, and tried for years to make it as a Southern rock band, although they finally succeeded as a hard rock outfit, in the manner of
. They racked up a hit album (
) and a pair of successful singles ("Train, Train," "Highway Song") in the late 1970s and early 1980s, before they became lost in the post-MTV era of visually oriented bands.
The group started out as a quartet: singer/guitarist Rickey Medlocke
, the grandson of bluegrass musician Shorty Medlocke
, who wrote "Train, Train"; drummer/singer Jakson Spires
, bassist/singer Greg T. Walker
, and lead guitarist Charlie Hargrett
. They were signed to Island Records in 1975, evidently as that label's resident Southern rockers, but moved to Epic Records the following year. Neither relationship was successful, but in 1979, after moving to Atco, their first album for the new label, Strikes
, hit a responsive chord -- the group spent the next few years on Atco, racking up impressive sales with the follow-ups Tomcattin'
In the mid-'80s, the group added ex-Uriah Heep
keyboardman Ken Hensley
in order to bring a new side to their sound. The group's fortunes declined amid the advent of MTV and the growth in importance of rock video promotional clips, as well as the influence of sounds from Europe and Australia, and they never recovered, despite efforts to adapt their sound and image. Hensley
was replaced near the end of their history, but Blackfoot
(who took their name from the Native American tribe, part of Medlocke
's heritage) had broken up by 1984, before the new lineup recorded. Medlocke
revived the name in 1990 with a new backing group.