BORN: December 11, 1940, Tulsa, OK
A member of the popular group Bread, David Gates is also a songwriter, keyboardist,
vocalist and producer. His first hit as a songwriter came with the popular
Murmaids song "Popsicles and Icicles."
David Gates was born in Tulsa, OK. to a band director and a piano teacher.
Surrounded by music from birth, he was proficient in piano, bass and guitar
by the time he was in high school. In 1957, he received a musical break when
Chuck Berry came to Tulsa; Gates had his first hit, "Jo-Baby," with Chuck
Berry. The song was written for Gates' high school sweetheart Jo Rita, whom
he married and had children with while enrolled at the university of Oklahoma.
In 1961, the family moved to Los Angeles, and Gates embarked on a career
of songwriting and producing. By the end of the '60s, he had worked with
Elvis Presley, Bobby Darin and Merle Haggard, and produced the 1965 Glenn
Yarbrough hit "Baby the Rain Must Fall."
Realizing that the only way his songs were sure to be recorded was to sing
them himself, Gates founded Bread in 1968; the group consisted of Gates,
James Griffin, Robb Royer, and later, drummer Michael Botts and keyboardist
Larry Krechtel. The group's first album, Bread, was released in 1969 with
hits "It Don't Matter to Me," "Dismal Day" and "Make It with You." Soft rock
hits became the band's trademark and made them legends. Greater success and
recognition came with the 1971 album, Manna, with the smash hit "If."
With the popular albums Guitar Man and Baby, I'm a Want You, the band's success
led the members in different directions. The group disbanded in 1973 to pursue
their own solo interests and careers, but regrouped in 1977 to produce the
album Lost Without Your Love. David Gates produced albums of his own, First
Album and Never Let Her Go in 1975; his songs landed him on the contemporary
music charts every time, including "The Goodbye Girl," from Neil Simon's
play of the same name. Several of his songs have been recorded by artists
such as Julio Iglesias and Boy George. "Everything I Own," a tribute to his
father as his greatest influence, was recorded by Nashville artists the Kendalls
and Joe Stempley and then by pop rocker Boy George. His incredible songwriting
ability offers versatility and a crossing over of musical genres. With a
recording studio on his California ranch, David Gates continues to write
and produce. ~ Kim Summers, All Music Guide
FORMED: 1968, Los Angeles, CA
Bread was one of the most popular pop groups of the early '70s, earning a
string of well-crafted, melodic soft-rock singles, all of which were written
by keyboardist/vocalist David Gates. A session musician and producer, Gates
met guitarist/vocalist James Griffin in 1968, who had already released a
solo album called Summer Holiday. Griffin hired Gates to produce a new album,
and the pair soon became a group, adding guitarist/vocalist Robb Royer from
the band Pleasure Faire, who Gates had produced early in their career. The
trio soon signed with Elektra Records, becoming one of the label's first
pop bands. Naming themselves Bread, the group released their self-titled
debut album in late 1968. Although it was filled with accessible, melodic
soft rock that became the band's signature sound, the record had no hit singles.
With their second album, On the Waters, Bread established themselves as hit-makers.
"Make It with You," the first single released from the album, became a number
one hit, which led to "It Don't Matter to Me," a song taken from Bread, becoming
a Top Ten hit. With On the Waters becoming a gold record, the group embarked
on a tour, adding a full-time drummer, Mike Botts to the lineup. Manna, released
in the spring of 1971, wasn't as big a hit as the previous record, yet it
launched another Top Ten hit with "If." Royer left the group after the album
and was replaced by Larry Knechtel, a Los Angeles session musician who played
on records by the Byrds, the Beach Boys, and the Monkees, among others. The
new lineup released their first single, "Mother Freedom," in the summer of
1971; the single scraped the Top 40 at number 37. Bread's next single, "Baby
I'm-A Want You," became a number three hit at the end of the year. After
"Everything I Own" reached number 5 in January of 1972, an album called Baby
I'm-A Want You was released. Peaking at number three, the record became the
group's most successful album. The group's fifth album, Guitar Man, followed
in the fall of 1972.
At the beginning of 1973, Bread disbanded after a dispute between Gates and
Griffin. Griffin claimed that when the group was conceived, the pair agreed
that the singles would be divided equally between the two songwriters; Gates
wrote most of Bread's hits and wanted to continue to compose the singles.
The two parted ways, with each of the musicians pursuing solo careers. Bread
reunited in 1976, releasing Lost Without Your Love in early 1977. The title
track became their last Top Ten hit, peaking at number nine. The success
could not keep the group together, as tensions between Gates and Griffin
began to escalate again. After Griffin split from the group, Gates assembled
a new version of the band and toured under the name Bread. Griffin sued Gates
for using the name Bread, which the duo co-owned. A judge ordered the group
not to perform, record, or collect royalty payments until the case was resolved;
it wasn't resolved until 1984. In the meantime, Gates and and Griffin pursued
solo careers. Of the two musicians, Gates was more successful, scoring a
number 15 hit in 1978 with the title theme to Goodbye Girl. However, his
career declined in the '80s; by the '90s, he was running a California ranch.
Griffin relocated to Nashville, forming Dreamer with Randy Meisner in the
early '90s. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide