Years: 1968 – 1975; 2007 – present
Styles: Acid Rock, Classic Rock, Hard Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Jinx Dawson - Keyboards, Vocals
Mike "Oz" Osborne - Bass Guitar
Steve Ross - Drums
Alan Estes - Bass Guitar
Jim Donlinger - Guitar
Christopher Nielsen - Guitar, Vocals
Rick Durrett - Keyboards, Organ, Piano
John Hobbs - Keyboards, Organ, Piano
Jim Nyeholt - Keyboards, Organ, Piano
Coven was formed in late-'60s Chicago by Jinx Dawson (first name Esther, who had previously studied opera), bassist Oz Osborne (no relation to the Black Sabbath singer), and drummer Steve Ross, and by 1967/1968, they could be seen opening local shows for visiting luminaries ranging from Vanilla Fudge to the Yardbirds, with the help of ancillary players Chris Nielsen on guitar and John Hobbs on keyboards.
From the very beginning, Coven's performances took the shape of elaborate satanic rites that largely overshadowed their music, but this didn't stop local producer Bill Traut from recognizing the core trio's potential, then pairing them with external songwriters, and securing a wider distribution deal with Chicago's own Mercury Records. The first spawn of their unholy union was 1969's legendary "Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls" album, which draped Coven's diffuse mix of psychedelic prog rock and pop under a veritable catalog of deeply occult lyrics, opening with a song named -- remarkably enough -- "Black Sabbath," and culminating in a 13-minute reading of the "Satanic Mass" itself.
The music on the album was considered underground rock; what made it distinctive was the heavy emphasis on diabolical subject matter, including songs such as "The White Witch of Rose Hall" (based on the story of Annie Palmer), "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge", and "Dignitaries of Hell". The album concluded with a 13-minute track of chanting and Satanic prayers called "Satanic Mass". This Satanic Mass was also the first time Latin phrases such as "Ave Satanas" (Hail, Satan) were used in occult rock music, and later Satanic and Black Metal bands continued this innovation. Also included inside the album, was Coven's in famous Black Mass poster, showing members of the group displaying the sign of the horns as they prepared for a Satanic ritual over the naked altar.
Dawson recorded the vocals for "One Tin Soldier", the title theme for the 1971 film "Billy Jack", which was credited as "sung by Coven". The song, which went on to reach number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100, was written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter and was originally released by The Original Caste in 1969.
In 1972, the band released a self-titled album that included "One Tin Soldier". By this point, the occult posturing was toned down to just one spooky black cat and a band member surreptitiously flashing the sign of the horns on the album cover.
Coven released "Metal Goth Queen: Out of the Vault 1976–2007" on Nevoc, an album composed of previously unreleased recordings. Guest musicians on the album include Michael Monarch, Glenn Cornick (an original member of Jethro Tull), and Tommy Bolin, in some of his last recordings. "Jinx", an album of new recordings was self-released on Nevoc in 2013.
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