Call Up The Groups

Posted on 20th September 2011

So last week I asked a series of music trivia questions. I wonder how well you did?

1) Which band has the longest consistent line-up still featuring all the original members?

This was the original question that started my research, and I was quite pleased with myself to discover my answer was correct. I did find it interesting that several people thought that ZZ Top was the answer. It seems several history books forget that ZZ Top have actually had 4 different line-ups before settling on the current line-up. Admittedly those first few line-ups lasted barely months, however, the original line-up did find time to record a single, Salt Lick, in early 1970.

Six years later a group of lads got together in Dublin, and formed a very embryonic version of what was to come. There were several names and line-ups before settling on The Hype. The band consisted of Larry, Dave, Paul, Adam and Dave's brother Richard (aka Dik). Dik decided to leave in March 1978 and the band continued as a 4 piece, renaming themselves U2. Since March 1978 U2 have had the same line-up for an anmazing 33 years. Points to Fiona for getting that one, even though she never said which question she was answering :)

2) Which band has the longest consistent line-up of the current members?

Hinted at in the answer to the previous question, ZZ Top have the longest running current line-up. In 1970 the line-up came together with Billy Gibbons, Frank Beard and Dusty Hill, and they've been together ever since, now clocking up 41 years. If they are still going strong in two years time, they will be the answer to the question, 'what band has the longest running single line-up?'

3) Which band has the longest consistent line-up of the original members, before a change in line-up?

In 1953 four high school students from Detroit performed together at a birthday party and decided it went so well they'd form a vocal group. In 1956 they signed to Chess Records and changed their name from The Four Aims to the now legendary Four Tops. Amazingly the band remained together until 1997, when sadly Lawrence Payton died. The band still continue to perform, but stopped being a recording band in 1995. Depending on your view point, the Four Tops were together with their original line-up for either 44 years or 41 years. Either way U2 have got another decade to go yet :)

4) Regardless of line-up changes which is the longest running band?

This is a tricky question. When I did the original research the answer was Golden Earring, who formed in 1960, with The Rolling Stones coming in a close second having formed in 1961.

When I asked these questions on Facebook recently, my friend Neil gave me the answer The Barron Knights. After further research, I nearly considered his answer to be correct. The Barron Knights officially formed in 1960, with their previous incarnation (formed in 1959) called 'The Knights of the Round Table'. However they haven't been a consistently recording and touring since the late 80s. Their last major recording was in 1986, with most of their releases since being best of compilations, while the rest have been self-finaced. To fair they still tour and have summer residencies, but they have never had the world wide recognition that I was originally looking for in an answer. As it happens my further research uncovered a longer running group any way.

Despite not being a recording band since 1995 as it currently stands, the Four Tops are now recording a new album with a planned release date in 2012. They still tour regularly and while they have now had a few line-up changes, original member Abdul "Duke" Fakir is still performing with them. As such, with 54 years as The Four Tops it is going to be a while before any other band manages to take the title.

I hope you enjoyed doing some of your own researching to find the answers. And well done to anyone who got all the answer right!


Another entrant

Only applicable to the last one, but how about the Blind Boys of Alabama? Formed in 1939 as the Happy Land Jubilee Singers, changed to the current name in the mid-1940s, first recorded in 1948, still touring and recording after 72 years, with Jimmy Carter and intermittently Clarence Fountain left of the original lineup. That has to be some kind of record?

Posted by Tim on Wednesday, 28th September 2011

Re Blind Boys of Alabama

Tim that's a good question. You may well be correct. I have tried to research the line-ups of the group, but I haven't found any definitive list, just general history. To qualify the band much not have broken up and reformed later or gone on a hiatus for a period of time, and although it is quite likely that BBoA haven't, I can't verify that at the moment. I'll keep looking though :)

Posted by Barbie on Thursday, 29th September 2011

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