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Graham Bond

Graham BondAKA Graham John Clifton Bond

Born: 28-Oct-1937
Birthplace: Romford, Essex, England
Died: 8-May-1974
Location of death: London, England
Cause of death: Suicide
Remains: Cremated (ashes scattered)

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Musician

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Influential blues keyboardist

Although not as well-known as some of his contemporaries, Graham Bond played an important role in the development of the British blues-rock movement of the 60s and 70s. Primarily a saxophone player at the start of his public career, Bond moved through a number of jazz groups during the late 50s and early 60s (most notably The Don Rendell Quartet) before switching to organ and The Blues when he joined Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated. Fellow players in Corner's band included Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce, and in 1963 all three simultaneously quit to form The Graham Bond Organisation -- actually under the lead of Baker, regardless of the name. The group toured constantly with a frequently-changing lineup, released 2 albums and a handful of singles, and briefly acted as studio augmentation for The Who. Both Baker and Bruce had moved on by 1966, but Bond struggled to continue The Organisation without them for several more years, hindered by money problems and a heroin addiction. The band finally concluded its steady decline into nothingness in 1968.

Also in 1968 Graham Bond became involved with Diane Stewart, a singer who shared his interest in the occult. After a period sent in the hosptial to deal with his worsening addiction, the couple moved to the States where Bond worked with an obscure band called The Fool. The sessions were a disaster. Bond remained in the U.S. for a while afterwards, during which some fleeting and undocumented collaborations with Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, and Jimi Hendrix took place. A mostly-ignored solo record was also produced at this time. By 1969, a return to London (via Jamaica) was made, followed by an attempt to restore his disintegrating music career.

Within a month of his return to England, Bond had a new band -- The Graham Bond Initiation -- and was again performing on a regular basis. During this time he also recorded and toured with his old bandmate in Ginger Baker's Airforce. Typically, both projects had ended by 1971. Various bands with varying membership combinations followed, but Bond's personal problems and re-emerging drug abuse prevented any from getting very far. After a month in prison and a subsequent period spent in a mental institution, Graham Bond was found dead beneath a tube train at the Finsbury Park Station in 1974.

Wife: Diane Stewart (singer, m. 1970, div. 1972)

    Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated Keyboardist (1962-63)
    The Graham Bond Organisation Keyboardist (1963-68)
    Ginger Baker's Airforce Keyboardist (1970-71)

    That'll Be the Day (12-Apr-1973)
    Gonks Go Beat (1965) · Himself

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