Spooky Tooth

Last updated

Spooky Tooth
Origin Carlisle, England
Genres Hard rock, psychedelic rock, roots rock, progressive rock
Years active1967–1970, 1972–1974, 1998–1999, 2004, 2008–2009
Labels Island, CBS, A&M (U.S./Canada)
Associated acts The V.I.P.s
Past members Luther Grosvenor
Mike Harrison
Mike Kellie
Greg Ridley
Gary Wright
Andy Leigh
Henry McCullough
Alan Spenner
Chris Stainton
John Hawken
Steve Thompson
Bryson Graham
Ian Herbert
Mick Jones
Chris Stewart
Val Burke
Mike Patto
Joey Albrecht
Michael Becker
Steve Farris
Shem von Schroeck
Tom Brechtlein

Spooky Tooth were an English rock band. Principally active between 1967 and 1974 the band re-formed several times in later years.

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 Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on 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.



Prior to Spooky Tooth, four of the band's five founding members had performed in the band Art (formerly known as The V.I.P.s). Following the dissolution of Art, the members' of that band's final line-up (guitarist Luther Grosvenor, vocalist Mike Harrison, drummer Mike Kellie, and bassist Greg Ridley) joined forces with American keyboardist/vocalist Gary Wright in October 1967 and formed Spooky Tooth. Wright was introduced to the members of Art by Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records. [1]

The V.I.P.s were a British R&B musical ensemble formed in Carlisle, Cumberland, in late 1963, out of an earlier outfit known as The Ramrods, who had formed in Carlisle in 1960. After a change of personnel in April 1967, the band changed their name to Art, and released the album Supernatural Fairy Tales. They also participated in a bizarre psychedelic album entitled Featuring The Human Host And The Heavy Metal Kids by a collective known as Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, formed by Guy Stevens and an influential British graphic design and avant-garde musical partnership between Michael English and Nigel Waymouth. The musicians involved in that project were Mike Harrison on keys and vocals, Luther Grosvenor on guitars, Greg Ridley on bass and Mike Kellie on drums, as well as Stevens, English and Waymouth. It was the first time that the term heavy metal was ever used in music, even though that album had nothing to do with heavy metal music, being closer to psychedelic music. The album was issued in 1967 by Liberty Records and contained only five songs from two minutes to more than 15 minutes of psychedelic and almost meditative state kind of music.

Luther Grosvenor English rock musician

Luther James Grosvenor is an English rock musician, who played guitar in Spooky Tooth, briefly in Stealers Wheel and, under the pseudonym Ariel Bender, in Mott the Hoople and Widowmaker.

Mike Harrison (musician) British singer

Mike Harrison was an English musician, most notable as a principal lead singer of Spooky Tooth and as a solo artist. He was also the lead singer in The V.I.P.s, Art and the Hamburg Blues Band, among others.

The album Spooky Two (1969) was the last album release by the original lineup. It included the song "Better by You, Better than Me", which was covered by Judas Priest on their release Stained Class (1978).

<i>Spooky Two</i> 1969 by Spooky Tooth

Spooky Two is the second studio album by the English rock band Spooky Tooth. It was originally released in March 1969, on the label Island Records in 1969.

Song composition for voice(s)

A song is a single work of music that is typically intended to be sung by the human voice with distinct and fixed pitches and patterns using sound and silence and a variety of forms that often include the repetition of sections. Through semantic widening, a broader sense of the word "song" may refer to instrumentals.

"Better by You, Better than Me" is a 1969 song by the English rock band Spooky Tooth. The song was covered in 1978 by heavy metal band Judas Priest.

Ridley joined Humble Pie in 1969 and was replaced by Andy Leigh for the album Ceremony (1969). The experimental nature of Ceremony received mixed reviews and following its release Wright left the band. Harrison, Grosvenor and Kellie remained and recorded the album The Last Puff , with members of Joe Cocker's Grease Band.

<i>Ceremony</i> (Spooky Tooth and Pierre Henry album) album by Spooky Tooth and Pierre Henry

Ceremony is a 1969 album by progressive UK rock band Spooky Tooth in collaboration with French electronic and "found-object" composer Pierre Henry.

<i>The Last Puff</i> album by Spooky Tooth

The Last Puff is an album by British rock band Spooky Tooth, released in 1970.

Joe Cocker English rock and blues singer

John Robert "Joe" Cocker was an English singer. He was known for his gritty voice, spasmodic body movement in performance, and distinctive versions of popular songs of varying genres.

Singer Mike Harrison on stage with the band in the 1970s Spooky tooth 2.JPG
Singer Mike Harrison on stage with the band in the 1970s

In the autumn of 1970 the band embarked on a European tour that was undertaken with line-up of Harrison, Grosvenor, Kellie, keyboardist John Hawken (ex-Nashville Teens) and bassist Steve Thompson. Harrison and Wright reformed Spooky Tooth in September 1972 with a different line-up. The best known member of these line-ups was guitarist and vocalist Mick Jones. Mike Patto replaced Harrison when they recorded The Mirror (1974). They disbanded in November 1974. [2]

John Hawken British musician

John Christopher Hawken is an English keyboard player. He studied classical piano between the ages of four and eighteen at which point he succumbed to the lure of rock and roll. Hawken's first band was the Cruisers Rock Combo but he is possibly best known for his contributions to various versions of The Nashville Teens. He was then a founding member of Renaissance in 1969.

The Nashville Teens

The Nashville Teens are an English rock band, formed in Surrey in 1962. They are best known for their 1964 hit single "Tobacco Road", a top 10 UK hit and a top 20 hit in the United States.

Mick Jones (Foreigner guitarist) English rock guitarist (Spooky Tooth, Foreigner)

Michael Leslie Jones is an English musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer, best known as the founding member of the British-American rock band Foreigner. Prior to Foreigner, he was in the band Spooky Tooth.

After Spooky Tooth

Grosvenor later played with Stealers Wheel and joined Mott the Hoople in the 1970s (replacing Mick Ralphs who left to form Bad Company), adopting the name Ariel Bender. In 2005, he founded The Ariel Bender Band, with which he still occasionally performs. [3]

Stealers Wheel Scottish rock band

Stealers Wheel was a Scottish folk rock/rock band formed in 1972 in Paisley, Scotland, by former school friends Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty. Their best-known hit is "Stuck in the Middle with You". The band broke up in 1975 and re-formed briefly in 2008.

Mott the Hoople British rock band

Mott the Hoople are an English rock band with strong R&B roots, popular in the glam rock era of the early to mid-1970s. They are best known for the song "All the Young Dudes", written for them by David Bowie and appearing on their 1972 album of the same name.

Kellie later joined The Only Ones in the late 1970s also performing with them in 1980's. The band reformed in 2007. [4]

Ridley became a member of Humble Pie. He died in 2003.

Wright began to develop an international solo career in the 1970s and had a hit with the radio-friendly "Dream Weaver".

Harrison played and recorded with The Hamburg Blues Band and appeared on their CD Touch (2002). [5]

Harrison, Grosvenor, Ridley and Kellie reunited at points in 1997 and 1998, which resulted in an album, Cross Purpose , released in 1999.

In 2004, Harrison, Wright and Kellie were re-united as Spooky Tooth for two concerts in Germany, resulting in a DVD Nomad Poets (2007).

In 2006, Harrison released his first solo album in over thirty years, Late Starter .

In February 2008, the latest incarnation of Spooky Tooth, featuring Harrison, Wright and Kellie along with guitarist Steve Farris from Mr. Mister and Shem von Schroeck (bass), played a series of European dates. On 29 May 2009, this same lineup (with drummer Tom Brechtlein replacing Kellie) played at Island Records' 50th Anniversary at Shepherd's Bush Empire, before touring Germany.

In 2012, Mike Kellie started work on a solo album. [6]

Mike Kellie died on 18 January 2017 after a short illness, [7] [8] [9] and Mike Harrison died on 25 March 2018. [10]

Media depictions

The band was featured in the 1970 documentary Groupies.




1967 – 19691969 – 197019701970
  • Luther Grosvenor – guitar
  • Mike Harrison – vocals, keyboards
  • Mike Kellie – drums
  • Gary Wright – keyboards, vocals
  • Andy Leigh – bass
  • Luther Grosvenor – guitar
  • Mike Harrison – vocals, keyboards
  • Mike Kellie – drums
  • John Hawken – keyboards
  • Steve Thompson – bass
1970 – 19721972 – 19731973 – 19741974


  • Mike Harrison – vocals, keyboards
  • Bryson Graham – drums
  • Ian Herbert – bass
  • Mick Jones – guitar
  • Gary Wright – keyboards, vocals
  • Mike Harrison – vocals, keyboards
  • Mick Jones – guitar
  • Gary Wright – keyboards, vocals
  • Mike Kellie – drums
  • Chris Stewart – bass
  • Mick Jones – guitar
  • Gary Wright – keyboards, vocals
  • Val Burke – bass, vocals
  • Bryson Graham – drums
  • Mike Patto – vocals, keyboards
1974 – 19981998 – 19991999 – 20042004


  • Luther Grosvenor – guitar
  • Mike Harrison – vocals, keyboards
  • Mike Kellie – drums
  • Greg Ridley – bass


  • Mike Harrison – vocals, keyboards
  • Mike Kellie – drums
  • Joey Albrecht – guitar
  • Michael Becker – bass
  • Gary Wright – keyboards, vocals
2004 – 20082008 – 20092009


  • Mike Harrison – vocals, keyboards
  • Mike Kellie – drums
  • Gary Wright – keyboards, vocals
  • Steve Farris – guitar
  • Shem von Schroeck – bass
  • Mike Harrison – vocals, keyboards
  • Gary Wright – keyboards, vocals
  • Steve Farris – guitar
  • Shem von Schroeck – bass
  • Tom Brechtlein – drums


Spooky Tooth


Studio albums

Compilations, live and other albums


Related Research Articles

Henry McCullough British musician

Henry Campbell Liken McCullough was a Northern Irish guitarist, singer and songwriter. He was best known for his work as a member of Spooky Tooth, The Grease Band, and Paul McCartney and Wings. He also performed and recorded as a solo artist and session musician.

Gary Wright singer

Gary Malcolm Wright is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer best known for his 1976 hit songs "Dream Weaver" and "Love Is Alive", and for his role in helping establish the synthesizer as a leading instrument in rock and pop music. Wright's breakthrough album, The Dream Weaver (1975), came after he had spent seven years in London as, alternately, a member of the British heavy rock band Spooky Tooth and a solo artist on A&M Records. While in England, he played keyboards on former Beatle George Harrison's All Things Must Pass triple album (1970), so beginning a friendship that inspired the Indian religious themes and spirituality inherent in Wright's subsequent songwriting. His work since the late 1980s has embraced world music and the new age genre, although none of his post-1976 releases has matched the popularity of The Dream Weaver.

Bryson Macrae Graham was an English rock drummer, most notable as a member of Mainhorse, Spooky Tooth and Girl, and as a session musician.

Greg Ridley British musician

Alfred Gregory "Greg" Ridley was an English rock bassist and a founding member of Humble Pie.

Mike Kellie English rock drummer

Michael Alexander Kellie was an English musician, composer and record producer.

<i>Supernatural Fairy Tales</i> album

Supernatural Fairy Tales is the only album by Art, who were formerly known as The V.I.P.s. The album contains mostly band compositions plus a cover of The Young Rascals' "Come on Up" and Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth". Unusual for 1967, the album was issued in mono only.

<i>Its All About</i> 1968 album by Spooky Tooth

It's All About is the 1968 debut album of British band Spooky Tooth. The album was originally released in England by Island Records.

<i>The Mirror</i> (Spooky Tooth album) album from Spooky Tooth

The Mirror is an album by the British rock band Spooky Tooth. It was the only Spooky Tooth album to be released without contributions from Mike Harrison. It also was their last album for nearly twenty-five years, until Cross Purpose in 1999. The Mirror was released in October 1974, one month after group members had permanently disbanded. Members went on to form such bands as Foreigner and The Only Ones.

<i>Rainbow Rider</i> (album) album by Mike Harrison

Rainbow Rider is the third solo album by Mike Harrison, most notable as a principal lead singer for Spooky Tooth. It was released in 1975, on Island Records in North America, and Goodear Records in the United Kingdom. In addition to being part of Harrison's body of solo work, the album is notable as containing one of the earlier and comparatively rare recordings of the Bob Dylan song, "I'll Keep It With Mine", written in 1964 and recorded by Nico, Fairport Convention and Marianne Faithfull, among others. The album was recorded in Nashville, subsequent to Harrison's departure from Spooky Tooth, following the release of Witness (1973). The album features a number of Nashville's best known session musicians of that time, as well as Morgan Fisher, then of Mott the Hoople, and Mick Jones, formerly of Spooky Tooth and later founder of Foreigner. The album was produced and engineered by Chris Kimsey, whose reputation as a recording engineer had developed when he was the engineer on the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers, released in 1971. Rainbow Rider was one of Kimsey's first engagements as a producer. Still at an early stage of his career, Kimsey had produced Monkey Grip, the first Bill Wyman solo album, released in 1974, one year prior to Rainbow Rider.

<i>Cross Purpose</i> album by Spooky Tooth

Cross Purpose is the final album released by Spooky Tooth on Ruf Records in 1999. It was the first album released by the band in twenty-five years, following The Mirror, released in 1974, and the first album in thirty years to feature the majority of the original band lineup, which last recorded Spooky Two, in 1969.

<i>You Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw</i> album by Spooky Tooth

You Broke My Heart So ... I Busted Your Jaw is an album by Spooky Tooth, first released in 1973 on Island Records. It was the first album to be released after the band re-formed, following their 1970 breakup. Founding guitarist Luther Grosvenor did not rejoin the band, as he had joined Mott The Hoople as a guitarist, adopting the stage name of Ariel Bender. Grosvenor was replaced by Mick Jones, who later co-founded Foreigner while founding drummer Mike Kellie was replaced by Bryson Graham. The album was remastered and re-released with a bonus track on compact disc (CD) in January 2005 by Repertoire.

<i>Witness</i> (Spooky Tooth album) album by Spooky Tooth

Witness is an album released by Spooky Tooth in 1973. For this album, original drummer Mike Kellie returned and substantially replaced Bryson Graham. Gary Wright remained the dominant songwriter at this stage of the band's history. Co-lead singer Mike Harrison left the band following the release of the album. The album was remastered and re-released on compact disc (CD) in January 2005 by Repertoire Records.

<i>Footprint</i> (album) album by Gary Wright

Footprint is the second solo album by American musician Gary Wright, released in 1971 on A&M Records. It contains "Stand for Our Rights", an anthem-like song calling for social unity that was issued as a single in advance of the album. Wright recorded the majority of Footprint in London with a large cast of musicians – including George Harrison, Hugh McCracken, Alan White, Klaus Voormann, Jim Gordon, Jim Keltner and Bobby Keys – many of whom, like Wright, had played on Harrison's All Things Must Pass triple album in 1970. Harrison's contributions included an uncredited role as producer, and serve as an example of his support for Wright during the early stages of the latter's solo career. The ballad "Love to Survive" is one of three tracks that feature an orchestral arrangement by John Barham.


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 June 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2007.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 270. CN 5585.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 March 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. "The Only Ones – Official Website". Theonlyones.biz. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 December 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. "Mike Kellie, Drummer for Spooky Tooth, Dies". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  8. "Mike Kellie (The Only Ones, Spooky Tooth drummer ) RIP - Louder Than War". Louderthanwar.com. 19 January 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  9. "Drummer Mike Kellie dies aged 69". Musicweek.com. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  10. "Mike Harrison Of SPOOKY TOOTH Passed Away". DMME.net. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  11. "Spooky Tooth – Tobacco Road". Discogs.com. 7 May 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  12. https://www.top40.nl/top40/1970/week-41