Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods--Billy, Don't Be A Hero (1974)

    Listening to the bubblegum pop of "Billy, Don't Be A Hero", one would think that Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods would have been a studio group. One just put together to record the song without any intention of touring. That could not have been further from the truth....
     The Heywoods were formed in 1965 by keyboard player, Robert "Bo" Donaldson in Cincinnati.  The name came from one of the members at the time,  Corky Pickering. The group spent the second half of the decade opening for several big names of the day; The Rascals, Paul Revere & the Raiders, and Herman's Hermits.
     It was while opening for The Osmonds things began to break for them. After signing with Family Productions, the released their first single in 1972. "Special Someone" didn't make a dent on the charts, it did garner the attention of ABC Records. This led to the release of, "Billy, Don't Be A Hero".
     The song, written by Mitch Murray and Peter Callander,  had been a hit by the group Paper Lace in the UK and was being prepared for release in the US. However ABC got Donaldson's version out for a time there were two versions of the song out. Donaldson's version reached number 1 here, it made no impact in the UK.
     The follow up single, "Who Do You Think You Are" also did well on the charts. After breaking up in the 80's, the group reformed in 1996 and still tours. You can find them here:


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