San Francisco country/rock outfit who were formed in the late sixties by guitarist Gary Duncan and John Cipollina, bassist David Freiberg and drummer Greg Ellmore. They were among the last of the San Francisco groups to sign a recording contract. They made a fairly good living playing in the clubs in and around the Bay area, and they often played free concerts for the hippie residents of the Haight-Ashbury district and gigged at Bill Graham's Fillmore concert venue. They were also very well received at the Monterey Pop Festival of 1967. Their self-titled debut album, released on Capitol Records, came out in May 1968. Although fans of the band felt that the album was a disappointment, it nonetheless served as a good introduction to their music. This, our featured album, was an instant success with both fans and critics alike, and it featured a stunning cover of Bo Diddley's ''Who do you love". "Happy Trails" is now seen as the best album the band ever recorded. The band went on to release a number of albums into the seventies, but disbanded around 1973. They reformed a few years later for a once-off album and split again, reforming more than a decade later in 1987.
  
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Biography by William Ruhlmann
The band that became Quicksilver Messenger Service originally was conceived as a rock vehicle for folk singer/songwriter Dino Valenti (b. Nov. 7, 1943), author of "Get Together." Living in San Francisco, Valenti had found guitarist John Cipollina (b. Aug. 24, 1943, d. May 29, 1989) and singer Jim Murray. Valenti's friend David Freiberg (b. Aug. 24, 1938) joined on bass, and the group was completed by the addition of drummer Greg Elmore (b. Sep. 4, 1946) and guitarist Gary Duncan (b.Sep 4, 1946). As the band was being put together, Valenti was imprisoned on a drug charge and he didn't rejoin Quicksilver until later.

They debuted at the end of 1965 and played around the Bay Area and then the West Coast for the next two years, building up a large following but resisting offers to record that had been taken up by such San Francisco acid-rock colleagues as Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. Quicksilver finally signed to Capitol toward the end of 1967 and recorded their self-titled debut album in 1968 (by this time, Murray had left). Happy Trails, the 1969 follow-up, was recorded live. After its release, Duncan left the band and was replaced for Shady Grove (1970) by British session pianist Nicky Hopkins. By the time of its release, however, Duncan had returned, along with Valenti, making the group a sextet.

This version of Quicksilver, prominently featuring Valenti's songs and lead vocals, lasted only a year, during which two albums, Just for Love and What About Me, were recorded. Cipollina, Freiberg, and Hopkins then left, and the remaining trio of Valenti, Duncan, and Elmore hired replacements and cut another couple of albums before disbanding. There was a reunion in 1975, resulting in a new album and a tour, and in 1986, Duncan revived the Quicksilver name for an album that also featured Freiberg on background vocals. 

 

Skip Spence
John Cipollina
Nicky Hopkins
Dino Valente
Jim Murray
Jose Reyes
Gary Duncan
Greg Elmore
Martin Fierro
David Freiberg
Frank Morin
Mark Naftalin
Pat O'Hara
Skip Olson
Sammy Piazza
Mark Ryan
Chuck Steaks
Ron Taormina
Casey Sonoban
Mike Lewis

Nicky Hopkins
Jefferson Airplane
Big Brother & the Holding Company
The Great Society
Moby Grape
The Doors

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Quicksilver Messenger Service - 1968 - Quicksilver Messenger Service - 4.5/5

Quicksilver Messenger Service - 1969 - Happy Trails - 4.5/5

Quicksilver Messenger Service - 1969 - Shady Grove - 2.5/5

Quicksilver Messenger Service - 1970 - Just for Love - 3/5

Quicksilver Messenger Service - 1970 - What About Me - 3/5

Quicksilver Messenger Service - 1971 - Quicksilver - 4/5

Quicksilver Messenger Service - 1972 - Comin' Thru - 2.5/5

Quicksilver Messenger Service - 1975 - Solid Silver - 2/5

Quicksilver Messenger Service - 2003 - Who Do You Love - 4/5

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