I got to thinking about Rock and Roll trios (Not Johnny Burnette and the Memphis Rockabilly trio from the 1950s.) I was thinking about the best three-piece bands of my generation.
The first famous trio that comes to mind is the Kingston Trio, American folk and pop music group that helped launch the folk revival of the late 1950s to late 1960s.
The first Rock and Roll trio I can think of that shaped my musical foundation was Cream. They were one of the first 1960s supergroups to shoot onto the world stage. Members included, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. In a little over two years Cream sold over 35 million albums, my favorite being “Disraeli Gears,” which included the hit songs, White Room and Tales of Brave Ulysses. The band enjoyed brief success and four album releases, but discord between Bruce and Baker got in the way and the band went their separate ways late in 1968 after releasing their fourth and final album appropriately titled, Goodbye.
Cream was ranked #16 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock and Rolling Stone named them the sixty-sixth greatest artist of all time.
No sooner had Cream closed up shop and drifted apart, three musicians from Houston, Texas — Dusty Hill, Frank Beard, and Billy Gibbons, pooled their talent and formed the hard driving trio, ZZ Top. Through the years ZZ has put out some of the most hard rocking albums to ever come out of Texas including mega-hits Tres’ Hombres and Fandango.
In 1983 with the release of Eliminator the band enjoyed success of a new kind, winning their first MTV Video Music Awards in the categories of Best Group Video for “Legs,” and Best Direction for “Sharp Dressed Man.”
It’s rumored the trio is presently in the studio recording their fifteenth album. I can’t wait.
The last trio I’m going to highlight comes from across our northern border. Rush was formed in 1968 with Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, and Neil Peart joined forces and proved you didn’t need a lot of instruments for a really big sound. During their career they have released nineteen studio recordings including my favorite, Moving Pictures. They are supposed to be releasing their next album, Clockwork Angels, sometime this year.
Some other high profile trios through the years include:
Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Grand Funk Railroad
Jimi Hendrix Experience
Peter, Paul and Mary
Fine Young Cannibals
Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris released an album together titled simply… Trio.