A brief history of the group
James Griffin (b. Memphis, Tennessee, USA), although overshadowed
by David Gates, was a singer-songwriter with Bread.
After leaving the group, Griffin made an album with Terry Sylvester of the
Hollies and was part of Black Tie with Billy Swan and Randy Meisner, who made a
superb, goodtime album, When The Night Falls, in 1985 and a revision in 1990.
Griffin then teamed up with Rick Yancey and Richard Mainegra (b. New Orleans,
Louisiana, USA), who had enjoyed a US pop hit with "Rings" as part of Cymarron
in 1971. Yancey had played guitar for Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, while
Mainegra had written Elvis Presley's hit single "Separate Ways". As the
Remingtons, they released a close-harmony single, "A Long Time Ago", and an
album that, in some respects, sounded similar to Bread.
"Being in Bread was every composer and performer's dream.
I also feel we have yet to realize our full potential."
Bread's other principal singer/songwriter, co-producer and lead guitarist, is
the very talented James Griffin. Blessed with a beautifully resonant, versatile
singing voice, James brings to Bread a rhythm and blues sensibility and raw edge
that is the perfect complement and counterpoint to David Gates' smooth, sweet
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio but raised in the blues and country music Mecca of
Memphis, Tennessee, James moved to Hollywood, California in 1962, almost
immediately securing a recording deal with Reprise.** Releasing a solo album in
1963 on Reprise entitled, "Summer Holiday", James also found time to study
acting as an "artist-in-development" at MGM studios. Appearing in the films "For
Those Who Think Young" in 1963 and "None But The Brave" in 1964. James,
commenting on the latter role, wryly noted, "I got killed on page 42!"
While continuing to pursue acting roles and recording the occasional single,
James found increasing success as a songwriter, placing songs with such notables
as Rudy Vallee, Ed Ames, Lesley Gore and Bobby Vee. By 1967, James had met
Pleasure Faire member (and future Bread member), Robb Royer, with whom he began
a career-spanning songwriting partnership and also through whom he first met
David Gates. Although James still had a solo recording deal by 1968, he (and
Royer) began thinking strongly about joining forces with Gates to form a new
band - a band that would take advantage of their considerable combined singing,
songwriting and instrumental talents. As James comments, "I was so tired of
getting my songs recorded by other people who would miss the point or change the
hooks or tempo." Thus, Bread was born.
The years 1969-1973 saw James begin to reach his artistic stride within Bread's
abundantly talented musical framework. Writing (or co-writing) and singing lead
on half of the songs on each album, James contributed such Bread classics as,
"Truckin'", "Too Much Love", "Any Way You Want Me" and "Could I." In 1970,
(under the pseudonym Arthur James), James also found time to collaborate with
Royer on the song "For All We Know" for the film "Lovers and Other Strangers" -
a song which ended up winning an Academy Award for Best Song and went on to
become a number three hit for the Carpenters.
After Bread disbanded for the final time in 1977, James continued to sing and
write songs, releasing the album, "James Griffin" in Europe on Polydor in 1977,
while also recording a number of singles for the Memphis-based label, Shoe. By
1986, James had joined with ex-Eagle Randy Meisner and Billy Swan to form the
successful country band, Black Tie, best known for covering Buddy Holly's
"Learning the Game." James later joined the Remingtons and also earned hits as a
songwriter with Conway Twitty (Who's Gonna' Know) and with Restless Heart (You
Can Depend On Me).
An excellent singer, songwriter and all-around musician, James Griffin's
abundant musical talent, filtered through a distinctive country and R & B prism,
has been a vital and irreplaceable part of what has made Bread one of the finest
bands of the pop-rock era.
**James comments that he went out to visit his older former musical neighbors,
Johnny & Dorsey Burnette and they offered to help him meet their producers.
Dorsey introduced James to his producer and he was signed to a deal by October
This article/bio was included in "Bread's" last world tour booklet from 1997.
Through the years, not only has Richard had a successful career
as a songwriter for a number of major recording artists (he currently has a song
on the new Blake Shelton album), but he has also been a recording artist,
himself. His first major release was in 1970 on the Scepter Label --- "Glory
Road" written by Neil Diamond and produced by Red West. Following that, he was
part of the group Cymarron ("Rings" and "Valerie" were their hits in 1971) The
following is a quote from the backside of Cymarron's 1971 "Rings" album:
"Richard was born in New Orleans in 1948 and grew up in nearby Slidell. Richard
wanted to be a singer from earliest childhood. He dreamed of playing guitar. 'I
used to hold a baseball bat and sing along with all Elvis Presley's first
records --- I think I have them all.' Richard cut his first record at 16 with a
group called The Phyve. After three years at college in Hammond, Louisiana,
Richard packed his guitar and a few tapes of songs he had written and headed out
for stardom and Nashville. 'I never made it that far. Instead, I stopped in
Memphis mainly because I was tired of driving, and Nashville was about three
hours further down the road'. He looked up the studios in the phone book and
landed at American. They signed him. Two of Richard's songs, co-written with Red
West, made the national charts: Let's Give Adam and Eve Another Chance (recorded
by Gary Puckett) and It's Hard to Be a Woman (recorded by Skeeter Davis.)"
From the time that young boy first held his baseball bat and dreamed of playing
guitar as he sang along with Elvis, Richard's path in life actually led him down
his own "Glory Road" when, incredibly, ELVIS recorded one of his songs!
Rick Yancey & Denny Henson Coming Soon!