The Foundations Biography

Formed in January 1967, the Foundations were discovered by London record dealer Barry Class as they rehearsed in the Butterfly, a club situated in a basement below his office. He introduced the group to songwriters Tony Macaulay and John Macleod, whose composition ‘Baby, Now That I’ve Found You’ became the group’s debut release. An engaging slice of commercial pop/soul, the single soared to the top of the UK charts and by February 1968 had reached number 9 in the USA, with global sales eventually exceeding three million. The group’s multiracial line-up included Clem Curtis (28 November 1940, Trinidad, West Indies; vocals), Alan Warner (b. 21 April 1947, London, England; guitar), Tony Gomez (b. 13 December 1948, Colombo, Sri Lanka; organ), Pat Burke (b. 9 October 1937, Jamaica, West Indies; tenor saxophone, flute), Mike Elliot (b. 6 August 1929, Jamaica, West Indies; tenor saxophone), Eric Allandale (b. 4 March 1936, Dominica, West Indies, d. September 2001; trombone), Peter Macbeth (b. 2 February 1943, London, England; bass) and Tim Harris (b. 14 January 1948, London, England; drums). Allandale was a former member of the Terry Lightfoot and Alex Welsh jazz bands, while Elliot had backed Colin Hicks, brother of British rock ‘n’ roll singer Tommy Steele. This mixture of youth and experience drew much contemporary comment.

The Foundations scored a second multi-million-seller in 1968 with ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’. Written by Macaulay in partnership with Manfred Mann’s Michael D’Abo, this compulsive song reached number 2 in Britain before topping the US chart for two weeks. The group enjoyed further success with several similarly styled releases, including ‘Back On My Feet Again’ and ‘Any Old Time’ (both 1968), but their momentum faltered when Curtis embarked on an ill-starred solo career. He was replaced by Colin Young (b. 12 September 1944, Barbados, West Indies), but the departure of Elliot signalled internal dissatisfaction. ‘In The Bad Bad Old Days’ (1969) returned the group to the UK Top 10, but that year’s minor hit, ‘Born To Live And Born To Die’, was their last chart entry. The septet split up in 1970 when the rhythm section broke away to form the progressive group Pluto. A completely new line-up later resurrected the Foundations’ name with little success.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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