Mark Farner

Last updated

Mark Farner
Mark Farner (2009).jpg
Mark Farner performing at the Fall Fest in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, September 26, 2009.
Background information
Born (1948-09-29) September 29, 1948 (age 70)
Flint, Michigan, U.S.
Genres Rock, hard rock, CCM
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals, keyboards, harmonica, bass guitar
Years active1965–present
Labels Capitol, MCA, Atlantic, Warner, Lismark
Associated acts Grand Funk Railroad, Terry Knight and the Pack, N'rG, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer, Dave Mason

Mark Fredrick Farner (born September 29, 1948) is an American singer, guitarist and songwriter, best known as the lead singer and lead guitarist for Grand Funk Railroad, and later as a contemporary Christian musician.

Grand Funk Railroad American band

Grand Funk Railroad, sometimes shortened as Grand Funk, is an American rock band popular during the 1970s, when they toured extensively and played to packed arenas worldwide. David Fricke of Rolling Stone magazine once said, "You cannot talk about rock in the 1970s without talking about Grand Funk Railroad!" Known for their crowd-pleasing arena rock style, the band was well-regarded by audiences despite a relative lack of critical acclaim. The band's name is a play on words of the Grand Trunk Western Railroad, a line that runs through the band's home town of Flint, Michigan.

Contemporary Christian music genre of modern popular music

Contemporary Christian music is a genre of modern popular music which is lyrically focused on matters concerned with the Christian faith. It formed as those affected by the 1960s Jesus movement revival began to express themselves in a more contemporary style of music than the hymns, Gospel and Southern gospel music that was prevalent in the church at the time. Today, the term is typically used to refer to pop, rock, or praise & worship styles.


Early life and career

Farner began his career in music by playing in Terry Knight and The Pack (1965–1966), The Bossmen (1966), The Pack (aka The Fabulous Pack) (1967–1968), before forming Grand Funk Railroad with Don Brewer (drums) and Mel Schacher (bass guitar) in 1968.[ citation needed ] Craig Frost (keyboards) joined the band in 1973. Farner has Cherokee ancestry from his maternal side. [1]

Terry Knight was an American rock and roll music producer, promoter, singer, songwriter and radio personality, who enjoyed some success in radio, modest success as a singer, but phenomenal success as the original manager-producer for Grand Funk Railroad and the producer for Bloodrock.

Donald George Brewer is an American drummer who is best known as the drummer and co-lead singer of American rock band Grand Funk Railroad.

Mel Schacher American musician

Melvin George "Mel" Schacher is best known as the bassist for rock band Grand Funk Railroad.

With Grand Funk Railroad

Farner was the guitarist and lead singer for Grand Funk Railroad as well as the songwriter for most of their material. His best-known composition is the 1970 epic "I'm Your Captain (Closer to Home)". [2] He also wrote the 1975 hit "Bad Time", the last of the band's four singles to make the top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. [3]

"I'm Your Captain " is a 1970 song written by American musician Mark Farner and recorded by Grand Funk Railroad as the closing track to their album Closer to Home. Ten minutes in duration, it is the band's longest studio recording. One of the group's best-known songs, it is composed as two distinct but closely related movements. Its title has been rendered in various ways across many different Grand Funk albums, including "I'm Your Captain", "I'm Your Captain/Closer to Home", "Closer to Home/I'm Your Captain", "Closer to Home ", and "Closer to Home".

Bad Time 1975 song performed by Grand Funk Railroad

"Bad Time" is a song written by Mark Farner and performed by Grand Funk. The song reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 on 7–14 June 1975. The song appeared on the band's 1974 album, All the Girls in the World Beware!!!

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.

Post-Grand Funk Railroad

After Grand Funk initially disbanded in 1976, Farner released his first self-titled solo album in 1977, [4] and his second, No Frills, in 1978 (both Atlantic Records). [5] In 1981, Farner and Don Brewer launched a new Grand Funk line-up with bassist Dennis Bellinger and recorded two albums, Grand Funk Lives and What's Funk? .[ citation needed ] Farner went solo again with 1988's Just Another Injustice on Frontline Records. [6] His third Frontline release was 1991's Some Kind of Wonderful, which featured a revamped Jesus version of the Grand Funk classic of the same name. Farner enjoyed success with the John Beland composition "Isn't it Amazing", which earned him a Dove Award nomination and reached No. 2 on the Contemporary Christian music charts.[ citation needed ]

<i>Grand Funk Lives</i> album by Grand Funk Railroad

Grand Funk Lives is the 12th studio album by Grand Funk Railroad. It was their first album since disbanding in 1976. Although known as a reunion album, it did not feature bassist Mel Schacher or keyboard player Craig Frost. The album was the first to feature bassist Dennis Bellinger and the first and only to feature keyboardist Lance Duncan Ong.

<i>Whats Funk?</i> album by Grand Funk Railroad

What's Funk? is the 13th studio album by Grand Funk Railroad, released in 1983.

In the 1990s, Farner formed Lismark Communications with former Freedom Reader editor Steve Lisuk. Soon after, Farner began reissuing his solo albums on his own record label, LisMark Records. [7]

From 1994 to 1995, Farner toured with Ringo Starr's Allstars, which also featured Randy Bachman, John Entwistle, Felix Cavaliere, Billy Preston, and Starr's son, Zak Starkey. [8]

Ringo Starr British musician, drummer of the Beatles

Sir Richard Starkey, known professionally as Ringo Starr, is an English musician, singer, songwriter and actor who gained worldwide fame as the drummer for the Beatles. He occasionally sang lead vocals with the group, usually for one song on each album, including "With a Little Help from My Friends", "Yellow Submarine", "Good Night", and their cover of "Act Naturally". He also wrote and sang the Beatles' songs "Don't Pass Me By" and "Octopus's Garden", and is credited as a co-writer of others, including "What Goes On" and "Flying".

Randy Bachman Canadian musician

Randolph Charles Bachman, is a Canadian musician best known as lead guitarist, songwriter and a founding member of the 1960s and 1970s rock bands The Guess Who and Bachman–Turner Overdrive. Bachman was also a member of Brave Belt, Union and Ironhorse, and has recorded numerous solo albums.

John Entwistle English musician, singer-songwriter and record producer, bassist for The Who

John Alec Entwistle was an English bass guitarist, singer, songwriter, and film and music producer. In a music career that spanned more than 40 years, Entwistle was best known as the original bass guitarist for the English rock band The Who. He was the only member of the band to have formal musical training. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Who in 1990.

In the late 1990s, Farner reunited with Grand Funk, but left after three years to resume his solo career. He currently tours with his band, N'rG, which plays a mixture of Grand Funk songs and Farner's solo offerings. [7]

Farner had a pacemaker installed October 22, 2012, having struggled with heart troubles for the previous eight years. [9]

Mark Farner was voted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame as a solo artist in 2015. He had previously been inducted as a member of both Grand Funk Railroad and Terry Knight & The Pack. [10]

Other interests

Farner was honored with the Lakota Sioux Elders Honor Mark in 1999. During the concert in Hankinson, North Dakota, a special presentation was held honoring Mark's Native ancestry and his contributions. Members of the Lakota Nation presented him with a hand-made ceremonial quilt. [11] He has also been honored with the Cherokee Medal of Honor by the Cherokee Honor Society. [11]

An authorized biography of Farner, entitled From Grand Funk to Grace, was published in 2001. [12]

Mark Farner is mentioned by Homer Simpson in The Simpsons episode, "Homerpalooza", in season 7, episode 24 of the series. As Homer drives his children and their friends to school, Grand Funk is on the car radio. The children do not like it and ask him to change the station when he responds, "you kids don't know Grand Funk? The wild, shirtless lyrics of Mark Farner. The bong-rattling bass of Mel Schacher. The competent drum work of Don Brewer?" [13]

Mark Farner was mentioned in episode 9 of season 8 of the HBO comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm in September 2011. [14]


Studio albums

With Grand Funk Railroad

Other albums

Related Research Articles

<i>Good Singin, Good Playin</i> 1976 studio album by Grand Funk Railroad

Good Singin', Good Playin' is 11th studio album by Grand Funk Railroad, released by MCA Records in 1976.

<i>On Time</i> album by Grand Funk Railroad

On Time is Grand Funk Railroad's first studio album, released in August 1969 by Capitol Records. It was produced by Terry Knight.

<i>Grand Funk</i> (album) 1969 studio album by Grand Funk Railroad

Grand Funk is Grand Funk Railroad's second studio album and was released in December 1969 by Capitol Records. It was produced by Terry Knight and engineered by Ken Hamann. This release was certified by RIAA with a gold record award, the first for the group. It includes a cover of The Animals' "Inside Looking Out" which is still a cornerstone of the band's live concerts today. Other key tracks include "Got This Thing on the Move", "In Need", and "Paranoid". The inside spread photograph of the trio, for the original album release, was used for the now infamous, $100,000, block-long and several stories high New York CityTimes Square billboard ad for the album Closer to Home (1970). It stayed up longer than the contracted time due to a strike by the painters union. Mel Schacher's "fuzz" bass tone gained as much prominence as Mark Farner's guitar and Don Brewer's drums and remained a co-lead instrument until 1972's Phoenix, when it was toned down slightly.

<i>Closer to Home</i> 1970 studio album by Grand Funk Railroad

Closer to Home is Grand Funk Railroad's third studio album and was released on June 15, 1970 by Capitol Records. It was produced by Terry Knight. This album reached RIAA gold record status in 1970, making it the group's third gold record in one year. The songs "Sin's a Good Man's Brother" and "Aimless Lady" were later covered by South African group Suck. "Sin's a Good Man's Brother" was also covered by the band Monster Magnet on their first full-length album Spine of God (1991), by former Dokken guitarist George Lynch on his 2004 covers album "Furious George", and by Gov't Mule on their album The Deep End, Volume 1 (2001). The album's inside artwork shows a live photo of the band performing at Madison Square Garden in February 1970.

<i>Survival</i> (Grand Funk Railroad album) 1971 studio album by Grand Funk Railroad

Survival is Grand Funk Railroad's fourth studio album and was released in April 1971 by Capitol Records. It was produced by Terry Knight. Drummer Don Brewer was never happy with the drum sound on the album, due to Knight's insistence of having Brewer cover his drum heads with tea-towels, after seeing Ringo Starr using that technique in the Beatles' film Let It Be (1970).

<i>E Pluribus Funk</i> 1971 studio album by Grand Funk Railroad

E Pluribus Funk is Grand Funk Railroad's fifth studio album and was released in November 1971 by Capitol Records. Like previous Grand Funk Railroad albums, it was recorded at Cleveland Recording Company and is the final album produced by Terry Knight. The title is a play on the former motto of the US government, E pluribus unum. The original release cover was completely round and covered with a silver-like film to resemble a large coin. The back side of the cover of this album included a die cast picture of Shea Stadium to celebrate Grand Funk beating The Beatles' Shea Stadium attendance record by selling out in just 72 hours.

<i>Phoenix</i> (Grand Funk Railroad album) 1972 studio album by Grand Funk Railroad

Phoenix is the sixth studio album by the rock band Grand Funk Railroad. It was released in 1972 on Capitol Records. The album was produced by Grand Funk and marks the band's first album not produced by Terry Knight. "Rock & Roll Soul" was released as a single and went to #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972.

<i>Were an American Band</i> 1973 studio album by Grand Funk Railroad

We're an American Band is the seventh studio album by American hard rock band Grand Funk Railroad, credited as Grand Funk. The album was released by Capitol Records on July 15, 1973 and was certified gold by the RIAA a little over a month after its release. Two singles were released from the album. The first single, "We're an American Band", was released on July 2, 1973 and the second, "Walk Like a Man", was released on October 29, 1973. Both singles were sung by drummer Don Brewer. There is an addition to the band on this release - Craig Frost - who plays the organ, clavinet and Moog. Craig was credited as an additional musician on "Phoenix" which was released the previous year.

<i>Caught in the Act</i> (Grand Funk Railroad album) 1975 live album by Grand Funk Railroad

Caught in the Act is Grand Funk Railroad's second live album and was released in August 1975 by Capitol Records as a double album. It was recorded live on tour in 1975 and features "The Funkettes" — Lorraine Feather and Jana King.

Terry Knight and the Pack was an American garage rock band formed in Flint, Michigan in 1965. The band was signed to the Lucky Eleven label throughout most of its short recording career, and they produced one national hit with their cover version of the song, "I ". Despite their inability to replicate their success, the band was still a frequent attraction in the Michigan rock scene. The Pack was fronted by singer, Terry Knight. In 1967, the group disbanded, but two of the members of the band, drummer/vocalist Don Brewer and guitarist Mark Farner, would later go on to form another band, Grand Funk Railroad.

<i>Bosnia</i> (album) 1997 live album by Grand Funk Railroad

Bosnia is a live recording by the American rock band Grand Funk Railroad. The concert was a benefit performance for the nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was recorded live March 1997 at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

<i>Born to Die</i> (Grand Funk Railroad album) 1976 studio album by Grand Funk Railroad

Born to Die is the 10th studio album by Grand Funk Railroad, released in 1976.

<i>All the Girls in the World Beware!!!</i> 1974 studio album by Grand Funk Railroad

All the Girls in the World Beware!!! is the ninth studio album by American hard rock band Grand Funk Railroad. The album was released by Capitol Records in December 1974 and was the group's second album released that year. The first single from the album, "Some Kind of Wonderful", was released on December 16, 1974 and its follow-up, "Bad Time", was released on March 24, 1975. A Quadraphonic mix of the album was available on the Quadraphonic 8-Track cartridge format.

<i>Shinin On</i> 1974 studio album by Grand Funk Railroad

Shinin' On is the eighth album by Grand Funk Railroad and was released in 1974. Although not as successful as its predecessor, We're an American Band (1973), it peaked at #5 in the US and was certified gold, and its first single, a cover of "The Loco-Motion" topped the U.S. charts. The original cover was done in bi-visual 3-D and included the required blue and red lensed glasses to view it. A Quadraphonic mix of the album was available in the Quadraphonic 8-Track cartridge format. The title song was featured in The Simpsons' 7th season episode "Homerpalooza" on May 19, 1996.

<i>Thirty Years of Funk: 1969–1999</i> 1999 box set by Grand Funk Railroad

Thirty Years of Funk: 1969–1999 is a 1999 box set by Grand Funk Railroad, containing three new songs and several previously unreleased songs.

Grand Funk Hits is a greatest hits compilation by Grand Funk Railroad originally released in 1976 on Capitol Records (LP-ST-11579). It peaked at number 126 on the Billboard 200.


  1. Smith, Noel Lyn. "Grand Funk's frontman to rock Jackson arena". Retrieved April 11, 2010.
  2. Grand Funk Railroad. VH1 Behind the Music. March 7, 1999.
  3. Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955–2002. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. p. 288. ISBN   0-89820-155-1.
  4. "Mark Farner - Mark Farner".
  6. "Mark Farner - Just Another Injustice".
  7. 1 2 "Mark Farner - Mark Farner's N'rG Band Live!".
  8. "'Funk' frontman headlines special concert". Branson Tri-Lakes News. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  9. "Oldies Music News" . Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  10. Johnson, Gary. "Michigan Rock and Roll Legends - MARK FARNER". Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  11. 1 2 "Lakota Sioux Elders Honor Mark, Ceremonial Quilt Presented". Mark Farners Official Website. August 28, 1999. Archived from the original on October 23, 2006. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
  12. Engelhardt, Kristofer (2001). From Grand Funk to Grace: Authorized Biography of Mark Farner. Collector's Guide Publishing, Inc. ISBN   978-1-896522-74-6.
  13. "The Simpsons 3F21 Episode Script - SS". Springfield! Springfield!. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  14. "Curb Your Enthusiasm s08e09 Episode Script - SS". Springfield! Springfield!. Retrieved November 11, 2015.