Passings: Mike Gibbons, Lead Singer of Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods

Mike Gibbons, lead singer of Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods on such hits as Billy Don't Be a Hero, has died at the age of 71.

Bo Donaldson formed the group in Cincinnati, OH in 1965 but it wasn't until the early-70's, when the band was touring with the Osmonds, that they got their big break. They signed with Family Productions and released their first single, Special Someone, in 1972.

A year later, they moved to ABC Records and scored with their first single, Billy Don't Be a Hero. Originally a hit in the U.K. by Paper Lace, the Heywoods version, with Gibbons singing lead, went on to sell three-and-a-half million copies.

They followed up later in the year with another previous British hit, Who Do You Think You Are, originally done by Candlewick Green. The single went to 15 on the Hot 100.

One final top forty hit, The Heartbreak Kid (1974 / #39) and another that hit the lower depths of the charts, Our Last Song Together (1975 / #95) marked the end of the group's chart run. They landed on a number of different labels over the next few years and tried to transition to a country band but they broke up in the 1980's.

Bo Donaldson reformed the band in 1996 and they have been touring on the oldies circuit since although Gibbons was no longer involved.


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