As any good hip-hop head knows, no record collection is complete without some Average White Band LPs in it. The Scottish funk and soul ensemble, who had a mega-hit with 1974’s “Pick Up the Pieces,” is a well-known DJ staple, and they’ve been sampled by some of hip-hop’s heaviest hitters like the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Gang Starr, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest.
Far from being solely a throwback novelty, the Average White Band is a do-what-you-love, die-hard example of longevity. When hip-hop was still wearing diapers, the Average White Band was stringing together hits, accumulating Grammy nods, and producing gold-selling records. After 40 years and more than 20 albums, they’re still going strong.
Determined not to be just another young and talented British band, they got their first big break in 1973 when they were invited to play at the Rainbow Concert, Eric Clapton’s comeback event. Their performance received rave reviews and the band was immediately offered a record deal.
Over the years, the Average White Band has survived tragedy, numerous line-up changes and a mid-1980s break from music altogether, but in the end, they keep on truckin’. Known primarily for their disco-esque guitar licks, booty-shaking basslines, funky horn section, tight and snappy drumwork, catchy keyboard riffs and soulful lyrics, the Average White Band is one of few blue-eyed soul groups to be embraced by the R&B community at large, and their music is widely celebrated by pop, soul and hip-hop artists and audiences around the world.
The Average White Band brings its unique brand of funk, disco, jazz, pop and soul to the Bay Area with a show at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 7:30pm.