David Gates Biography

11 December 1940, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. Having played in a home town high school band alongside Leon Russell, Gates followed his former colleague to Los Angeles. He initially pursued a career as a rockabilly singer, recording a series of locally issued singles including ‘Swinging Baby Doll’ (1958), which featured Russell on piano, and ‘My Baby’s Gone Away’ (1961). He later switched to studio work, and appearances on sessions for Duane Eddy and Pat Boone preceded a fruitful period in the budding ‘girl-group’ genre. Gates produced and/or composed a string of excellent releases, notably Merry Clayton’s ‘Usher Boy’, the Murmaids’ ‘Popsicles And Icicles’, Dorothy Berry’s ‘You’re So Fine’ (all 1963), Shelley Fabares’ ‘He Don’t Love Me’ and Connie Stevens’ ‘A Girl Never Knows’ (both 1964).

Having founded, then closed, the short-lived Planetary label in 1966, Gates switched his attentions to the emergent west coast group scene. He produced material for Captain Beefheart and the Gants, while work with a harmony act, the Pleasure Fair in 1968, led to the formation of Bread. For three years Gates led this highly popular attraction, composing many of their best-known songs including ‘Make It With You’, ‘If’, ‘Baby I’m-A Want You’ and ‘Everything I Own’. He began a solo career in 1973, but despite two albums of a similar high quality, the artist failed to sustain this level of success. A short-lived Bread reunion was equally ill-starred, suggesting that Gates’ brand of soft, melodic pop was now out of fashion. He did enjoy a US Top 20 hit in 1978 with ‘Goodbye Girl’ but ensuing releases were less well received. He continues to write and produce at his recording studio on his California ranch.

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

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