You Say It’s Your Birthday: The Black Crowes’ Marc Ford

Cover art from the second album.

Today is the birthday of Black Crowes guitarist Marc Ford,
who was born in 1966 in Los Angeles, California. The Black Crowes’ blend of
1970s-style southern rock, hemp-lovin’ polemics and glammy fashions have earned
them notoriety in rock circles.

The group’s original lineup included the
brothers Chris (vocals) and Rich (guitars) Robinson, guitarist Jeff Cease,
bassist Johnny Colt and drummer Steve Gorman. Their debut record, Shake Your
brought to mind bands like the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd
Skynyrd with down-home tunes like “She Talks to Angels” and a cover of Otis
Redding’s “Hard to Handle.”

After the first record, the Crowes ran into a
bit of trouble; they were fired from ZZ Top’s Miller Beer-sponsored tour for
making wisecracks about commercialism, and Chris Robinson was arrested after an
altercation with a woman in a Denver convenience store. Later that year, the
singer collapsed from exhaustion and spent a few months recuperating. Cease
left the group, to be replaced by Ford.

In 1992 the Crowes made The
Southern Harmony and Musical Companion
, which included the hit “Remedy.”
They followed with 1994’s lackluster Amorica, which fared less well than
its predecessors, failing to chart with any of its singles.

The group
returned in mid-1996 with Three Snakes and One Charm (leaving it up to
listeners to decide who was who) another less than stellar effort that scored
no hits. However, the group’s classic rock ’n’ roll sound has been absorbed by
such newer artists as Darlahood and Reef.

Other birthdays: Lester Chambers
(Chambers Brothers), Eve Graham (New Seekers), Jim Pons (Turtles/Mothers Of
Invention), Jack Cassady (Bassist for Jefferson Airplane/Starship), the Late
Lowell George (Little Feat), Al Green, Peabo Bryson, Max Weinberg (E-Street
Band), Louis Johnson (Brothers Johnson), Wayne Lewis (Atlantic Starr), Di Reed
(Jade) and Jimmy Destri (Blondie). — Beth Winegarner