Wednesday, November 03, 2004

AMERICANBANDOBIT: Terry Knight, manager of Grand Funk Railroad, has been murdered. During a row with his daughter's boyfriend, Donald Fair - all three shared a house - Knight was stabbed several times.

Knight - who was also know as Richard Knight and, sometimes, Richard Knapp - helped create Grand Funk Railroad in the sixties and steered their career for the best part of a decade. Knapp had founded the group on a lie - the Flint dj told a band called The Jazz Masters that he was personal friends with Jagger and Richards; they invited him to become their lead singer on the strength of this. In 1968, the Masters reformulated, and Knight elected to remain as manager rather than singer. It was at this point the band chose their new name, which they pinched and adpated (unsurprisingly) from a railway line. It was Knight's shrewd skills as a manger which helped the band gain national fame: he invested USD100,000 on a billboard ad in Times Square for their Closer To Home album; the gamble paid off and gave the band their first Top Ten record. In 1971 the band sold out Shea Stadium, something previously only done by The Beatles.

Things took a sour turn shortly afterwards, when the band replaced Knight with Andy Cavaliere. Cavaliere was a short-term incumbent, himself being replaced by John Eastman, the father-in-law of Paul McCartney. Many years of legal wrangling between the Railroad and Knight ensued; eventually Knight received a huge cash settlement.