Saturday, May 8, 2010

Johnny Rojo's One-Hit Wonders: Redbone, "Come And Get Your Love."

In 1974, the band Redbone had a top ten hit with the song "Come And Get Your Love." An earlier single release, in 1972, "The Witch Queen of New Orleans," had cracked the top 40 but hadn't made it into the top ten. It was to be their only top ten US hit, qualifying them as a "One-hit Wonder." "Come And Get Your Love" stayed on the Billboard charts for 24 weeks.

Redbone was formed in 1969 in Los Angeles by brothers Patrick and Lolly Vasquez. The name "Redbone" is a joking reference to a Cajun term for someone of mixed racial ancestry, which they were, though primarily Native American. According to Patrick Vasquez, Jimi Hendrix, who was, like many African-Americans, of partially Native-American heritage, encouraged them to form an all Native-American group. After adding Peter DePoe and Tony Bellamy to the group, they recorded their eponymous debut album and released it in 1970.

From this live version of "Come and Get Your Love," it's apparent they took pride in their Native-American heritage and included elements of it in their stage act.

They weren't afraid to shy away from social statements: before they had a US hit with "Come and Get Your Love," they had a #1 hit in Europe with "We Were All Wounded at Wounded Knee," which was about the 1890 massacre of Lakota Indians at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. The record company was hesitant to release it in the United States and the song was banned by many radio stations.

Redbone continued recording and tourings. Original drummer Peter DePoe eventually left, as did Tony Bellamy. Bellamy died just a few months ago, in December, 2009, of liver failure in Las Vegas. In 1996, Lolly Vasquez had a stroke that left him unable to tour anymore and he was replaced by Raven Hernandez. He died of cancer in March of this year.

In 2008, Redbone was inducted into Native American Music Association Hall of Fame.

The song has gotten a second life in recent years; it was featured in commercials for the "Eharmony" on-line dating service and for the Alltel wireless phone service.

1 comment:

Churlita said...

I'm actually kind of sad to see that song in cheesy ads. I loved it when I was a kid and lived in Arizona in a large native American community.