Being one of the few Scottish groups to gain widespread credibility performing soul music in the 70s, it seems that Average White Band was anything but “average”. Founded in 1972, The group took the music world by surprise with a string of funk and R&B hits that crossed over to black American radio. They are largely known for their instrumental single "Pick Up the Pieces" from their 1974 album release AWB. Since their initial burst onto the scene, AWB continues to excite fans and influence today’s artists.
The band started learning to play American soul music that had been popular in the UK. They would practice for hours to perfect the sounds they heard on Stax recordings and records produced by similar labels. The group’s founding members, Singer/bassist Alan Gorrie, guitarists Hamish Stuart and Onnie McIntyre, tenor saxophonist Malcolm Duncan, keyboardist/saxophonist Roger Ball, and drummer Robbie McIntosh, wanted to leave their mark on the business by landing a recording deal in the United States. The band's big break came in 1973 when they were asked to perform at Eric Clapton's Rainbow Theatre comeback gig. Their performance earned them a deal with Atlantic Records following an unsuccessful debut on MCA Records.
In 1974, Atlantic Records released the group’s self-titled sophomore effort AWB. The album was a runaway success that included the hit "Pick Up the Pieces", which reached #1 on the R&B charts. The album was also a critical success that has endured and maintained its lasting appeal over the years.
Today the band continues to tour to sold-out venues. Their music continues to thrive on “oldie-but-goodie” radio stations all around the world. They are one of the most sampled bands of all time. Artists such as Nas, Too $hort, A Tribe Called Quest, Macy Gray and many more help continue AWB’s legacy through sampling. AWB is a hidden gem within the Atlantic Records catalogue. Check out AWB on iTunes or stream below!