It was July 1973 and the song “We’re An American Band” was all over the radio. I purchased the Capitol album and was shocked when I got home and opened it up. I found a bright yellow vinyl record inside with a custom label. The only colored records I had ever seen were some of the children’s records my Mother bought me as a child.
I was also shocked by the naked band members on the inside of the cover of their seventh studio album. The custom label also instructed listeners with “Should be played at maximum volume”. This is also the first Grand Funk album produced and engineered by Todd Rungren.
Working with Todd was very relaxed, he did the engineering himself as well as production. He would just kind of sit there and let us do our thing and work our way through all the arrangements – every now and then he’d drop in a suggestion. His real thing was the sound. He had a way of turning knobs that would make everything sound huge, even in the headphones. A lot of the engineers would come in and say, ‘I’ve got to record everything flat, don’t worry about what it sounds like in the headphones, I’ll make it sound great later.’ Todd was of the school that, ‘I’m going to make it sound great right now, it’s going to tape right now. I’m not going to screw around with it later and get a whole different sound. You guys are going to hear the way it’s going to sound on the record in your headphones.’ That was new to us and it just blew us away that we were hearing these great sounds in the headphones as we’re playing. Back then, we used to do an entire album in a week, so you didn’t have a lot of time for splicing and editing and changing arrangements after you got it done. It was done in a week and it was done with mistakes or without.Don Brewer
Mark Farner – vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, conga; electric piano on “Creepin'”
Craig Frost – organ, clavinet, electric piano, Moog
Mel Schacher – bass
Don Brewer – vocals, drums, percussion
The album also included 4 stickers, two red and two blue, with the Grand Funk pointing finger logo. “We’re An American Band” LP reached number 2 on the Billboard 200, the band’s highest position on the chart, but spent one week at number 1 on the Cash Box, and Record World album charts. The band said the yellow was to simulate and suggest a “gold record” which this album would certainly become.
A1 We’re An American Band (Don Brewer) 3:25
A2 Stop Lookin’ Back (Brewer, Mark Farner) 4:51
A3 Creepin’ (Farner) 7:01
A4 Black Licorice (Brewer, Farner) 4:43
B1 The Railroad (Farner) 6:07
B2 Ain’t Got Nobody (Brewer, Farner) 4:19
B3 Walk Like A Man (Brewer, Farner) 4:03
B4 Loneliest Rider (Farner) 5:19
[The] group comes through with powerful, chunky rhythms and meaningful lyrics.Cash Box
A Quadraphonic mix of the album was available in the Quadraphonic 8-Track cartridge format. If I had known that the 45, “We’re An American Band” was also on yellow vinyl I would have gotten one of them also. This was Grand Funk’s first number one record released on July 2, 1973.
- Todd Harry Rundgren is an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, multimedia artist, sound engineer, and record producer who has performed a diverse range of styles as a solo artist and as a member of the band Utopia. He is known for his sophisticated and often unorthodox music, his occasionally lavish stage shows, and his later experiments with interactive entertainment. He also produced music videos and was an early adopter and promoter of various computer technologies, such as using the Internet as a means of music distribution in the late 1990s.
- Gold Record – Music recording certification is a system of certifying that a music recording has shipped, sold, or streamed a certain number of units. The threshold quantity varies by type (such as album, single, music video) and by nation or territory. In the United States, “Gold” is awarded at 1/2 million units sold (500,000).