Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1976 – Part 4.4: Grand Funk Railroad – Born To Die

The name “Grand Funk” and “Grand Funk Railroad” started to appear in interviews with guitarists via the Guitar mags circa 1988 to 1992, as bands started to incorporate more blues rock into their music. Then I purchased an encyclopaedia called “The Rolling Stones Encyclopaedia of Rock and Roll” and they are listed.

But I had never heard their music and it was only a few years ago that I started to listen via Spotify.

“Born to Die” is the 10th studio album, released in January 1976.

Released on Capitol Records and produced by Jimmy Ienner.

Ienner was briefly considered for the role of producer on the “Destroyer” album because he was the producer of one of Paul Stanley’s favourite bands, the Raspberries who had broken big on the backs of an Ienner produced album. While Ienner lost out to Bob Ezrin for the “Destroyer” gig, he did a job with Kiss, as Executive Producer on “Double Platinum”.

The band for the album was Mark Farner on Guitar/Vocals, Craig Frost on Keyboards, Mel Schacher on Bass, Don Brewer on Drums/Vocals, Jimmy Hall on Saxophone/Harmonica and Donna Hall on Background Vocals.

Born To Die

What a track with the feel of the song “Bad Company”, written by Mark Farner in memory of his cousin who died in a motorcycle accident.

The Hammond Organ has this tremolo style effect which makes it sound menacing. The bass playing grooves and the vocals are multi-layered in the Chorus.

Lived his life of freedom, exactly the way that he wanted to.
But there’s always that one thing, we never do count on.
You was born for it to happen to you …

Dues

Written by Don Brewer and Mark Farner. As soon as the syncopated bass and bass drum start off the song, I was interested.

I tried religion and some holy roller steals my tenth

Press play to hear the music played under the melody of “can we ever stop paying dues?”

And then the lead break kicks in and I’m playing air guitar to it. And they keep soloing until it fades out.

Sally

It’s the sugar gum commercial pop song for the album written by Mark Farner for his then love interest, the actress/singer Sally Kellerman.

But it’s a skip for me.

I Fell For Your Love

Written by Don Brewer and Craig Frost and there is too much soul and not enough rock.

Talk To The People

Written by Mark Farner and Craig Frost.

I’m not a fan of the music or the melodies.

But there is a great solo to end.

Take Me

Written by Don Brewer and Craig Frost.

Take me and make me feel your music..

And there is some great soloing .

Genevieve

I expected this to be a ballad, but I got an instrumental of fusion of jazz, funk and rock. And I like it.

Love Is Dyin’

Written by Don Brewer.

It’s got this “All Along The Watchtower” vibe, the Hendrix version vibe, not Dylan.

Politician

Written by Mark Farner.

Mr. Politician please don’t deceive us.
Mr. Politician you’re there to relieve us.
Just how can we tell, mister,
When to believe in you.

I guess some things never change.

Press Play to hear the solo break and the bass playing under it.

Good Things

It’s a slow Blues Rocker that starts off like a Bad Company cut, but once the intro lead melody kicks in, it feels like a Jeff Beck cut.

Written by Mark Farner there is plenty of guitar soloing happening.

The album just broke the Top 50 on the Billboard charts and was seen as a disappointment.

It’s not held in high regard by the hard core fans.

It was the last Capitol Records album they did so maybe the title was prophetic in a way.

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4 thoughts on “1976 – Part 4.4: Grand Funk Railroad – Born To Die

  1. I played a lot of their stuff when I was growing up but it’s been a minute since I’ve heard this. I do remember it being a bargain bin record compared to their more celebrated stuff.

  2. Peter E says:

    I think that this version of Grand Funk Railroad that included keyboardist Craig Frost was at their peak musically at the time this album was released. I really like the three albums (two studio and one live) GFR made with producer Jimmy Ienner. “It’s a Killer!!” was used in promoting Born To Die. I think it is. The CD release has two bonus tracks, a rehearsal of “Genevieve,” and a rehearsal of the unreleased blues number “Bare Naked Woman” which I think is great.

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