Delaney Bramlett was born in Mississippi and Bonnie Lynn O’ Farrell in Illinois and their whirlwind romance resulted in the formation of a partnership that produced a number of brilliant albums over the coming years.
Groupie (Superstar) was written by Bonnie (who had been a white Ikette at the age of 15) and Leon Russell about a group of youngsters that would follow them from one gig to another and released as a single in 1969.
Also in 1969, they recorded an album for Elektra called Accept No Substitute. Before this, they had been the first white artists to be signed by the Stax label but gained little recognition.
The Elektra album was picked up on by George Harrison and their name spread quickly through the musicians’ grapevine.
They toured Europe, and Eric Clapton not only played with the group but also recorded with them, producing Coming Home among other tracks.
After three albums for Atlantic – On Tour, To Bonnie From Delaney and Motel Shot – the Bramletts parted musically and maritally.
Their gigs had become rock elite social events, where the audiences were preoccupied trying to spot Harrison, Clapton or some other big name jamming, rather than getting into the music of the overshadowed D and B.
This over-enthusiasm for the group aggravated an already tense situation when Leon Russell, one of the original ‘Friends’, took practically the whole group for the ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’ extravaganza.
At their height, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends produced the best white soul music of all-time, and to gauge what influence they had on rock music generally, consider the then-unknown musicians they brought to the public on their first album.
Practically all of them went on to solo careers: Leon Russell, Jerry McGee, Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle, Bobby Keys, Jim Price, Jim Keltner, and Rita Coolidge.