clear indication of how good the band were. The eighties saw them, like Trooper, move into commercial AOR territory, although they failed to make any impact on the radio waves in either the US east or west coasts. A final album for A&M, " US 1", was released in 1980 and one further album for new label Allegiance, called "Onward and Upward", which is quite rare, emerged in 1982. This album featured new members Dab Odum, Mark Boatman and Tony Gross, who'd replaced Schlitt, Birney and Somerville respectively, but this album did nothing for the band and they split that year. Schlitt, Birney and Boyd revived Head East in 1989 with a number of new players and they released "Choice of Weapon", but they were a shadow of their former selves and the band was finally laid to rest in 1990. John Schlitt, who'd subsequently become a reborn Christian, had also appeared with Geoff Moore and the Distance and he also released a pleasant solo album called "Shake", produced by Giants' Dann Huff, in 1995.
  

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Biography by William Ruhlmann
Head East went through several lineups and musical approaches before consolidating in St. Louis in the early '70s as a hard rock quintet consisting of John Schlitt (vocals), Mike Somerville (guitar), Roger Boyd (keyboards), Dan Birney (bass), and Steve Huston (drums), all alumni of the University of Illinois. They recorded their debut album, Flat As a Pancake, independently and released it on their own Pyramid Records label in early 1975. When the track "Never Been Any Reason" began to attract radio attention, A&M Records signed the band and re-released Flat As a Pancake in June 1975. The singles "Never Been Any Reason" and "Love Me Tonight" became minor pop chart entries, and the album spent six months on the charts, eventually going gold. Get Yourself Up (April 1976) and Gettin' Lucky (March 1977) were less successful, but Head East (February 1978), spurred by the minor singles chart entry "Since You Been Gone," reached the upper half of the Top 100. The double-LP Head East Live! (January 1979) also peaked in the Top 100, as did A Different Kind of Crazy (October 1979), and the band performed on the soundtrack to the comic anthology film J-Men Forever! (1979), but at the end of the year Schlitt, Birney, and Somerville left the group. Boyd and Huston recruited Mark Boatman, Tony Gross, and Dan Odum to record U.S. 1 (October 1980), Head East's last album to reach the charts and last newly recorded release on A&M; it was a minor chart entry. After its commercial heyday, Boyd led the band in continued touring and recording for small labels. 

 

Dan Birney
Roger Boyd
Tony Gross
Steve Huston
Dan Odum
John Schlitt
Mike Somerville
Mark Boatman

REO Speedwagon
Supertramp
Boston
Petra
Jimi Jamison

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Head East - 1975 - Flat as a Pancake - 3/5

Head East - 1976 - Get Yourself Up - 3/5

Head East - 1977 - Gettin' Lucky - 3/5

Head East - 1978 - Head East - 4/5

Head East - 1979 - A Different Kind of Crazy - 3/5

Head East - 1979 - Live - 2/5

Head East - 1980 - U.S. 1 - 3/5

Head East - 1982 - Onward and Upward - 3/5

Head East - 2000 - Live on Stage - 2/5

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