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Blood, Sweat, & Tears

Updated on December 16, 2015

Blood, Sweat & Tears is an American group known for playing contemporary jazz-rock from the late 60s to the early 70s. They recorded songs which were written by well known rock and folk songwriters such as James Taylor and Billie Holiday. They came together in 1967 in New York City and made a mix of music which included rock, blues, pop, horn arrangements, and improvised jazz.

The original members of the group were Al Kooper, Jim Fielder, Fred Lipsius, Randy Brecker, Jerry Weiss, Dick Halligan, Steve Katz, and Bobby Colomby. Kooper was the one who named the band Blood, Sweat, & Tears after a 1963 album recorded by Johnny Cash under the same name. Four of the members Al, Bobby, Steve, and Jim did a few shows in New York at the Cafe Au Go Go and at the Fillmore East. Afterwards when Fred Lipsius joined them he also recruited three jazz horn players. As a now complete group they made their official debut in November of 1967 at the Cafe Au Go Go and thrilled the audience with their creative mix of jazz, acid rock and psychedelic rock. Seeing that they band was successful they were signed on to Columbia Records. Their first two singles were” Without Her” and “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” from their first album Child is Father to the Man.

Their second album was called Blood, Sweat & Tears and rose up to the top of the charts going on to win Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards in 1969. Three super singles came from it “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”, “Spinning Wheel”, and “And When I Die”. All of these singles wound up on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 Chart. They went on to perform at Woodstock.

Blood, Sweat & Tears toured Eastern Europe in May and June of 1970 and when they returned to the states they released their third album called Blood, Sweat & Tears 3. The singles from this album included “Hi-De-Ho” and “Lucretia MacEvil”. They decided to perform in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace and in 1970 did the soundtrack for the Barbara Streisand movie comedy “The Owl and the Pussycat”. At the beginning of 1971 the group came together to record their fourth album called Blood, Sweat & Tears 4 in San Francisco and played their own composed songs. Singles from this album included “Go Down Gamblin’”, and “High on a Mountain”. Their fourth album broke into the charts and became a gold record.

Other albums were released and there were changes in the group lineup. Blood, Sweat & Tears performed at the Wollman Rink in Central Park in New York in July of 1974 and at the end of the year gave a concert in Milwaukee to the delight of their fans. The group recorded another album in April of 1975 called New City but it wasn’t very successful. This album included a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney “Got to Get You Into My Life”.

That summer they recorded a live album In Concert and this was released in Europe and Japan. In the U.S. the album was called Live and Improvised and was released in 1991.

Among their best albums you’ll find Nuclear Blues which was released in 1980 a year before they disbanded. It includes such songs as “I’ll Drown in My Own Tears” and “Amor”.

Blood, Sweat & Tears went on a European tour at the beginning of 1978 but it ended suddenly when one of their band members saxophonist Gregory Herbert died of a drug overdose in Amsterdam. Returning home they stopped performing for awhile. When they did begin performing again it was with a completely new lineup. After several more tours including one to Australia Blood, Sweat & Tears finally disbanded in 1981. However you just can’t keep a great group down and they returned once more with new members. Now they tour frequently and donate money through “Elsie Monica Colomby” a music scholarship fund set up to provide for deserving schools and students who need help to be able to continue their musical education. They do tours worldwide and all of their albums are available on CD.


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    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Glad you enjoy it Ann. I find that I can follow my favorite musicians through YouTube and often I chose one of them and put on a whole album to play over my PC.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I liked Blood Sweat & Tears; great music and I liked all their singles. Interesting to find out their background and rise to fame.

      I love this series you do - always interesting and lots of unknown details.


    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Glad you enjoyed the music Surabhi. Blessings.

    • profile image

      Surabhi Kaura 2 years ago

      That was worth a read. Thank you for sharing this information, Rasma. That was something new to know. Blessings.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      You welcome Bill.

      You welcome Cyndi.

      Yes, Spinning Wheel was my all time favorite. Too bad not all great rockers make it into their silver years with popularity.

      Those are my two favorite oldies years too Shauna also some songs from the 50s.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Blood Sweat and Tears is one of my favorite bands from that era. Listening to the songs in this hub bring back specific memories of where I was and what I was doing at the time. I even still have their first album.

      Another golden hub, Rasma. I love the music of the '60s and '70s.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Didn't remember them, then thought that they were Blood, Sweat, Toil and Tears. Make sense to leave out the Toil. I'm familiar with their songs though. Interesting. Spinning wheel was very popular at one time.

      Sorry about their demise. Another excellent piece.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 2 years ago from Georgia

      Great selection for your opening your article. Blood, Sweat and Tears produced really popular music back in the day, as they say. I enjoyed your write up and listening to the music. Thanks!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great band and interesting to hear what happened to them. Thanks for the update and history lesson, Rasma!