Coven (band)

Last updated
Coven
Coven Roadburn 2017.jpg
Coven performing live at Roadburn Festival (2017).
Background information
Origin Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres
Years active1967–1975, 2007–present
Labels Mercury, Warner Bros., MGM, Buddah, Nevoc
MembersJinx Dawson
Alex Kercheval
Chris Wild
Wade Parish
Chris Owens
Past membersOz Osborne
Steve Ross
Rick Durrett
John Hobbs
Chris Neilsen
David Wilkerson

Coven is an American rock band with occult lyrics formed in the late 1960s. They had a top 40 hit in 1971 with the song "One Tin Soldier", the theme song of the movie Billy Jack.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily from the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly from a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

One Tin Soldier 1969 song performed by The Original Caste

"One Tin Soldier" is a 1960s counterculture era anti-war song written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter. Canadian pop group The Original Caste first recorded the song in 1969 for both the TA label and its parent Bell label.

<i>Billy Jack</i> 1971 film by Tom Laughlin

Billy Jack is a 1971 action/drama independent film, the second of four films centering on a character of the same name which began with the movie The Born Losers (1967), played by Tom Laughlin, who directed and co-wrote the script. Filming began in Prescott, Arizona, in the fall of 1969, but the movie was not completed until 1971. American International Pictures pulled out, halting filming. 20th Century-Fox came forward and filming eventually resumed but when that studio refused to distribute the film, Warner Bros. stepped forward.

Contents

Coven was composed of vocalist Esther "Jinx" Dawson, [2] bassist Greg "Oz" Osborne, guitarist Chris Neilsen, keyboardist Rick Durrett (later replaced by John Hobbs), and drummer Steve Ross. They are recognized by metal fans and metal historians as being the band that introduced the "Sign of the Horns" to rock, metal and pop culture (as seen on their 1969 debut album release Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls , which has an opening track called "Black Sabbath").

Album collection of recorded music, words, sounds

An album is a collection of audio recordings issued as a collection on compact disc (CD), vinyl, audio tape, or another medium. Albums of recorded music were developed in the early 20th century as individual 78-rpm records collected in a bound book resembling a photograph album; this format evolved after 1948 into single vinyl LP records played at ​33 13 rpm. Vinyl LPs are still issued, though album sales in the 21st-century have mostly focused on CD and MP3 formats. The audio cassette was a format widely used alongside vinyl from the 1970s into the first decade of the 2000s.

<i>Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls</i> 1969 studio album by Coven

Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls is the debut studio album by the American rock band Coven. Released in 1969, it was unusual in that it dealt with overtly occult and satanic themes and was removed from the market soon after its release due to controversy. However it remains a classic of its genre, and in some ways set groundbreaking trends for later rock bands. This album marked the first appearance in music of the sign of the horns, inverted crosses, and the phrase Hail Satan. Today, these are characteristics of the occult and heavy metal genres. According to rock journalist Lester Bangs, "in England lie unskilled laborers like Black Sabbath, which was hyped as a rockin' ritual celebration of the Satanic mass, something like England's answer to Coven". As a further coincidence, Coven's bass guitarist and co-writer is credited as "Oz Osborne", and the opening track is "Black Sabbath".

History

Dawson and Osborne, after playing together in the group Him, Her and Them, formed Coven with Ross in Chicago in the late 1960s. In 1967 and 1968 they toured, playing concerts with artists including Jimmy Page's Yardbirds, the Alice Cooper band, and Vanilla Fudge. Dawson began and ended each Coven concert with the sign of the horns.[ citation needed ] Coven signed with Mercury Records and released their debut album, Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls in 1969.

Jimmy Page British guitarist of Led Zeppelin

James Patrick Page is an English musician, songwriter, and record producer who achieved international success as the guitarist and founder of the rock band Led Zeppelin.

Alice Cooper American rock singer, songwriter and musician

Alice Cooper is an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spans over 50 years. With his distinctive raspy voice and a stage show that features guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, deadly snakes, baby dolls, and dueling swords, Cooper is considered by music journalists and peers alike to be "The Godfather of Shock Rock". He has drawn equally from horror films, vaudeville, and garage rock to pioneer a macabre and theatrical brand of rock designed to shock people.

Vanilla Fudge American rock band

Vanilla Fudge is an American rock band known predominantly for their extended rock arrangements of contemporary hit songs, most notably "You Keep Me Hangin' On".

The music on the album was considered underground rock; what made it distinctive was the heavy emphasis on diabolical subject matter, including songs such as "The White Witch of Rose Hall" (based on the story of Annie Palmer), "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge", "Black Sabbath" and "Dignitaries of Hell". The album concluded with a 13-minute track of chanting and Satanic prayers called "Satanic Mass" (written by their producer, Bill Traut, of Dunwich Productions, and described as "the first Black Mass to be recorded, either in written words or in audio"). This Satanic Mass was also the first time Latin phrases such as "Ave Satanas" (Hail, Satan) were used in occult rock music, and later Satanic and Black Metal bands continued this innovation (see List of songs with Latin lyrics for some examples). Also included inside the album was Coven's infamous Black Mass poster, showing members of the group displaying the sign of the horns as they prepared for a Satanic ritual over a nude Dawson lying on an altar.

Devil supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of god and humankind

A devil is the personification of evil as it is conceived in many and various cultures and religious traditions. It is seen as the objectification of a hostile and destructive force.

Dunwich Records was an independent American record label started by Bill Traut, Eddie Higgins and George Badonsky in Chicago in 1965. Dunwich was also a production company which licensed recordings to other labels, including Atlantic, Atco, Columbia, Mercury and SGC. The label was primarily known for the release of singles from the emerging Chicago rock scene in the 1960s. Only two artists, the Shadows of Knight and Amanda Ambrose, released albums on the label.

Black Mass

A Black Mass is a ritual characterized by the inversion of the Traditional Latin Mass celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church.

Unwanted publicity came to the band in the form of a sensationalistic Esquire magazine issue entitled "Evil Lurks in California" (Esquire, March 1970), which linked counterculture interest in the occult to Charles Manson and the Tate-La Bianca murders, while also mentioning the Witchcraft album and its Black Mass material. [3] As a result of this unwanted publicity, Mercury withdrew the album from circulation.[ citation needed ]

<i>Esquire</i> (magazine) American mens magazine

Esquire is an American men's magazine, published by the Hearst Corporation in the United States. Founded in 1933, it flourished during the Great Depression under the guidance of founders Arnold Gingrich, David A. Smart and Henry L. Jackson.

Counterculture Subculture whose values and norms of behavior deviate from those of mainstream society

A counterculture is a subculture whose values and norms of behavior differ substantially from those of mainstream society, often in opposition to mainstream cultural mores. A countercultural movement expresses the ethos and aspirations of a specific population during a well-defined era. When oppositional forces reach critical mass, countercultures can trigger dramatic cultural changes. Prominent examples of countercultures in Europe and North America include Romanticism (1790–1840), Bohemianism (1850–1910), the more fragmentary counterculture of the Beat Generation (1944–1964), followed by the globalized counterculture of the 1960s (1964–1974), usually associated with the hippie subculture and the diversified punk subculture of the 1970s and 1980s.

Charles Manson American criminal, cult leader, musician

Charles Milles Manson was an American criminal and cult leader. In mid-1967, he formed what became known as the Manson Family, a quasi-commune based in California. Manson's followers committed a series of nine murders at four locations in July and August 1969. According to the Los Angeles County district attorney, Manson plotted to start a race war, though Manson and others involved long disputed this motive. In 1971, he was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of seven people. Although the prosecution conceded that Manson never literally ordered the murders, they contended that his ideology constituted an overt act of conspiracy. Manson was also convicted of first-degree murder for the deaths of Gary Hinman and Donald Shea.

Dawson recorded the vocals for "One Tin Soldier", the title theme for the 1971 film Billy Jack , which was credited as "sung by Coven". The song, which went on to reach number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100, was written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter and was originally released by The Original Caste in 1969. Coven's version also reached the top 10 in Cash Box and was named the Number 1 Most Requested Song in 1971 and 1973 by American Radio Broadcasters. In 1971, the band released a self-titled album that included "One Tin Soldier" which was rated as a hot pick in Billboard and Cashbox.[ citation needed ] By this point, the occult posturing was toned down to just one spooky black cat and a band member surreptitiously flashing the sign of the horns on the album cover. Their third album, Blood on the Snow, was produced by Shel Talmy and released by Buddah Records in 1974. A music video was filmed for the title track.

The Billboard Hot 100 is the music industry standard record chart in the United States for songs, published weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on sales, radio play, and online streaming in the United States.

Dennis Lambert American record producer

Dennis Earle Lambert is an American musician, songwriter and record producer.

Brian August Potter is a British-born American pop music songwriter and record producer. With his writing partner, Dennis Lambert, Potter wrote and produced hits songs for the Four Tops, Tavares, The Grass Roots, Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds, Evie Sands, Coven, Hall and Oates, and Glen Campbell. Potter and Lambert were nominated for a Grammy Award for their production on Rhinestone Cowboy.

After multiple unlicensed CD releases of the Witchcraft album over the years, it was officially released on the band's own Nevoc label in 2007. The following year, Coven released Metal Goth Queen: Out of the Vault 1976–2007 on Nevoc, an album composed of previously unreleased recordings. Guest musicians on the album include Michael Monarch, Glenn Cornick (an original member of Jethro Tull), and Tommy Bolin, in some of his last recordings.[ citation needed ]Jinx, an album of new recordings, was self-released on Nevoc in 2013. Jinx Dawson recruited a new line up of musicians in late 2016 - early 2017 in order to perform at Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, The Netherlands on April 20, 2017. This was Coven's first performance in Europe. [4]

Discography

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References

  1. Lawson, Dom (24 November 2011). "Occult rock: do you believe in black magic?". The Guardian . Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  2. "Coven - Biography". Billboard . Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  3. "Have you heard this new album?" says a Strip hippie. "It's called Witchcraft. Destroys minds and reaps souls it says on the jacket...full of Black Mass stuff." Esquire, March 1970, page 119
  4. "Coven". Roadburn Festival . Archived from the original on 6 June 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2017.