Crack The Sky was and still is a great guitar band from the seventies. With a Beatle like feel, they are truly unique. They still tour in the Baltimore area, and you can catch them there often. Thier first album is a masterpeice and I listen to it often.
New News !!! Crack has a new album out and it's great! Go to the Official Crack The Sky page and order it there if you like. If any of you have a live video of them let me know and we'll trade. I have several.
Now for the good stuff !
Here is a bio by David Arnold who runs the
The Official Crack The Sky Web Page!
I suggest you visit his site for the most comprehnsive coverage of Crack The Sky. He has a biography there which he has kindly let me copy here. There's current tour information as well as discography, pictures and more. Many of these are his personal pictures of the band also. David knows them well so I'll let him tell the story.
The band Crack The Sky started in the Ohio River valley (the members are originally from the Pittsburgh, PA area; John came from West Virginia to Pittsburgh). Originally named ArcAngel, they became Crack the Sky when they signed with Lifesong records. They broke first in Pittsburgh, and eventually "emigrated" to and were "adopted" by the Baltimore, MD area. They recorded albums and played live shows with various personnel changes from the mid '70's until the late '80's. They played an original mix of quirky rock and roll with many time changes and switch-ups mixed in with a few Beatles-esque touches. Originally fronted by John Palumbo, the group's initial lineup also included Jim Griffiths (guitar), Rick Witkowski (guitar), Joe Macre (bass) and Joey D'Amico (drums). They were quasi-adopted by the Baltimore radio station, WIYY (98 Rock); this station above all others continued to play the classic hits from the band, and ended up sponsoring their reunion shows at Hammerjacks nightclub in 1986-1988.
Their first album Crack The Sky, released in 1975, was declared album of the year by Rolling Stone magazine, and contained such "cult" hits as Ice, Hold On/Surf City and She's A Dancer.
Unfortunately, it never got promoted very well, and
failed to catch on with the public. This was followed by their second in
1976, Animal Notes, which contained such songs as Rangers At Midnight and
Maybe I Can Fool Everybody (Tonight), was more quirky and less accessible
than the first album, but good, nonetheless.
Unfortunately it fared as well or worse than their first album.
John Palumbo left the band in 1978 during the writing
of their third album, Safety In Numbers, which resulted in songs on the
first half of the album having words & lyrics by John, but the second
half having words & lyrics by assorted (remaining) band members. John's
leaving was "due clearly to a divergence in artistic direction." While
many thought that losing John would damage the band, they were able to
put together a good third album, followed by a tour which received rave
reviews and produced their fourth, live album in 1978, Live Sky.
("This band has come all the way down from an acid trip just to play for you...")
This is an excellent example of the band live, with replacement vocalist Gary Lee Chappell, and credits (for the first time) Vince DePaul on keyboards, although he had played keyboards for the band on previous live outings. (I can't count the number of people I've talked to who saw Crack The Sky open for some band or other, and said that Crack basically blew the other band off the stage - that the headliner was a let-down after Crack played!) After Live Sky the band put out a greatest hits collection in 1980 titled Classic Crack.
After Live Sky the band broke up, but soon came back together in 1980 in their third incarnation of John Palumbo, Rick Witkowski and Vince DePaul to create the album White Music, rumored to be a contractual obligation album. This album spawned such radio hits as All American Boy and Hot Razors In My Heart, and helped fans discover or renew their interest in the band. Unfortunately, soon after the album was released, the band broke up again, ostensibly for good.
After that, in 1981, John once again re-formed the band in its fourth incarnation, with Vince DePaul (keyboards), Carey Ziegler (bass), Michael Taylor (guitar) and John Tracey (drums), and put out the album Photoflamingo. This album received less-than-rave reviews from the critics and public, and today is one of the bands least well- known albums. As John wrote all the music and lyrics for the album, Crack The Sky began to become thought of as "his band", which caused him both joy and suffering for many years afterwards.
The next offering from the band came in 1983 with World In Motion I, yet another disappointment for the band. It never got much airplay other than Mr DJ, and the album itself was very hard to find in stores, eventually virtually totally disappearing from the record bins. The lack of acceptance of this album probably contributed to John again calling an end to the band, and the same year put out The End, the bands supposed swan song. The album contained a collection of live songs from some previous albums as well as a couple of new (or previously unreleased) offerings.
At this point, it seemed that Crack The Sky was finally gone forever, as John P. had grown to feel it like an albatross around his neck. He continued to pursue his solo career and released Blowing Up Detroit in 1984, which contained which contained such songs as Blowing Up Detroit and Drifting Back To Motown. Band members Carey Zeigler, John Tracey, Bobby Hird and Vince DePaul went on to form the local Baltimore band No Heroes, which played some Crack tunes as well as original tunes.
Eventually, in 1986 John decided to make another Crack
The Sky album, Raw. He once again wrote all the words & lyrics, as
well as produced the album. There were no previous band members on this
album; the only other artist listed in the credits is Jamie LaRitz (guitar).
Many fans did not deem this a "real" Crack The Sky album, as John was the
only previous band member on the album.
He apparently felt the tug of the Crack The Sky legend,
or the laments of the fans, as he decided to resurrect the band for a series
of live shows in 1986 at the Baltimore, MD club Hammerjacks.
The band, consisting of mostly-original members John (guitar/vocals), Rick Witkowski (lead guitar), Joey D'Amico (drums/vocals), Vince DePaul (keyboards) and Carey Ziegler (bass/vocals) played three nights in March 1986 to an enthusiastic, sold-out audience. While they didn't play anything from Raw at these shows, there were two songs from the Blowing Up Detroit album, as well as most of the bands classic songs. They came back again in the Christmas Week in 1986 with a few more shows, this time incorporating the title track from Raw into the show.
Possibly spurred on by the overwhelming reception the
band received at the Hammerjacks shows, he continued to work with the other
band members, and eventually did other live shows at Hammerjacks as well
as another local Baltimore club, Painters Mill (before it burned down)
in 1986 and 1988. Eventually, in 1989 there was a new Crack The Sky album
named From The Greenhouse, featuring all of the members from the Hammerjacks
shows except for Carey Zeigler, who was otherwise engaged during the recording
sessions. (Carey did play with the band when they played more Hammerjacks
shows after the release of Greenhouse.) This album featured the title track,
as well as a critique of the American "yuppie" lifestyle in Lost In America.
The band played more shows at Hammerjacks in support of this album.
The same year John released his third solo album, Victim Of The Nightlife. It contained a re-release of Drifting Back To Motown, as well as Dancing With The Fuhrer and a cover of Lou Reed's Walk On The Wild Side. (This is not surprising, as it's reminiscent of a song from Crack The Sky's first album, She's A Dancer, which also talks about transsexuality issues.
The next year, 1990, saw the release of the last (to date) studio album from the band, titled Dog City, which didn't receive very much airplay, even from the local Baltimore radio stations. After this album, John once again dissolved the band to pursue his own projects.
John went on to form a band named Cruel Shoes and released a single album in 1993(?). This appears to have been a one-shot deal; I cannot find any curent information on this band.
Finally, in late 1994 a new disc was released, titled Rare!, containing a collection of singles from previous albums (both CTS albums and Palumbo solo efforts), live versions and previously unreleased alternate versions of songs -- outtakes from previous albums. This disc includes two songs recorded at two of the Hammerjacks shows. It was not received well by critics (panned as a rehashing of old material), but is a must-have for completists and true Crack The Sky/John Palumbo fans.
In May and August 1996 the band played sets of shows at a small club in the Baltimore, MD area.
The band lineup is the same as on the album The End; John Palumbo, Rick Witkowski, Carey Zeigler, John Tracey, Bobby Hird, with the addition of Nat Kerr on keyboards. They also played the 2nd Annual COLT FEST at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Sunday, August 11th, 1996.
Crack The Sky got back together again on May 31st, 1997 at Bohagers nightclub in the Fells Point area of Baltimore, MD. They played two shows, with the opening band being the Patty Reese Band, whom John Tracey also plays with. Once again they wowed the standing room only crowd with two hours of their hits, including bringing back an old chestnut, Robots For Ronnie and a punked-up version of We Want Mine.
What the future brings we're not sure, but I've learned from "informed sources" that John Palumbo has other projects "on the burners", so we're hoping to see/hear something from him soon. There are also other big developments in the Palumbo household, but more on that as I'm allowed. I'll also try to keep folks abreast of the doings of the other Crack The Sky band members, without whom there would not be nearly as much great music in the world.
From all the fans to all of you, thanks guys, you've touched a lot of lives, in spite of what the critics and album sales might indicate!
Crack The Sky Unofficial Biography by David Arnold from the
The Official Crack The Sky Web Page!
Crack The Sky has a guest book here, if you have anything
to trade like a live video of Crack The Sky, here's a good place to post
it, or you can write me directly BobbyShred@aol.com.
Sign The Crack the Sky Guestbook
View The Crack The Sky Guestbook
Crack The Sky CD's right here!
Crack The Sky Links
The Official Crack The Sky Web Page
Bill Woodward's Crack The Sky Page
Crack The Sky Discs cheap!
Crack The Sky Discs - AB-CD
Crack The Sky Discs - Rennasance Records
Crack The Sky Discs - GEMM
Crack The Sky Discs - CD Universe
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