by Keith Duncan

Chapter 2 - Superlungs

Terry, Eric and Keith in the newly formed trio began the familiar round of rehearsing and gigging, wondering where fate might take them. Then early in 68 Graham Nash who had yet to find his own future with Crosby, Stills & Young had a word with Mickey Most suggesting he pay some attention to Terry. Mickey checked Terry  and  band out at London's  Revolution club immediately spotting his  potential.  The result was an association which was both the making of and in some senses the breaking of Terry . He signed an exclusive and restrictive deal with Mickey which no doubt seemed a good idea, a good career move at the time. Remember that Most was one of the hot producers  of his time with a string of  successes behind him , Terry was still just a young kid wanting to get on. Whatever, the paper chain that wound itself around Terry  would prove to have links made of solid steel.


Most’s  commercial success with the artists he represented; Donovan, The Animals etc was at the cost of his very determined artistic control of their output. He decided that the way forward for Terry was with soul ballads, a reasonable idea given his past performances and the Peter Jay single. Terry though had his head ringing with the driving  rock music  being performed by the likes of Cream and Jimmy Hendrix. Most had the group into the studio in April and produced a single ‘Better by Far’ which failed to chart , once again on the B side was a  far superior number ‘Fires Alive’ penned by Terry. As with the Peter Jay single it should have been flipped. Perhaps no great shame that the single flopped though as it gave some force to Terry’s request to have more artistic control and led to Most cutting him more slack as they prepared to record an album. Meanwhile events elsewhere were taking  shape which would hang a ‘what if’ placard around Terry’s neck that still causes comment some 4 decades after  they took place. The Yardbirds who Terry had toured with and become friends with had effectively folded. Jimmy Page , with others, was trying to form a new Yardbirds and looking for a vocalist, no surprise that Jimmy approached Terry. So there was Terry faced with the lead vocal spot in an as yet unformed group or the studio ready and waiting for him to record the first album in his own name.  It was a no-brainer really and Terry declined the offer suggesting that instead Jimmy consider a relatively unknown singer Robert Plant who he’d got to know whilst Robert was singing  with a Brummie group 'Band of Joy'.

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By now Robert was singing with the curiously named Hobbstweedle, which incidentally included Bill Bonham (John Bonham's cousin). Jimmy checked Robert out at a gig at Walsall College recognised his potential and offered him the job in August 1968. To be young and alive in 1968 was to be alive indeed, to be young alive and Terry Reid in 1968 with people like Aretha Franklin commenting ‘there are only three things happening in London, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Terry Reid’, it must have seemed like walking on water was only a step away.  For my money, at that point in time,Terry made the only choice he could.

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