Orleans were a mid 70's US melodic/country rock outfit with tremendous potential. Formed in Woodstock, New York, in the early seventies, the initial members were John Hall on guitars, bass, keyboards and drums (he's previously worked with the likes of Seatrain, Seales and C rofts, Taj Mahal and many others), Lance Hoppen on bass and keyboards (he worked with Jackie Lomax), Wells Kelly on drums and keyboards (ex-King Harvest) and Larry Hoppen (ex-Bonnie Raitt, Jeremy Steig and others) on guitars, bass, keyboards and trumpet. Prior to releasing their self-titled debut album on ABC Records in 1973 (later re-released as "Before the Dance"), the band had t oured with James Cotton, Bonnie Raitt, The Kinks, The Beach Boys and many others, acquiring a sizeable cult following along the way. Their music was very varied, drawing from a number of sources, such as country, soul, rock and C alypso. Our featured album, released on their new label, Asylum Records, saw the band's songwriting improving tremendously - the track "Dance with Me" r eached the US Top 10 that year. They continued to record a number of excellent albums, notably "Waking and Dreaming" in 1976 (with a fifth member, new drummer Jerry Marotta, although Kelly was still in the band, still as a drummer, but featuring on keyboards and vocals too), and "Forever", in 1979. John Hall l eft to pursue a solo career, with Marotta following soon afterwards. Their respective replacements were Bob Leinback and R.A.Martin, and they appeared on "Forever", together with the two Hoppens and Kelly. By the time the band's fifth album, "Orleans", came around in 1980, the band had basically trimmed down to a trio of Lance Hoppen, Wells Kelly and Larry Hoppen, although both Hall and Marotta are featured on the album. They had one final hit with "Love Takes T ime", and a last album, "One of a Kind", was released in 1982 before they s plit. Their story doesn't end there - in the mid 90's, Hall and the Boppen brothers revived Orleans and released "Ride", an excellent comeback album, r eliving their glorious earlier days. 
  
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Biography by Richard Skelly
Best known for their hits "Still the One" and "Dance With Me," Orleans was founded in New York in 1972 by John Hall, Larry Hoppen and Wells Kelly. Hoppen's brother Lance joined before the group signed with ABC Records in 1973; working with producers Barry Beckett and Roger Hawkins at Muscle Shoals Studios, they released their self-titled debut later that year. In 1974 Orleans recorded a self-produced album in New York's Bearsville Studio, but ABC didn't like it and dropped the group from the label, leaving Asylum to release the album Let There Be Magic in 1974, spurring the group's first big hit, 1975's "Dance with Me."

Their album Waking and Dreaming contained the hit "Still the One," which ABC-TV used as a theme song for that year. In 1977, Hall, who wrote many of the groups hits with his wife Johanna, left the group to pursue a solo career. He recorded two solo albums after signing with Elektra Records, and became something of a spokesman for the anti-nuclear power movement, helping to organize a group called MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy). Hall eventually worked with Jackson Browne, Graham Nash and Bonnie Raitt to organize the No Nukes concerts at Madison Square Garden in 1979.

Without Hall, Orleans went through several other personnel changes before it had a number 11 hit with "Love Takes Time," from the album Forever. Though MCA's Infinity label went bankrupt in 1980, the group persevered, performing together in clubs and releasing the album One of a Kind in 1982. In 1984 Kelly died in London of a heroin overdose, and by the early '90s, Hall ditched his solo career and returned to performing with Orleans. After the group released 1994's Orleans Live, Vol. 1, and 1995's Analog Men on its own Major Record Label, Hall and the Hoppen brothers continued to tour as an acoustic trio. 

 

John Hall
Lance Hoppen
Larry Hoppen
Wells Kelly
Bob Leinbach
Rob Leon
Jerry Marotta
R.A. Martin
Peter O'Brien

John Hall
The Doobie Brothers
Pablo Cruise
Bread
Player
Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds
America
Kenny Loggins

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Orleans - 1973 - Orleans (ABC) - 2.5/5

Orleans - 1975 - Let There Be Music - 4.5/5

Orleans - 1976 - Waking and Dreaming - 3/5

Orleans - 1979 - Forever - 2/5

Orleans - 1980 - Orleans (MCA) - 2/5

Orleans - 1995 - Orleans Live, Vol. 1 - 2/5

Orleans - 1996 - Ride - 2.5/5

Orleans - 2002 - Still the One Live, A 30th Anniversary Retrospective - 4/5

Orleans - 2006 - Dancin in the Moonlight - 4/5

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