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The In Crowd

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The In Crowd was a brief-lived soul-rock group reflecting the British rock scene's transition from basic R&B to mod and psychedelia, most notable for featuring the future nucleus of one of the U.K.'s best underrated psychedelic bands, Tomorrow. The In Crowd began as the Four Plus One, a generic R&B band that made one single for EMI at the beginning of 1965. Shortly after that flopped, they changed their name to the In Crowd, in keeping with the drift of their interest from R&B to soul (the name originating via Dobie Gray's soul hit "The In Crowd"). Their debut single, a cover of Otis Redding's "That's How Strong My Love Is," made the very bottom of the Top 50; that was as well as the In Crowd would ever do.

The In Crowd put out two other singles in 1965, and other than a cover of James Brown's "I Don't Mind," these were not so much soul as soul-influenced mod rock, some written by lead singer Keith West, then known as Keith Hopkins. By their second single, original lead guitarist Les Jones had been replaced by Steve Howe (formerly in the Syndicats), one of London's most promising young rock guitarists. The In Crowd's three singles were on the whole more promising than substantial, and in 1966 they honed their craft supporting hitmakers like the Who, Yardbirds, Hollies, and Donovan. By around late 1966, the In Crowd — with West, Howe, bassist Junior Wood, and new drummer Twink Alder — had broadened their horizons into psychedelic music and become Tomorrow, eschewing overt R&B-soul influences for more original, experimental, and melodic material.

All six songs from the In Crowd singles are available on the RPM compilations of pre-Yes Steve Howe cuts (Mothballs) and assorted Keith West solo and group projects (Excerpts from...Groups & Sessions 1965-1974), although you have to get both of them to get all six In Crowd tracks. Mothballs also includes a previously unreleased In Crowd cut, a cover of Ike Turner's "Finger Poppin'."




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