Years: 1967 - 1970
Styles: Blues Rock, Country, Hard Rock
John Keleihor - Drums (in band: 1967 - 1968)
Alan Gerber - Keyboards, Piano, Vocals (in band: 1967 - 1969)
John Finley - Lead vocals, Vocals (in band: 1967 - 1969)
Jerry Penrod - Bass Guitar (in band: 1967 - 1969)
Doug Hastings - Guitar (in band: 1967 - 1970)
Danny Weis - Guitar, Lead guitar, Piano, Rhythm guitar (in band: 1967 - 1970)
Michael Fonfara - Keyboards, Organ, Piano (in band: 1967 - 1970)
Billy Mundi - Drums, Percussion (in band: 1968 - 1969)
Peter Hodgson - Bass Guitar (in band: 1969 - 1970)
Duke Edwards - Drums, Vocals (in band: 1969 - 1970)
Larry Leishman - Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar (in band: 1969 - 1970)
Rhinoceros was a rock band established in 1967 through auditions conducted by Elektra Records, rather than organic formation by musicians. The band, while well respected in many circles, did not live up to the record label's expectations. It was also poorly received by fans, producing a slow selling debut album and two even less successful LPs before breaking up.
The concept of band formation by third parties was popular in the mid- to late-1960s. Such bands as The Monkees (for whom Stephen Stills had auditioned) and Moby Grape were established in this manner during the 1966-1967 period.
Paul A. Rothchild, then Elektra Records' talent scout and house producer, and fellow producer Frazier Mohawk (formerly Barry Friedman), decided to individually sign talented young musicians and form them together into a group in this fashion. While Mohawk had been instrumental in coordinating band membership for what became Buffalo Springfield (encouraging Stills to form Buffalo Springfield following his Monkees audtion), the establishment of what became Rhinoceros involved a more formal third party role.
Rhinoceros' self-titled debut album, produced by Paul Rothchild, was released in 1968. Despite heavy promotion and critical acclaim it didn't sell well. However, the instrumental "Apricot Brandy", written by Weis and Fonfara, reached #46 on the Billboard Charts and was later used as a signature tune by BBC radio, and covered by Danny Gatton for the 1990 compilation Rubáiyát. Another of the album's songs, "I Will Serenade You", written by John Finley, was covered by Three Dog Night as "Let Me Serenade You" and went to #17 in the US in 1973. In addition, their cover of "You're My Girl (I Don't Want To Discuss It)" was covered in 1969 by Amen Corner on their "National Welsh Coast Live Explosion Company" album..
The next two years saw many changes of the line-up and two more albums. From the time of their second album "Satin Chickens" (1969), Rothchild and Mohawk were no longer involved with production. The album was instead produced by David Anderle. Peter Hodgson replaced Jerry Penrod on bass, after Penrod had abruptly departed from the band.
After "Satin Chickens", Alan Gerber and Billy Mundi also left, and were replaced by two more ex-Checkmates: guitarist Larry Leishman and drummer Duke Edwards. "Better Times Are Coming", their third and last album, appeared in 1970.
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