They met by coincidence, both being the only two dressed in jeans and t-shirts, attending an all-white garb party in Hollywood. J.C. came from Galveston Bay, Texas. Oddly enough, they both turned out to be singer/songwriters, and made plans to get together later and jam.
In J.C.’s garage, they began working on their new material, adding Ronn Moss(bass) and John Friesen(drums) to the band. Ronn Moss had formerly been in the bands Fable Airship, Punk Rock and Count Zeppelin. John Friesen had toured with the Ice Follies as a drummer, percussionist, and musical director. Both had been in a high school band together.
The bands style of music developed into mainstream soft pop/rock, with mellow keyboards and layered harmonies. This seemed to fit right in with the breezy sounds of L.A at the time. They began playing bars and gigs to perfect their playing skills. Their potential managers took them around to different producer’s offices to play live, lugging their guitars and amps. The band’s theory was that “a demo tape can be thrown on a shelf and forgotten, where as a live band wouldn’t fit.” They eventually ended up at the office of Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, successful songwriters and owners of a new production company called Haven Records.
Lambert and Potter liked what they heard and took the guys into the studio to record a few songs. Based on these tracks alone, Lambert and Potter were impressed, but Haven Records had since then folded. They then collaborated with the owner of RSO Records, Robert Stigwood, and got the band, still nameless, signed to a record deal. The matter of a band name was resolved while watching a movie on television. They saw the end credits list the film cast as “players”, and so they dropped the “s” to become Player.
The band also added keyboard/sythesizer player Wayne Cook, former band member of Steppenwolf(1976). A few short months later, with massive radio play, Player had an international number one hit single called ‘Baby Come Back’. This song came about when Peter Beckett had just split from someone he had been in a relationship with for a long time. Still feeling the sting, he sat down with J.C.
Crowley, to write, and their moods came out in the song ‘Baby Come Back’. This song broke on the radio in October of 1977 and reached number one early January 1978. Player was voted by Billboard Magazine’s honor roll as Best New Single Artist for 1978. ‘Baby Come Back’ was immediately followed by their top ten hit, ‘This Time I’m In It For Love’. Both songs appeared on their self-titled, debut album, Player. In 1978, they released a second album also on RSO, called Danger Zone.
This album produced the hit singles ‘Prisoner Of Your Love’, which made the top 40 list, and ‘Silverlining’. Where their first album captured the sunny sound of California pop, Danger Zone illustrated the band’s progressive pop/rock side with heavier guitars pushed to the front. The band then continued to tour bigger arenas with Eric Clapton, Heart, and Kenny Loggins, as well as headlining at smaller venues. RSO wanted Player to harden up their image, putting them on tours with hard rock bands. Peter was quoted later as saying that “this could have probably been their biggest mistake, and that Player may have still been around today if not for that.” Not soon after the tour ended, J.C.Crowley left the band to start a new career in country music.
Departing RSO, Player then signed with Casablanca Records, releasing their third album, Room with a View, in 1980, which Peter co-produced with Tony Peluso. From this album came the top forty hit ‘It’s For You’. Room with a View was a combination of soft, romantic melodies, such as ‘Bad News Travels Fast’, and heavier rock tunes, such as ‘Tip Of The Iceberg’. By the end of this tour, Ronn Moss’ focus had now shifted to acting, and he quit the band to make films in Italy.
By 1982, Peter Beckett and Dennis Lambert collaborated on the release of Player's fourth LP, Spies of Life, on RCA Records. From that album came the single ‘If Looks Could Kill’. Also joining Peter and John Friesen, the only two original band members left, were Miles Joseph(guitar/vocals) and Rusty Buchannan(bass). After this album, the band members went their separate ways, and Peter decided to become a full time writer, leaving Player on the back burner. In 2009, the band signed to Coallier Entertainment and was said to release a new CD (2) A Techno collective with varying members including: Jon Nuccle, Mark Turner, Pete Simpson, Richard Wilkinson, the collective released material under their own label also known as Infamous Player. (3) Amon Tobin (as Player) released a drill n' bass mash up of Slayer's Raining Blood and Angel of Death, simply called Angel of Theft.
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