Like every other self-respecting musical movement in the early 70s, Pub Rock had its own ‘supergroup’ in the shape of Kokomo.
Named after an Aretha Franklin song (First Snow in Kokomo) the band consisted of guitarist Neil Hubbard and bassist Alan Spenner from Joe Cocker‘s Greaseband, saxophonist Mel Collins from King Crimson, guitarist Jim Mullen and drummer Terry Stannard from Vinegar Joe and singers Dyan Birch, Frank Collins and Paddy McHugh from Arrival. Only keyboard player Tony O’Malley had no previous form.
How they all managed to squeeze onto the stage at The Kensington and the Hope and Anchor remains a mystery but they did throughout 1974 when their hugely potent funk rhythms proved equally hugely popular with crowds and critics alike, many of whom claimed Kokomo to be better than the Average White Band.
They signed to CBS in the summer of 1974 and recorded two albums over the next 18 months but – like many other supergroups before them – failed to reach their true potential on record.
Despite tickling the bottom end of the US charts on a couple of occasions, Kokomo are best remembered for joining Dr Feelgood and Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers on the ‘Naughty Rhythms Tour’ in 1975, and for recording tracks in New York with Bob Dylan for his Desire album (none of which, sadly, ever reached vinyl).
Kokomo finally called it a day in 1977. Tony O’Malley went on to join 10CC.