After the initial success of the Southern California folk-rock scene, spearheaded by groups like The Eagles, Linda Rondstadt and Jackson Browne, Arista Records mainman Clive Davis decided singer/songwriters Richard Stekol, Jules Shear and Jack Tempch… Read more
After the initial success of the Southern California folk-rock scene, spearheaded by groups like The Eagles, Linda Rondstadt and Jackson Browne, Arista Records mainman Clive Davis decided singer/songwriters Richard Stekol, Jules Shear and Jack Tempchin would make the first supergroup to emerge from that era. Collectively and individually, they had written or co-written hits for The Eagles ("Take It Easy," "Peaceful Easy Feeling," "Already Gone"), Roger McGuinn, Kim Karnes and others.
Davis placed the three artists with a crackerjack rhythm section that was funky in its playing — hence the name the Funky Kings. From a marketing standpoint, though, it was all wrong. The mostly ex-hippies from the '60s who made up the bulk of the Southern California Sound fan base in the 1970s thought they were an R&B act. In addition, although they wrote strong songs, the group, as a performance act, lacked the striking charisma and stage persona of many of their contemporaries. Their first album, released in 1975, failed to receive any national attention, and when Arista passed on releasing the band's second album, they collapsed in 1977.
One of the songs on their debut album, "Slow Dancing," (written by Tempchin) would go on to be a Top 10 hit for '60s pop star Johnny Rivers. It would also be his last charting single. Tempchin returned to his work with Eagle Glen Frey, co-writing several songs for Frey's solo career. Jules Shear went on to form the critically acclaimed but commercially disappointing Jules and the Polar Bears, followed by a mediocre solo career and stint as the host of MTV's Unplugged program. Stekol found less success, but did manage to write for artists such as Ian Matthews and Cyndi Lauper.