Card-carrying members of the British Invasion of the '60s, Essex's Humble Pie was a beloved blues-rock band that found success on both sides of the Atlantic. Humble Pie was formed by multi-instrumentalist Steve Marriott in 1968. Marriott recruited drummer Jerry Shirley, bassist Greg Ridley, and a certain vocalist/guitarist named Peter Frampton. The supergroup wasted little time readying their debut, 1969's watershed As Safe as Yesterday Is. The disc showcased the group's versatile brand of bluesy hard rock. Seen by many as one of the main blueprints for what heavy metal would become, the disc was popular in the UK, hitting the Top 20.
From there, Humble Pie released Town And Country, a decidedly less heavy outing. The group collaborated on the songwriting together, and due to Immediate Records' impending collapse, the album flopped, not even getting a proper release in the States. With Immediate out of the picture, Humble Pie moved to A&M Records and returned to the rollicking sound of their debut. Already making their name as a fantastic live band, the group dropped their self-titled third album in 1970. The album didn't sell particularly well, but the prog-influenced tracks translated well to a live setting, which helped grow the group's live profile.
Sensing that Humble Pie might translate better live than in studio, A&M released the group's first live album in 1971, Performance Rockin' The Fillmore, a record that hit #21 on the Billboard Album Charts. Around that time, Frampton moved on to begin a lucrative, storied solo career, and he was subsequently replaced by Dave "Clem" Clempson.
Without Frampton, the quartet released 1972's popular and aptly-titled Smokin'. It remains the group's best selling record, peaking at #6 on the Billboard Album Charts. The good times didn't last long, as the group called in quits in 1975. It wouldn't be the last of the group though, as they reunited intermittently over the coming years. In that time, they released three more studio albums, 1980's On To Victory, 1981's Go For The Throat, and 2002's Back on Track.
Tragedy struck the band in 1991, when frontman Steve Marriott perished in a house fire at the age of 44. In 2001, the band (featuring Peter Frampton) reunited to headline the Steve Marriott Tribute Concert at the London Astoria. Bassist Greg Ridley passed away on November 19th in Spain due to complications from pneumonia. He was 56 years old.