The Artwoods

The Artwoods were an English rock band who formed in 1963 and were professionally active between 1964 and 1967. They were a popular live attraction, rivalling groups such as The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds, although, despite releasing a clutch of singles and an album, their record sales never reflected this popularity. The band took their name from the singer, who was the eldest brother of another rock musician who later found fame with the Faces and the StonesArt Wood had been a vocalist with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated for a short period during 1962, simultaneously fronting his own group, the Art Wood Combo. When keyboardist Jon Lord and guitarist Derek Griffiths from Red Bludd’s Bluesicians joined the Art Wood Combo, the Artwoods were formed. With Keef Hartley, formerly with Rory Storm & The Hurricanes, joining on drums and Malcolm Pool from the Roadrunners joining as bassist, in December 1964 the band turned professional, securing a residency at London’s 100 Club and signing a recording contract with Decca Records. The intended debut single, a cover of Muddy Waters“Hoochie Coochie Man”, was shelved in favour of a rendition of an old Lead Belly song, “Sweet Mary”. Although it didn’t reach the charts, it got sufficient airplay to bring the band a lot of live work, including an appearance on the first live edition of Ready Steady Go!. Their second record, “Oh My Love”, was another blues cover. Like its predecessor (and subsequent releases), it failed to chart. Their only chart single was “I Take What I Want”, which reached No 28 on 8 May 1966. The Artwoods were dropped by Decca at the end of 1966, and they signed a one-record deal with Parlophone, but their release “What Shall I Do” also had no success. Later in 1967, a final “one-off” single appeared on the Fontana label, with the band billing itself as St. Valentine’s Day Massacre; but by the time of its release the Artwoods had effectively ceased to exist.

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