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A minor but interesting late-'60s British rock singer, Terry Reid could have been a lot more famous if he had been able to accept the slot of lead singer for the New Yardbirds in 1968. That slot, of course, went to Robert Plant, and the New Yardbirds became Led Zeppelin. Unlike Plant, Reid was also a guitarist, and the opportunity to head his own group no doubt played a part in his decision to gun for a solo career. Leading a guitar-organ-drums power trio, he recorded a couple of respectable, though erratic, hard rock albums while still a teenager in the late '60s. Some bad breaks and creative stagnation combined to virtually bring his career to a halt, and he never cashed in on the momentum of his promising start.
A teen prodigy of sorts, Reid had turned professional at the age of 15 to join Peter Jay & the Jaywalkers. His first couple of singles as a headliner found him singing in a sort of poppy blue-eyed soul vein. But by the time of his 1968 debut Bang, Bang You're Terry Reid, produced by Mickie Most, he'd switched to more of a hard rock approach. Most was also handling Donovan and the Jeff Beck Group at the time, and similarities to both of those acts can be heard in Terry Reid's first two albums -- proto-hard rock on the louder tunes, sweeter folk-rock on the mellow ones (Reid in fact covered a couple of Donovan compositions, although he wrote most of his own material). Reid's high voice was reminiscent of Robert Plant's, though not nearly as shrill, and his folky numbers especially are reminiscent of Led Zeppelin's most acoustic early cuts.
Reid, oddly, was considerably more well-known in the U.S. than the U.K. His first album, very oddly, was not even issued in Britain, although it made the American Top 200. It's been reported that he at least in part declined Jimmy Page's offer to join Led Zeppelin owing to his contractual commitments to record for Mickie Most as a solo artist, and to perform as an opening solo artist on the Rolling Stones' late-'60s U.S. tour. He did influence Led Zeppelin's history in a big way by recommending Plant and drummer John Bonham as suitable candidates for the group's lineup, after Plant and Bonham's pre-Led Zep outfit (the Band of Joy) played support at one of Reid's early gigs. Reid felt confident enough in his solo prospects to also turn down an offer to join Deep Purple (Ian Gillan was recruited instead).
An opening spot on the Rolling Stones' famous 1969 tour of America seemed to augur even brighter prospects for the future, but this is precisely where Reid's career stalled, at the age of 20. First he became embroiled in litigation with Mickey Most, which curtailed his studio activities in the early '70s. After a couple of personnel changes, he disbanded his original trio, leading a group for a while that included David Lindley and ex-King Crimson drummer Michael Giles (this quartet, however, didn't release any records). He moved to California in 1971 and signed to Atlantic, but his long-delayed third album didn't appear until 1973. Reid would release albums for other labels in 1976 and 1979, but none of his '70s recordings were well-received, critically or commercially (though 1976's Seed of Memory did briefly chart). He's barely recorded since, though he did play some sessions, and The Driver appeared in 1991.
Terry Reid (born 13 November 1949, Huntingdon, England) is an English rock vocalist and guitarist. He has performed with high profile musicians, as a supporting act, a session musician, and sideman.
After leaving school at the age of 12, Reid joined Peter Jay's Jaywalkers after being spotted by the band's drummer, Peter Jay. At the time Reid was playing for a local band, The Redbeats. His public profile was enhanced in 1966 when The Jaywalkers were named as a support act for The Rolling Stones for their concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Graham Nash of The Hollies became friends with Reid at that concert and suggested The Jaywalkers sign up with Columbia Records to record with producer John Burgess. Their first single, the Soul-inspired "The Hand Don't Fit the Glove" was a minor hit in 1967, but by then The Jaywalkers had already decided to disband.
Reid came to the attention of hits producer Mickie Most, who became his manager. His first single with Most, "Better By Far," became a radio favourite, but the album, Bang Bang, You're Terry Reid, was not a commercial success. With accompanying musicians Peter Solley on organ and Keith Webb on drums, a 1968 tour of the United States with Cream did much to gain Reid a loyal following. His final performance of the tour at the Miami Pop Festival garnered positive reviews from the music press.
The song "Without Expression" by Reid and Graham Nash, from Bang Bang, You're Terry Reid, was recorded by The Hollies in 1968 as "A Man With No Expression" and by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in 1969 as "Horses Through a Rainstorm", with Nash singing lead on both. Both versions were not released until years later.
Yardbirds guitarist Jimmy Page became interested in Reid's work, and when The Yardbirds disbanded, Page wanted Reid to fill the vocalist spot for his proposed new group, the New Yardbirds, which was to become Led Zeppelin. Reid had already committed to go on the road with Cream (as an opening act on the 1968 US Tour). So he suggested to Page that he consider a young Birmingham based singer, Robert Plant, instead, having previously seen Plant's Band of Joy as a support act at one of his concerts. Reid later was offered a position as a member of Deep Purple when they decided to replace singer Rod Evans; Ian Gillan was given the position instead.
In 1969, Reid supported various British tours, notably Jethro Tull and Fleetwood Mac. Reid, Solley and Webb toured the United States again when he opened for The Rolling Stones on their 1969 American Tour. He did not appear at the infamous Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Music Festival.
1970s - present 
In December 1969 Reid had a falling out with producer Mickie Most, who wanted Reid to become a balladeer, and to strictly follow his own formula. Reid then left England and settled in California to sit out the remainder of his contract with Most, making only sporadic live performances during that period. In 1970, he returned briefly to England to perform at the Isle of Wight Festival, supported by David Lindley and Tim Davis. During this period he also performed at the Atlanta II Pop Festival. Reid was filmed performing in Glastonbury Fayre, the 1971 film by David Puttnam. In 1973, Reid returned with a new contract with Atlantic Records and a new album entitled River. Produced by Yes's Eddie Offord, the album received favourable reviews, but failed commercially.
Over the next decade, Reid switched to different labels in search of a winning formula; Seed of Memory released by ABC Records in 1976 (produced by Graham Nash), and Rogue Waves released by Capitol Records in 1979. He retired his solo career in 1981 to concentrate on session work, appearing on albums by Don Henley, Jackson Browne, UFO High Stakes & Dangerous Men and Bonnie Raitt. In 1991, Reid returned with former Yes producer Trevor Horn, on the album The Driver. The album featured a cover version of the Spencer Davis Group classic written by Steve Winwood: "Gimme Some Lovin'", which had earlier appeared on the Days of Thunder soundtrack. "The Whole of the Moon", written by Mike Scott, was released as a single and received considerable airplay, with backing vocals performed by Enya. Reid has since been playing occasional live gigs with a band which has included Brian Auger. In the 1990s he also toured in the US and Hong Kong with ex-Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor. In 1998, Rich Kid Blues was the eponymous song on an album released by Marianne Faithfull, produced by Mike Leander in 1984 but unreleased for 14 years. Touring in support of her 2002 album Kissin Time, Faithfull included a performance of Rich Kid Blues in her playlist.
In late 2005, Reid returned to the UK for his first tour in years. It is understood that the 'magic shone through'. One venue billed him as 'The Man With A Hell Of A Story To Tell'. That same year, three of his songs, "Seed of Memory", (the title track to Seed of Memory), "To Be Treated Rite", and "Brave Awakening", appeared in the movie The Devil's Rejects (2005), directed by Rob Zombie. Also, his song "Faith To Arise" was in the 2003 film Wonderland. In July/August 2007 Reid returned for another six week UK tour being backed by The Cosmic American Derelicts, a band out of northern New Jersey and Southern New York.
On 26 June 2009, Reid appeared with Cosmic American Derelicts guitarist Eddie to perform at ex-band mate Peter Jay's Great Yarmouth club The Residence. At this gig Terry appeared on stage with the local support band Second Hand Blues to perform a cover of the Donovan song "Season of the Witch", this song has become one of the most watched videos of Terry Reid on YouTube, Terry also performed with Peter Jay for the first time in over 15 years on a cover of The Beach Boys song "Don't Worry Baby". On 28 June 2009, Reid and his band performed on The Park stage at the Glastonbury Festival.
The American rock group Cheap Trick recorded Reid's "Speak Now" for their debut album. Also, in 1973, the American rock group REO Speedwagon recorded Reid's "Without Expressions (Don't Be The Man)" for their Ridin' The Storm Out album.
The Raconteurs with Jack White recorded a version of Reid's "Rich Kid Blues" for their second album Consolers of the Lonely in 2008.
The pairing of Shine and Reid debuted at the Pigalle Club in London on 26 August 2009. A studio collaboration, Shine featuring Terry Reid, was released as an MP3 EP in November 2009.