Honeybus are principally remembered for their 1968 hit I Can’t Let Maggie Go, but much of their best work was made shortly after that breakthrough, when lead singer and songwriter Pete Dello unexpectedly jumped ship as he didn’t want to tour anymore.
It was sink-or-swim time for the rest of the band, and guitarist Colin Hare and bassist Ray Cane had to choose between quietly disbanding or quickly developing their own songwriting skills. Fortunately they opted for the latter, and the album they produced as a result is one of pop’s hidden delights.
The band (with Jim Kelly added on guitar) were only allocated a few days to record their album, but despite that Story is a remarkably coherent and inventive LP, spanning upbeat pop (Black Mourning Band), folk rock (She’s Out There) and harder, more psychedelic work (Under The Silent Tree), frequently underpinned by glorious Mellotron flourishes and the group’s trademark harmonies.
Sadly, by the time the album appeared in February 1970 their moment had truly passed and it did not sell well. Kircher actually left the band in the summer of 1969, and went on tour with Engelbert Humperdinck. He was replaced by drummer Lloyd Courtney for the remainder of the sessions for their album.
Dello, Hare and Kelly all went on to record critically-acclaimed solo material in the early 1970s.
Ray Cane moved to Australia where he worked as a financial adviser, Colin Hare continued to play music as a solo act, and Pete Dello taught guitar and piano and continued to compose, though mainly classical music.
Pete Kircher eventually gave up drumming (after playing with Status Quo in the 80s) and became a sign-writer.
Bass, keyboards, vocals