Once upon a time, there were two Scottish brothers – lain and Gavin Sutherland – peddlers of particularly earthy soft-rock fare with two albums on Island (1972’s The Sutherland Brothers Band and Lifeboat).
Once upon a time, too, Quiver – a guitar-tinged English quartet – released two albums on Warner Brothers (Quiver and Gone In The Morning) before they found themselves reduced to a three-piece of Tim Renwick (guitar), Bruce Thomas (bass) and John “Willie” Wilson (drums) with the departure of Canadian guitarist/vocalist Cal Batchelor.
They toyed with the idea of asking Terry Reid but were soon alerted to the Sutherlands’ wish for a more permanent ensemble. Thus, Sutherland Brothers & Quiver, and thus the Dream Kid album, from which the You Got Me Anyway single made the US Top 20.
The Beat Of The Street, Reach For The Sky, Slipstream and Down To Earth albums followed, but it was Rod Stewart who had the million-selling hit with The Sutherlands’ Sailing, though the band had their own UK Top 5 single with Arms Of Mary.
The brothers reverted to their own name for 1979’s When The Night Comes Down album, recorded with session musicians.
Alas, as punk descended, the band lost members and thus its glue.
Ian Sutherland released two solo albums, Mixed Emotions (1983) and Fandango (1985) but had more success with getting his songs covered by others – most obviously Sailing, but also I Was In Chains (Paul Young) and Easy Come Easy Go (Merle Haggard). Bonnie Tyler, The Everly Brothers and John Travolta also helped stock the coffers.
Tim Renwick became a top session player with Elton John, The Bee Gees, Dionne Warwick, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd and Tom Jones. He was also the house guitarist on The Jonathan Ross Show and Viva Cabaret. Bruce Thomas joined Elvis Costello & The Attractions.
Keyboard player Pete Woods died in December 1993. Although the official verdict ruled his death was a suicide (attributed to a mixture of drink and drugs) his friends and former colleagues do not believe it.
John ‘Willie’ Wilson