Peabody’s Picks:Pluto – Down and Out

yJZMgzBI must start today’s post with full disclosure: approximately 90% of the time, I have no idea of the rock’n’roll trivia aspects of these songs, I just know I like them, then when researching the history of them I find out the bass player was in such-and-such a band, the keyboard player went on the sell gazillions of records, etc. Today’s band is a prime example of this serendipity.

Guitarist Paul Gardner played in a variety of bands, most notably North London’s Jack’s Union, which favored an onstage instrument-smashing style a la Jimi Hendrix/The Who. He even played very briefly with Hawkwind. But today’s rock trivia person of note is guitarist Alan Warner, who came from, quite unexpectedly given the stark stylistic differences between them and Pluto, The Foundations, of “Build Me Up Buttercup” and “Baby, Now That I’ve Found You” fame. Along with ex-Mighty Joe Young drummer Derek Jarvis and then bassist Mick Worth, who owned a Fender Precision bass previously used by no less than John Entwistle of The Who, Gardner and Warner formed Pluto. The band was named after the Disney character, and used a graphic of a dog with a guitar for publicity, but after a threat of legal action from Disney, they elected to use the God of the Underworld on their one and only album cover.

In spite of touring quite successfully, even opening for The Who at one point, they were unfortunately matched with a record label and producer who were firmly rooted in the pop idiom, and didn’t get the nascent hard rock genre, so after their eponymous debut album they disbanded, but not before leaving us with today’s “classic rock” masterpiece. With smokin’ guitars combined with Rare Earth-style percussion, it still rocks today. Enjoy.