Displaying items by tag: The Edgar Winter Group

Today's 70s Song You Should Know: 'Frankenstein' By The Edgar Winter Group

24 June, 2023

If you're a casual classic rock fan, you've probably heard the hit song "Free Ride" by The Edgar Winter Group. Since it was a #14 hot for the band in late 1972, it's been used in countless commercials and movies, thanks to a killer hook ("C'mon, take a free ride") and a guitar riff that's memorable ear candy.

Weirdly, that song wasn't the big hit off the band's album They Only Come Out At Night. The biggest single of the band's career was "Frankenstein," an all-instrumental track that went to #1 on the Top 100 singles charts. At the time, the song was everywhere but over the years its been neglected in favor of the commercial-friendly "Free Ride."

They Only Come Out At Night was the first release by the band, which Winter had assembled after releasing the well-regarded 1970 solo album entrance and two albums released with some musicians from Texas and Louisiana under the name Edgar Winter's White Trash. The second album went gold, but Winter apparently was looking for wider success.

The Edgar Winter Band included Dan Hartman (who sang the vocals on "Free Ride" and later had the 1980s hit "I Can Dream About You"), guitarist Rick Derringer (who had been a member of the McCoys when they had their hit "Hang On Sloopy,"), lead guitarist Ronnie Montrose and drummer Chuck Ruff. Montrose and Ruff had previously worked together in the band Sawbuck, which released their lone album in, 1973, just after both men left the band.

Montrose left the band after They Only Come Out At Night and released a solid string of late 1970s albums under the group name Montrose (the first two featuring Sammy Hagar on vocals). Rick Derringer replaced Montrose on lead guitar for the Edgar Winter Group's follow-up album Shock Treatment. It didn't have the success of the debit album, although the LP was certified gold and the single "River's Rising" went to #33 on the Billboard Top 100 Singles chart. 

The band released the album Jasmine Nightdreams in 1975 and The Edgar Winter Group with Rick Derringer the following year. Derringer had continued to work with the group, although he released a solo album in 1973 that spawned the hit single "Rock & Roll Hootchie Koo."

So let's remember "Frankenstein" one more time, if for no reason because it contains a very 1970s drum solo. And be sure to check out Edgar Winter in this video, who had invented a strap that would allow him to rock out with the rest of the band while playing his keyboard. The downside is that by the 1980s, this setup had evolved into the cheesy keytar.

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