Elvin Bishop became a one-hit-wonder in 1976, when a tune he wrote for his 1975 album, Struttin’ My Stuff, hit #3 in May 1976. This certified Gold single was sung by future Jefferson Starship singer, Mickey Thomas, who was toiling as a background singer in Elvin’s band before Elvin decreed to Mickey, ‘strut yo stuff!’.
Elvin, aka Pigboy Crabshaw, got his start in music when he met Paul Butterfield in Chicago during the early 60s, as he was studying to be a physics major. He was part of the Paul Butterfield Blues band for almost 5 years before leaving and forming the Elvin Bishop Band in 1968. Pigboy was making a name for himself playing a soulful blues mix of Southern rock for years. But it wasn’t until his 6th album that he finally had some major success. Mickey had joined the band as a singer in 1974, and it took a few albums for EB to know how to use properly use him. And when he wrote Fooled Around… and had Mickey tear it up, the stars aligned. Of course it was a song Elvin wrote years before and was recorded & added at the last minute. You’ve heard that story before…
Fooled Around… is a basic tale of a guy who changes his playboy ways after ‘falling in love’, a nice change-up during the free love 70s. But how the girl feel about all this? Does she really wanna be with a guy who has a Wilt Chamberlain appetite for women? A million girls? Really? That would be a lot of trips to the free clinic. And could the main story line of Sam & Diane’s relationship on Cheers have been based off this song?
It wouldn’t be long before Mickey would move on to bigger things and in 1978 he replaced Marty Balin in Jefferson Starship. He hung with the band and tried to add as much soul as he could to bland pop hits, like We Built This City & Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now, both #1 hits. Elvin kept on trucking and still takes the house down when he plays. As Charlie Daniels once sang, ” Elvin Bishop sittin’ on a bale of hay. He ain’t good lookin’, but he sure can play.”
Did you know: Mickey Thomas & Donny Baldwin played together in Elvin’s band during the 70s. Mickey asked Donny to join Jefferson Starship when their drummer left in 1982. The ‘Ship finally crashed when, in 1990, Donny punched Mickey in a bar room brawl, requiring Mickey to have reconstructive facial surgery. Would love to know that back story….