50 Years Ago This Month in Music | Spooky Tooth: You Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw (May 1973)
Spooky Tooth put out three albums by the time they broke up in 1970. The primary creative forces were Gary Wright and Mick Jones. Wright is perhaps best known for “Dream Weaver” and his early adoption of synthesizers and electronic keyboards in rock. In 1970 he was invited to join the large ensemble backing up George Harrison for the All Things Must Pass sessions. He and Harrison shared an interest in Indian music and became lifelong friends. Mick Jones went on to great success with Foreigner, which formed in 1976.
You Broke My Heart was the first release after Spooky Tooth reformed. Their original guitarist, Luther Grosvenor, left in 1970 to join Mott the Hoople. He replaced departing guitarist Mick Ralphs, who was forming Bad Company at this time.
The album is a textbook example of early 1970s British blues-rock. Although songwriting is mediocre to good, both Wright and Jones were developing their songwriting and production chops. The sound here is confident and heavy. Vocalist Mike Harrison sings with conviction, not dissimilar to Paul Rogers who was forming Bad Company at this time.
The album closes with a musical epic, “Moriah,” clocking in at over six minutes long. It is a cinematic tale a la Procol Harum. At first it’s a mid-tempo rock ballad, then a more mysterious seafarer’s melodrama, complete with eerie sound effects and murmurings of the deep.
“Old As I Was Born” is a keyboard-based blues rocker with great harmonies and crunchy guitar riffs, though hampered by convoluted song forms. “This Time Around” gets it just right - an edgy vibe, tasteful keyboard/guitar interplay, and the contrast of a darker verse followed by a brighter chorus. One criticism though: Mick Jones falls short in the firepower department, offering little in the way of lead guitar. This could be by design; a few years later Wright would release a solo album with only keyboards and drums.
Unrelated trivia: Gary Wright came from New Jersey and was a child actor. He did commercials and played on Broadway in the show Fanny. His role was the son of Fanny, who was played by future Brady Bunch mom, Florence Henderson. He left acting and studied medicine and psychology. In 1967 he gave up his medical career and toured Europe with a group called The New York Times. When they opened for Traffic in Oslo, Norway, Island Records president Chris Blackwell invited Wright to join the band that would become Spooky Tooth.