Classic Album Review – They Only Come Out at Night : The Edgar Winter Group

Edgar Winter : They Only Come Out At Night : Classic Album Review
“They Only Come Out at Night”: The Edgar Winter Group’s Masterstroke

The American rock band The Edgar Winter Group made its stellar debut with the studio album, “They Only Come Out at Night,” launched in November 1972 under Epic Records. The album made a prominent impact on the music industry, peaking at #3 on the US Billboard 200 chart, and highlighting the band’s signature songs, “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride”. The album’s success was endorsed with gold certification on April 30, 1973, and later platinum on November 21, 1986, by the RIAA. “Frankenstein,” one of its singles, was also gold certified on June 19, 1973. In Canada, the album had an impressive run with #4 ranking on two occasions and 14 weeks total in the top 10. The third single, “Hangin’ Around,” also made its mark by reaching #39 in the singles chart.

Band Members:

Edgar Winter
Dan Hartman
Ronnie Montrose
Rick Derringer

For this album, Edgar Winter grouped together with songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Dan Hartman, San Francisco guitarist Ronnie Montrose, and producer/guitarist Rick Derringer, while Eagles’ producer Bill Szymczyk served as the technical director.

Montrose, fresh off Van Morrison’s band, was motivated to dive into rock music by Winter. Hartman, who was only 21 when the album was recorded, was a child prodigy who had played with Winter’s brother Johnny. Hartman’s genius can be felt in six of the ten tracks he wrote or co-wrote, as well as his versatile contribution as a vocalist and on multiple instruments.

“Free Ride,” Hartman’s pre-Winter composition, was picked as the album’s first single. Despite initial lukewarm reception, it gained popularity after “Frankenstein” hit #1 on the singles chart. Montrose’s dual guitar solos in “Free Ride” aimed to capture an Eric Clapton vibe.

The main riff of “Frankenstein” originated during Winter’s time with his brother Johnny. Winter wanted an instrumental track to showcase his talent, resulting in a live staple that later became “Frankenstein.” After a multitude of live performances, the song was finally recorded, thanks to producer Rick Derringer’s persuasion. Despite a complicated editing process, the song was ultimately named “Frankenstein” by drummer Chuck Ruff during a rough mix, and as Winter put it, “the monster was born.”

In summary, “They Only Come Out at Night” remains a timeless masterpiece from The Edgar Winter Group, combining innovative creativity with exceptional talent, a testament to the enduring power of vinyl records.

Phil Aston | Now Spinning Magazine

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