Note: One of the members of the original Orpheus has requested that his name be removed from this page. We have complied with this request as a courtesy, despite the fact that his identity is a matter of public record. This individual has been designated (name deleted).
The original Orpheus was founded
in 1967 by guitarists Jack McKennes and (name deleted), bass
guitarist Eric "the Snake" Gulliksen, and drummer Harry
Sandler. All members contributed vocals as well as instrumentals. The group
had a very successful run through the end of 1969, recording three albums and four singles for MGM Records. All of the albums and two of the singles,
including the signature song Can't Find The Time, reached the
best-seller charts in Billboard magazine. Can't Find The Time is
considered to be one of the classic love songs of the late 60s, and still
receives airplay today. It has been covered by the Rose Colored Glass, the
Groovin' Strings, by Hootie and the Blowfish on the sound
track of the Jim Carrey movie "Me, Myself and Irene" and, most recently, by country artist Johnny Dollar. It has even been used as the basis for a parody by comedian Red Peters.
In addition to recording, the
group played many sold-out concerts throughout the United
States, sharing the
stage with performers like Blood, Sweat and Tears, the Who, Cream, Led
Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, the Rascals and Janis Joplin, just to name a few. Their
second album, titled Ascending, reached no. 10 in the 1968 Playboy
magazine Jazz and Pop Reader Poll, Vocal Album of the Year (Click here to see poll results). The group also recorded
Little Sister, the theme song for the MGM movie "Marlowe," starring James Garner (Click here to hear a sound clip).
A fifth individual, Stephen
"Steve" Martin, although performing with a different band at that
time, was very much a part of the original Orpheus. He contributed several
songs that were included on the first three albums, including the classics Congress Alley and Music Machine. Steve was such a part of the group that
producer Alan Lorber referred to him as the "fifth voice of Orpheus"
on several occasions.
The original group disbanded in
December of 1969. A reconstituted group, which included
Steve as a
full-fledged, performing member, released a fourth album and a single on Bell
Records in 1971. Steve wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on this album,
including the single Big Green Pearl. His haunting masterpiece Tomorrow Man is one of the most extraordinary examples of lyric poetry-to-music ever
written. This group continued to perform through 1972.
The singles Can't Find The Time and Brown Arms In Houston have been reissued many
times since and, in recent years, three major CD compilations have been issued, including material from all four albums. All of the original Orpheus albums as well as the CD compilations were produced by Alan Lorber. To read a bio of this musical icon, click here. For his account of the Boston Sound, click here.
In the intervening years, Jack,
Harry and the Snake regrouped on several occasions, and
stayed in close contact
despite being scattered to the four corners of the earth.
Click here to hear sound clips of cover versions of Orpheus songs
Click here for a full historical discography, including sound clips
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"Orpheus" ® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Iris Music Group; Reg. No. 3,466,258
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