White Spirit (1975-1981): a NWOBHM band from Hartlepool, UK.
t would be in 1975 that White Spirit was started by Janick Gers (guitar) and Graeme Crallan (drums), and eventually included Bruce Ruff (vocals), Malcolm Pearson (keyboards) and Phil Brady (bass). Although officially a part of the NWOBHM style their sound featured a heavy dose of 1970s hard rock like that of Deep Purple or Uriah Heep mixed with keyboards .
They got their start with a one-off 45 for 'Neat', titled Backs to the Grind with the reverse featuring Cheetah, which would also appear on 'Neat's Lead Weight compilation, then later on the retrospective New Wave of British heavy metal '79 Revisited double LP/CD in 1990, compiled by noted NWOBHM enthusiast (and Metallica member) Lars Ulrich along with former Kerrang! editor Geoff Barton. White Spirit was also featured on various other NWOBHM compilations such as Volume 2 of Metal for Muthas, the Muthas Pride EP, Brute Force and 60 Minutes Plus.
With the upsurge of the NWOBHM during the late 1970s and early 1980s, White Spirit would follow that single on 'MCA' where they released their first and only album in 1980, the self-titled White Spirit, featuring cover artwork by Michael Spaldin who later worked on stage set design for Gillan. The album didn't exactly set a fire on the charts or the heavy metal world and after two follow-up singles Midnight Chaser b/w Suffragettes (1980) and High Upon High b/w No Reprieve, Arthur guitar (1980) and an appearance at the prestigious Reading Festival, they broke up when guitarist Janick Gers accepted an offer from former Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan to join his solo outfit Gillan in place of Bernie Torme. Brian Howe replaced Ruff as vocalist and Mick Tucker replaced Pearson on guitar right near the end but it came to no avail. The members went on to other things, the most noted being Gers who would later join Iron Maiden.
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The band's eponymous album was re-issued in 2005 on the 'Castle Media' label with an entire second disc's worth of bonus material, including rarities, demos, alternate versions and takes, and B-sides. The re-issue was in print in Japan in 2008 and for some time there-after, when 'Universal Music Japan' issued the album as a re-mastered Limited Edition SHM (Super High Material technology) Mini-LP Sleeve CD. However this latest re-issue did not include various bonus tracks found on the original 'Castle Media' edition. The posthumous compilation 21 Grams arrived 2012.
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