Ebony Eyes – Bob Welch – 1978

bob-welch-ebony-eyes-1978From Fleetwood Mac to solo performer – Bob Welch’s highest charting solo hit came in 1978 with Ebony Eyes.

bob welch fax

  • Born in Los Angeles, Bob Welch was the son of Robert L. Welch, who worked as a producer for at Paramount Pictures.  He produced films starring, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, and TV programmes such as Bonanza.  Bob’s mother, Templeton Fox, was a singer and actress who worked with Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre in Chicago and appeared in numerous television programmes and movies.
  • bob-welch-3In 1964, Bob joined the band, The Seven Souls, as a guitarist.  That year they lost a battle of the bands competition and a contract with Epic Records… the winners? Sly and the Family Stone.
  • When the band broke up, Bob played with a variety of bands but with little success until 1971.  That was the year he was invited to join blues band Fleetwood Mac.  With fellow newcomer Christine McVie, Bob helped steer the band towards the more melodic sound we know them for today.
  • What followed were a number of Fleetwood Mac albums and continuing friction within the band which saw onstage bickering, offstage frustration and lawsuits.
  • By 1974, Bob was Fleetwood Mac’s one and only guitarist.  The Heroes Are Hard album was released and, for the first time, the band cracked the US top 40 (#34 on the albums chart).
  • It was also Bob’s last year with the band; he resigned from Fleetwood Mac in December 1974 and was replaced by Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.
  • Of the Fleetwood Mac albums on which Welch appeared, American album sales totalled 500,000 units shipped between 1971 and 2000 for Future Games; 1 million units of Bare Trees between 1972 and 1988; and 500,000 units of Mystery to Me between 1973 and 1976, when it was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America – these figures were important in later years when Bob sued the band for withholding royalties.
  • Meanwhile, the band’s new incarnation achieved superstar status with the albums Fleetwood Mac (1975) and Rumours (1977), which shipped 5 million and 19 million units in the US alone, both reaching #1 in the US.
  • Bitterness returned to the band when Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, original band members Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie were named to the Hall, as were Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.  Bob, however, despite anchoring the band for several years and five albums, was not.  Bob was quoted as saying,

My era was the bridge era.  It was a transition. But it was an important period in the history of the band. Mick Fleetwood dedicated a whole chapter of his biography to my era of the band and credited me with ‘saving Fleetwood Mac.’ Now they want to write me out of the history of the group. It hurts.

  • In 1975, Welch formed the short-lived trio Paris; other members were ex-Jethro Tull bassist Glenn Cornick and former Nazz drummer Thom Mooney.
  • Bob WelchThen, in September 1977, Bob released his first solo album, French Kiss, featuring contributions from Mick Fleetwood, Lindsay Buckingham and Christine McVie.  It peaked #12 on US album chart in 1978 and yielded three hit singles: a revamped version of Sentimental Lady produced by Buckingham and McVie (#8), the Ebony Eyes (#14; featuring Juice Newton on backing vocals) and Hot Love, Cold World (#31).
  • Three Hearts, Bob’s 1979 follow-up album, peaked at #20.  Other solo albums followed, as did a close relationship with Guns N’ Roses.  Slash and the boys rehearsed in his garage and introduced him to a short lived cocaine and heroin addiction.  
  • Bob continued to release albums through the 90s and even in the 2000’s; his last being in 2011
  • On June 7, 2012, at the age of 66, Welch committed suicide in his Nashville home.  His wife explained that Bob had undergone spinal surgery three months earlier.  Doctors told him that he would not fully recover. He was in serious pain and he did not want his wife to have to care for an invalid.

ebony eyes fax

  • Ebony Eyes was written and recorded by Bob Welch.
  • Ebony Eyes was the second single release from Bob’s album French Kiss and featured BVs by Juice Newton.
  • Ebony Eyes peaked at #12 on the US singles chart. 
  • The song should not be confused with the Everly Brothers hit of the same name
  • Ebony Eyes lyrics.

ebony eyes – bob welch – 1978

ebony eyes – bob welch & stevie nicks – 1981

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