|Birth name||Russell Glyn Ballard|
|Born||31 October 1945|
Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, England
|Genres||Hard rock, psychedelic pop, pop rock, beat|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, singer, songwriter|
|Instruments||Guitar, vocals, piano, keyboards, harmonica|
Russell Glyn Ballard (born 31 October 1945) is an English singer, songwriter and musician.
Originally coming to prominence as the lead singer and guitarist for the band Argent, Ballard became a songwriter and producer by the late 1970s. His compositions "New York Groove", "You Can Do Magic", "Since You Been Gone", "I Surrender", "Liar", "Winning", "I Know There's Something Going On", "Can't Shake Loose", "So You Win Again" and "God Gave Rock and Roll to You" were hits for other artists during the 1970s and 1980s. He also scored several minor hits under his own name in the early and mid-1980s.
Ballard was born in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, England.
Ballard was initially a guitarist, joining Buster Meikle & The Day Breakers in 1961 together with his older brother Roy and their friend the drummer Bob Henrit. After a stint with The Roulettes, backing Adam Faith, he then went on to join Unit 4 + 2 in 1967, before becoming the lead singer and guitarist of Argent (along with Henrit, who joined as drummer), writing their hit "God Gave Rock and Roll to You", which would later be covered by both Petra and KISS. Ballard is most well known as the vocalist on Argent's smash "Hold Your Head Up". In 1972, Ballard performed on Colin Blunstone's album Ennismore, which was produced by Chris White. Ballard also wrote the hit single "I Don't Believe in Miracles", which featured on that album.
He left Argent in 1974 and pursued a solo and songwriting career. He wrote such hits as Three Dog Night's "Liar" (originally recorded by Argent), Hot Chocolate's 1977 UK chart topper "So You Win Again", and Rainbow's 1979 hit "Since You Been Gone". Head East had also recorded the song in 1978 for its self-titled album, and before that it was included in Ballard's 1976 solo album Winning. Ballard also wrote Rainbow's 1981 No. 3 (UK) hit "I Surrender".
Ballard also wrote and performed on Roger Daltrey's first two solo albums, Daltrey (1973) and Ride a Rock Horse (1975). Daltrey recorded some other Russ Ballard originals for his McVicar soundtrack, and his albums Under a Raging Moon and Can't Wait to See the Movie. Ballard undertook a tour with Roger Daltrey in 1985, playing guitar and singing one of his own songs.
British pop band Hello recorded Ballard's "New York Groove" in 1975, reaching No. 7 in Germany and No. 9 in the UK. "New York Groove" would also be recorded three years later by Ace Frehley, who turned the tune into a stateside hit.
Ballard also wrote the No. 17, 1981 hit for Santana, called "Winning", which appeared on their album entitled Zebop! and had previously been released by Ballard himself on his second solo album. To promote the Winning album he toured Europe and the US in October and November 1976, working with the John Stanley Media Management Company and a four-piece band, performing at large theatre venues in Europe and medium-sized clubs such as The Bottom Line in New York and the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles.
Ballard wrote and produced "You Can Do Magic" for the group America on its 1982 album View from the Ground. The single climbed to No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1982, and helped resurrect the band's career. The following year, America brought in Ballard to produce their follow-up album, Your Move. One of its tracks, "The Border", which was co-written by Ballard with Dewey Bunnell, reached No. 33 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Ballard wrote ABBA singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad's 1982 solo hit: "I Know There's Something Going On" (which was produced by Phil Collins, and also featured Collins on drums). The track reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. He also penned "Can't Shake Loose" for fellow ABBA former member Agnetha Fältskog, which peaked at No. 29 in the same listings.
Returning to a harder rock vein, Ballard wrote "I Did It For Love," which became the last Billboard Hot 100 hit for Night Ranger, appearing on their 1988 Man in Motion album. In 1991 the song he co-wrote with John Waite and Jonathan Cain, "So This Is Eden", appeared on Bad English's album, Backlash.
Ballard has also written and produced for Elkie Brooks, and in 2005 acting as a talent scout, he "discovered" Lauren Harris.
As a solo artist, Ballard charted once on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, when "On the Rebound" reached No. 58 in 1980. English rock band Uriah Heep covered "On the Rebound" in 1982 on their album Abominog. In 1980, he released a solo album on Epic entitled Barnet Dogs. It reached no. 187 on the Billboard 200.
Another notable solo hit, "Voices" – from his second self-titled album (1984) – was featured in the Miami Vice episode "Calderone's Return: Part 2 – Calderone's Demise", which aired on 26 October 1984. The song was a brief hit on rock radio stations, peaking at No. 15 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. However, "Voices" stalled below the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 110. Another song from the same album, "In the Night" was featured in the episode "Calderone's Return: Part 1 – The Hit List". The show also featured "Your Time Is Gonna Come" by Ballard later in its run.
"The Fire Still Burns", the title track of his 1985 album matched the placement of the previous year's "Voices", peaking at No. 15 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.
In addition to Kiss covering "God Gave Rock and Roll to You", retitled as "God Gave Rock 'n' Roll to You II":
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Notes|
|1978||At the Third Stroke||–||–||
|1981||Into the Fire||–||–|
|1985||The Fire Still Burns||166||–||
|2006||Book of Love
|2015||It's Good to Be Here
2020 Book Of Love Tour Live 2007
All songs written by him.
|1974||Fly Away||3:20||Danger Zone - Part II||3:06|
|1975||Loose Women||2:27||Danger Zone—Part 1||2:38|
|1976||Since You Been Gone||2:50||Venus (Shine Your Light)||4:41|
|1976||The Russ Ballard Story Part 1||7:50||The Russ Ballard Story Part 2||7:41||US only, promo, |
|1977||Some Kinda Hurricane||3:27||You Can Do Voodoo||3:32|
|1978||Dancer||4:02||Treat Her Right||2:29||New Zealand only|
|1978||Treat Her Right||2:55||What Does It Take||3:09|
|1978||I'm A Scorpio||3:38||Expressway To Your Heart||2:53|
|1980||Rene Didn't Do It||3:20||Feels Like The Real Thing||3:58||Australia only|
|1980||On The Rebound||3:28||Riding With The Angels||4:06|
|1981||Rock & Roll Lover||3:31||Breakdown||3:16||US only|
|1981||Here Comes The Hurt||3:56||Breakdown||3:16|
|1981||I Will Be There||3:57||Madman||5:04|
|1984||Two Silhouettes||4:17||Living Without You||4:24|
|1984||I Can't Hear You No More||4:09||The Last Time||5:25||Germany only|
|1985||Voices||4:14||Living Without You||4:24|
|1985||The Fire Still Burns||4:12||Hold On||4:17|
|1985||Dream On||4:15||The Omen||4:27||Germany only|
In 1984, Mary Turner produced a 15-minute portrait of Russ Ballard as a record with the title "A Portrait Of An Artist By Mary Turner".