The Artwoods secured a loyal fan-base in the 60s wowing the hipsters at London’s Speakeasy, Klooks Kleek, The 100 Club and Eel Pie Island, with an irresistible set of soul and blues covers.
Between 1964 and 1967 they recorded six singles, an EP (Jazz In Jeans) and the LP Art Gallery. These days, original copies of the LP go for £120.
Their sharp mod sound was characterised by the swirling organ of Jon Lord (later of Deep Purple) and the bluesy vocals of Art Wood (elder brother of ex-Faces and Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood), and made them a hit on television show Ready, Steady, Go!
Born on 7 July 1937, Art Wood studied graphic design and fine art at Ealing School of Art before doing his National Service. Back in London in 1962 he formed The Art Wood Combo, an R&B outfit that morphed into The Artwoods two years later. They were an impressive live act, but would not find commercial success – although they were considerably more popular in France, Denmark and Poland.
In 1967 the band changed their name to St Valentine’s Day Massacre to tie in with the release of the movie Bonnie And Clyde, but disbanded soon after.
In 1969, Wood founded his short-lived R&B revue, Quiet Melon, with Rod Stewart, Ronnie Laine, Kenney Jones, Ian McLagan, Ron Wood and Kim Gardner, but when most of the band left to form The Faces he turned to design, working with his other brother, Ted.
In the 1990s he joined The Artwoods’ contemporaries The Downliners Sect, then formed The Art Wood Allstars with Sect members Don Craine and Keith Grant, plus The Kinks‘ drummer Mick Avory, among others. He also teamed with both his brothers on Art Wood’s Quiet Melon’s Money Due album in 1998.
Art Wood lost his battle with cancer on 3 November 2006.