Sunday, June 19, 2016

Passings: Brian Rading, Bassist for the Five Man Electrical Band

by VVN Music

Brian Rading, the bassist for the 70's group the Five Man Electrical Band, died on June 8 in Hull, Ontario at the age of 69.

Rading broke into music at an early age, starting to play with a local group called the Regals at the age of 15 and soon after becoming a founding member of The Staccatos in 1963. They released their first single, It Isn't Easy, in early 1965 but it was the followup, Small Town Girl, that put them on the map in their native Canada. The single went to number 20 and was followed by three more top 30 hits.

In 1967, they had their greatest success when the single Half Past Midnight went to number 8 on the Canadian charts. Overall, the band had nine charting singles and recorded two albums, 1966's Initially and 1967's A Wild Pair which had The Staccatos on one side and The Guess Who on the other.

Towards the end of the 60's, the band was urged to change their name to something a little more modern which led Rading to suggest the name that had already been used on a song written by lead singer Les Emmerson, Five Man Electrical Band.

Their first album, self titled, album under the new name became a minor hit as did the single Private Train (1969 / #37 Canada). A few more singles charted towards the lower end of the charts before they finally found international success in 1971 with the song Signs.

Signs had originally been released as the b-side of the single Hello Melinda, Goodbye (1970 / #55 Canada). When DJs started showing interest in the flip, it was released on its own as the third single from the band's album, Good-byes and Butterflies, going to number 3 in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100, 4 in Canada and number 1 in Australia where it stayed for almost two months.

The band followed in late 1971 with their third album, Coming of Age, which included the hits Absolutely Right (1971 / #26 U.S. / #3 Canada) and Julianna (1972 / #17 Canada) but the members started to show signs of wear from their continuous recording and touring. They went into the studio to record their next set, Sweet Paradise but, before it was over, drummer Mike Bell and Rading had both quit.

He went on to play in bands such as Powerhouse, Backyard Symphony, Messenger, and Crucial Moments. Later, Rading became an expert painter and drywall man. He had been battling throat cancer over the last couple of years.