The American Breed was a late 1960s rock band from Cicero, Illinois that became famous during the late 1960s. They are best known for the 1967 smash, "Bend Me, Shape Me," a beloved oldies classic that kicks off with a short catchy drum solo followed by a soulful brassy fanfare.
Formed in 1958 and first known as Gary & The Nite Lites, the original lineup consisted of Al Ciner (guitar, vocals), Charles "Chuck" Colbert, Jr. (bass, vocals), Jim Michalak (drums), and lead singer/guitarist Gary Loizzo (August 16, 1945 - January 16, 2016). Michalak was later replaced by Lee Graziano (drums, vocals, trumpet). By early 1967, the band had signed with Acta Records and renamed itself The American Breed.
The American Breed had their first charting song in 1967 with the Carole King/Gerry Goffin-penned "I Don't Think You Know Me," which was followed later that year by the band's first Top 40 hit, "Step Out Of Your Mind" (1967). The American Breed's fame began to take off in late 1967 with the Scott English/Larry Weiss-penned "Bend Me, Shape Me" (1967), which became a Top 5 hit and soon after went gold. The band's other hits, which continued through 1968, also include "Green Light" (1968), "Ready, Willing And Able" (1968), and "Anyway That You Want Me" (1968). The band had its final charting song in 1969 with "Room At The Top."
After The American Breed split in 1970, Al Ciner and other band members went on to form Rufus. Gary Loizzo founded Pumpkin Recording Studios and became a highly successful producer and recording engineer. A two-time Grammy nominee, he worked with such top acts as Liza Minnelli, Bad Company, Slash, Survivor, REO Speedwagon, and Styx. Ciner, Loizzo, Colbert, and Graziano reunited in 1986 as The American Breed and recorded the album, "Once Again," featuring a new version of "Bend Me, Shape Me." Since then, the band has had a number of reunions mainly in the Chicago area.
- Styxworld.com remembers American Breed lead singer and longtime Styx producer, Gary Loizzo.
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The American Breed
- Anyway That You Want Me 1968
(This song was previously a hit for the Liverpool Five (1966) and later also became a hit for Evie Sands (1969).)
- Bend Me, Shape Me 1967
- Green Light 1968
- Ready, Willing And Able 1968
- Step Out Of Your Mind 1967
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