John Till

John Till

John Till is a Canadian musician. Born in Stratford, Ontario, Till played in local bands until the early 1960s when he was picked to play in Ronnie Hawkins band The Hawks, to replace previous members who had left to tour with Bob Dylan (see The Band). After touring with Hawkins, the members of Tills' band went to New York City to try to establish themselves as musicians in the larger U.S. market. Till became a studio musician and was doing commercial work there.

While doing this kind of commercial work, Till also fronted The Full Tillt Boogie Band as a side project with fellow Canadian band members. They were playing mostly in the local New York Area, but when Janis Joplin's management convinced her to discard Big Brother and the Holding Company as her backing band, her record label put together a new group of musicians for her, The Kozmic Blues Band. This group consisted of Till and several other Full Tillt Boogie Band members, plus a horn section. This was a group of studio musicians that her label was familiar with and could depend on to be reliable, and the group recorded "I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!" released in 1969. This is the group Joplin performed with at the original Woodstock concert. Joplin was not happy touring with some of the members of this group, however, feeling some of them to be too "square".

Till convinced Joplin to hire his Full Tillt Boogie band in its entirety, and he agreed to drop one of the "l's" from its name, thus creating Joplin's Full Tilt Boogie backing band. In May 1970 the band began rehearsals and one of their first shows was at a Hells Angels benefit. Shortly after, they went on an international tour and appeared on such television programs as "The Ed Sullivan Show". The group recorded the classic "Pearl" album, which was released shortly after Joplin's untimely death. This album reached #1 on the "Billboard" charts.

Till can be heard playing guitar on the hit songs from that album, which included "Me and Bobby McGee", "Cry Baby" and "Get it While You Can". After Joplin's death, Till played with Bobby Charles, Bob Burchill and in his own band based in the Stratford area. He also endorses guitar- and musician-related products.

In the forward of "Love, Janis", Laura Joplin's biography of her relationship with her famous sister, Till and his wife Dorcas are thanked for providing some of the material for the book.

See also

* [http://www.ronniehawkins.com/bio.html Ronnie Hawkins: history of The Hawks]
* [http://www.boomercafe.com/Janis.htm Janis Joplin bio]


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