The Groundhogs are a British rock band founded in late 1963, that toured extensively in the 1960s, achieved prominence in the early 1970s and continued sporadically into the 21st century. Tony McPhee (guitar and vocals) is the sole constant member of the group, which has gone through many personnel changes but usually records and performs as a power trio. The band was originally formed as The Dollar Bills in New Cross, London in 1962 by brothers Pete and John Cruickshank. Tony McPhee, the lead guitarist in an instrumental group called the Shcenuals, joined the group later that same year. McPhee steered them towards the blues and renamed them after a John Lee Hooker song, "Groundhog's Blues".

Links to Peel

The Groundhogs were one of the many bands who attracted Peel's attention during the British blues boom of the late 1960s, but they managed to go beyond the blues framework and develop a style of their own. Their second LP, released in 1969, was called Blues Obituary, to emphasise that they were not just a blues band. They became a popular live act during the 1970s and gained airplay on both Peel's shows and those of other DJs in Radio 1's Sounds Of The Seventies late-night strand.

In an interview with The Quietus, Tony McPhee paid tribute to Peel:

The Groundhogs - Soldier (1970)

The Groundhogs - Soldier (1970)

"In the 1960s, Radio One on a Sunday afternoon meant the Peel show. Even then he was playing all sorts of music nobody else would. Being played on his show was a major leg up. In 1970 he played our track Soldier, because he liked the fact that I say "you know" after each line in the lyrics. I stole that from the Beatles, but after that, the track hit the charts within a month. Then our next album, Split, became the fifth best selling of 1971. After years of gigging we were suddenly being offered all these tours, like with the Rolling Stones, because Mick Jagger liked us. We recorded four sessions for John's programme. The producers didn't like us, but John did. The first session was recorded live in the Paris Cinema on Regent Street. When we recorded at Maida Vale they only had a two track recording machine, but the BBC engineers were so good that some bands used their Peel tracks on their own albums. I got quite friendly with John. When he lived in Stowmarket in East Anglia I phoned him up a couple of times looking for drummers. He'd say 'Do you play country and western? Otherwise there's no drummers round here.' He lent us money to get our first PA. He'd been aware of us from our very first record, and followed our progress from blues to hard rock. The last time I saw him was on the Tube. He said he'd almost given up on bands during the glam era, but that punk had made him excited again. John was the most important person to the Groundhogs' career. We're still touring - if he'd never played us, I might be working on the telephones." [1]

The Fall released covers of two Groundhogs numbers in their long career. 'Junkman' was included on 1994's 'Middle Class Revolt' LP and 'Strange Town' on 2008's 'Imperial Wax Solvent' album.


Groundhogs BBC sessions

Groundhogs BBC sessions

1. Recorded: 1970-08-04. Broadcast: 12 September 1970. Repeated: 21 November 1970

  • Eccentric Man / Mistreated / Strange Town / Gasoline

2. Recorded: 1971-02-16. Broadcast: 20 February 1971

  • Split Parts 1 2 & 4 / A Year In The Life

3. Recorded: 1972-02-29. Broadcast: 14 March 1972. Repeated: 16 May 1972

  • Earth Is Not Room Enough / Wages Of Peace / Music Is The Food Of Thought / Bogroll Blues

4. Recorded: 1975-03-06. Broadcast: 13 March 1975

  • Light My Light / I Love Miss Ogyny / Soldier


Groundhogs BBC Radio 1 in Concert

Groundhogs BBC Radio 1 in Concert

Recorded: unknown. Broadcast: 24 May 1970

  1. Eccentric Man
  2. Garden
  3. Times
  4. Still A Fool

Recorded: 1971-04-29. Broadcast: 09 May 1971

  1. Split Part 1
  2. Garden
  3. Groundhog Blues
  4. Cherry Red
  5. Eccentric Man

Recorded: unknown. Broadcast: 04 March 1972

  1. Thank Christ For The Bomb
  2. Garden
  3. Groundhog Blues
  4. Cherry Red
  5. Eccentric Man

Other Shows Played

The Groundhogs - Married Men (1968)

The Groundhogs - Married Men (1968)

  • 09 May 1970: Soldier (LP – Thank Christ For The Bomb) Liberty
  • 30 May 1970: Soldier (LP – Thank Christ For The Bomb) Liberty
  • 10 March 1972: Bog Roll Blues (LP - Who Will Save The World? - The Mighty Groundhogs) United Artists
  • 21 March 1972: Wages Of Peace (LP - Who Will Save The World? - The Mighty Groundhogs) United Artists
  • 12 August 1999: 'Split-Part 2 (LP-Split)' (Liberty) (JP: 'That used to get played to death on these programmes when it first came out in 1971...Groundhogs, alas, these days get played about as often as King George VI on these programmes.')

External Links

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