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The American Breed

The American Breed were a '60s rock quartet from Cicero, IL, led by Gary Loizzo. They scored a gold Top Ten hit in early 1968 with "Bend Me, Shape Me." Later, drummer Andre Fischer and keyboard player Kevin Murphy were members of Rufus.

The group was formed in Cicero, Illinois as Gary & The Nite Lites. The group's greatest success was the single, "Bend Me, Shape Me," which reached number five on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1968. The song, written by Scott English and Larry Weiss, was a remake of a recording by The Outsiders that had been released the year before. The group also appeared on the 16 December 1967 episode of the television show American Bandstand, along with Pink Floyd.
The original members of the group were Gary Loizzo on vocals, Charles Colbert, Jr. on bass guitar, Al Ciner on guitar, and Lee Graziano on drums. All members were from the greater Chicago area. As Gary & The Nite Lites, they were somewhat successful in Chicago and released one single. Soon afterwards, the group underwent several changes. They moved to the Acta record label and renamed themselves The American Breed. Two new members were also added by 1968: Kevin Murphy on keyboards and Andre Fischer on drums.
The band enjoyed its greatest success in 1967 and 1968. They released five singles that reached the charts, including "Step Out Of Your Mind", "Green Light" and "Bend Me, Shape Me". The group went through several more name and personnel changes, but with Ciner and Murphy remaining as core members through the changes. First was shortening the name to 'The Breed', then re-naming the band 'Smoke', before evolving to a R&B funk sound as 'Ask Rufus'. They added singer Paulette McWilliams, who was later replaced by Chaka Khan, and finally became Rufus, (former American Breed drummer Andre Fisher returned as Rufus's drummer during this period), and the band later scored their first Top 10 hit under the Rufus name with "Tell Me Something Good" in 1974. Fischer later married Natalie Cole. A compilation album, Bend Me, Shape Me: The Best of the American Breed, was released in 1994. "Bend Me, Shape Me" continues to receive occasional airplay on oldies radio stations.
In celebration of the 2005 baseball World Championship of the Chicago White Sox, the American Breed issued a CD single entitled "Rock with the Sox." The single was produced by Gary Loizzo.


50s, 60s Hits

Bend Me, Shape Me

Members of this Group




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