The Bellamy Brothers - Letting your love flow. The life and times of the Bellamy Brothers.
The Bellamy Brothers
"Some things stay the same, some things just get better over time".
It was during the mid 80’s that I would often play beach volleyball during the time I was supposed to be in High School Spanish class. My brother and I would often head on down to Clearwater Beach, FL where the beach was as white as sugar and the volleyball nets were set up for hours of volleyball. After we were done, we would always walk by the Palm Pavillion where a live band would usually be performing “Red Neck Girl” by the Bellamy Brothers. As the sun started to set, I would often wonder about my childhood.
I could recall The Bellamy Brothers being played on the radio, or on my 8-track player. There was something about that green station wagon and 8-track player that made childhood fun for me. We lived in New Jersey at the time and I remember listening to the Phillies or Eagles games on the radio as well. Music and ball games were what we did as we waited for my mother to finish her shopping. Back then the favorite super market was called “ShopRite”. These stores are still around today, but there was a certain feeling that you got when you shopped there back in the day. A bit of nostalgia I guess.
It is amazing the feeling you get when you hear a song from the past. Not just any song, but one that truly made an impact on you as you grew up. Other than Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Jr., few artists and their music had an impact on my entire life like that of The Bellamy Brothers. Every time I hear their music, it allows me to reminisce about the “good old days”. Songs like, “Let Your Love Flow”, “Red Neck Girl”, and “When I’m Away From You,” and so many more hits that they sang during the 80’s and 90’s could make you fan of the Bellamy Brothers forever. There is not much in this life that makes you feel as good as music does. The Bellamy Brothers music was “feel good” music, and it had the ability to get you up and dancing, enjoying life, and forgetting all your troubles. How many bands can you say that about?
I know there are some millennials out there, who have no clue who the Bellamy Brothers are. Listen: you are missing out! If you are a country music fan, or even just a fan of music, you will be captivated by their style, vocals and ability to perform before crowds of people. They are a talented band, who have been able to maintain their sound regardless of the passage of time. They are true to their roots, and are not remotely looking to change for the sake of what seems trendy.
For those that do not know much about The Bellamy Brothers, I will give you a little bit of history about them and their music.
Howard and David Bellamy continue to prove that the trail they’ve ridden to fame has been as unique as their music itself—music that is now celebrating 40 years of success. A clear of example of “bucking the trends”.
The road that started on the pop music charts in the ‘70’s, took a winding turn into country music in the ‘80’s, paving the way for duos to come, such as Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry, Big & Rich, and previously—The Judds. But before the road forked into country, the musical odyssey of the brothers Bellamy started creatively smoldering in their home state of Florida, before exploding nationally amidst the ’70’s pop music culture of L.A.
The brothers first official gig was in 1968, playing a free show with their father at the Rattlesnake Roundup in San Antonio, Florida. They honed their early skills playing black clubs throughout the south, and singing backup for artists such as Percy Sledge, Eddie Floyd, and Little Anthony & The Imperials. Within a few months, the brothers moved north, immersing themselves and their rock/country sound in the Atlanta market, where the Allman Brothers were the emerging kings of the music world.
With the dawning of the Age of Aquarius on the horizon, and America embroiled in a smoke haze of drugs, civil unrest and an unpopular war, The Bellamy's music picked up the hard driving edge that bespoke the times. Songwriting had become David Bellamy’s drug of choice during the long road gigs he and Howard were regularly pulling bodies and equipment to and from. It was his songwriting that was poised to soon provide the duo a national breakout.
The break came in the form of the hit, “Spiders & Snakes,” written by David and recorded by Jim Stafford. The song became a smash, eventually selling more than three million units worldwide. It became the catapult that rocketed the brother onto the L.A. music scene. Young and impressionable, Howard and David fell into the musical circles of the greats of the day: Bob Dylan, James Taylor, and Van Morrison, as well as West Coast-based country rockers like Poco and the Byrds.
It was a creative shoe that fit.
Now known by their music and the company they were keeping, The Bellamys officially lifted off the launch pad in 1976 when their single, “Let Your Love Flow,” became an instant smash in both the U.S. and Europe. It stayed on the international charts long enough to build a huge international fan base for the hip young brothers that endures to this day.
Their popularity in Europe wasn’t something I had been aware of, until this interview. I believe we often fixate on what is happening within our own country when it comes to music. However, I’m hoping to change that with the Country Music Vibe platform. Now, that you know a bit more about the Bellamy Brothers, let’s get to the interview portion:
CMV: There is so much more to your creative songwriting and history, that this article alone will not be able to cover. However, we wanted to ask you some questions, that would allow for your fans old and new, to get to know you just a little bit better. However, we want to start by thanking you, for this opportunity.
CMV: It was exciting to see that you are sort of neighbors of ours. We both live in Florida, and you live outside of the Tampa Bay Area, is that correct?
TBS: Yes, we live North of Tampa on our family ranch.
CMV: Excellent. We are proud supporters of The Bellamy Brothers. Even if you didn’t live in Florida. The Bellamy Brothers have been one of our favorite bands since we were children. There is a uniqueness to your songs, and there is a guarantee that listening to your music is going to put you in a good mood. That would probably be just one of the reasons why your music has withstood the test of time. From your perspective, what one particular reason why you would say your music has been so successful over the years?
TBS: Hard to pinpoint what has given our music staying power but of course we’re very happy it’s stood the test of time so far.
CMV: Your bio mentions, that in 1968 you started out as backup singers for the likes of Percy Sledge, Eddie Floyd, and Little Anthony & The Imperials. Wow, that is an opportunity of a lifetime. Those are some heavy hitters for that time period. When did you realize it was time to go out on your own, and that it was time to move on from the shadows of these bands?
TBS: We used to have a band that performed Country, Rock R&B and Gospel and Reggae, we found that we could work more the more styles we played, a lot of the R&B groups used to come thru Florida and use us a backup bands for the duration of the tour so we ended up backing some legendary acts in those days but we were always interested in developing our own sound and direction.
CMV: If you had to classify your music, what genre would you say it falls within? Because I notice a tendency for your sound to be closer to the country genre. Like one of my favorite songs “Red Neck Girl”.
TBS: We usually just called our music ‘Gumbo’ cause it has a lot of different ingredients.
CMV: When I think about my taste in music, and even why I provide a platform for talented country music artists, I think about the influence my mother has had on me throughout the years. She always told me, to never allow yourself to get stuck listening to one type of music. Give them all a chance. I did exactly that, and have become fans of different groups over the decades of my life. However, I had the inclination to favor southern rock and country music. It seems like I connected with those genres of music over any other. That being said, what would you say is your influence for the songs that you have produced over the years?
TBS: Many different influences, Gospel, Rock, Country, Folk, we just like good songs, no matter what genre it falls under.
CMV: There seems to be a continuous debate over the popularity of the traditional style of country music vs the modern flavor of country music. I can personally say that my preference is for old-school country, such as Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Sr., Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline to name a few examples. However, I am open to country music from each decade. I remember when Allan Jackson and Toby Keith was considered a threat to the sound of country music. Now, people consider them the traditional sound of country music. I believe, that each generation is entitled to their own perspective of what country music is to them. What is your opinion?
TBS: I don’t think the quality of music is as good as it used to be, the writers, producers, artists are not as unique or diverse but like you said, eveyone’s entitled to like what they like.
CMV: I know your time is limited, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of it asking you questions. However, I have to get in just a few last ones if that is ok?
CMV: With the amount of competition on a worldwide scale, what is the one thing that you can suggest for talented artists that are trying to make it within the country music industry?
TBS: I don’t think we’re very qualified to give advice but if I had to I’d say do exactly opposite of what the rest of the herd is doing.
CMV: We hear through the grapevine that there is a possible book being published about the Bellamy Brothers, do you want to expand on that? What would you like to tell your fans regarding the book, and when will it be available for purchase?
TBS: The book’s official release date is April 17th, we’d like to add that we hope everyone enjoys reading it.
CMV: Country Music Vibe wants to encourage everyone, who are fans of the Bellamy Brothers to go out and download their music online. Also, as they mention, there is a book that they have written that you will also want to look for. We want to take this time to thank The Bellamy Brothers for allowing us to interview them. I am positive that old and new fans alike will be happy to read this interview.
TBS: Thanks so much, it was our pleasure.