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We the People

We the People was a psychedelic garage rock band formed in Orlando, Florida in late 1965. Like several other of their garage rock contemporaries – including The Seeds and 13th Floor Elevators – We the People became a highly influential band regardless of the lack of chart success during their relatively short career. Founded by rock journalist and manager Ron Dillman, the group’s original line-up featured Randy Boyte (organ), David Duff (bass), Tommy Talton (guitar), Wayne Proctor (lead guitar) and drummer Tom Wynn, who was quickly replaced by Lee Ferguson. The group’s guitarists – Talton and Proctor – were the main songwriters in the band and the group quickly recorded their debut single, “My Brother, the Man,” and released it independently in early 1966. The single became popular in Orlando, which attracted the attention of record labels. We the People signed to Challenge Records and issued the single “Mirror of Your Mind,” which sold well in some regions and has become their most well-known song thanks to its inclusion on the Nuggets, Volume 6: Punk Part Two compilation in 1985. Their third single, “He Doesn’t Go About It Right,” was released in September 1966 and included “You Burn Me Up and Down” on the B-side, which has also become one of their best-known tracks. Their fourth single in 1966 was ‘In the Past,” which was overshadowed by the radio friendly B-side, “St. John’s Shop.” Although they signed to RCA Records and looked like they were going to achieve more national (and international) success, they band was blindsided by the departure of guitarist and co-songwriter Wayne Proctor. After the release of three more singles on RCA – “Follow Me Back to Louisville” (1967), “Love Is a Beautiful Thing” (1967), and “Ain’t Gonna Find Nobody (Better Than You)” (1968) – before the departure of their other guitarist and songwriter Tommy Talton in 1968. We the People continued until October 1970 but split up after a Halloween concert. Although they never released any albums during their career, several compilations have been released in the decades since they broke up including Declaration of Independence (1983), Mirror of Our Minds (1998), In the Past (2007) and Too Much Noise (2008). Tommy Talton, who had formed the Southern rock band Cowboy after leaving We the People, died of cancer on December 28, 2023. 

©Copyright Music Story Stephen Schnee 2024


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