Chad Mitchell was America’s favorite singer during the ’70s. After a decade of singing for Elvis Presley, he embarked on an exciting solo career with top 10 hits like “Wild Thing.” His music remains popular among radio stations today.
Chad Mitchell is a singer and songwriter. He has released nine studio albums, one live album, and three compilation albums. His most successful songs include “I’m Yours”, “In My Arms”, “Hallelujah” and “The Boxer”.
The Chad Mitchell Trio was a major vocal attraction on the college and club folk circuit in the early 1960s, rivaling for a time its slightly more established rivals the Kingston Trio and ’60s newcomers Peter, Paul, and Mary. They could have been one of the most lasting folk trios of the 1960s if their record company hadn’t made a mistake.
Although the Chad Mitchell Trio was strongly connected with New York City during their peak years, when they produced three live recordings in as many years, they were really from the other end of the country. When Chad Mitchell (born 1936) of Portland, Oregon, was a choral scholarship student at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, he met Mike Kobluk (born 1937) of British Columbia. In 1958, they created a trio with a third student, Mike Pugh, and called themselves the Chad Mitchell Trio since his name sounded the best. The following year, as the folk music revival was just getting started, they headed to New York City and landed a four-week gig at the Blue Angel nightclub in Greenwich Village, which was quickly extended to twelve weeks, with South African singer Miriam Makeba and comedian Shelley Berman on the bill. Harry Belafonte chose both Makeba and the Chad Mitchell Trio to perform with him at the Carnegie Hall performance, which was recorded and distributed by RCA.
In 1960, the group signed with Colpix Records and produced just one album, The Chad Mitchell Trio Arrives, which went virtually unnoticed by the audience. The Chad Mitchell Trio did get musical adviser Milt Okun as a result of that endeavor, who guided them to the tunes best suited to their talents and helped them avoid sounding too much like the Kingston Trio. Mike Pugh left the band shortly after the album’s release, and was replaced by baritone Joe Frazier (born 1939, Lebanon, Pennsylvania), who had classical vocal training and had sang with the Robert Shaw Chorale and in the choruses of many Broadway musicals. Jim McGuinn, a guitarist who had started to establish a name for himself locally and through a stint as a backup musician with the Limeliters, joined the group around the same time. McGuinn stayed with the band until 1963, when he left for Los Angeles and ultimate rock fame as a co-founder of the Byrds (he can be seen in the background of the At the Bitter End album cover picture).
In 1961, the group was signed to Kapp Records, a subsidiary of MCA. The folk music renaissance was in full swing at the time, and the band found a warm and welcoming crowd at the Brooklyn College performance that was recorded as Mighty Day on Campus. This live recording was so successful that Kapp Records and the trio agreed that this was the finest method to capture the band, and their second album, At the Bitter End, was recorded in the same manner from the famous Greenwich Village club the following year.
By this time, the Chad Mitchell Trio had established themselves as one of the most prominent folk bands in a market crowded with male and mixed male/female vocal ensembles. Part of their success, both onstage and in the studio, was that they presented a careful mix of topical songs and humor, with some of the latter, while at times topical (their recording of “The John Birch Society” remains a very funny song, as well as the likely inspiration for Bob Dylan’s formerly banned “Talking John Birch Society Blues”), also being just plain goofy. They were seen as humorous and irreverent, but not “threatening,” and reasonable rather than radical, qualities that may have helped them be selected for a Kennedy White House cultural exchange program and dispatched on a tour of South America, while more politically oriented folk ensembles were turned over. Of course, the trio’s “irreverence” made them anathema to the more radical political elements who eventually dominated folk music, and subsequently folk-rock. But it worked effectively in 1962, and no one questioned their or their records’ relevance. Furthermore, the group’s singing was flawless, much more so than the Kingston Trio’s, particularly with Frazier in the lineup. They were equally adept at blues (“Alberta”) and inspiring songs, and could produce soaring harmonies with apparently little effort.
The Chad Mitchell Trio’s first major issues arose over Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind.” When the group heard the song in 1962, Dylan was still relatively obscure, thanks to a tape given to them by Milt Okun, who had received it through Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman. They were anxious to record it, but their Kapp producer refused to let them to do so, either as a single or as a track on their upcoming new album, The Chad Mitchell Trio in Action. When Peter, Paul, and Mary (also Okun protégés) recorded “Blowin’ in the Wind,” it became a number two single, instantly establishing them as the best-known folk trio of the early 1960s — their accompanying album, and most of their subsequent records, routinely sold in the hundreds of thousands and millions, while the Chad Mitchell Trio were selling in the tens of thousands. To make things worse, Kapp Records hurriedly re-pressed and re-released the In Action album in 1963 under the title Blowin’ in the Wind, in an attempt to correct its error. However, not only had the group’s financial fortunes been harmed, but also its relationship with its producer and label.
Ironically, more than a year later, the newly formed duo of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, attempting to cash in on the folk boom, chose two songs from the Chad Mitchell Trio’s At the Bitter End album, Bob Gibson and Hamilton Camp’s “You Can Tell the World” and Ed McCurdy’s “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream,” as the opening songs of their debut acoustic album. That album and those two songs did little to change the face of popular music at the time; however, more than a year later, one of the other songs on the album, Paul Simon’s “The Sounds of Silence,” was redubbed with electric instruments into a Byrds soundalike track and topped the U.S. charts, launching Simon & Garfunkel’s superstar careers and ensuring that their covers of Chad Mitchell’s songs became well-known. A switch to Mercury Records in 1965 did not resolve the situation, as the new individuals in charge of their recording career viewed the period of folk trios fading and sought to promote Chad Mitchell as a solo act instead. The conflicts between Mitchell, Frazier, and Kobluk became worse, owing to Mitchell’s apparent advantage in terms of name recognition, and a name change to the Mitchell Trio didn’t help matters much.
By then, the commercial moment had passed — Dylan had gone electric, and with him, rock had enslaved the majority of the folk audience; the group’s opportunity for huge record sales had passed, despite the fact that they continued to record for another two years. Mitchell departed the trio in 1965, and was replaced by a teenage John Denver, and the group was renamed the Mitchell Trio. Denver kept a trio together with new members David Boise and Mike Johnson under the name Denver, Boise & Johnson until his own solo career began in 1969 on RCA, courtesy of Milt Okun’s efforts. Frazier left two years later, and Kobluk left a year later — Denver kept a trio together with new members David Boise and Mike Johnson under the name Denver, Boise & Johnson until his own solo career began in 1969 on RCA, courtesy of Milt Okun
In the years afterwards, the original members of the legendary Chad Mitchell Trio — Mitchell, Frazier, and Kobluk — have reunited on occasion to perform for fans who recall the glory days of the early 1960s folk revival. The group’s records for Kapp, Colpix, and Mercury were released at different periods, with the later material receiving the most attention, in order to capitalize on John Denver’s popularity in the 1970s. Denver has also attended a few of these get-togethers.
Chad Mitchell is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor. He is best known for his work with the rock band Bon Jovi. Chad was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to a father who played professional football for the Pittsburgh Steelers and a mother who taught at Carnegie Mellon University. Reference: how old is chad mitchell.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are the Chad Mitchell Trio still alive?
A: The Chad Mitchell Trio are not only still alive, but they also toured the world in 2016.
What happened to the Chad Mitchell Trio?
A: The group was active from the late 50s and disbanded in 1968.
Where is the Chad Mitchell Trio from?
A: The Chad Mitchell Trio is a folk and Americana music group. They were active from the late 1950s until their retirement in 2013, though they still remain active as of 2015.
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