One of the true "pioneers" of the west coast country rock movement of the late 60's and early 70's, John Beland's amazing career has spanned over four decades of ground breaking musical achievments. Born on the southside of Chicago in 1949, and raised in the southwest suburban town of Hometown, Illinois, John cut his guitar teeth on the stylings of Lonnie Mack, Buddy Guy, BB King, Travis Womack and Freddy King, while at the same time developing a deep passion for the rockabilly music of Carl Perkins & Ricky Nelson,as well as the west coast pop productions of Phil Spector and Brian Wilson. Beland located to Hollywood when he was only 16 years old, hooking up with fellow LA transplants Glen Frey & JD Souther, who would later go on to spearhead the legendary Eagles. Eventually John made his way to the famed Troubadour club, where, thanks to the help of MC Larry Murray, John became the "unoffical" house guitarist, backing up and coming songwriters like an unknown, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Darrell, Paul Potash and others. Discovered by the management team of Dan & Lois Dalton, John went to work performing on the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, as well as playing on his first hit record session, "Take A Letter Maria" by RB Greeves, all at the young age of 18 years old. That same year he sang the theme song for the classic television sitcom "The Brady Bunch." Honest...that's John (NOT The Peppermint Trolly Company) !!!! While playing guitar with a number of struggling LA country rock singer / songwriters, it was at the Troub where John befriended a young Linda Ronstadt, who had just left her group The Stone Ponies, and soon he helped her form her first solo band "Swampwater", along with Gib Guilbeau, Eric White (replaced by Thad Maxwell)& Stan Pratt, now considered to be one of the hallmark pioneering LA country rock bands of the early 70's. Swampwater and Linda toured the country working the original Grand Ol Opry, The Johnny Cash Show and scores of venues alongside such mainstream acts as the Byrds, Quicksilver Messenger Serice, Poco, Van Morrison, Tim Buckley and many other top artists of the day. With Swampwater, John recorded two albums, both acclaimed country rock projects, with the second RCA album becoming one of the first country pop recordings (other than the Dirt Band) by a west coast band in Nashville. In 1973 while in London, John was signed to the Beatles record company, "Apple Records" by Ringo Starr, who had heard one of John's LA recordings thanks to the help of rock & roll star Johnny Tillotson, who had hired Beland as his music director / lead guitarist. A few years later in 1976 he was approached by band leader Joe Guercio to play guitar for Elvis Presley when James Burton opted to play for Emmylou Harris. Although achieving great success as a hit country writer, John's career as a top session guitarist in Hollywood was also growing by leaps and bounds. He shuttled frequently throughout the decade between LA, New York, Las Vegas and Nashville, where he became one of the very few "outside" guitarists to be embraced by the tight knit circle of Nashville session players. Only in his mid 20's, John worked sessions with such steller session legends as Pete Drake,Buddy Harmon, Scotty Moore, Pig Robbins, Ray Eddington & Jimmy Capps and producer Billy Sherrill. Besides recording scores of television and movie soundtracks, John was soon working under most of the top record producers in Nashville and LA,most notably Jimmy Bowen, Phil Gernhardt, John Boylan, David Anderley, as well as touring & recording with such major artists such as, Kim Carnes, Arlo Guthrie, Johnny Tillotson, The Bellamy Brothers, Dolly Parton, Billy Joe Royal, Joan Baez, Country Joe McDonald, Ry Cooder, Clarence White, Buck Owens, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, James Burton, Sonny Landreth, The Oakridge Boys, Ricky Skaggs, Alison Krauss, Kris Kristofferson & Rita Coolidge, Bob James, Tom Scott, Carol King, Kate Taylor, Mac Davis, Bob Nuewerth, Earl Scruggs, Freddy Weller, Odetta, Billy Bob Thornton, David Frizzell and eventually with his longtime hero, Ricky Nelson. With Ricky, John became musicial director and band leader, helping Rick redirect his 2nd major comeback in 1979 and playing on his critically acclaimed album "The Memphis Sessions." John arranged and played on Rick's last hit record "Dream Lover." After his stint with Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band, John joined yet another legendary group, The Flying Burrito Brothers.
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It was John's creative input, songwriting and direction that ressurected the struggling band to a bonified commercial hit country act, logging up 9 hit singles for Curb Records, many written by Beland, and awards from Billboard, Cashbox and Record World Magazine in the 80's. John was also instrumental in spearheading the campaign that helped see his hero, Lefty Frizzell inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame. It was following John's departure from the Burrito's that he accepted the offer to return and re-join Ricky Nelson following a 1985 Christmas tour in Texas, only to have those plans fall through when Rick and his band were tragically killed in a tragic plane crash,only weeks before John was to re-join them. In the 90's John, along with best friend & Aussie pop star Brian Cadd, became the first producer to record country pop music in Mainland China. As an ASCAP Award winning songwriter, Beland's tunes have been recorded by a "who's-who" of contemporary greats such as The Whites, Shelly West, Thom Bresh, Ringo Starr, Brian Cadd, Aussie acts-Michael King, Diana Woods and Patsy Rigger, Rick Nelson, Doug Kershaw, Englebert Humperdink, The Bellamy Brothers, Garth Brooks and former Grand Funk lead singer Mark Farner, who's recording of John's song "Isn't It Amazing" earned Beland a Dove nomination and became the number 2 Christian pop record of the late 80's. Today it is considered a "standard" in contemporary Christian music. In 1994 John recieved an ASCAP Award for his co-written smash "Cowboy Beat", recorded by the Bellamy Brothers. John also co-wrote their follow up hit "Hard Way To Make An Esy Living", as well as playing guitar and arranging both back-to-back hit singles. As well as recording in nearly every major studio on the planet, as a performer John has appeared on such famous venues as BOTH Grand Ol Opry's, The Louisianna Hayride. Wembley Stadium, Philharmonic Hall, The Hollywood Bowl, Carnagie Hall, The Astrodome, The Kennedy Center, The Fillmore West, The Palomino Club, The Troubadour, The Bitter End, The Main Point, The Big Sur Festival, The Cellar Door, nearly every major main room in Las Vegas, Gilley's, Billy Bob's, as well as such television shows as The Tonight Show, Hee Haw, Pop Goes The Country, Saturday Night Live, Sonny & Cher, Merv Griffin, Dick Clark Live Wed, Midnight Special, Nashville Now, Phil Donahue and many many more. As noted, John has scored great hit success in Australia, a place he considers is "second home." His country productions have landed unknown artists like Michael King to national visibility with 3 top 10 singles on th Aussie country charts.
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