Lee Michaels, Bartholomew “Frosty” Smith-Frost
LEE MICHAELS PHOTO COLLECTION
(Click on photos in gallery below to view larger version with instructions for ordering)
Arizona State Fairgrounds – 12/6/69
appeared with Poco
LEE MICHAELS – Born Nov. 24, 1945, Los Angeles, California. In 1969 Michaels collaborated with “Frosty” Bartholomew Eugene Smith-Frost to create the album Lee Michaels. “Frosty” then returned to his own band, Sweathog.
Michaels began his career with The Sentinals, a San Luis Obispo, California-based surf group that included drummer Johny Barbata (later of The Turtles, Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship). Michaels joined Barbata in the Strangers, a group led by guitarist Joel Scott Hill. Michaels later moved to San Francisco, where he joined an early version of The Family Tree, a band led by Bob Segarini. In 1967, he signed a contract with A&M Records, releasing his debut album, Carnival of Life, later that year. As a session musician, he played with Jimi Hendrix, among others.
Michaels’ choice of the Hammond organ as his primary instrument was unusual for the time, as was his bare-bones stage and studio accompaniment: Usually just a single drummer, most often a musician known as “Frosty” (Bartholomew Eugene Smith-Frost) a member of Sweathog, or with Joel Larson of The Grass Roots. This unorthodox approach attracted a following in San Francisco, and some critical notice (Sounds reported that he had been called “the ultimate power organist”), but Michaels did not achieve real commercial success until the release of his fifth album.
Album Fifth (1971) produced a surprise US Top 10 hit (#6 in the fall of 1971), “Do You Know What I Mean”, an autobiographical homage to the loss of a girlfriend, and a Top 40 follow-up, a cover version of the Motown standard, “Can I Get a Witness” (#39). Michaels recorded two more albums for A&M before signing a recording contract with Columbia Records in 1973. His Columbia recordings failed to generate much interest, and Michaels went into semi-retirement from the music industry by the end of the decade.
LEE MICHAELS – Discography
- 1968 – Carnival of Life (A&M)
- 1969 – Recital
- 1969 – Lee Michaels
- 1970 – Barrel
- 1971 – 5th
- 1972 – Life
- 1972 – Space and First Takes
- 1973 – Nice Day for Something (Columbia)
- 1974 – Tailface
- 1975 – Saturn Rings (ABC)
- 1992 – The Lee Michaels Collection (Rhino)
Lee Michaels & Frosty – No Part Of It – 1970
LEE MICHAELS – Links